Watch Kept Husbands
- 1 hr 16 min
In the 1931 film "Kept Husbands," directed by Lloyd Bacon, we follow the story of blue-blooded Dorothy Hamilton (Clara Kimball Young), a wealthy woman who marries young businessman Dick Brunton (Joel McCrea) against her father's wishes. The early years of their marriage are filled with extravagant parties, luxurious trips, and Dick's fast rise in the business world. However, when the stock market crashes, Dick's company collapses, and they are left penniless. Dorothy refuses her father's offer to bail them out and insists on Dick finding work to support them. Dick's ego takes a hit, and he struggles to keep a job. Meanwhile, Dorothy takes control of their finances and begins working herself. She starts a dressmaking business and, with the help of her friend Billie (Dorothy Mackaill), becomes a success. Dick, on the other hand, becomes jealous of his wife's success and starts to resent her for being the breadwinner. Their marriage hits a rough patch, and they start drifting apart. The conflict in the film arises from the changing gender roles during the early 1930s. The rise of feminism and the depression's impact on the economy made women's entry into the workforce necessary. The film depicts how men struggle to come to terms with women's newfound economic independence and how it threatens traditional masculine identities. In the film, the women characters are portrayed as strong and capable, while the male characters find it hard to adjust to this new dynamic. Throughout the film, we also see the contrast between the wealthy Hamilton family, who are stuck in their old ways and the younger generation, who are more open-minded. Billie, Dorothy's friend, is from a working-class background, which makes her more accepting of the changing social norms. Billie represents a more modern, liberated woman who is comfortable with her sexuality and is unafraid to challenge the status quo. The film's cinematography is also worth mentioning, as it presents a visual contrast between the extravagant lifestyle the characters lead at the beginning of the film and the stark reality they face later on. The camera work is precise, and the shots are well-composed, making for a visually appealing film. The actors' performances are excellent, with Clara Kimball Young stealing the show with her portrayal of the strong-willed Dorothy. She portrays the character's evolution from a traditional, submissive housewife to a strong, independent working woman with ease. Joel McCrea's performance as Dick is also noteworthy, as he manages to make his character sympathetic despite his flaws. One of the film's strengths is its ability to provide commentary on the changing social norms of the time without appearing preachy or moralistic. The characters face real issues that are relatable to audiences even today. The film's themes are not limited to the time period in which it was made, but instead, the issues it highlights are timeless. In conclusion, "Kept Husbands" is an engaging and well-crafted film that manages to provide social commentary on changing gender roles without losing the audience's attention. The performances are excellent, and the cinematography is impressive, making for a compelling piece of cinema that is as relevant today as it was in 1931.