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My Dear Miss Aldrich

My Dear Miss Aldrich(1937)

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teaser My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937)

The big-studio heyday of the 1930s honored great actresses, even if the roles they were given were sometimes limited. Written by the co-author of Citizen Kane (1941), the newspaper comedy-drama My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937) is interesting in that it addresses feminist issues, in at least a superficial way. Attractive Nebraska schoolteacher Martha Aldrich (Marsha Hunt) inherits a New York paper, and quietly hires on as reporter despite the standing rule of the editor (Walter Pidgeon) never to hire women. Martha scores with a scoop on the pregnancy of visiting royalty, but is fired for being too discreet about a society elopement. She soon learns that the only important thing is to obtain the story. Snooping out the truth behind some labor negotiations requires Martha to hide in a dumbwaiter; when the shifty union leaders capture both Martha and her boss, she pulls off a clever escape and retaliates with a fake quarantine scam to come through with the big story. My Dear Miss Aldrich was praised for the peppy newspaper patter of its writer Herman J. Mankewicz. Critics thought that the best jokes were stolen by its co-star, grand dame actress Edna May Oliver. Gorgeous Broadway actress Hunt never quite reached major star status. She made her film debut at age 18, and played mostly in ensemble films, (Cry 'Havoc' and The Human Comedy, 1943) or supporting roles in star vehicles for other actresses, such as 1941's Blossoms in the Dust. She did well on TV and the stage, for which she was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1950. Ms. Hunt has never stopped working. Her 1983 book on Hollywood fashion is entitled, 'The Way We Wore.'

by Glenn Erickson

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