Review: ‘That Uncertain Feeling’

Premised on the assumption that when a husband doesn't pay his wife enough attention someone else is going to do it for him, Ernst Lubitsch's That Uncertain Feeling tackles the problem in a light and singularly satirical vein. The famed Lubitsch touch is there but the entertainment value isn't.

Premised on the assumption that when a husband doesn’t pay his wife enough attention someone else is going to do it for him, Ernst Lubitsch’s That Uncertain Feeling tackles the problem in a light and singularly satirical vein. The famed Lubitsch touch is there but the entertainment value isn’t.

Merle Oberon and Melvyn Douglas are the apparently happily-married Bakers. Husband is a prosperous insurance man who is settled in his home life in a routine way, but unconsciously fails to fulfill the more romantic duties expected of a spouse. Lubitsch, with characteristic subtlety, suggests that this is what causes the hiccups from which the wife suffers and ultimately lands her in a psychoanalyst’s office.

By stages she begins to have suspicions concerning the widespread impressions that they are the happy Bakers and into her life, under slightly absurd circumstances, comes a wacky pianist. He’s Burgess Meredith, not the great lover type, and he has a strange, impudent dislike for a lot of things.

Taking the picture as a whole it is tiring, very slow generally and embraces numerous situations that are basically weak.

1941: Nomination: Best Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

That Uncertain Feeling

Production

United Artists. Director Ernst Lubitsch; Producer Sol Lesser, Ernst Lubitsch; Screenplay Walter Reisch; Camera George Barnes; Editor William Shen; Music Werner Heymann

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Merle Oberon Melvyn Douglas Burgess Meredith Alan Mowbray Olive Blakeney Harry Davenport
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