Unfinished Business - 1941

as Nancy Andrews Duncan
as Nancy Andrews Duncan

Universal - 96 minutes - 09.01.1941, NYC / US relase 09.12.1941 


Cast: Irene Dunne (Nancy Andrews), Robert Montgomery (Tom Duncan), Eugene Pallette (Elmer, the butler), Preston Foster (Steve Duncan), June Clyde (Clarisse), Phyllis Barry (Sheila Duncan), Esther Dale (Aunt Matilda), Walter Catlett (Billy Ross), Richard Davis (Jimmy), Dick Foran (Frank), and others.


Producer/director: Gregory LaCava, Screenplay: Eugene Thackrey, Photography: Joseph Valentine, Art director: Jack Otterson, Musical directo: Franz Waxman



plot summary and review


photos from the film


Notes: "Unfinished Business" reunited Irene with Gregory LaCava with whom she worked on "Symphony Of Six Million." LaCava directed Carole Lombard in the screwball classic "My Man Godfrey" and thus Irene had hopes for another comedy hit. Those hopes weren't fullfilled - "Unfinished Business" simply isn't a real comedy - but nonetheless the film was popular with the wartime audiences. 

According to Irene Dunne biographer Margie Schulz the movie was orginally planned with Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery in the lead, and to be produced by a company formed by Lombard, La Cava and agent Myron Selznick, but the negotiations failed.


The Hollywood Reporter and the Los Angeles Times state that both Irene and director Gregory LaCava worked under one picture contracts. Relying on contemporary sources, "Unfinished Business" is based on an original story by LaCava. The film was forced into an early production because of Robert Montgomery's commitement to active service in the US Navy in July 1941. 


Irene sang three times in Unfinished Business:


Here are the songs and here is a short article on "The Music in 'Unfinished Business'"



New York Times, 09.02.1941 "Any picture which brings Irene Dunne and Robert Montgomery to a state of matrimony, with the directorial blessing of Gregory LaCava, must ... have a great deal to recommend it ... Miss Dunne, even though she must combine the naivete of Cinderella with the devastating with of Dorothy Parker, is charming ..."

Newsweek, 09.08.1941 "If Universal's 'Unfinished Business' is dissapointing, it is chiefly because the critical moviegoer has come to expect consideralby better of Gregory LaCava. Even so, the producer-director's handling of a crisp, amusing dialogue make up for a lot ... [Irene Dunne, Robert Montgomery, and Preston Foster] are adept enough in trying roles ..."

The Spectator, 10.03.1941 "'Unfinished Business' ... is only too anxious to flourish its psychological pretentions. Without them, Robert Montgomery and Irene Dunne might have made a very pleasant little comedy ... "  

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