Ex-Lady

1933

Comedy / Drama

1
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 1213

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 28, 2021 at 03:42 PM

Director

Cast

Bette Davis as Helen Bauer
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
614.04 MB
968*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 6 min
P/S counting...
1.11 GB
1440*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 6 min
P/S 36 / 53

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rondine 9 / 10

A movie for all decades, not just the 30's....

I saw this on TCM one day & was so delighted I actually recorded it. It is a rare gem and I found the screenplay and acting both believable and enjoyable. As many reviewers have noted, it is Pre-Code, meaning that women are allowed cleavage and men and women were portrayed in a natural way- that is sleeping in the same bed. (I actually remember asking my mom one time why Ricky Ricardo & Lucy slept in separate beds if they were married? What did they do, squeeze into that tiny bed the night Ricky, Jr. was conceived?! Preposterous! As most of the post-code was.)

But the 2 main strong points of the movie are Bette (of course) and the dialog. Bette plays Helen Bauer, a successful commercial artist and Gene Raymond plays Don Peterson, a successful advertising manager. There's a part early on in the movie when Helen & Don are discussing their relationship and it goes like this:

Don: "I'm just about fed up with sneaking in... let's get married so I'll have the right to be with you." Helen: "What do you mean 'right'? I don't like the word right." Don: "Let's not quibble about words." Helen: "No, I'm not quibbling, right means something. No one has any rights about me, except me."

And it's the WAY she says it, that means so much. She is able to say it and really mean it- without offending him.

Her character believes that women have the same rights as men. This is something I've always believed in very strongly myself, so I admit this is part of the reason the movie appeals to me so much. She also believes that she doesn't *have* to get married. And there's one part of the movie where she actually says the "dread" line, "I don't want babies." I look for the smelling salts as I write this! All kidding aside- good luck finding a female character this independent nowadays. I have to be honest- if more people thought like her, there would be less divorce. Her point is well taken- you should only really enter into marriage if you really want to. People marry for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with it. Helen's character even holds to her beliefs in the face of a very disapproving father. Even in the confrontation scene, she maintains her dignity and her beliefs without criticizing her parents' beliefs. There's another bit of dialog that shows how she thinks:

Gene: "You're a successful woman; I ought not to like it." Bette: "You're a pretty successful man; I ought not to like it." Gene & Bette in unison: "I'm a man!"

--- and Bette's body language says it all- she conveys the strength of will without robbing the man of his- something she has always been able to do so well and enigmatically. This also shows she's realistic- she's knows the times she lives in. And people that think that way will always be modern and contemporary. It definitely gives viewers a reason to watch something this amazing- especially considering it was made in 1933!

The rest of the cast if good and her partner in the movie played by Gene Raymond does a very nice job. They have a good chemistry on screen. As this is a pre-code movie and early Bette, I suppose those 2 reasons alone would make it worth watching- but the script and acting are also really good.

  • update: I was looking at this movie today on IMDb and saw that 5 out of 10 people found my review helpful....what? did I hit a nerve with baby comment? or was it the one about only entering into marriage for love? I dunno but I thought I reviewed the movie and gave info that would help someone decide if it's the kind of movie they want to watch. Isn't that what the reviews are here for? to help?


Then I noticed ALL the reviews are like that (12 out of 24, 5 out of 10) so I guess somebody out there just doesn't like this movie. Maybe a post-code mentality?? ;)

Reviewed by overseer-3 9 / 10

Sizzling Bette Davis - Gene Raymond romp

Going into Ex-Lady I really didn't expect Bette Davis to have that much chemistry with Gene Raymond, who has never been a particular favorite of mine; I always considered him too feminine a leading man, with that blonde hair and non-threatening, laid back physique. However in this film I was pleasantly surprised: I think working with dynamo Bette made Gene a much better actor. I get the feeling he really went to school watching her, and gave a performance to match. I like him a lot better here than in Red Dust, for instance.

The plot of Ex-Lady dances around a provocative subject quite deftly, with witty dialog and great pacing. Bette plays a successful commercial artist who is in love with a fellow who wants to marry her, but she is unwilling to take the plunge. She'd rather live in sin with her beloved. Even when confronted by her parents she defies tradition. However eventually she decides to marry her lover so that she doesn't lose him. The marriage has some jittery ups and downs, and in the interim we are treated to some fine character actors playing mischief makers popping in and out of the couple's life, creating mayhem.

Frank McHugh is quite funny and breezy as their ultimate matchmaker - even though he has his own secret yen for the artist, he does what he can to resolve the situation sacrificially. Monroe Owsley ("Private Number") is a leering confrontative distraction to Bette. Striking Kay Strozzi makes her play for the husband too desperately for her own good. All this makes for wonderful fun. However once again, as with most precode films, we have a traditional, conservative ending to our story. This may be realistic, it may not, to each his own. I prefer happy endings myself.

