Modern Love
Series: Charley Chase @ Universal Distribution: Universal  Director: Arch Heath Cinematography: Jerome Ash
Production: Type: part sound/part silent film Producer: Carl Laemmle (as presenter) Editor: ?
Released: 21 July 1929 Length: 60 mins Titles: Albert DeMond



The film begins with John Jones (Charley Chase) out and about with his wife-to-be Patricia (Kathryn Crawford) discussing the benefits of getting married when his car gets into a number of bumps with a furniture van. Later, after the couple have married, John sleeps with her at her apartment but has to sneak out of her place (whilst concealing the alarm clock inside his coat) without being seen so they can maintain the illusion of living separate lives. John encounters a policeman (Chester A. Bachman) outside her building, wet from the rain. Desperate to keep his marriage a secret from the world, John makes up excuses to the cop when the alarm suddenly goes off and the sound of ringing causes him to explain the noise. "I'm getting my watch repaired and the jeweler loaned me this in the meantime", he tells the policeman before walking off in the pouring rain.
Patricia is a designer with Weston & Co, the American associates of the great Parisian designer Francois Renault (Jean Hersholt), but her latest model causes a problem for one of the employees (Virginia Sale), who reports her disastisfaction to Mr. Weston and suggests he find a new designer. Renault is on hand to observe Patricia's work and is impressed with the dress she has made, and offers to take Patricia back to France to study for six months. Patricia neglects to inform John, who catches her accepting a kiss from Renault on the street corner one afternoon. She tells John of the proposed arrangement of her working for Renault in France and decides to hold a party. Jealous John does the shopping, picking up some miscellaneous tins of French food. He is also less than impressed that his secret wife intends to refer to him as Higgingbottom at the party, so she relegates him to the part of playing the butler.
During the party, Renault flirts with Patricia whilst husband John observes in his role of butler. As the guests are seated Renault informs John he is new to America and needs a crash course in table etiquette. John is more than happy to mislead him by polishing a dinner knife, which Renault copies. Not wishing to offend the guest of honor, the other guests do likewise. John completely milks the scene and encourages the guest to eat his soup with the smallest spoon at the table. The others awkwardly follow his example until the end. They eventually leave and John retires to bed with a cold. Later, everybody returns to the apartment slightly the worse for wear and two of the women (Garvin and Coburn) enter the bedroom where John quickly hides under the covers. He is discovered, of course and his wife isn't impressed.
Next morning John arrives at work and is told by his boss that the company will need a new line of business if they are to survive. He returns home in a sombre mood just as his dutiful wife plans to leave with Renault. She leaves behind some designs which gives him the idea to present them to his boss. John pitches the suggestion to the board members who vote overwhelmingly in favour of the idea. John rushes out of the office and heads off to stop his wife from boarding the ship, but gets into a head-on car smash in the street. When the dust clears, it's Patricia in the other car... who embraces her husband in the middle of the road. A happy ending.

Favourite bit
The dinner party is probably the stand-out scene in the film. John is offended that his wife seems to enjoy the affections of the guest of honour, so he deliberately takes advantage of Renault's lack of American etiquette at the table by enticing him to behave in such an inappropriate manner, which leads the other guests to do likewise.

A feature length film starring Charley Chase made for Universal Pictures.
There is a 39-minute version of the film which cuts out songs performed by Charley Chase, and Kathryn Crawford.
The 35mm film was recently completely restored, along with its soundtrack.
Filming dates

The truck that John's car hits on three occasions at the beginning of the film has "CARPETWORTH" written on the side of it.
After the title card declares John has married we see an alarm clock with the time at four o'clock. However, the hour hand (the small one) is halfway between the four and five and is therefore in the wrong position, given that the minute hand (the long one) is at the twelve position. In the next scene when John gets out of bed the same alarm clock can be seen on the cabinet next to his bed and it reads twelve o'clock.
When John returns to the apartment with the food and cannot find his keys, the word "lazy" comes to mind!

What the experts say

Charley Chase
John Jones
Kathryn Crawford
Patricia Brown
Jean Hersholt
François Renault
Edward Martindel
Andre Weston
Anita Garvin
The brunette
Dorothy Coburn
Half and Half
Virginia Sale
Jealous employee
Chester A. Bachman
Wet policeman outside Patricia's apartment
Betty Montgomery
The blonde
  Jack Chefe



Nelson Hughes (help)
Richard Finegan (help, lobby card, poster)

This page was last updated on: 09 February 2017