Stalwart Joel McCrea is the working-class engineer who marries a spoiled society girl in Kept Husbands. "Dad, I want him more than anything in the world. Can't I have him?" pleads kittenish Dorothy Mackaill, but the tug of war between his work and her play soon tears them apart. Though the plot is sometimes slow, sparkling society wit and humorous working-class platitudes (croaked out by an always entertaining Ned Sparks) add dimension to the familiar story.
Millie, the jewel of the collection, represents everything great about the pre-code era. Sweetly sexy Helen Twelvetrees is Millie, a small-town girl turned big-city woman disillusioned with love, but while she lets the good times roll she never sacrifices her ideals: "I pay my own way," she insists. When a former beau plots to seduce her 16-year-old daughter, however, the worn, sad woman becomes an avenging angel, ready to sacrifice all for the girl. Though highly melodramatic, with adultery and sex to spare, the film drives ahead with wild abandon, with the dynamic Millie centering the drama. --Sean Axmaker