Petticoat Fever


1h 20m 1936
Petticoat Fever

Brief Synopsis

A lonely radio operator in Alaska falls for an engaged woman.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 20, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Petticoat Fever by Mark Reed (New York, 4 Mar 1935).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Telegraph operator Dascom Dinsmore, who has been living in an isolated cabin in Labrador for two years, has a bad case of "cabin fever," caused by his many months without seeing any women. His Eskimo servant Kimo tries to interest him in two native women, but Dascom wants nothing to do with them. His near desperate fever is abated when aviator Sir James Felton's plane makes an emergency landing nearby and Dascom discovers that Jim's companion is the beautiful Irene Campion. Though Jim warns Irene that Dascom is a bit crazy and unkempt, when she arrives at the cabin, Dascom has transformed himself into a well groomed English gentleman. Later, to impress her, he wears a tuxedo and prepares a formal dinner party for her. Though Jim is increasingly worried about Dascom's enthusiastic attentions toward Irene, he doesn't realize that she is becoming attracted to Dascom as well. After Jim and Irene learn via a radio broadcast that Dascom has sent a wireless message confirming their safety but not asking for the rescue ship they requested, Jim secretly arranges to take a dog sled to the supply post with Irene. Dascom suspects something, however, and has one of the Eskimo women, "Little Seal," take Irene's place in the sled. After Jim has left, Dascom tells Irene he loves her and she finally admits she loves him, too. However, because she is fond of Jim, who once saved her life, she convinces Dascom to bring him back so that she can tell him face-to-face that she isn't going to marry him. While Dascom goes after Jim, Clara Wilson, Dascom's English fiancée, from whom he has heard nothing for two years, shows up and professes her love. When Dascom and Jim return, Irene wants Dascom to break off with Clara immediately, but because he says he can't just "leave her out in the snow," Clara angrily tells him she doesn't want to see him again and goes off with Jim. The next day, just as the rector whom Clara telegraphed to marry them is about to perform the ceremony, an unhappy Dascom decides to delay the ceremony by opening a piece of mail that arrived for him a few days previously. When he learns that his uncle, a duke, has died and left his title and entire estate to him, Dascom realizes why Clara suddenly showed up and rushes off to stop Irene and Jim. On the boat that brought Clara, the captain is in the middle of Jim and Irene's wedding ceremony when Dascom arrives and tells her that he and Clara are finished. As Jim and the captain look on incredulously, Irene then goes off happily with Dascom in the dogsled.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 20, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Petticoat Fever by Mark Reed (New York, 4 Mar 1935).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

Petticoat Fever


Myrna Loy was two years into her new-found image as a sparkling comedienne, thanks to her success in The Thin Man (1934), when she appeared opposite another expert farceur, Robert Montgomery, in Petticoat Fever (1936). This romantic comedy casts Loy as the bride-to-be of a wealthy Englishman (Reginald Owen). The couple is forced to make an emergency landing in the frozen plains of Alaska, near the remote cabin of a handsome radio operator (Montgomery). The resulting romantic triangle becomes a quadrangle when the Englishman's former girlfriend also arrives on the scene.

Chiefly distinguished by its setting in the Alaskan wilderness rather than in the swanky urban settings where most such comedies of the period were played out, Petticoat Fever was shot on MGM sound stages. In her autobiography, Being and Becoming, Loy recalled that the film's "snow" was actually feathers and cornstarch. She added, however, that the parkas worn by the actors were "authentic," having been salvaged from MGM's documentary-styledEskimo (1933), which was filmed in the Arctic. According to Loy, she and Montgomery would get so "steamed up" under the hot lights in the heavy clothing that they'd have to stop filming. "Bob would unzip his parka, squirt in some perfume and groan, 'God Almighty, do you realize how many people have lived and died in this thing?'"

Loy wrote fondly of Montgomery and his "shenanigans," and of the "crazy nonsense" they enjoyed together during filming. Both had appeared in two earlier films, Night Flight and When Ladies Meet (both 1933), but Petticoat Fever, to Loy's chagrin, was their only chance to play comedy together. "Bob was a deft comedian," Loy wrote, "and there were so many other things we could have done together at Metro." In particular, she mentions Noel Coward's Private Lives (1931), which Montgomery filmed with Norma Shearer, wife of MGM producer Irving Thalberg: "I hadn't emerged as a comedienne yet, so Mrs. Thalberg got that one."

Producer: Frank Davis
Director: George Fitzmaurice
Screenplay: Harold Goldman, from play by Mark Reed
Cinematography: Ernest Haller
Editing: Fredrick Y. Smith
Principal Cast: Robert Montgomery (Bascom Dinsmore), Myrna Loy (Irene Campton), Reginald Owen (Sir James Felton), Otto Yamaoka (Kimo), George Hassell (Capt. Landry), Winifred Shotter (Clara Wilson).
BW-80m.

by Roger Fristoe
Petticoat Fever

Petticoat Fever

Myrna Loy was two years into her new-found image as a sparkling comedienne, thanks to her success in The Thin Man (1934), when she appeared opposite another expert farceur, Robert Montgomery, in Petticoat Fever (1936). This romantic comedy casts Loy as the bride-to-be of a wealthy Englishman (Reginald Owen). The couple is forced to make an emergency landing in the frozen plains of Alaska, near the remote cabin of a handsome radio operator (Montgomery). The resulting romantic triangle becomes a quadrangle when the Englishman's former girlfriend also arrives on the scene. Chiefly distinguished by its setting in the Alaskan wilderness rather than in the swanky urban settings where most such comedies of the period were played out, Petticoat Fever was shot on MGM sound stages. In her autobiography, Being and Becoming, Loy recalled that the film's "snow" was actually feathers and cornstarch. She added, however, that the parkas worn by the actors were "authentic," having been salvaged from MGM's documentary-styledEskimo (1933), which was filmed in the Arctic. According to Loy, she and Montgomery would get so "steamed up" under the hot lights in the heavy clothing that they'd have to stop filming. "Bob would unzip his parka, squirt in some perfume and groan, 'God Almighty, do you realize how many people have lived and died in this thing?'" Loy wrote fondly of Montgomery and his "shenanigans," and of the "crazy nonsense" they enjoyed together during filming. Both had appeared in two earlier films, Night Flight and When Ladies Meet (both 1933), but Petticoat Fever, to Loy's chagrin, was their only chance to play comedy together. "Bob was a deft comedian," Loy wrote, "and there were so many other things we could have done together at Metro." In particular, she mentions Noel Coward's Private Lives (1931), which Montgomery filmed with Norma Shearer, wife of MGM producer Irving Thalberg: "I hadn't emerged as a comedienne yet, so Mrs. Thalberg got that one." Producer: Frank Davis Director: George Fitzmaurice Screenplay: Harold Goldman, from play by Mark Reed Cinematography: Ernest Haller Editing: Fredrick Y. Smith Principal Cast: Robert Montgomery (Bascom Dinsmore), Myrna Loy (Irene Campton), Reginald Owen (Sir James Felton), Otto Yamaoka (Kimo), George Hassell (Capt. Landry), Winifred Shotter (Clara Wilson). BW-80m. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a news item in Motion Picture Herald, M-G-M purchased Mark Reed's play as a star vehicle for Myrna Loy and Robert Montgomery, to be directed by Geo. Fitzmaurice. Bernard Hyman was originally scheduled to produce the picture and was listed on the Hollywood Reporter production chart for the film, but reviews in both Hollywood Reporter and Variety noted that this was Frank Davis' first film as a producer for M-G-M. The Motion Picture Herald review listed a preview running time of 78 min., but release charts and Motion Picture Almanac list it at 81 min.