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Consolation Marriage

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Shopgirl Mary Brown and newspaperman Rollo Porter agree "It's a swell night for a cry." When they meet after their respective sweethearts marry others, all they seek is a convenient shoulder for consolation. Fresh off early career breakthroughs in her Cimarron and his The Front Page, Irene Dunne and Pat O'Brien make an odd and oddly affecting couple in this wisecracking but adult romance that christened Dunne's reign as "queen of the weepies." Drawn together by a sense of humor and shared losses, Mary and Rollo wed in an "open marriage" - an arrangement not binding each other for life but as cozy comfort against being alone. Like other pre-code melodramas, pitfalls arise: the arrival of a baby girl and regular reminders of those past loves - particularly when both former flames (blonde socialite Myrna Loy and disillusioned pianist Lester Vail) return on the Porters' wedding anniversary. What wins out: temptation elsewhere or treasure at hand? Marriage changes people - and Consolation Marriage makes for a swell cry... as well as a cause for cheer!

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Product Details

  • Actors: Irene Dunne, Pat O'Brien, John Halliday, Myrna Loy, Lester Vail
  • Directors: Paul Sloane
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Archive Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 20, 2015
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B015XC8AHO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,396 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fernando Silva on May 10, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
The four stars are for the movie's interest for us, Early 1930's Pre-Code Movies' film buffs... The plot is routine and rather stilted, but this was the talkies' "stone age".
Irene Dunne appears in her first year of truly starring roles in pictures(not taking in account the odd "Leathernecking", her cinematic debut in 1930, the only movie she made that year) giving a sympathetic performance, as a woman left by her long-time lover (Lester Vail) (who marries a rich lady for his pianist career's sake) who becomes pals with Pat O'Brien, who's just lived a similar situation with childhood sweetheart Myrna Loy (in one of her vampish roles pre-"Thin Man"), the two of them eventually getting married on the rebound...and there you have the "consolation marriage" of the title.
This oldie gives us a chance of watching an early performance of Miss Dunne, who hadn't yet bloomed into the excellent comedienne (& dramatic actress too) she became afterwards in the decade...although there are many hints of what was going to come.We have the opportunity too, of watching a very young, I'd say almost sort of "boyish", Pat O'Brien, before his Warner Bros. better known roles....as for Myrna Loy, she looks radiant and beautifully sophisticated as a blonde, in those sexy early '30s outfits, she wears through the film. Johnny Halliday, as O'Brien's pal, is good as usual, looking a lot like Adolphe Menjou.
Worth the watch for early '30s fans.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Irene Dunne's fifth film, made in 1931, her second year as a film actress, when she was thirty-two. Dunne was no novice when she made this film as she had been acting on the Broadway stage since the early 1920s, and she had already made "Cimarron", her second film, in January 1931 for which she ultimately received an academy award nomination for best actress. "Consolation Marriage" is a fine story about two single people, Irene Dunne and Pat O'Brien, whose intendeds leave them to marry others, and who predictably return after their relationships fail. In the meantime, Dunne and O'Brien marry to console themselves for their lost initial loves, have a child together and are now left to choose whether to go back to their original love interests when they return. By the terms of their agreement, which was to be a loose arrangement with either party free to go their separate ways, they must decide whether to remain together as a married couple.
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Format: DVD
This is a very controversial pre-code film that put some nerves on test. But it also has plenty of sentimental values. This is also the first solo opportunity for Irene Dunne in the leading role after she was borrowed from Howard Hughes Caddo Company by the RKO Studios.

Irene Dunne and Pat O’Brien play two jilted lovers, and get married for convenience. It is a great union filled with love, charm, attraction and a baby. Their deep feelings for each other becomes evident after they go back to their former sweet-hearts, and find the life is meaningless without their spouses. Jarring reunions with respective dream lovers bring the couple back together to eternal bliss! Irene Dunne offers splendid performance early in her career, reflective of her idyllic roles in other famous movies like “Penny Serenade.” Paul Sloan directed this fanciful soufflé and Humphrey Pearson fashioned the screenplay. Myrna Loy and Lester Vail are also in the cast in the supporting roles.

There are many scenes from streets of New York including Times Square. The glitz of this magical place in New York (1931) is well captured in this movie. Recommended to all fans of Irene Dunne and pre-code films.
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Format: VHS Tape
Consolation Marriage is a good pre-Code film with the type of plot that initially seems very predictable but unexpectedly has a twist here and there to make things interesting; and it all holds its own very well. True, they could have edited the film slightly to make the action tighter; but on the other hand a few extra minutes allow for some interesting character development and the acting is excellent, especially by Irene Dunne and Pat O'Brien. The cinematography and the choreography reflect good judgment and the musical score, while not extensive because this is certainly no musical, enhances the film.

When the action begins we meet Steve Porter (Pat O'Brien) who is sailing from New York to London to work in journalism--not to mention marry his sweetheart in England, Elaine (Myrna Loy). On the boat with Steve are his friends including his chummy boss Jeff Hunter (John Halliday); and they all wish Steve the best. However, when Steve gets to Elaine's mansion in England he gets a nasty surprise: in the few short days since she cabled him to come to England, Elaine has met another--and she married that man as well! Steve is crushed; his doesn't know what to do without Elaine in his life. Steve returns to New York.

At about the same time, Mary Brown (Irene Dunne) is in anguish; her childhood sweetheart and lover Aubrey (Lester Vail) is entering into a mercenary marriage to a very wealthy woman so she can advance his career and make him a world-class pianist. Mary hates to let Aubrey go but she loves him so much that she puts his career and success even before their love for each other; and Aubrey does marry to advance his career.

But it isn't long before Mary and Steve meet.
Read more ›
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