Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

  • Don't Change Your Husband (1919) - Plot Summary - Directed by Cecil B. DeMille. About the marital troubles of Mr. and Mrs. Porter. Jim Porter (Elliot Dexter), mostly interested in his business, has lost his romance - and his waistline (or so the title card says anyway, he looked okay to me). Leila Porter (Gloria Swanson), a clotheshorse with peacock fan, is annoyed by her husbands numerous bad habits like putting his dirty, scuffed shoes up on her knitting, putting his cigar down on her solitaire game, shaking his cigar ashes on the floor, falling asleep with his cigar in his hand getting cigar ashes all over his PJ's and, oh yes, having a propensity for eating big plates of onions. Hubby also forgets their Wedding Anniversary - well, well. Leila hosts an anniversary party and hubby is late 'cause of business. Party guest Schuyler Van Sutphen (Lew Cody), a dandy and a cad, steps in to try and take lonely Leila away from her husband. Hubby arrives home, clueless about the anniversary, and even subtle (or not so subtle) hints like these little bride and groom figurines in front of everyone's place setting does nothing to jog his memory. Next day, he makes it up to her by giving her - um - a check for $1,000 (as Elaine says on "Seinfeld", "you gave me CASH?!") as her gift which she doesn't seem too grateful for (gosh, that's even a lot of money NOW - I wouldn't mind that). Schuyler, a smooth talker with shiny shoes and snaky grin, invites Leila for the weekend (well, his aunt will be there too) and seduces her at this fancy dress ball. Next thing you know, Leila divorces Jim and marries the creep. Poor Jim. But she soon finds out - men just have loads of bad habits. Soon she is just as annoyed by Schuyler's habits as she was by Jim's - dunking cookies in his coffee, and cigarette's everywhere (you know, she would be very lucky indeed if these men of hers DON'T end up with lung cancer) But Schuyler is even worse as it soon comes out that he is selling her jewels for gambling and seeing another woman - oh dear. Meanwhile, our Jim has shaved off his mustache (hey, I thought he looked way better WITH the mustache), trimmed his hair, got himself some new clothes and a personal trainer who has him exercising on a rowing machine and using the "medicine ball" - heh.

    Review - I thought this film was pretty good, sort of a typical marital comedy of the era. Nothing fabulous - but a nice, light entertainment for an hour and a half. The DVD from Image Entertainment has a nice tinted print with a bit of fine scratching in parts. The orchestral music for this, by the Mont Alto Orchestra, is excellent. Rating - * 8.5/10 stars *

Links / Resources


10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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