Affectionately Yours (1941)

A Warner Bros.-First National Picture

Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Associate Producer: Mark Hellinger
Director: Lloyd Bacon

Screenplay: Edward Kaufman,
from story by Fanya Foss and Aleen Leslie

Merle Oberon as Sue Mayberry
Dennis Morgan as Rickey Mayberry
Rita Hayworth as Irene Malcolm
Ralph Bellamy as Owen Wright
George Tobias as Pasha
James Gleason as Chester Phillips

Gowns by Orry-Kelly
Dance Director: Matty King

Black and White, 88 mins. running time

Affectionately Yours was the second successive film Rita made on loan-out to Warner Bros. Pleased with her work in The Strawberry Blonde, they requested her services for the second feminine lead in this screwball comedy. Filming began on January 10, 1941 on Warner's Burbank lot. She was given billing above the titles along with stars Merle Oberon and Dennis Morgan. Also featured were the Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen domestic duo from Gone With the Wind.

Foreign correspondent Rickey Mayberry (Dennis Morgan) has a grand time philandering all over Europe while wife, Sue (Merle Oberon), grows increasingly tired of being alone in New York. In Lisbon, romancing a fellow journalist, Irene Malcolm (Rita Hayworth), Rickey gets word that Sue has divorced him. It is then that he realizes he cannot live without her. He rushes home to win her back. Irene also goes, intent on holding on to Rickey.

Rickey returns to find Sue engaged to Owen Wright (Ralph Bellamy). No matter how hard he tries, Owen cannot make her stop loving Rickey. But she feels neglected by him. Rickey tries every trick, including kidnapping, to reconcile with Sue, unable to see how simple it would be if he just stopped trying to trick her.

Sue's one complaint about their marriage is the constant separation caused by Rickey's work. He figures the way to make her happy is to quit. But his editor, Chester Phillips (James Gleason), does not want to lose his best reporter to Sue. Neither does Irene want to lose Rickey. The two join forces to keep the Mayberry's apart -and they have a photo of Irene and Rickey in an embrace in Lisbon for ammunition.

Irene pretends to be on Rickey's side and offers to help him with Sue. She is perfect to make her jealous. He has Irene pose as a girl from a dating service. Thinking she will be homely, Sue invites them to dine with she and Owen. She is shocked when the "blind date" turns out to be gorgeous and even steals Owen's attention. Then the plan is ruined when Irene "accidentally" lets the incriminating photo be seen. Sue realizes they already know each and that this is another of Rickey's tricks. She is angrier than ever with him and ready to marry Owen the following day.

To make sure Rickey loses Sue, Irene and Phillips' final step is to keep him from the ceremony. They invite him to Irene's apartment, where four goons keep him trapped until morning. Rickey escapes in time for a last desperate effort to prove Sue still loves him. He has a friend report that he has been in an accident. Sue runs out on her wedding to be at his side. Rickey goes to the extent of crashing his own car to make it authentic. Sue finds out it was staged, but is touched. She falls laughing into his arms.

Rita's final pre-superstardom film is a lightweight comedy that has its amusing moments. The cast is good and Rita brightens each scene she is in. In its review, The New York Times remarked, "To hold the players in any way responsible for the shabbiness imposed by the wretched script…would be grossly unfair." Appearing in a picture not well received could not hurt Rita at this point. She had already proven herself in other vehicles. Over at 20th Century-Fox, she immediately went into playing one of the most coveted female roles of the year.

at Warner Bros. in 1941
A publicity shot taken of Rita at Warner's in 1941, about the
time she made Affectionately Yours.

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