- by Zoë
Maida marries Alec
for his money. Alec falls in love with Julie. He asks Maida for a divorce
but she says no. Maida schemes to save the marriage in order to hold onto
the family money. Alec falls ill with pneumonia, and Julie is the one who
pulls him through it. Maida realizes she has lost the battle.
- by Aileen
Alec Walker (Grant) is married to Maida (Francis), a woman
who is only after position and wealth. One day Alec meets widow Julie Eden (Lombard) - a
commercial artist, and falls in love with her. He asks Maida for a divorce so that he can
marry Julie. Maida says yes, but in reality she is scheming to save her marriage ONLY so
that she can hold onto his money. However when Alec falls dangerously ill with pneumonia
it is Julie who is the one he calls out for, and the one that can save him. At this point,
Alec's parents discover the real Maida.
I like this movie. Cary Grant as usual is great and Kay
Francis is delightfully venomous as the scheming Maida. The scene with the drunk is one of
the more light hearted moments. The character of Suzanne adds that touch of spice as
Maida's friend and all round stirrer! But the ending is really effective as we see Maida
left in the outer room and the door shuts slowly on her - shutting her out from Julie and
the Walkers as it were. Go get this movie!!
Film Review - August 9, 1939
- by "Char"
- submitted by Barry Martin
'In Name Only' will get maximum playing time and the best dating
the country offers, being a late summer release that has all the
elements of audience appeal, together with three star names in
Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Kay Francis as strong
convincers. Where played, it will carry the full burden of
responsibility and shoulder it.
A novel by Bessie Breuer, 'Memory
of Love,' forms the basis for the wholly capable production turned
out by George Haight from Richard Sherman's fine adaptation.
The story is a romantic drama of a familiar but highly poignant
brand, relieved by smart comedy lines and touches. It is
sophisticated, adult material which has been handled in a very
intelligent manner and, among its attributes, enjoys suspense up
to the final footage.
Many happy elements combine to make
this one of the best pictures of the year, not the least of these
being Haight's superior production, the inspired direction of John
Cromwell, Sherman's trenchant dialog and the performances of a
skilled cast. The meat of the love story, with its attendant
drama and tension, its tenderer love passages and blasé
qualities, has an important complement in the wholly natural but
swank comedy touches, supplied both by dialog and action.
An even pace is set all the
distance, with no particular hurry suggested, although there is
much to do while the 94 minutes unreel. The ending, however,
is more abrupt than is looked for, in view of the pace established
by deliberately well-planned direction and script, with Cary Grant
left on a hospital bed to recover, according to all expectations.
Story plays Grant in a stubborn
vein against the knowledge that Miss Francis nabbed him as one
does a mackerel, with the action at times appearing to make Grant
somewhat unreasonable in his bitterness about the whole
thing. This reflects also in his attitude toward his
The difficulty of breaking up the
fortune-hunting marriage so that Grant and Miss Lombard may get
hitched, carries the film through the majority of its running
time. While intriguing the interest at every turn,
maintaining a good grip on audience appreciation, the failure of a
better showdown concerning the marriage or a divorce cannot be
ignored. In the steering of the story, however, Cromwell has
made every situation as believable as could be accomplished in
order to sustain the dramatic undercurrent, strife and the
beleaguered romance which has developed. The strokes by
which the decks are cleared for consummation of this romance are
deft, careful, well-timed and highly effective for the purposes of
Grant and Miss Lombard emerge
highly impressive. Grant figures in some of the comedy
relief but Miss Lombard is almost entirely on the romantic drama
side, turning in a fine performance.
As the mercenary wife, Miss Francis
does well, shading her role well. She does not photograph as
well here, however; makeup, mayhaps, somewhat a fault, unless the
idea was to make her less glamorous than she has been in the past.
The supporting players are topped
by Charles Coburn, as Grant's father; Helen Vinson, doing a vicious
society gossiper, and Katharine Alexander, as Miss Lombard's
sister. A kid actress, appearing on the screen for the first
time, is Peggy Ann Garner. She has some sweetness but lacks
polish, doing her lines very deliberately and suggesting that air
of unnatural action which too frequently is the fault of kids
following adult coaching.
In his brief hospital scene,
Maurice Moscovich turns in an exceedingly impressive effort as a
physician with a foreign accent.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - August 4, 1939
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
Love and the eternal triangle
are subjects toward which the movies have never been particularly
averse, but upon which they have generally discoursed with prudent
caution and romantic bubble-blowing. For this reason - this and
the fact that love is more than just a smoke raised by the fume of
a scriptwriter's sighs - it is particularly gratifying to
encounter a film which does unblushingly tackle the hackneyed
theme of husband, wife and other woman, which acknowledges by
tactful implication a few of the facts of life, which penetrates
with poignant directness into the reality of emotional torment and
which permits the "other woman" a contrived but
satisfactory victory. Such is the especial grace of "In Name
Only," the new Cary Grant-Carole Lombard love story, now at
the Music Hall.
