Cast & Crew
Gregory La Cava
Julia Scott is the executive secretary to Richard Barclay, owner of Barclay's Department Store in New York City. Though Julia has been in love with her divorced boss for over six years, he only knows her as his efficient right-hand "man." Julia's friend, Martha Pryor, offers her a dream job working in Paris, France, but Julia turns it down in deference to her unrequited love for Richard. Julia decides to proclaim her feelings to Richard that night, as the two decide to work late at the Barclay home. There, Julia finds Richard's hysterical sister Gertrude, his overwrought daughter Annabel, and a house full of dishonest servants. Richard decides to put Julia in charge of the house, and she quickly fires the servants and gives Annabel a long-deserved spanking. The next day, Julia discovers that Martha has gone to Richard and told him that Julia has taken the Paris job. Richard confronts Julia, who tells him that she wants to go to Paris to seek a husband, as marriage is "a woman's real career." Later that same day, the Barclay office is in an uproar over the sudden, unexpected marriage of Richard and Julia. Their marriage is taken even harder by the Barclay women, both of whom are outraged at Julia's arrival in their home. Gertrude flatly tells Julia that she is against the marriage, because Julia is not of their social class, as was Richard's first wife. Julia is unfazed by this until her wedding night, when she learns that Richard sees her more as a business partner than a wife. The next morning, Julia decides not to go into the office, as she wishes to make her mark on the Barclay home instead. Without her, Richard's office is in chaos, and Julia does little better at home. Martha arrives at the Barclay home with Leonard Rogers, a playboy who has just sold his department store in Philadelphia to Richard. Leonard sets his marks on the unkissed Julia, using Annabel as his bait. When Richard arrives home, he finds Julia, Leonard and Annabel singing together and becomes upset. He tells Julia that he doesn't think their marriage is working out, as she seems to be like "every other female," seeking love and romance, instead of work and companionship. Julia tells him that she made the mistake of reading a book about being a wife, and that she will return to the office the next day. Instead of returning to the office, however, Julia heads to Philadelphia to manage the reorganization of the Rogers store. In tow behind her is Leonard, who knows that his prey is unhappy in love. After two weeks of intense work, Julia has the Philadelphia store in shape, only to learn that Richard hasn't missed her at all, as he tells her to take her time in returning home. That night, Julia agrees to go out with Leonard, and the two end up drunk in a display window of the department store. The night watchman allows two newspaper photographers to photograph the couple, and the next day their photograph is front page news. Richard arrives in Philadelphia, originally intending to bring Julia back to New York, but he instead chastises her for her behavior with Leonard, stating that he does not deal "in second-hand material." Julia tells Richard that she has loved him for six years, but not any more, as he is only capable of loving a store, not a woman. Richard returns home and gets drunk that evening with his butler, Franklyn. Julia arrives at the Barclay home, and announces that she is going to sail away with Leonard. The now-drunken Richard abducts his wife and takes her to his department store, where he throws bricks into the display windows. Julia joins in the demolition until the police arrive. Now knowing that Richard really loves her, Julia and her husband take Leonard's boat tickets and head for their long-awaited honeymoon.
Gregory La Cava
Clara Kimball Young
Charles E. Arnt
Robert E. Homans
Christian J. Frank
Arthur Stuart Hall
Arthur S. "pop" Byron
Billee Van Every
She Married Her Boss
Colbert plays Julia, an extremely efficient secretary to department store tycoon, played by Melvyn Douglas. She is offered a job in Paris, but turns it down because she's secretly in love with her boss. But he believes she's going, so he marries her to prevent her leaving. Now all Julia has to do is whip her husband's chaotic home life into shape just as she did his business, and make him realize that he needs her to be more than just an "office wife."
