DirectorKing Vidor Music directorBronislaw Kaper Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateDecember 18, 1941 (1941-12-18) (USA) Based onH. M. Pulham, Esq. WriterJohn P. Marquand (novel), Elizabeth Hill (screenplay), King Vidor (screenplay) CastHedy Lamarr (Marvin Myles Ransome), Robert Young (Harry Moulton Pulham), Ruth Hussey (Cordelia 'Kay' Motford Pulham), Charles Coburn (John Pulham), Van Heflin (Bill King), Fay Holden (Mrs. John Pulham) Similar moviesThe Botany of Desire, Kingdom of Plants 3D, How to Grow a Planet, The Private Life of Plants, War Horse, Shaun of the Dead
TaglineTHERE'S A GIRL LIKE MARVIN MYLES HIDDEN IN EVERY MAN'S LIFE
H. M. Pulham, Esq. is a 1941 American drama film directed by King Vidor and starring Hedy Lamarr, Robert Young, and Ruth Hussey. Based on the novel H. M. Pulham, Esq. by John P. Marquand, the film is about a middle-aged businessman who has lived a conservative life according to the routine conventions of society, but who still remembers the beautiful young woman who once brought him out of his shell. Vidor co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Elizabeth Hill Vidor. The film features an early uncredited appearance by Ava Gardner.
Harry Moulton Pulham Jr. (Robert Young) is a conservative, middle-aged Boston businessman, set in a precise daily routine. He has a proper wife, Kay (Ruth Hussey), with whom he has settled into a comfortable if passionless relationship. However, it was not always that way.
When Harry is saddled with the task of organizing a twenty-five-year college reunion, it triggers a flashback to a time more than twenty years earlier. After the end of World War I, his Harvard classmate and friend Bill King (Van Heflin) gets him a job in a New York City advertising company, where he falls in love with a vivacious, independent coworker oddly named Marvin Miles (Hedy Lamarr). However, though they love each other, she cannot bring herself to fit into his traditional idea of a wife's role and he cannot imagine living anywhere other than hidebound Boston. So they break off their relationship. Harry falls in love with and marries a woman from his own social set with the same attitudes and assumptions, someone approved of by his father (Charles Coburn) and mother (Fay Holden).
Harry is now profoundly dissatisfied with his dull routine. At breakfast, he begs his wife to go away with him immediately, to rekindle their love. She dismisses the idea as impractical and even silly. Harry calls Marvin and arranges to meet her again after these twenty years. He visits her apartment in the city. There are sparks, and Harry is tempted to have an affair. When she takes a phone call, we realize she, too, is married. They both realize they cannot recapture the past.
On the street after his lunch with Marvin, Harry sees his wife in the car trying to get his attention. She tells him she wants to go away with him as he suggested that morning, and he now says it is impractical, but she has canceled her appointments and packed their bags in the car and persuades him to go. He seems happy.