THAT CERTAIN THING. Columbia, 1928. Viola Dana, Ralph Graves, Burr Mcintosh, Aggie Herring, Carl Gerard, Sydney Crossley. Screenplay by Elmer Harris; photography by Joseph Walker. Director: Frank Capra. Shown at Cinecon 40, Hollywood CA, September 2004.


    Described as a “restoration in progress” (the film is is a blow-up from a 16mm print), this domestic drama tracks the fortunes of a hotel newsstand clerk (Dana) after she marries Graves, the son of a magnate, who promptly disinherits his son, forcing him to go to work as a day laborer.

    When his co-workers prefer his wife’s box lunch to their own lunches, he has a brainstorm and starts the “Molly Box Lunch Company,” which takes off and attracts the attention of Graves’ father, who doesn’t know that his daughter-in-law is the Molly designing the lunches.

    Molly uses her native sharp wits to outwit her father-in-law, roping him into a highly profitable deal (for the company) to which he responds by showing he’s a good sport and finally accepting his husband’s wife.

    A good-natured comedy drama that makes light fun of big business and the innate good sense of the Little Man (or, in this case, Little Woman). Capra’s first film for Columbia.