Sharon Norwood (Constance Bennett) is a socialite, but not the type to spend her days lounging by the pool or shopping for expensive clothes. She’s taken a job, working the music beat at a the News Record, a paper owned by her uncle.
Jim Branch (Clark Gable), the managing editor of the paper, decides to fire Sharon when he disagrees with a review that she submits. But luckily for Sharon, the News Record may still have a use for her. Jim hopes to get the scoop on a major divorce case involving bribery, infidelity… and the very wealthy society folks who just happen to populate Sharon’s social circle.
Jim invites Sharon back to the paper on the condition that she use her connections to those involved in the Patterson divorce, digging up the facts and confirming his suspicions about the case.
Robert Z. Leonard directs 1935’s After Office Hours. The script was penned by Herman J. Mankiewicz.
After Office Hours is not the most original film I’ve ever seen. It sticks to the formula in both its romantic plot and its investigative plot. But, it’s a enjoyable watch with some nice dialogue and two very charismatic leading players.
These players, Clark Gable and Constance Bennett, share some charming banter as the ruthless newspaper editor and the heiress-turned-reporter who works for him. The character of Sharon is full of sass, and with Jim she shares fun chemistry. This type of witty, love-hate relationship is quite commonly found in classic films, but no matter how many times I come across this type of couple, I personally never tire of watching them!
While we’re on the topic of the film’s cast, I must mention Billie Burke, who gives a delightful supporting performance as the mother of Constance Bennett’s Sharon. She’s a much more typical “high society” lady than her daughter — somewhat flighty, and far less sarcastic. She’s easily charmed by Jim, a stark contrast to Sharon’s stubborn refusal of him.
The mood of the film is at times very light, and at times a bit more tense. The journalistic plot, which contains some mystery and drama, is blended with classic moments of romantic and screwball comedy.
A decent little film — nothing more, and nothing less — is what the viewer should expect when eavesdropping on these After Office Hours. It’s worth a watch for fans of the two stars, or those who don’t mind a little typicality in their movie-watching experience. While it breaks no ground, it’s not a bad way to spend 70 minutes. The score: 2.5/5