Home Maker (1925)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Although this film sounds like a 1920s version of Mr. Mom, in some ways it's more enlightened than the 1983 comedy -- for one thing, being a stay-at-home dad comes quite naturally to husband Lester Knapp (Clive Brook). Nevertheless, the idea of switching traditional husband-wife roles was quite a radical one in the days when women had only recently won the right to vote, and as such, this drama (with comic touches) was not always warmly received. Knapp is an ineffectual office worker, while his wife, Eva (Alice Joyce), is a paragon of efficiency who, although she loves her children, is woefully lacking in mothering skills. When Knapp is fired from his job, he decides to die "accidentally" so that his long-suffering family can collect on his life insurance. But (according to the title card) "Lester proved a bungler even at dying," and instead he winds up a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. Eva turns down the charity of Knapp's old boss, Spencer Willing (Lester Whitlock), and instead asks for a job. He gives her one, as a saleslady at one of the company's stores. Eva flourishes at her new position and soon is earning almost twice as much as Knapp ever made. Meanwhile, Knapp's effect on the couple's three children is almost magical, especially when it comes to dealing with their formerly incorrigible three-year-old. This odd set-up is gradually accepted by the Knapp's friends and relatives, but then disaster strikes -- Eva notices Knapp's legs twitching in his sleep, and indeed, he finds out that he can walk again. But Knapp realizes that both he and Eva are ill-suited for the roles originally foisted on them by society, so he swears their reluctant physician, Dr. Merritt (the delightful George Fawcett), to secrecy. Not surprisingly, this picture was adapted by a woman, Mary O'Hara, from a novel by another woman, Dorothy Canfield.

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Keywords

boredom, dysfunctional, handicap, paralysis, suicide