That Uncertain Feeling (April 20, 1941)

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Merle Oberon and Melvyn Douglas in That Uncertain Feeling
 

Released on April 20, 1941: A lady visits a psychoanalyst to get rid of her attacks of the hiccups, but may get rid of her husband instead.

Produced by Ernst Lubitsch

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

The Actors: Merle Oberon (Mrs. Jill Baker), Melvyn Douglas (Larry Baker), Burgess Meredith (Alexander Sebastian), Alan Mowbray (Dr. Vengard), Olive Blakeney (Margie Stallings), Harry Davenport (Jones, Larry's lawyer), Sig Ruman (Kafka), Eve Arden (Sally Higgins, Jones' secretary), Richard Carle (Albert the butler), Mary Currier (the maid), Jean Fenwick (Dr. Vengard's nurse), Bess Flowers (extra in the ladies room), Rolfe Sedan (art dealer), Gisela Werbisek (Hungarian dinner guest)

 

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Her Hiccups, Her Husband, and Her Boyfriend

Ernst Lubitsch was a famed director of the golden age of movies. He made this one right after the Jimmy Stewart classic ‘The Shop Around the Corner.’ This story is about Jill and Larry Baker. He is a high-powered insurance salesman, they live on Park Avenue in New York City, and she has everything a wife could want . . . and more . . . . But she isn’t happy.

As the movie opens, we learn that Jill Baker gets sudden attacks of the hiccups. One of Jill’s girlfriends suggests that she visit a psychoanalyst that could surely cure her hiccups. Jill is skeptical, but goes to the doctor, who informs her that she has problems with her husband.

Jill thought she was very happy in her marriage, but after the doctor told her otherwise, she started seeing all of the flaws in her hubby, and believes that he is the cause of her hiccups. One day on a visit to her analyst, he is delayed, and Jill meets another patient, a totally whacked out pianist (Burgess Meredith), and somehow they become attracted to each other.

Jill’s husband gets suspicious of the two, and it looks like their marriage is heading for the rocks. One afternoon when Jill’s husband returns home early in the afternoon to talk to his young wife, he discovers that the pianist is already there enjoying some afternoon delight with Jill.

Jill faints dead away, her husband and her pianist friend face each other, mano-a-mano, and Jill’s husband starts a classic ‘Lubitsch’ style sales job to win his wife back. The biggest sales pitch he’s ever made.

This movie was released in April of 1941, eight months before Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. was divided over whether to help Europe fight the Nazi’s or not. When Jill's husband confronts Burgess Meredith about his affair with Jill, Burgess Meredith repeats over and over again, “I will not fight,” thinking that Jill's husband will fight him over her.

Melvyn Douglas replies, “So you are an isolationist,” referring to the segment of the U.S. that believed that the U.S. should isolate itself from the war in Europe and not get involved. And later her husband does a sarcastic Nazi ‘heil’ salute. Movie goers of 1941 would have understood this immediately and either agreed or disagreed with it.

Of course, once the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of the same year, U.S. sentiment became solidly united in favor of war, and the mightiest war machine in the history of the world was born . . . . But first a happy marriage must be mended. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Melvyn Douglas and Merle Oberon
Melvyn Douglas and Merle Oberon
Alan Mowbray and Merle Oberon
Alan Mowbray and Merle Oberon
Alan Mowbray
Alan Mowbray
Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith and Melvyn Douglas
Burgess Meredith and Melvyn Douglas
Burgess Meredith and Merle Oberon
Burgess Meredith and Merle Oberon
Burgess Meredith and Merle Oberon
Burgess Meredith and Merle Oberon
Burgess Meredith, Sig Ruman and Merle Oberon
Burgess Meredith, Sig Ruman and Merle Oberon
Eve Arden
Eve Arden
Eve Arden and Harry Davenport
Eve Arden and Harry Davenport
Eve Arden, Melvyn Douglas and Harry Davenport
Eve Arden, Melvyn Douglas and Harry Davenport
Eve Arden and Melvyn Douglas
Eve Arden and Melvyn Douglas
Eve Arden
Eve Arden
Gisela Werbisek and Melvyn Douglas
Gisela Werbisek and Melvyn Douglas
Gisela Werbisek
Gisela Werbisek
Harry Davenport and Melvyn Douglas
Harry Davenport and Melvyn Douglas
Harry Davenport and Melvyn Douglas
Harry Davenport and Melvyn Douglas
Harry Davenport, Melvyn Douglas and Sig Ruman
Harry Davenport, Melvyn Douglas and Sig Ruman
Harry Davenport and Melvyn Douglas
Harry Davenport and Melvyn Douglas
Harry Davenport
Harry Davenport
Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith
Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith
Melvyn Douglas and Eve Arden
Melvyn Douglas and Eve Arden
Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith
Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith
Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas
Merle Oberon and Alan Mowbray
Merle Oberon and Alan Mowbray
Merle Oberon, Burgess Meredith and Melvyn Douglas
Merle Oberon, Burgess Meredith and Melvyn Douglas
Merle Oberon and Burgess Meredith
Merle Oberon and Burgess Meredith
Merle Oberon and Melvyn Douglas
Merle Oberon and Melvyn Douglas
Merle Oberon and Olive Blakeney
Merle Oberon and Olive Blakeney
Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon
Olive Blakeney
Olive Blakeney
Richard Carle
Richard Carle
Rolfe Sedan and Melvyn Douglas
Rolfe Sedan and Melvyn Douglas
Sig Ruman and Merle Oberon
Sig Ruman and Merle Oberon