Review: ‘What Every Woman Knows’

The theme is by no means new, but the idea is ever popular. Paramount first presented it as a silent back in 1921. In 1926 Helen Hayes and Kenneth MacKenna made a season of the same James M. Barrie play on Broadway. It's the 'lil woman' all over again, the helpmeet who humbly does her quiet bit in balancing impulsive man's judgments or, rather, misjudgments.

The theme is by no means new, but the idea is ever popular. Paramount first presented it as a silent back in 1921. In 1926 Helen Hayes and Kenneth MacKenna made a season of the same James M. Barrie play on Broadway. It’s the ‘lil woman’ all over again, the helpmeet who humbly does her quiet bit in balancing impulsive man’s judgments or, rather, misjudgments.

This Barrie version brings the egotistical but knowledge-hungry young barrister (Brian Aherne) out of Scotland into Parliament, where he thinks he finds new romance with power, but is actually catapulted into even greater glory by the brainy Maggie (Hayes), who types and edits his MP speeches.

Aherne is a vigorous zealot who makes his upstartishness respected and even liked by the Scots community (and the audience), for none can deny his sincerity.

Madge Evans is out of her usual groove as a light menace, but she makes it as likeable as circumstances warrant. Lucile Watson as the comtesse is a gallant lady, while Dudley Digges is particularly impressive as the somewhat numb Jamie.

What Every Woman Knows

Production

M-G-M. Director Gregory La Cava; Screenplay Monckton Hoffe, John Meehan, James Kevin McGuinness; Camera Charles Rosher; Music Herbert Stothart

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1934. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Helen Hayes Brian Aherne Madge Evans Lucile Watson Dudley Digges Donald Crisp
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