The Office Wife (1930)

58 mins | Romance | 23 August 1930

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HISTORY

The opening title card reads "The prize Cosmopolitan magazine serial The Office Wife by Faith Baldwin." Although Baldwin's novel was published in book form in 1930, it also was serialized in Cosmopolitan that same year. The onscreen cast list and most internal sources within the film spell the surname of the character played by Lewis Stone as "Fellowes," although one sign on an office door lists the name as "Fellows." Modern sources add Ben Hall and Dickie Moore to the cast. A 1934 adaptation of Baldwin's novel was produced in Britain by Warner Bros.--First National but never released in the US. That version was directed by George King and starred Cecil Parker and Nora Swinburne.
       The Office Wife marked the feature film debut of actress Joan Blondell (1906--1979), a former Broadway actress. The film was released several weeks after Sinners' Holiday (1930, see entry), which was shot at around the same time as The Office Wife. Blondell went on to appear in numerous Warner Bros. films of the 1930s, ranging from character parts to female leads, and continued to act at various studios and on television until shortly before her ... More Less

The opening title card reads "The prize Cosmopolitan magazine serial The Office Wife by Faith Baldwin." Although Baldwin's novel was published in book form in 1930, it also was serialized in Cosmopolitan that same year. The onscreen cast list and most internal sources within the film spell the surname of the character played by Lewis Stone as "Fellowes," although one sign on an office door lists the name as "Fellows." Modern sources add Ben Hall and Dickie Moore to the cast. A 1934 adaptation of Baldwin's novel was produced in Britain by Warner Bros.--First National but never released in the US. That version was directed by George King and starred Cecil Parker and Nora Swinburne.
       The Office Wife marked the feature film debut of actress Joan Blondell (1906--1979), a former Broadway actress. The film was released several weeks after Sinners' Holiday (1930, see entry), which was shot at around the same time as The Office Wife. Blondell went on to appear in numerous Warner Bros. films of the 1930s, ranging from character parts to female leads, and continued to act at various studios and on television until shortly before her death. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
9 Jun 1930
p. 5.
Film Daily
8 Jul 1930
p. 4.
Film Daily
17 Sep 19630
p. 2.
Film Daily
19 Sep 1930
p. 2.
Film Daily
29 Sep 1930
p. 10.
Hollywood Filmograph
3 May 1930
p. 5.
Hollywood Filmograph
31 May 1930
p. 10.
Hollywood Filmograph
7 Jun 1930
p. 6, 22, 30.
Hollywood Filmograph
28 Jun 1930
p. 30.
Life
24 Oct 1930
p. 20.
New York Times
27 Sep 1930
p. 21.
Time
6 Oct 1930
p. 34.
Variety
15 Jan 1930
p. 11.
Variety
26 Mar 1930
p. 67.
Variety
25 Jun 1930
p. 89.
Variety
6 Aug 1930
p. 3.
Variety
3 Sep 1930
p. 59.
Variety
1 Oct 1930
p. 19, 34.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Prize Cosmopolitan Magazine Serial by Faith Baldwin
A Warner Bros. & Vitaphone Talking Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITER
Scr and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Gen mus dir
Vitaphone Orchestra cond
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Office Wife by Faith Baldwin (New York, 1930).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 August 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 August 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1483
Physical Properties:
Sound
Vitaphone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
58
Length(in feet):
5,390
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Overworked, unmarried Lawrence Fellowes, who heads his own publishing company, is secretly loved by his devoted, middle-aged secretary, Miss Andrews. One night, while working late, Larry casually mentions that he is getting married, prompting Miss Andrews to faint. When Larry's driver later reveals that, on her way home, Miss Andrews tearfully confessed her love for her boss, Larry gives her a long leave of absence, forcing company executive McGowan to find a replacement secretary. McGowan selects Anne Murdock, a temporary employee in the steno pool, who is as competent as she is pretty, and impresses McGowan with her reliance only on her brains and hard work for advancement. When Larry returns from his honeymoon in Europe with his wife Linda, he initially is wary of his pretty new secretary, but they soon develop a rapport, and Larry increasingly relies on his "office wife," as his friend, author Kate Halsey, calls a good secretary. Although Anne will not admit the truth to her sister Katherine or her boyfriend, reporter Ted O'Hara, Anne begins to fall in love with Larry, and he with her. Meanwhile, Linda, who prefers an active social life to staying at home waiting for Larry, begins to see Jamison, an old friend. Some time later, at a resort hotel to which Larry has asked Anne to come and work, they kiss one evening, but quickly decide that it was a mistake. Later, when Larry discovers Jamison's hotel room key in Linda's purse, he puts it back, pretending that he never saw it. After returning home and tearfully confessing to Katherine that she loves Larry, Anne decides to turn in her ... +


Overworked, unmarried Lawrence Fellowes, who heads his own publishing company, is secretly loved by his devoted, middle-aged secretary, Miss Andrews. One night, while working late, Larry casually mentions that he is getting married, prompting Miss Andrews to faint. When Larry's driver later reveals that, on her way home, Miss Andrews tearfully confessed her love for her boss, Larry gives her a long leave of absence, forcing company executive McGowan to find a replacement secretary. McGowan selects Anne Murdock, a temporary employee in the steno pool, who is as competent as she is pretty, and impresses McGowan with her reliance only on her brains and hard work for advancement. When Larry returns from his honeymoon in Europe with his wife Linda, he initially is wary of his pretty new secretary, but they soon develop a rapport, and Larry increasingly relies on his "office wife," as his friend, author Kate Halsey, calls a good secretary. Although Anne will not admit the truth to her sister Katherine or her boyfriend, reporter Ted O'Hara, Anne begins to fall in love with Larry, and he with her. Meanwhile, Linda, who prefers an active social life to staying at home waiting for Larry, begins to see Jamison, an old friend. Some time later, at a resort hotel to which Larry has asked Anne to come and work, they kiss one evening, but quickly decide that it was a mistake. Later, when Larry discovers Jamison's hotel room key in Linda's purse, he puts it back, pretending that he never saw it. After returning home and tearfully confessing to Katherine that she loves Larry, Anne decides to turn in her thirty days' notice. Katherine advises her to use her relationship with her boss, but, instead, Anne accepts Ted's proposal and hands in her notice to Larry, telling him that she is engaged. Over the next thirty days, Anne and Larry fight their feelings, even though they are in love with each other. The night before Anne's final day at the office, Larry and Linda have a talk about their marriage and amicably agree that their feelings for each other have changed and that they should part. The next day, while Anne takes her last letter of dictation from Larry, Ted, who has been promoted to an editor on his paper, calls Katherine and reveals that Larry and Linda have separated and that gossips are speculating that if Anne were not marrying him, she would have been named as a correspondent in the divorce. Katherine then calls Anne, but she says that she is too busy to talk. Within a few minutes, though, Larry himself inadvertently reveals the divorce, prompting Anne to faint. Moments Later, Katherine calls again, and when Larry answers, she lies that Anne has broken her engagement to Ted because of her feelings for him. Later that night, Anne and Larry lovingly embrace on the beach, talking about their future together, as Anne says that, next time, she wants to pick out his secretary. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.