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Week-End Marriage 1932 (First National)

“I like being independent.”

“Because you’re not in love, that’s why.”

This is the story of the Independent Woman in the 1930’s. If you were a working woman it was usually because you were single and needed to support yourself, or because you were stupid. See if you weren’t single, you had a husband who could support you, and you should stay home, do housework and make babies- that was your destiny.

This was sort of a difficult movie to watch, because so much of it can still be relevant today. Loretta Young plays a girl in love, but she doesn’t want to be single forever and manages to catch herself a hubby at the cost of him giving up a big career break in South America. Obviously no one should start a marriage with that much debt on the balance sheet.  But she, along with most women during this time, felt like they could be both a wife and working girl. Staying home and being a homemaker and mother was close to the death penalty. So… the wife does her work well, gets raises, neglects the home. The husband doesn’t take the South American gig, gets hours cut, and is now making less than his wife. Needless to say, that’s a recipe for disaster.  Aline MacMahon adds fun and clever lines to the plot helping to lighten up this tense topic.

There’s a lovely turning point in this film with a monologue given by the good doctor tending the sick bed of the neglected/made-to-look-after-himself husband that makes this whole film worth watching.  From our place in 2014, the words he spoke could have been spoken to a man or a woman. It wasn’t just about women sacrificing everything; it was about basic human needs we tend to look at as weaknesses. It feels like a brutally honest truth that we’ve all hidden under the goals we think we should have.

“You talk about freedom because you think it’s something they need and cherish, but they don’t, they hate it.  They get along best when they’re not free. They need old fashioned women nagging them, giving them families to live for. It’s human nature that’s all.”

 

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