Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the Twentieth-Century United States

By Kristin Celello | Go to book overview

2
CAN WAR MARRIAGES
BE MADE TO WORK?
KEEPING WOMEN ON THE MARITAL JOB
IN WAR AND PEACE

Joe Allen and Alice Mayberry, the principal characters of Vincente Minnelli’s 1945 film The Clock, meet by chance during World War II and within forty-eight hours are married. Joe (Robert Walker) is a small-town corporal on a last fling to New York City before going overseas; Alice (Judy Garland) is a small-town transplant now working in the big city. When the pair accidentally collide at Penn Station, Joe convinces a skeptical Alice to spend the day with him. That day quickly turns into an all-night date. After an almost disastrous separation on the subway, Alice and Joe resolve to get married that day. Tying the knot before Joe leaves for the war, however, is not easy. The couple has to jump through difficult bureaucratic hoops in order to obtain a marriage license and the necessary blood tests. Finally, at the end of a trying day, Joe and Alice recite their vows in the city clerk’s drab office, and a quiet interlude in a church soothes Alice’s worries about the casual nature of their wedding. After spending just one night together with her husband, Alice sees Joe off to the train station, the fate of his life and of their marriage uncertain.

-44-

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