The Wife Takes a Flyer (1942)

87 mins | Comedy-drama | 30 April 1942

Director:

Richard Wallace

Producer:

B. P. Schulberg

Cinematographer:

Frank F. Planer

Editor:

Gene Havlick

Production Designer:

Lionel Banks

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Highly Irregular . The picture opens with the following written prologue: "The resemblace of our characters to any Nazi military figures is intentional and is not coincidental and is done with premeditation and extreme malice aforethought. Somewhere in Holland..." According to a 26 Jan 1942 HR news item, production was suspended for an apparently brief period when Franchot Tone sprained a leg ... More Less

The working title of this film was Highly Irregular . The picture opens with the following written prologue: "The resemblace of our characters to any Nazi military figures is intentional and is not coincidental and is done with premeditation and extreme malice aforethought. Somewhere in Holland..." According to a 26 Jan 1942 HR news item, production was suspended for an apparently brief period when Franchot Tone sprained a leg tendon. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Apr 1942.
---
Film Daily
28 Apr 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 42
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Apr 42
p. 621.
New York Times
19 Jun 42
p. 19.
Variety
22 Apr 42
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Gertrude W. Hoffmann
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Scr
Story
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Miss Bennett's gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Highly Irregular
Release Date:
30 April 1942
Production Date:
5 January--20 February 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 April 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11216
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,817
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8070
SYNOPSIS

At Nazi headquarters in occupied Holland, Major Zellfritz is assigned to search for a downed British pilot. The amorous major becomes sidetracked by a pair of shapely legs, and follows their owner, Anita Woverman, to her house. To be closer to Anita, Zellfritz demands that the Wovermans billet him and his men at the house. Upstairs, meanwhile, the Wovermans' butler, Jan, is aiding the escaped pilot, Christopher Reynolds, who has sought refuge at the house. Upon introducing himself to the family, Zellfritz learns that Anita, the Wovermans' daughter-in-law, is seeking a divorce from her husband Hendrik, who is soon to be released from a mental institution. When a group of stormtroopers arrives at the house in search of the missing pilot, Mrs. Woverman learns of Reynolds' presence, and to shield him, claims that he is her son Hendrik. After Mrs. Woverman informs Reynolds that his "wife" Anita is divorcing him, he begs her to reconsider, and Anita, taken aback by the sudden appearance her "husband," agrees. After the disappointed major protests Anita's decision and leaves the room, the Wovermans insist that Reynolds continue the charade and stay until the divorce trial the following morning. That night, Zellfritz peruses the family photo book, and Reynolds feigns an attack of insanity to divert him. Later, to the family's relief, a telegram arrives, informing them that Hendrik has suffered a relapse and will not be released for a day or two. After the family retires to bed, the stormtroopers reappear to search the house, causing the major to declare that the British pilot is not there. Afterward, Zellfritz makes romantic overtures to Anita, but she ... +


