DVD Review “Housewife”

Directed by: Alfred E. Green
Starring: George Brent, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak
Distributed by Warner Bros Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running time: 69 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

There is just something about classic films that are still are very entertaining even all this time.  I believe this is the first film I have seen starring Bette Davis.  She was nominated over 10 times for an Academy Award.  She is such an amazing actress and just has such a presence on the screen.  It is rare today that this an actress displays this type of presence. This film was definitely controversial and pushing the edge for its time especially dealing with adultery and divorce in the early 30’s.

The story for this picture is just so simple and yet still relevant today.  It is about a man who’s marriage is strained due to his lack of ambition in his job and his love life.  When he makes a change and starts his own company, he meet an old spark from high school and they form a relationship.  The story is definitely ranks heavy on the drama definitely in the second half.  Running just over an hour this film definitely entertains.  This is the first time that this great film has been released on DVD, thanks again to Warner Bros. Archive.  The transfer is very clear for an almost 80 year old movie.

The pre-code tale of adultery that squeaked past the censors! Coming at the tail end of 1934, Housewife was released shortly before the imposition of the “Hays Code” would render its subject matter ‘verboten!’ This turgid melodrama finds modern bachelor girl Patricia Berkeley (Bette Davis) dueling it out with modern housewife Nan Reynolds (Ann Dvorak) for the affections and ministrations of Nan’s husband, William (George Brent). Ambitious office manager William finally succeeds in setting up shop for himself in the advertising biz thanks to help from copywriter Pat and ideas from housewife Nan. When his late nights working at the office with Pat turn into something else, Nan must decide if William is worth fighting for. That is, if Pat will let her. Davis is at her vamping, doe-eyed best as the jaded sophisticated Pat, a copywriter who knows how to spin the right line to lure a guy.


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