Her Cardboard Lover
Her Cardboard Lover is a 1942
1942 in film
The year 1942 in film involved some significant events, in particular the release of a film consistently rated as one of the greatest of all time, Casablanca.-Events:...

Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

 comedy film
Comedy film
Comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences...

 directed by George Cukor
George Cukor
George Dewey Cukor was an American film director. He mainly concentrated on comedies and literary adaptations. His career flourished at RKO and later MGM, where he directed What Price Hollywood? , A Bill of Divorcement , Dinner at Eight , Little Women , David Copperfield , Romeo and Juliet and...

. The screenplay by Jacques Deval, John Collier
John Collier (writer)
John Henry Noyes Collier was a British-born author and screenplay writer best known for his short stories, many of which appeared in The New Yorker from the 1930s to the 1950s. They were collected in a 1951 volume, Fancies and Goodnights, which won the International Fantasy Award and remains in...

, Anthony Veiller
Anthony Veiller
Anthony Veiller was an American screenwriter and film producer. The son of the screenwriter Bayard Veiller and the English actress Margaret Wycherly, Anthony Veiller wrote for 41 films between 1934 and 1964.-Career and Awards:Veiller was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay...

, and William H. Wright is based on the English translation of Deval's play Dans sa candeur naïve by Valerie Wyngate and P.G. Wodehouse. The film is the third screen adaptation of the play, following The Cardboard Lover in 1928 and The Passionate Plumber
The Passionate Plumber
The Passionate Plumber is a 1932 American comedy film directed by Edward Sedgwick. The screenplay by Laurence E. Johnson and Ralph Spence is based on the play Dans sa candeur naïve by Jacques Deval. It is the second screen adaptation of the play, following the 1928 silent film The Cardboard Lover...

in 1932.


Songwriter Terry Trindale is attracted to Consuelo Croyden, a woman he sees nightly at a Palm Beach
Palm Beach, Florida
The Town of Palm Beach is an incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth...

In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

. He finally works up the courage to approach her and express his feelings, but she rebuffs his advances. When he later accrues a $3,200 gambling debt to her, Consuelo agrees to hire him as her secretary to work off what he owes her. One of Terry's duties is to assume the role of her fiancé in order to discourage the insistent attention of Tony Barling, to whom Consuelo once was engaged, and to keep her from succumbing to her former beau's charms.

Tony refuses to believe she loves someone else and, when he recognizes Terry from the casino, his suspicions are aroused, despite Terry's outward displays of affection for Consuelo. Tony convinces her to join him on a friend's yacht, but Terry reminds her of his responsibility and keeps her from going.

Four weeks later, Consuelo finds herself still saddled with Terry, who has refused to accompany his songwriting partner Chappie Champagne to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 to promote their latest tune. Consuelo insists she no longer has any interest in Tony and offers to cancel the rest of Terry's debt so he can join Chappie. Terry departs, and moments later Consuelo receives a call from Tony and invites him to the house. Instead it is Terry, who had disguised his voice, who arrives, and he berates Consuelo for her lack of self control. Complications arise when Tony actually does arrive on the scene and finds Terry, wearing Consuelo's satin pajamas, in bed. When Terry refuses to admit the truth, an angered Tony departs for his hotel, Consuelo follows, and Terry is not far behind. The two men engage in a brawl and eventually are arrested.

During their hearing on charges of disturbing the peace and assaulting a police officer, Chappie arrives with money from the sale of their song to pay for Terry's fine. Tony proposes to Consuelo, but she realizes she's in love with Terry, who is arrested for grand larceny when he arrives at the airport with Chappie. The bogus charge, brought by Consuelo in order to stop Terry from leaving, is dropped, and the two embrace.


The Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 production of Her Cardboard Lover had been staged in 1927 by Gilbert Miller
Gilbert Miller
Gilbert Heron Miller was an American theatrical producer.Born in New York City, he was the son of English-born theatrical producer Henry Miller and Bijou Heron, a former child actress. Raised and educated in Europe, he returned home to follow in his father's footsteps and became a highly...

, with Jeanne Eagels
Jeanne Eagels
Jeanne Eagels was an American actress on Broadway and in several motion pictures. She was a former Ziegfeld Follies Girl who went on to greater fame on Broadway and in the emerging medium of sound films....

 and Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard (actor)
Leslie Howard was an English stage and film actor, director, and producer. Among his best-known roles was Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind and roles in Berkeley Square , Of Human Bondage , The Scarlet Pimpernel , The Petrified Forest , Pygmalion , Intermezzo , Pimpernel Smith...

 in the leading roles. Although it ran for only 154 performances, the film rights were purchased by MGM for Marion Davies
Marion Davies
Marion Davies was an American film actress. Davies is best remembered for her relationship with newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, as her high-profile social life often obscured her professional career....

, and a silent film
Silent film
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, pantomime and title cards...

 adaptation called The Cardboard Lover was released in 1928. In 1932 the play reached the screen in two versions, The Passionate Plumber, directed by Edward Sedgwick
Edward Sedgwick
Edward Sedgwick was a film director, writer, actor and producer.-Biography:He was born in Galveston, Texas, the son of Edward Sedgwick, Sr. and Josephine Walker, both stage actors. Young Edward Sedgwick joined his show business family as one of the Five Sedgwicks, a vaudeville act...

