When Ladies Meet (1941)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 29, 1941 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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When Ladies Meet is an entertaining yet somewhat disappointing "women's picture" from MGM during its peak period. A remake of a 1933 film based on a popular play, this version of Ladies is perhaps dampened a bit by the demands of the Production Code (although it does manage to sidestep the Code in a few areas). The screenplay, which wrestles with some potentially interesting ideas, seems to shy away from following those ideas all the way through. Perhaps a bigger problem, however, is the casting of that fine actor Herbert Marshall in a role that requires more sexual charisma than he is able to provide. This has nothing to do with his looks, but with his persona; it's simply hard to buy that both Joan Crawford and Greer Garson would be willing to wrap their lives so entirely around this particular man. Still, Ladies does give these two star ladies a chance to strut their stuff, and they don't disappoint. Garson's part is the more sympathetic and she pulls it off with her usual grace and skill. Crawford's performance, however, may be the more surprising; it's typical Crawford, yet she finds moments that allow her to bring more nuance and subtlety to the part in ways that are unexpected. Robert Taylor also turns in a solid light comic role, but the film is stolen from all of them by Spring Byington's delightfully ditzy turn. Throw in some snappy bits of dialogue, adept direction and luscious art direction, and the end result is an engaging way to pass the time.