No one can expect a film to probe
much deeper than that into the chemistry of love or into the
social conventions which frequently cause its embarrassment, what
with the Hays code and such. So an occasional cliché or recourse
to symbolic maneuvering can readily be forgiven. There is enough
of the reticence, the slightly skeptical exaltation and the
frightening, lonely despair which are usually experienced by
mature lovers in this picture to give it superior quality. And it
is magnificently done.
The story, as remarked, is no
bombshell. Alec Walker, played by Mr. Grant, is a Connecticut
squire married to a heartless wife, who hooked him for his money
and position. When he meets and falls in love with Julie Eden
(Miss Lombard), a widowed artist, he asks his wife to divorce him
and she agrees to go to Paris to do so. Confident of her word,
Alec and Julie prepare for their life together. But the wife
prolongs her stay in Paris, causing Julie understandable anguish,
and finally returns home (on Christmas Eve), without a divorce and
without any intention of getting one.
Further, this vicious wife
threatens to sue Julie for alienation of affections and to drag
her young daughter into court as a witness if Alec attempts to
divorce her. So Alec and Julie agree to part and the situation is
wholly intolerable - until a convenient illness and a sick-bed
crisis permit a happy solution.
On the face of it, that sounds
pretty bleak. But you don't let it prejudice you. The story, while
obvious, is thoroughly convincing, thanks to the
"natural" attack which John Cromwell has taken upon it
and to some delightfully pleasing dialogue. Mr. Grant is in top
form as the done-wrong-by husband who - unlike the husband in
Bessie Bruer's original novel - is a thorough gentleman, a
surpassing wit and a charming fellow withal. Miss Lombard plays
her poignant role with all the fragile intensity and contained
passion that have lifted her to dramatic eminence. Kay Francis, on
the other side of the fence this time, is a model cat, suave,
superior and relentless. And a generally excellent cast contribute
in making this one of the most adult and enjoyable pictures of the
- by Kathy Fox
IN NAME ONLY is Cary Grant's 34th movie and his third movie with Carole
Lombard, the other two being SINNERS IN THE SUN in 1932, and THE EAGLE AND
THE HAWK in 1933. This is a dark melodrama, revealing the loveless marriage
between Alec Walker (Cary Grant) and Maida Walker (Kay Francis). Alec meets
Julie Eden (Carole Lombard) one day when he is out horseback riding. They are
immediately attracted to one another, but Alec does not reveal to Ms. Eden
that he is married. Julie Eden's husband had passed away earlier, leaving
her with a daughter. This story shows how one woman will go to any lengths
to keep her rich husband, and it is sad, because Maida has pulled the wool
over Alec's parents' eyes, and they believe that she is the exemplary
daughter-in-law. Maida promises to get a divorce when she accompanies Alec's
parents to Europe, but she is lying and has no intention of getting a
divorce ever. In the meantime, Julie wants to break it off with Alec because
she can no longer stand not being able to marry him because the divorce is
taking too long. Finally Maida's plans not to divorce are found out and Alec
on Christmas Day goes on a drinking binge, catches pneumonia and almost
dies. In the end, Maida loses because Alec's mother and father find out what
kind a woman she truly is. This film was not a success at the box office,
and was said to have wasted the talents of two screwball comics, Grant and
Lombard. Lombard was given the salary off $150,000 and top billing. Grant
complained and armed with his success in GUNGA DIN, his salary was raised to
$100,000. RKO had purchased IN NAME ONLY as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn
before she become "box-office poison," and Lombard heard about the
role and wanted a project because her husband, Clark Gable, was off filming
GONE WITH THE WIND. Of course, we all know that Carole Lombard's great
career was cut short when she was killed three years later in a tragic plane
accident in 1942 upon returning from a tour where she was promoting U.S.
Government War Bonds. Gary's self-confidence is beginning to show as he
moves further into his great career.
Film Review - August 31, 1939
- by Nelson B Bell
- submitted by Renee Klish
Gives New Film Brisk Interpretation
A closely woven succession of
events, excellent acting and adroit direction serve to refurbish a
familiar theme in the thoroughly diverting and, at times, moving
screen play that inaugurated its Washington engagement in RDO-Keith's
Theater last evening at 5:45. Were the word "Wife"
prefixed to the title, a complete index would be afforded to the
theme of this expertly contrived comedy-romance that cloaks the
antiquity of its triangular story in new dressings of humor,
gayety and high spirits, only occasionally shot through with the
"In Name Only" points out
with some asperity precisely what complications can be brought
into the lives of true lovers and those nearest them by an
acquisitive, mercenary and vengeful wife, who refuses to divorce
her husband in order that he may wed an honest and respectable
young woman, with no predatory instincts whatsoever, whom he has
met by merest chance. The wife's shrewd and shrewish plans
are heartily furthered by another catty young wife who is her
"best friend," albeit not above poaching a little on
Alec Walker's time, interest and patience on her own account.
