Thursday, February 4, 2016
Know Thy Wife (USA,1918)
In this typical situational comedy, Bob is a lad away from home and he met and fell in love with Betty. In the beginning of film she asks him what his parents would think of her. He told her she should wait and see what would happen, as he had the right to pick out his own wife. That answer did not sound very promising. Perhaps it was a kind of sixth sense that made Betty wonder it?
However, his parents were looking forward to Bob return home and they had their own matrimonial plans to his son, including choosing a prospective wife to him called Lillian. Lillian really looked wealthy and socially respectable, as it was said on one of intertitles.
Bob got shocked when he knew his parents had already chosen a wife to him. Seriously, it was something quite outdated, even for 1918 standards, but comedies are not often realistic, so let’s not think about it.
One day Bob received a letter from his parents, saying that they would love him to bring his roommate home, so he could be the best man of his wedding. And this is how Bob brought Betty home, disguised as his old friend, Steve.
Then, Bob’s parents made him take Lillian to the theater, while Bob’s father took Steve (who was actually Betty in drag) –against his will –to see the bright lights. What could possibly go wrong? Some women flirted with poor Steve. On the other hand, Lillian tried to get closer to Bob. Then, Bob and Lillian coincidently show up after the theater in the same restaurant his father and Steve were and all of them start sharing the same table.
After a while, it was impossible to hold that lie any longer and Bob ended up confessing to his parents he had married Betty. Fortunately, his parents ended up reacting very well to the sudden news and Betty got along very well with her in laws.
Although the plot ended up being too compressed in such short film and the gags could be exploited for a longer time, the film is rather light. The gags were by non means innovative, but it is a cute romantic comedy, with a sophisticated touch and beautiful scenery and clothing.