Welcome to Public Domain Theater, your home for the wonderful world of films that have (in the United States, at least) fallen into the public domain, and are free for everyone to see!
This go around, we’re proud to present the 1941 comedy film That Uncertain Feeling, starring Merle Oberon and Melvyn Douglas as a couple whose marriage has hit the skids, and Burgess Meredith as the eccentric “other man”. While humor is of course subjective, I found it to be a hilarious and charming little outing, in a style I can best describe as “feature-length sitcom”.
It’s also a fascinating glimpse at how divorce was handled in early 20th Century America. On one hand, it’s common enough that people can be flippant about it (in defending her marriage, Oberon’s character says, “How many of our friends have stayed married for six years?”) However, it’s also a time when most of the U.S. didn’t allow for no fault divorce, and the hoops the couple has to go through to show legal grounds for divorce makes for one of the key comedic set pieces.
Is a comedy about two people trapped in a life together, even as resentment flourishes between them, not to your liking? Well, too bad! ‘Cause our short film also covers that theme. Yes, it’s the Merrie Melodies cartoon “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper”, featuring the unlikely cohabitation of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Who could have foreseen that going badly?
So if you can’t get enough squabbling and dysfunction in your own home life, pop on by the public domain and enjoy some films that take it all with a chuckle!