Archive for June, 2009

Why Change Your Wife?

June 9, 2009

No point, really, all women are the same.

That is, according to this 1920 movie starring Gloria Swanson called “Why Change Your Wife?”

Here’s how it goes. Man marries woman who promptly becomes “decent” and “modest” (though it does not show what she was before the marriage). He tries to liven things up by buying her a negligee from a fancy store, but who should be the model but a girl who had a crush on him in childhood.  This movie frequently focuses on the shoes as a symbol of sex and feminine power.  (In other words, shoes have been such for a very long time). These are her shoes. 

close up Sally shoe


Man tries to get wife to loosen up, but she refuses. Finds the negligee “vulgar” and “immodest”. This is it. Shocking! She is wearing more clothing than I wear to work.  Look at the box it came in, you could have had a coat delivered in that.

full negligee Beth

Check out the “slippers”. 

Beth slipper


She freaks out and won’t play. Look at her, she’s mortified. The ensemble is backless for god’s sake!
Final straw is when man buys tickets to a show and wife prefers to invite over a social climbing violinist and all her friends, who try to listen to him and stay awake.

violin scene


Instead of going home to wife’s violin snorefest, Man ends up taking old friend to show, they go back to her place, where she surprises him by opening up one arm of her couch to produce a record player, and the other to produce a wetbar.  Clearly people did not have sex on couches back then.

Sally couch

He then notices her shoes.

Sally date shoe

At some point she also puts perfume on her lips. Then dabs his lapels. Subtle.

Man goes home, wife smells perfume, they divorce.

Ex-Wife’s aunt tries to soothe her broken heart by taking her shopping (funny how little SOME things have changed) and she overhears the models making fun of her for “not being woman enough to hold onto her man”. This sets ex-wife off on a shopping and traveling spree.

Man marries other woman, who promptly turns into a nagging , irritating drudge like the first wife. They go on vacation, stay at the same hotel ex-wife happens to be vacationing at.

Ex-wife is dressed to the nines in her bathing costume, including fabulous sunbathing shoes.

Beth bathing shoe close up

Man notices them right away and sits down.  I can’t quite tell if the thing on her leg is part of a stocking or what it is, but she looks fab, and her parasol is made of strings.

Beth bathing shoe long view


Long story short, husband sustains head injury, ex-wife gets husband back, starts wearing fabulous clothes and they listen to dance records and live happily ever after.  Movie tells women not to forget to be the sweetheart their man married.  (New ex-wife says the only thing good about marriage is alimony).