The Office Wife

The Office Wife

show card showing Hobart Bosworth and Dorothy Mackaill
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Written by Charles Kenyon
Based on 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) (US)
Running time
59 minutes
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 that his stenographer/secretary (played by Dale Fuller) spends more time with him and makes more decisions than a wife would for her husband. He persuades author Kate Halsey (Blanche Friderici) to write a novel based on this premise.

When Larry's secretary 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 attractive, intelligent and efficient secretary, Anne Murdock (Dorothy Mackaill), is hired while Larry is on his honeymoon. 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 (played by 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, who 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. 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) phones the confused Larry and explains everything, bringing about a happy ending.


Cast notes:

Preservation status

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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