La Cava had just directed Colbert in the drama Private Worlds (1935), and he was even more adept at directing comedy. The style of his comedies--brisk pace, overlapping dialogue, and improvisation--became elements of the newly-emerging screwball genre. (He later directed one of the great screwball classics, 1936's My Man Godfrey.) Actors liked working with La Cava because his approach encouraged fresh, spontaneous performances. Colbert and co-star Melvyn Douglas both had expert comic timing, and La Cava surrounded them with a superb supporting cast, from delightfully bratty child actress Edith Fellows to silent screen veteran Clara Kimball Young.
In an interview for Lawrence J. Quirk's biography of Colbert, Douglas recalled that La Cava said he had a secret weapon against Columbia's low-budget production methods: "Colbert is our biggest asset--she's a walking production value in herself, and since so much of it will center on her, I'm not worrying." Douglas agreed, saying, "The woman was positively miraculous, and full of delightful surprises. And sexy. too!" Douglas was concerned that the elegant Colbert might balk at doing a key drunk scene in She Married Her Boss, but "when it came time for us to do a real knock-down, drag-out drunk episode, Claudette was the most delicious, gorgeous drunk you ever saw. Her timing was perfect. She had all the nuances just right, never overplayed. And Gregory La Cava didn't have to do a thing, just turn on the camera and let 'er rip...Claudette had both instinct and technique in everything she did and a wonderful spontaneity as a bonus."
Supporting actress Katharine Alexander, who played Douglas's snooty sister, also praised Colbert's camaraderie with her fellow actors: "Claudette had a wonderful way with the supporting players...in her restrained, ladylike way, she was very democratic, very relaxed, very giving with her co-players."
Production Code officials raised questions over the wedding night scene in She Married Her Boss in which Colbert remains "unkissed," but since the scene remained in the film, the problem was apparently resolved to the censors' satisfaction.
Noting that Columbia had struck cinematic gold with a clichéd genre, the bus film, in It Happened One Night, New York Times critic Andre Sennwald noted, "Once again, the lively Columbia studios renew their gift for refreshing tired materials....Now the studio stakes out the venerable "Office Wife" theme with eagerness and faith, and erects a merry romantic comedy on the ruins....She Married Her Boss has irresistible comic dash, and it is briskly preformed by Claudette Colbert, Melvyn Douglas, Michael Bartlett and a superbly impish little girl named Edith Fellows."
She Married Her Boss was a hit, and over the next decade Paramount cast Colbert in some of its most sparkling comedies, including Midnight (1939) and The Palm Beach Story (1942). Douglas, who had signed a one-picture deal with Columbia, found himself shackled to a seven-year contract when the studio picked up his option. Fortunately, one of his first films under that contract was the screwball gem, Theodora Goes Wild (1936), opposite Irene Dunne. And thanks to various loanouts, including one to Paramount for another film with Colbert, I Met Him in Paris (1937), Douglas ended up co-starring opposite many of Hollywood's most glamorous female stars.
Director: Gregory La Cava
Screenplay: Thyra Samter Winslow (story); Sidney Buchman; Gregory La Cava (uncredited)
Cinematography: Leon Shamroy
Art Direction: Stephen Goosson
Film Editing: Richard Cahoon
Cast: Claudette Colbert (Julia Scott), Melvyn Douglas (Richard Barclay), Michael Bartlett (Leonard 'Lennie' Rogers), Raymond Walburn (Franklin), Jean Dixon (Martha Pryor), Katharine Alexander (Gertrude Barclay), Edith Fellows (Annabel Barclay), Clara Kimball Young (Parsons), Grace Hale (Agnes Mayo), Charles Arnt (Victor Jessup).
by Margarita Landazuri
She Married Her Boss
According to information found in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, this film was confronted with Hays office opposition to the "unkissed" wedding night scene, but it remained in the picture. Columbia borrowed Claudette Colbert from Paramount for this production. Melvyn Douglas states in his autobiography that he originally signed a one-picture contract with Columbia, but after the success of this film, Columbia exercised its option, and Douglas found himself under a seven-year, three-films-a-year contract to the studio.