Private Number

  • 1936
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Romance

This cliched romantic drama was so creaky, even at this early date, that it could very easily have been turned into a satire. The original play, done in 1915, starred Jane Cowl. It then became a silent film with Fannie Ward in the lead and was again made in 1930 with Constance Bennett. This time around, the script was altered to fit the talents of the hot...read more

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This cliched romantic drama was so creaky, even at this early date, that it could very easily have been turned into a satire. The original play, done in 1915, starred Jane Cowl. It then became a silent film with Fannie Ward in the lead and was again made in 1930 with Constance Bennett.

This time around, the script was altered to fit the talents of the hot new team of Taylor and Young and to erase some of the sexier elements. Young works as a servant in the mansion of Taylor's wealthy family. At a summer retreat in Maine, she and Taylor fall in love and wed covertly before he

goes back to his Ivy League university. Young keeps working as a maid to Taylor's mother, Gateson, but she is pregnant. When that fact is discovered by the butler, Rathbone (who had made a pass at her in an earlier scene), he tells Gateson and her husband, Harvey. Rathbone is a scurrilous type who

takes kickbacks from the other servants and rules the roost with a vicious hand. Young is tossed out of the house, and when she tries to write to Taylor, the letters never get to him because Rathbone has purloined them. Taylor has no idea where Young is or that she's given birth to a son. Gateson,

Harvey, and Rathbone keep the couple apart and eventually convince Taylor that she's run out on him, suggesting he seek an annulment. It turns out that Young had a contretemps with the law sometime before and when that is made known to Taylor, he is so under the influence of his parents that he

agrees to the annulment proceeding. After a perfunctory courtroom scene in which the judge and Taylor learn that Young was framed on the earlier criminal charge, Taylor now says that he loves Young and wants to be with her forever. He begs her to forgive him, and the picture ends on a happy note.

Kelly and Lewis provide what little comedy there is, though the film as a whole could just as well have been a farce. This was comedian Joe Lewis' first of only two pictures, the other being PRIVATE BUCKAROO. He soon took the first e as his middle initial and established himself as a big-time

nightclub comedian; eventually he was himself portrayed by Frank Sinatra in THE JOKER IS WILD.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This cliched romantic drama was so creaky, even at this early date, that it could very easily have been turned into a satire. The original play, done in 1915, starred Jane Cowl. It then became a silent film with Fannie Ward in the lead and was again made i… (more)

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