Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's and The Bride Walks Out (1936)

I have talked about this film before so I'll just share the summary I wrote:

The Bride Walks Out (1936) stars Barbara Stanwyck as Carolyn, a model who makes decent money and enjoys her independence. She's got her own apartment, a steady job and even a maid. Her beau Michael (Gene Raymond) is an engineer who is down on his luck. It's the Depression and there aren't enough well-paying engineering jobs to go around so Michael makes do while he waits for an opportunity to come along. All Michael can offer Carolyn is a $35-a-week lifestyle. And a happy marriage. But Carolyn isn't so sure that's what she wants.While Michael is in court for a serious traffic violation, after trying (successfully) to get fired from his taxi driver job, Carolyn meets wealthy and permanently drunk Hugh McKenzie (Robert Young). Hugh is the opposite of Michael. He's carefree and reckless. But they have one thing in common. They are both in love with Carolyn.

Carolyn and Michael are about to celebrate their first New Year's together as a married couple. So far it's been a very rocky road. Bills are starting to add up, Carolyn hasn't gotten the hang of being a housewife quite yet and Michael still doesn't have a job that pays well. And Hugh keeps getting drunk and making appearances. You could easily wag your finger at the Great Depression and blame it for ruining marriages. Lack of money always complicates things.

On New Year's the Acme Furniture company comes around to take away all of the furniture from Carolyn and Michael's apartment because they have only made 1 payment in the last 3 months. The New Year is looking pretty grim.

"Why on New Years? Why couldn't you do it tomorrow?" - Carolyn

"I'm sitting on top of the world." - Michael

Michael doesn't know the furniture has been repossessed and he calls Carolyn up from a telephone pole to tell her they are going out to celebrate New Year's Eve with the $50 he has in his pocket.

"But that's more than a whole week's salary!" - Carolyn
"Yes but this is going to buy us enough fun to last us a whole year." - Michael

Carolyn tries to talk Michael out of it because they could really use the money but doesn't tell him about the repossession or the money troubles they have been having. Uh oh. Looks like only one half of this couple is going to really enjoy this New Year's Eve!

Hugh swings by with two obscenely large bottles of champagne and the distraught Carolyn drinks her sorrows away with her best friend, Hugh and the staff from the Acme Furniture company.

It's pretty obvious at this point that Hugh can provide for Carolyn whereas Michael cannot. New Year's is a time for Carolyn to contemplate what she is going to do with her life. Stay with Michael for love or leave him for Hugh for convenience. Oh the Depression and the moral dilemmas it presented.

The New Year's for Carolyn and Michael is full of miscommunication and disappointment. Carolyn is disappointed that they can't make end meets and Michael is disappointed that Carolyn shows up late and drunk to pick them up to go out for New Year's Eve. When they arrive at the party, Carolyn's buzz has worn off and reality hits her. She and Michael argue at the party. Carolyn tells him she's going back to work but Michael won't have it.

"I'm sorry I'm just a disappointment for you" - Carolyn to Michael

Oh dear. I'm no stranger to those words!

What will the New Year bring the unhappy couple? New Year's is a time for reflection and for new beginnings. It's unrealistic to think any New Year's Eve celebration will be a happy one. I've known to have had some pretty disastrous ones in my past. I guess the moral of Carolyn and Michael's New Year's story is that lack of communication prevents you from moving forward. 

It's also interesting to see the newlyweds paired with the old unhappily married couple. You wonder if the newlyweds will become better like them or if the old married couple still has a chance at happiness.

The Bride Walks Out (1936) is a charming movie full of funny moments despite the Depression-era gloom that hangs over the characters. This is the first New Year's for Carlos and I as newlyweds so watching this film now reminds me to be patient, to communicate and that love is greater than money.


  1. i cant remember if i've seen this or not! i think its a remake of "Ex-Lady" with Bette Davis and i think that also co stars Gene Raymond...hmmm, too much "think" not enough "know", i must check into this O_o

    i wish you and Carlos a very happy new year :D

    1. Hey Paulie - I saw Ex-Lady and this is not a remake of it but similar theme. I think the film you might be referring to is the one with Gene Raymond and Fay Wray. She's some sort of dancer on the sly to make money to support themselves and he doesn't want her to work. I forget the name.


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