“Nobody can know another human being enough to trust him.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Watching Harriet Craig a few years ago was my personal introduction to Kelly’s play; viewing it once again (albeit in a truncated fashion; this film runs just 73 minutes, 21 minutes less than Harriet Craig), I had a renewed appreciation for the important themes he’s attempting to address, and I found myself doubly thankful that this earlier version was directed by Dorothy Arzner, whose feminist sensibilities shine through clearly. Indeed, Russell’s Harriet comes across as nothing less than a deeply self-preserving woman who recognizes that her only chance at security in life is wooing a well-off man who will give her whatever she wants; her mistake, of course, lies in failing to recognize that longevity requires more than just this initial conquest. To that end, I remain troubled in both adaptations by the unrealistic character arc of Craig’s husband, who shifts from adoring puppy (how can he be so clueless?) to wounded cynic far too quickly — but this time around, I found myself better able to understand the need for dramatic compression (this is an adaptation of a play, after all). Ultimately, both Craig’s Wife and Harriet Craig remains worth a look by those interested in engaging with the play’s challenging yet provocative premise.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: