The Farmer's Wife

1928, Movie, 100 mins

Review

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Alfred Hitchcock's comedy of manners, adapted from the play by Eden Phillpott, revolves around the efforts of a middle-aged Devonshire farmer to find a new wife. After his daughter gets married and leaves home, Samuel Sweetland (Jameson Thomas, who's a bit young for the role) decides it's time to remarry. Sweetland considers himself quite a catch and makes a list of all the local ladies he thinks would make suitable spouses. It doesn't include his loyal housekeeper Araminta (Lilian Hall-Davis), who obviously carries a torch for him. To Sweetland's complete and utter shock, not one of his prospective brides — from an athletic, wealthy widow (Louie Pounds) to the local postmistress (Olga Slade) — is the least bit receptive to his fatuous attentions. After much bluster and comic nonsense, Sweetland finally realizes that the wise, sweet-natured Araminta is the woman he should have been courting all along. Though the play focussed on farmhand Churdles Ash's (Gordon Harker) wry observations about the pretentions and ambitions of rural folk, the movie's emphasis was shifted to the more easily dramatized tribulations of pompous Farmer Sweetland in his search for a bride. Hitchcock's handling of the comic material was praised by contemporary critics, and modern-day fans of his work will see many directorial flourishes that hint at the mastery he displays in later films. leave a comment

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