, and Le plombier amoureux, directed by Claude Autant-Lara
Claude Autant-Lara
Claude Autant-Lara , was a French film director and later Member of the European Parliament .-Biography:...

, both starring Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

. In December 1934, MGM production chief Irving Thalberg
Irving Thalberg
Irving Grant Thalberg was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. He was called "The Boy Wonder" for his youth and his extraordinary ability to select the right scripts, choose the right actors, gather the best production staff and make very profitable films.-Life and...

 announced his plan to adapt the play for a musical starring Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Auguste Chevalier was a French actor, singer, entertainer and a noted Sprechgesang performer. He is perhaps best known for his signature songs, including Louise, Mimi, Valentine, and Thank Heaven for Little Girls and for his films including The Love Parade and The Big Pond...

 and Grace Moore
Grace Moore
Grace Moore was an American operatic soprano and actress in musical theatre and film. She was nicknamed the "Tennessee Nightingale." Her films helped to popularize opera by bringing it to a larger audience.-Early life:...

, but the project never came to fruition.

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford , born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre....

 and Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress celebrated for her great beauty who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age".Lamarr also co-invented – with composer George Antheil – an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless...

 were offered the role eventually accepted by Norma Shearer
Norma Shearer
Edith Norma Shearer was a Canadian-American actress. Shearer was one of the most popular actresses in North America from the mid-1920s through the 1930s...

, who selected The Cardboard Lover over Now, Voyager
Now, Voyager
Now, Voyager is a 1942 American drama film starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains, and directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay by Casey Robinson is based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Olive Higgins Prouty....

and Mrs. Miniver
Mrs. Miniver
Mrs. Miniver is a fictional character created by Jan Struther in 1937 for a series of newspaper columns for The Times, later adapted into a movie of the same name.-Origin:...

. The eventual commercial failure of George Cukor's remake prompted her to retire from the screen, although at the time she claimed she merely was taking an extended vacation.

The song "I Dare You" was written by Burton Lane
Burton Lane
Burton Lane was an American composer and lyricist. His most popular and successful work is the musical Finian's Rainbow, "the score for which Lane will always be most remembered."-Biography:...

 and Ralph Freed.


  • Norma Shearer
    Norma Shearer
    Edith Norma Shearer was a Canadian-American actress. Shearer was one of the most popular actresses in North America from the mid-1920s through the 1930s...

     ..... Consuelo Croyden
  • Robert Taylor
    Robert Taylor (actor)
    Robert Taylor was an American film and television actor.-Early life:Born Spangler Arlington Brugh in Filley, Nebraska, he was the son of Ruth Adaline and Spangler Andrew Brugh, who was a farmer turned doctor...

     ..... Terry Trindale
  • George Sanders
    George Sanders
    George Sanders was a British actor.George Sanders may also refer to:*George Sanders , Victoria Cross recipient in World War I...

     ..... Tony Barling
  • Frank McHugh
    Frank McHugh
    Francis Curray "Frank" McHugh was an American film and television actor.Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania, McHugh came from a theatrical family. His parents ran a stock theatre company and as a young child he performed on stage...

     ..... Chappie Champagne
  • Elizabeth Patterson
    Elizabeth Patterson (actress)
    Elizabeth Patterson was an American film and television character actress remembered for her portrayal of elderly neighbor Matilda Trumbull on I Love Lucy.-Career:...

     ..... Eva
  • Chill Wills
    Chill Wills
    Chill Theodore Wills was an American film actor, and a singer in the Avalon Boys Quartet.-Biography:Wills was born in Seagoville, Texas in 1902. He was a performer from early childhood, forming and leading the Avalon Boys singing group in the 1930s...

     ..... Judge

Critical reception

Bosley Crowther
Bosley Crowther
Bosley Crowther was a journalist and author who was film critic for The New York Times for 27 years. His reviews and articles helped shape the careers of actors, directors and screenwriters, though his reviews, at times, were unnecessarily mean...

 of the New York Times observed, "Her Cardboard Lover may have been a charming bit of nonsense fifteen years ago, when Leslie Howard and Jeanne Eagels played it on the Empire Theatre's stage [but] the years have not been kind to it, and neither have the present revivalists. For the screenplay by four weary writers is just a lot of witless talk, and the performance, under George Cukor's direction, is close to ridiculous. Miss Shearer either overacts deliberately, but without any comic finesse, or she has been looking at the pictures of fancy models in the high-tone fashion magazines. Mr. Taylor, who had finally gotten somewhere as an actor, is back where he began — back as a piece of well-dressed furniture compelled to make the most inane remarks." He later named it one of the years's ten worst films.

TV Guide
TV Guide
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine with listings of TV shows.In addition to TV listings, the publication features television-related news, celebrity interviews, gossip and film reviews and crossword puzzles...

rated the film 2½ out of four stars and commented, "An ancient and overused farcical comedy, this story is handled with as much aplomb as can be expected from Shearer, Taylor, and Sanders, and even with Cukor as director it still falls apart quickly . . . [Shearer] herself picked this moldering story out of the MGM vaults for reasons only [she] would know. It was a sad swan song to an otherwise illustrious career."
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