THE BEST LAID PLANS
Maida Walker, after perceiving that
she is getting nowhere rapidly is holding the counterfeit
"affection" of the man she married solely for his money
- and who knows it - accompanies his parents to Paris on the
promise to secure a divorce in the quietest possible manner.
She has no intention of doing any such gracious thing, but
prolongs her absence beyond all reasonable length for the kindly
purpose of giving Alec and Julie Eden, the mother of a small
daughter who would make an interesting witness in court, ample
rope to "hang themselves." It somehow doesn't work
out quite that way, although Alec has to come down with a terrific
attack of pneumonia and struggle for breath in an oxygen tent to
prevent it. The revelatory bedside scenes are the ones that
pay off Maida in something considerably better than her own coin.
A familiar plot, yes, but, as I
have said, one which, in this instance, has been given new life
and new zest by the deftness of Richard Sherman's adaptation of
Bessie Breuer's novel of "Memory of Love" and the manner
of its enactment. The blithe mood in which the play has been
written is taken full advantage of by Carole Lombard, Cary Grant,
Kay Francis and their associate players, led by Katherine
Alexander, Nella Walker, Charles Coburn, Peggy Ann Garner, the
precocious Washington child actress, and numerous others.
First honors, by all means, I
should say, go to Cary Grant for so thoroughly natural, honest and
amusing a portrayal of the central male character. His
performance adds further proof that he rapidly is becoming one of
the most facile and most reliable of the cinema's male stars,
Carole Lombard, as Julie Eden, the young fashion artiste, shares
the comedy scenes with Grant on his own footing. She is as
assured, as spontaneously natural and as convincing as he
is. Kay Francis, on the other hand, finds scant outlet for
any sense of humor in her assignment to the subtly treacherous
part of Maida Walker. She is as velvety and disarming a
menace to domestic happiness and tranquility as ever clawed a
friend . Helen Vinson, long absent from the local screen, as
Suzanne, conceals a comparable nature less skillfully beneath a
thin veneer of polished gush.
The supporting roles of prime
importance are interpreted with characteristic skill by Charles
Coburn, as the elder Walker; Nella Walker, his wife; Katherine
Alexander, as Laura; Jonathan Hale, the family physician and
counselor, and Maurice Moscovich, as his learned consultant.
Their joint psychiatric ministrations finally bring order and a
"happy ending" out of the chaos projected into their
lives by Alec's frustrated wife.
LOS ANGELES TIME
Film Review - August 26, 1939
- by John L Scott
- submitted by Renee Klish
'Awful Truth' Is
the Kind That Pleases
"In Name Only" is the
type of picture that ladies love to sniffle over. You see,
the "other woman" becomes the sympathetic character and
the wife, who just married the dear boy for his money, turns into
a real villainess. It's all very poignant but the males in
the audience are due to get a chuckle out of the eternal triangle
"In Name Only" opened
yesterday at R.K.O.-Hillstreet and Pantages Hollywood theaters to
full houses, about 75 per cent women. They suffered
ecstatically along with Carole Lombard and Cary Grant, who
couldn't get married because Cary's wife wouldn't like it. Wives
are funny that way.
Bessie Breuer's novel, "Memory
of Love," served as a basis for the production. Richard
Sherman, screen writer, retained the intrinsic points.
Performances are of a high order.
Miss Lombard, who weeps right
convincingly when she wants to, portrays the young widow (with a
small child) who falls in love with the handsome Mr. Grant after a
casual meeting on the banks of a stream and subsequent
picnics. When she discovers he is a married man, she shoos
him away, but he comes right back and convinces her that his wife
(Kay Francis) has not taken him for better or for worse, but for
his money and social position.
Love usually finds its way, but in
this case the wife, shrewd and calculating, plays every trump card
she possesses to keep her meal ticket. In fact, Grant has to
almost die of pneumonia before Miss Lombard takes the final trick.
Miss Lombard and Grant have more
dramatic roles than usual, and only occasionally do their
individual comedy characteristics shine through. Just
enough, one might say, to relieve the hokum generated.
John Cromwell direct the R.K.O.
feature with his usual deft touch.
Kay Francis, in a most
unsympathetic role, gives a fine performance. It is a
difficult job well done. Charles Coburn, Helen Vinson,
Katharine Alexander, Jonathan Hale, Maurice Moscovich, Nella
Walker, Peggy Ann Garner and Spencer Charters leave little to be
desired as supporting players.
Click here to read
Susanna's review of "In
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
<< Back to Reviews | Top of Page