The Office Wife

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The Office Wife
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Written by Charles Kenyon
based on the novel by Faith Baldwin
Starring Dorothy Mackaill
Lewis Stone
Natalie Moorhead
Joan Blondell
Hobart Bosworth
Music by Alois Reiser
Cinematography William Rees
Edited by George Marks
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • August 23, 1930 (1930-08-23)
Running time
59 min.
Country United States
Language English

The Office Wife is a 1930 American Pre-Code romantic drama film directed by Lloyd Bacon, released by Warner Bros., and based on the novel of the same name by Faith Baldwin. It was the talkie debut for Joan Blondell who would become one of the major Warner Bros. stars for the following nine years.


Publisher Larry Fellowes (Lewis Stone) believes the personal secretary/stenographer spends more time with the busy executive and makes more decisions than his wife, which creates Work spouse|a stronger bond between secretary and boss than that between husband and wife. He persuades author Kate Halsey (Blanche Friderici) to write a novel based on this premise with these points and promises of riches.

When Larry's secretary (Dale Fuller) learns of his plans to marry Linda (Natalie Moorhead), the secretary has a nervous breakdown because she is in love with him herself. A new secretary, Anne Murdock (Dorothy Mackaill), is hired while Larry is on his honeymoon. She is attractive, intelligent and efficient. Larry, a workaholic, begins to neglect his wife working with his secretary, and they both fall in love. Meanwhile, his wife is seeing another man named Mr. Jameson (Brooks Benedict) with whom she falls in love.

Eventually, Larry kisses Anne while they are working together at his apartment, while Linda makes love with her young gigolo. Mr. Jameson gives her the key to his apartment and says goodnight. Linda returns to her husband (after giving them enough time to compose themselves) and tells Larry that they should go to bed as it is very late. Anne watches as Larry goes to the bedroom with his wife and closes the door behind him. She is heartbroken and decides she will give him her resignation in the morning.

Linda decides to divorce Larry. Both discuss this in a very civil fashion. Meanwhile Anne agrees to marry her long-time admirer Ted O'Hara after giving her resignation. On the final day of work, Anne's sister Katherine Murdock (Joan Blondell) manages to phone Larry and explain the real state of things, bringing about a happy ending.



  • Dickie Moore makes an appearance in the scene by the pool.


The film survives intact, preserved by the Library of Congress, and has been broadcast on television and cable. It is available on DVD from Warner Archive made-on-demand as a double bill with Dorothy Mackaill's Party Husband.

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