For Reel


That Uncertain Feeling (1941)
June 13, 2014, 12:14 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
3 Stars
That Uncertain FeelingThe opening title card of That Uncertain Feeling characterizes men of masters of the world–fearless conquerers who’ve championed their domain… well, all but the ladies’ room, where they’ll never set foot inside. Given this start, one would assume that this would be the set up for a competitive battle of the sexes. Rather than an even-handed contest pitting wife against husband, however, the picture involves little more than a husband’s elaborate revenge fantasy against a woman who is ridiculed for her lack of producing excitement. Calling a Hollywood film from this period so conservative as to be misogynistic is beside the point, but it’s a grand disappointment that Merle Oberon can’t hold a candle to some of Lubitsch’s best leading ladies. She plays the straight woman and is so suffocated by her co-stars that she might as well serve as part of the production design. The same can’t be said for Burgess Meredith as the man she begins an affair with. He gives her culture and presumably the sex that her husband won’t, but the fact that he parades through the picture like a capricious nine-year-old makes their dynamic hardly convincing. Because it’s Lubitsch, the picture has worthwhile moments, but largely it’s a forgettable affair–rote and possessing an anti-intellectual bent that carries its own off-putting brand of snobbishness.

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