9 out of 10.

Reviewed by gbill-74877 9 / 10

Liberating

A fantastic pre-Code film, and if this one doesn't make you fall in love with Bette Davis, I'm not sure what will. She is simply radiant, and her character is a feminist well ahead of her time - a talented, genial woman who calls the shots in her life, unashamedly puts career first, eschews marriage, and has a lover (Gene Raymond). She quite simply expresses her 'modern' views while being such a warm and loving person, making her a compelling figure, and therefore dangerous to conservative morality.

The relationship that Davis and Raymond have in the film is fantastic. He stands up to her father when confronted, not by saying that he wants marriage and that she's the one who is holding out (even though that's the truth), but by saying it's their decision. When they do decide to get married, it's because she's proposed to him, not the other way around. In business, he's not bent out of shape because she is more valuable and talented than he is. They also have some wonderfully tender moments. On their honeymoon in Havana they sit in a nightclub watching a scantily clad dancer move sinuously about, and he makes a motion with his eyes for them to step outside. Without saying a word, they walk slowly outside together, then enfold each other in a beautiful kiss on the veranda. She then leads him over to a bench, which we see from behind, and reclines back, out of the camera's view. He walks over to her, smiles, and then joins her, obviously signaling passion to come, as we see the dancer's hip action in the background. It's a scene that is both heartfelt and erotic.

Later when they find that being married is leading to some of the frustrations she predicted, they decide that being lovers 3-4 times a week is preferable (as the circles on the calendar of May, 1933 show) - more honest, harmonious, and exciting. And this is the real danger the Catholic Church saw in Hollywood pre-Code films. Bette Davis is not playing a 'loose', depraved woman here. She's smart, funny, talented, rational, and has a healthy interest in sex - and she makes an excellent point about an alternate way of living for women, to pursue their own interests, and not necessarily be on the track to get married and crank out children. It's simply extraordinary.

In one very revealing moment, a male character pining for the 'good old days' points out that the 'hobble skirt' was a way of controlling women - "They couldn't walk fast nor far in a hobble skirt. You could trust them." And this was one of the main facets of the Production Code enforcement of the following year - to put a lid on women's sexuality and to get them back into their subordinate roles in society. As the film plays out it never compromises either. As both characters are pursued by others (played very well by Kay Strozzi and Monroe Owsley), they find that their love for one another - not the convention of marriage or a need to control the other - leads to jealousy whether they're married or lovers. It seems like a pretty simple story, but it's in this that the film has real power.

The film zips along in its 67 minute run time, and while it's not a work of art or anything, director Robert Florey gets in some interesting camera angles (e.g. of the opera singer at the dinner party, and the overhead shot of Davis being pulled on to the floor in a kiss). He also gives the actors space to communicate with their eyes. The screenplay was based on a play by Edith Fitzgerald and Robert Riskin, unmarried lovers, and I think it shows. Some bits from the script that I thought were fantastic:

Don (Gene Raymond): You know, I'm just about fed up with sneaking in. Helen (Bette Davis): Sneaking? Don: Yes, sneaking. Let's get married, so I'll have the right to be with you. Helen: What do you mean, 'Right?' I don't like the word 'Right.' Don: Oh, let's not quibble about words. Helen: No, I'm not quibbling. 'Right' means something. No one has any rights about me, except me.

Later, when she's condemned by her father when he sees that Don has spent the night with her, she very reasonably and calmly tells him this: "Oh, don't let's get dramatic about this. Don't let's start arguing. We've been all over this. I don't believe in what you believe. That's all. I don't want to get married."

Here's how she handles it with her lover: Don: I want to marry you. Helen: Oh, Don, we've been over it, over it, and over it. I went away from home to be on my own. I don't want to be like my mother, a yes-woman for some man. I want to be a person on my own. If I like to live a certain way, and have a certain kind of furniture, do a certain kind of work, and wear a certain kind of clothes, I want to do it. And not have somebody tell me I ought to do something else.

And then later this: Helen: We have a different sense of values. I don't want babies. When I'm 40, I'll think of babies. In the meantime, there are 20 years in which I want to be the baby and play with my toys and have a good time playing with them. Don: A career. Helen: Oh, it isn't just that. Sure, I want to do good work. But it isn't that. I want to stay young for a while and have a good time and not be dull and set. I don't want to be a wife.

Meanwhile, another guy named Nick (Monroe Owsley) wants to be her lover and thinks she must be a 'puritan' for repeatedly turning him down. She doesn't explain her lifestyle or her choices in the slightest, simply telling him amiably, "What conceit!" The conversation continues: Nick: Come on, let's quit kidding. Helen: That's what he said. Nick: Who said? Helen: That's what every man says when he wants you to do what he wants you to. Man, whew. I'm souring on the lot of you.

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