The Professor dispenses the wisdom of the ages and does not make a living wage. The sons of the rich and powerful are students lacking any motivation. The next door neighbor of the ... See full summary »
Written and directed by Lois Weber, "Too Wise Wives" might be most
notable for its depiction of life in the twenties. The lengthy interior
shots detail the arts of the time, including interior design, fashion,
the fine arts, etc. In this respect, it's a real treat to see. The
women drape themselves in feathers and furs, and layers of fabric. The
rooms are decorated with details that overwhelm the senses and conflict
with one another. Pieces of art ostentatiously festoon every wall and
corner, like a residential museum. But what fun it is to see the styles
of the time, including the beautiful automobiles.
Predictably, the message of the film is a cautionary moral. The
personalities of two wives are contrasted. One (Mrs. Graham) knits
slippers for her husband--the picture of devotion and domesticity. And
unselfishness. The director wants us to place all negative traits under
the umbrella of selfishness--as depicted by the other wife (Mrs.
Daly)--and goes so far as to reinforce this message repeatedly in title
cards. This is one of the main problems with the film; the titles
over-explain when the action is enough.
Despite other tales that deal with the newfound societal freedoms of
the Roaring Twenties, this is a story about propriety. Everything is
subdued and damped by the manners of the times.
As a story, this film is monothematic. But as a "time capsule" it is
rich with observable treasures.
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