At Nazi headquarters in occupied Holland, Major Zellfritz is assigned to search for a downed British pilot. The amorous major becomes sidetracked by a pair of shapely legs, and follows their owner, Anita Woverman, to her house. To be closer to Anita, Zellfritz demands that the Wovermans billet him and his men at the house. Upstairs, meanwhile, the Wovermans' butler, Jan, is aiding the escaped pilot, Christopher Reynolds, who has sought refuge at the house. Upon introducing himself to the family, Zellfritz learns that Anita, the Wovermans' daughter-in-law, is seeking a divorce from her husband Hendrik, who is soon to be released from a mental institution. When a group of stormtroopers arrives at the house in search of the missing pilot, Mrs. Woverman learns of Reynolds' presence, and to shield him, claims that he is her son Hendrik. After Mrs. Woverman informs Reynolds that his "wife" Anita is divorcing him, he begs her to reconsider, and Anita, taken aback by the sudden appearance her "husband," agrees. After the disappointed major protests Anita's decision and leaves the room, the Wovermans insist that Reynolds continue the charade and stay until the divorce trial the following morning. That night, Zellfritz peruses the family photo book, and Reynolds feigns an attack of insanity to divert him. Later, to the family's relief, a telegram arrives, informing them that Hendrik has suffered a relapse and will not be released for a day or two. After the family retires to bed, the stormtroopers reappear to search the house, causing the major to declare that the British pilot is not there. Afterward, Zellfritz makes romantic overtures to Anita, but she rejects him. At divorce court the next morning, the Wovermans are anxiously awaiting Reynolds' arrival when the major appears and announces that he has dispatched two soldiers to follow him. Soon after, Reynolds arrives, escorted by two Nazis. Smitten by Anita's charms, Reynolds decides to protect her from Zellfritz's advances by contesting the divorce, and asks for a reconciliation. Although Anita testifies about her husband's history of drunkenness, Reynolds proclaims his undying love for her, prompting the judge to order them to his chambers to discuss a reconciliation. There, Reynolds tells Anita that he must meet a contact at the Savoy Café and asks her to cover for him while he slips out a window. At the café, Reynolds contacts Gustav, a waiter, who delivers a secret document sandwiched between two pieces of bread. After Reynolds grabs the sandwich and leaves, a suspicious Nazi officer details several soldiers to follow him. Later, Reynolds bursts into the courtroom, pretending to be drunk. When the soldiers enter, Reynolds sweeps Anita into his arms and passes the documents to her. Once again, Zellfritz vouches for Reynolds and dismisses the soldiers. After the judge grants Anita her divorce, she drops out of sight to manage Countess Oldenburg's boardinghouse for spinsters. Desperately seeking Anita, the major orders the Wovermans' phone tapped, and when she phones Reynolds to provide him with her new address, the major pursues her there. Soon after, Reynolds arrives, interrupting the major's tete-a-tete with Anita. Reynolds surreptiously extracts the documents from Anita's purse, then the stormtroopers appear to arrest Hendrik, who has just escaped from the institution, for stealing alcohol from a government store. When the major insists that he has spent the afternoon in court with Hendrik, the soldiers, satisfied with the major's explanation, depart. Upon learning that the major is related to a prominent Nazi submarine engineer, Reynolds warmly endorses the major's courtship of Anita and suggests that he take her out that night. After Zellfritz leaves, Reynolds instructs Anita to pump him about his relative. That night, as Reynolds is scrutinizing the documents, he is accosted by a stranger on the street. The man is Reynolds' contact, Keith, who provides him with the identity papers of a beer truck driver. When Keith mentions that an Allied agent with a shortwave radio is operating in the area, Reynolds arranges to meet him at the agent's house later that night. Upon arriving home from her date with the major, Anita finds Reynolds waiting for her. When she conveys the news that the major's relative will complete his mission in Eselmunder in three days, Reynolds deduces that the Nazis must be assembling a submarine fleet there. At the house of the agent with the transmitter, Keith and Reynolds spy several Gestapo men inside and realize that the agent has been arrested. After a skirmish with the Gestapo, Reynolds returns to the spinsters' house, and the next morning, Anita finds him asleep on the living room couch. Reynolds explains his predicament and tries to conceive of another way to transmit the information about the submarine fleet. Anita recalls that the major drops propaganda leaflets nightly over England, and apprised of Reynolds' true identity, the spinsters offer their help in transcribing the location of the submarine site onto the pamphlets. That night, as Anita entertains Zellfritz in her room, the spinsters feverishly scrawl the information onto the pamphlets, but are interrupted by Hendrik pounding franctically at the door. When Hendrik tells Reynolds that he knows about the masquerade and asks his help in evading the Nazis, Reynolds provides him with the identification card of the beer truck driver and ushers him back into the street. After the pamphlets are safely stuffed back into the major's bag, Reynolds bursts into Anita's room, claiming that the Gestapo are after him. Zellfritz agrees to help him escape, but first insists upon stopping at the airport to drop off his pamplets. At the airport, Reynolds is arrested and sentenced to die for desecrating a poster of Hitler. As a last request, Anita asks to remarry her husband and the court agrees. After the ceremony is completed, the spinsters set off an air raid alarm. In the chaos, Anita, Reynolds and the countess climb into the major's car. After knocking the major unconscious, Reynolds dons his uniform and speeds away to a waiting plane. The trio then flies to freedom, leaving the major behind, dressed only in his underwear. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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