Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

May 28, 2021

MGM, 1936: the studio of stars, glamour, and conservatism. Or so goes our thesis, which we attempt to complicate by taking a close look at two movies that make romantic rivals of Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy: Clarence Brown's melodrama Wife vs.Secretary and Jack Conway's atypical screwball comedy Libeled Lady. Indubitably the protagonist of the former and top-billed in the latter's star-fest, Harlow plays class underdogs that lend a pointed populism to MGM's aspirational fantasies. We examine MGM's representation of options for career women in Wife vs. Secretary and find it open to a subversive reading. 


Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  WIFE VS SECRETARY (dir. Clarence Brown)

0h 50m 00s:                  LIBELED LADY (dir. Jack Conway)     


Studio Film Capsules provided by The MGM Story by John Douglas Eames



* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at