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Die ondeugende lady X
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from votes
Release: 26 September 1938 (UK) /

Die ondeugende lady X

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Gilbert Wakefield,
Stars: , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Laurence Olivier plays Logan, a barrister who falls in love with Leslie (played by Merle Oberon), the woman he thinks his client will soon be divorcing. Written by H. A. Lakatos <[email protected]>

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Critic Reviews


Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon did two movies together within two years. One is considered one of the great romantic films of all time, and the movie that made Olivier a great movie star (and gave Oberon her best performance role): WUTHERING HEIGHTS. The other is this film, made in England a year earlier. THE DIVORCE OF LADY X is a romantic comedy (as WUTHERING HEIGHTS is a romantic tragedy). Olivier is a lawyer, Everard Logan, who is a dynamic barrister, but is also a total misogynist. One night he checks into a hotel just ahead of a crowd of people. It is a very foggy night (the type of pea soup fog that London was known for up until a notorious "killer" fog in the 1950s), and the crowd (who'd been attending a party in the hotel) need beds. The management tries to get Logan to allow one or two socialite ladies to sleep on a couch and a day bed in his rooms, but he refuses. But he has not reckoned with Merle Oberon as Leslie Steele. The granddaughter of a high court judge, she manages to get into Logan's rooms and manipulates him to not only agree to her sleeping there, but appropriates his bed (he goes onto the couch - much to his discomfort).

The next day they share a breakfast, and in the smalltalk it is evident that despite his mistrust of women Logan finds Leslie very attractive. But she kittenishly refuses to tell him her name. She is determined to learn more about him, and she finds his attitude toward women infuriating. In the meantime, Logan is approached by a wealthy nobleman (Ralph Richardson as Lord Mere) as a potential client. Mere suspects his wife Lady Mere (Binnie Barnes) of having an affair. In fact, he tells Logan her Ladyship was with her lover in the hotel that Logan knows he was in on the night of the fog. Logan (naturally) jumps to the conclusion that Lady Mere was his mysterious roommate that night. I will not go into the plot any further, except to say that Leslie eventually realizes what a mistake Logan has made, and decides to use it to teach him a lesson about women.

The script has the feel of a Wodehouse novel, but is slighter. Still the performances of Olivier, Oberon, Richardson, Barnes, and Morton Selden (as Oberon's grandfather) are all splendid. It shows what a good cast can do with even the slightest of materials. Take a look at some of the minor scenes to see what I mean: Selden's first scene, complaining about his weak coffee to his butler/valet, who tells him off properly (they've been used to each other's personalities for years). Or Olivier dealing with a young clerk in his office, who is certain there were two Lady Meres in the office two minutes before (there were, but Oberon and Barnes left together), and ends up thinking the poor clerk is a simpleton. Or the waiter in the hotel who can't understand why the tenant in Olivier's room is constantly changing from a man to a woman to a man. As I said, a slight charming comedy - but it is very charming.

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