My Dear Miss Aldrich Film Details
Overview: When the owner of the New York Globe-Leader dies without making a will, the paper is inherited by his only living relative, an “old maid schoolteacher” from Nebraska. Martha Aldrich, along …
Tagline: BELIEVE IT OR NOT – HE WAS A WOMAN-HATER – SHE A MAN-HATER!
Review: Written by Herman J. Mankiewicz, this 1937 feature is fun and seminal, a vehicle for intelligent dialogue, and an example for many later battle-of-the-sexes entries. It also contains only one beautiful shot from a high rooftop of a New York street–its director’s lone foray into the world outside a soundstage. Nevertheless, I find it to be clever, entertaining and filled with delightful characters. In the plot, Martha Aldrich (Maureen O’Sullivan) hardly believes the news when she is informed that she is the heir to a major New York newspaper. the paper’s editor, Kenneth Morley (Walter Pigeon) tells one of his men he does not think women reporters can do the dangerous job of reporting. Ken then dresses up in a tuxedo and attempts to get in to interview a visiting queen; of course he fails. Still wearing the tux, he goes to the train station and greets Martha and her aunt Mrs. Atherton (Edna May Oliver); naturally he mistakes Oliver for his new boss, at first. At dinner with ex-Gov. Warfield (Charles Waldron), Martha soon learns that there are no women on the paper, and she naturally resents Ken’s sexist views. At the office, Mrs. Atherton is annoyed to learn the paper has no puzzles either. Ken wants to know if the visiting queen is pregnant, but he cannot get an interview. Martha simply calls the queen, asks her if it is true, and confirms the rumor. Gov. Warfield then reminds Martha that it is she who now controls the newspaper. Martha then asks Ken for a job as a reporter, so that she can prove females can do the job. He agrees and invites her to dinner; but in a classic scene, as he tries and tries to get around to the subject of romance, she keeps making phone calls before he can say what he would like to tell her. The next day, Ken learns that an important strike could be staged in a few days; he of course wants the story. Ellen Warfield (Rita Johnson) calls Martha to meet her at midnight. So, the following morning, Ken wakes up Martha and complains that the wedding that she was supposed to attend instead was scooped by their competitor. Martha then resigns from being a reporter, and her Aunt suggests she buy a new hat. Martha then sees Mrs. Sinclair (Janet Beecher). Mr. Sinclair (Paul Harvey) tells reporters he won’t call his opposite number Talbot about the strike, and Talbot (Walter Kingsford) announces that he won’t meet Sinclair either. Martha delivers the hat to Mrs. Sinclair, who then refuses to give her the story. Martha heads down into the cellar and sees the Sinclairs sneaking out. She follows them, while a worried Ken and Mrs. Atherton go to the Sinclairs searching for her. At an inn, Martha finds an attendant (Guinn Williams) guarding the door. Martha then hides in the next room and climbs into a dumbwaiter to listen to what is being said. Martha is found and removed, but Mrs. Sinclair keeps her from being arrested for trespass. Ken and Mrs. Atherton find their way to the inn, with help. They spy Martha with her hands tied; she finally admits she is in love with Ken. A waiter is then bribed by Ken. Mrs. Atherton gives her gun to Ken, and they enter the room, to release Martha. The attendant comes in and knocks out Ken and Ted. They are tied up, presumably until the day’s newspapers have been printed; but Martha moans as a distraction, and Mrs. Atherton then knocks out the attendant. An ambulance then arrives and keeps everyone there because of smallpox.. In the final scene, Martha shows Ken her story; a policeman brings in Mrs. Atherton; and Ken asks Martha to marry him. The film is directed with intelligence and pace by George B. Seitz. Cedric Gibbons’ art direction and cinematography by photographer Charles B. Lawton give the film a fine, dense B/W look throughout. Randall Duell and Edwin B. Willis did the good set decorations with David Snell and William Axt providing serviceable music. This is a breezy and fast-moving production that slows down only for important dialogue; the comedy is beautifully served by award-level Walter Pigeon as the editor and Edna May Oliver as Miss Atherton. Maureen O’Sullivan is pretty and consistently bright as the heiress. Janet Beecher and Paul Harvey play the sneaky Sinclairs solidly, with Rita Johnson as Ellen Warfield, Charles Waldron as the ex-governor himself, and powerful Walter Kingsford as Mr. Talbot. Others in the cast include Leonid Kinskey, Guinn Williams as the attendant, and J. Farrell MacDonald. This is a classic professional comedy, well-written and cleverly comedic throughout. Since the male-female war theme has been carried out so often since, I suggest it is to films such as this film even more than “It Happened One Night” to which film historians need to look to see how well ideas were handled on a mostly-implied level as this sub-genre was being developed. An enjoyable little gem.
Duration: 74 min
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Also known as: My Dear Miss Aldrich,Mi estimada señorita,Repórter de Saias