For Reel

Meet the Missus (1937)
May 26, 2014, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Joseph Santley
4 Stars
Meet the MissusThe sweepstakes craze that swept the country during the 1930s is the focus of Meet the Missus, a slyly intelligent satire about the media’s misrepresentation of domesticity. Here, the contest that Emma Foster (Helen Broderick) is selected to compete in is to find the country’s perfect housewife–a title ill-fit for her, as she lets her husband Otis (Victor Moore) do most of the cooking and cleaning. That Emma performs a traditionally masculine role in the household whereas Otis dons womanly aprons as he prepares meals creates a grand irony in relation to the contest’s ideas of the male and female roles, suggesting the fraudulence of the portrayals of what really goes on in an American home. The film builds to a terrific climax in which, frustrated by a series of emasculating tasks throughout the film, Otis rallies his fellow husbands together to parade around in swimsuits in a parody of Miss America. It is those inspired set pieces in addition to the gender politics that elevates the picture above many other screwball comedies of the era, even if it lacks the star power or quite the level of wit as its more famous contemporaries. Moore is terrific as the pushover but Broderick steals the show with her authoritative, sharp-edged deliveries.

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