One of the few surviving films of Leatrice Joy, the wife of screen heartthrob John Gilbert, The Clinging Vine is a typically frothy '20s comedy: Mannish and efficient executive secretary Antoinette Allen (Joy), known colloquially as A.B., is the real power behind Bancroft Paint ("the kind that comes in a bucket," as an intertitle helpfully explains). A.B. fires Grandpa Bancroft's carefree grandson, Jimmy (Tom Moore), via Western Union and Bancroft (Robert Edeson) leaves it up to the youngster to charm the secretary into giving him his job back. Jimmy, of course, assumes A.B. to be a sexless spinster in sensible shoes and doesn't recognize the flirtatious beauty he meets at the Bancroft garden party. With a lot of help from Grandma Bancroft (Toby Claude, who, a title explains, "crosses a lemon with a dressmaker's bill and produces a peach"), A.B. has become Antoinette, a "clinging vine" who only knows two sentences: "Do go on!" and "Aren't you wonderful!" Do Antoinette and Jimmy fall in love at first sight? Why, of course they do, and now it is truly up to Antoinette to become the woman behind the man. It is all extremely silly, slightly chauvinistic, and at times quite beguiling. Grandma Bancroft is the kind that glides down the banister and a rather trying comedian named Snitz Edwards is high up in the Bancroft corporation. Enough said. Neither Joy nor director Paul H. Sloane are much remembered but The Clinging Vine's executive producer is: Cecil B. De Mille. In fact, the comedy harkens back to the kind of fluffy make-believe De Mille used to do with his star discovery Gloria Swanson. And while Leatrice Joy is perhaps no Swanson, she is mightily believable as both the before and after Antoinette and a natural comedienne.
by Hans J. Wollstein synopsis