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Film / My Reputation

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My Reputation is a 1946 Warner Bros. melodrama film directed by Curtis Burnhardt and starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Jess Drummond (Stanwyck), a recent widow whose domineering mother tells her how to react to her own husband’s death. Because of the loss of her partner of 16 years, Jess feels lonely and isolated, especially since her teenage sons are growing out of their need for her.

Jess’ constant solitude has driven her to extreme emotions, so Jess’ friend, Ginna Abbott (Eve Arden), invites her to Lake Tahoe for some skiing. There Jess meets Major Scott Landis (George Brent), and she slowly begins a romantic relationship with him.

Difficulties arise when Jess’ former social circle spread rumours about her love affair. Jess, on the other hand, tries to reconcile the fact that she can love another man while having a special place in her heart for her deceased husband.

My Reputation shows the following tropes:

  • The Casanova: Major Scott has really gotten around, much to Jess’ discomfort.
  • Divorce in Reno: Jess’ friends, Baby and Riette, get catty about a mutual friend who recently got divorced in Reno; she’s been seen around with other men in unsavoury circumstances.
  • Gossipy Hens: Jess’ friends spread rumours about Jess’ relationship with Major Scott.
  • Gossip Evolution: An innocent meet-cute with Major Scott in Lake Tahoe turns into a scandalous affair, per Jess’ friends.
  • I Will Wait for You: Jess declares this as Major Scott as he boards the train to go overseas.
  • Love Interest: Major Scott Landis is Jess’ beau even if he says he doesn’t want to get married.
  • Malicious Slander: The lies Riette spreads about Jess and Major Scott.
  • My Beloved Smother: Jess’ mother, Mrs. Kimball, imposes her antiquated, mid-Victorian ideas of how to grieve upon Jess. Not only on how to act about her “own” husband’s death, but how she should act in general and with whom.
  • Pretty in Mink: Jess wears mink coats and suits with lined fur.
  • Sleeping Single: Surprisingly averted with Ginna and her husband, Cary.
  • Slut-Shaming: Not only does Jess get this malarkey from her mother, but even from her sons who are worried that their mother is sleeping with the Major.
  • Title Drop: Jess does this when she chews out Riette for spreading rumours.
    Riette: Then why did you bother to come here at all?
    Jess: Because I was still coward enough to want to save my reputation.
    Riette: How quaint!
  • Train-Station Goodbye: The film ends with Major Scott leaving for an unknown destination overseas.
  • Widow's Weeds: Jess’ mother insists that she wears only black, and Jess reluctantly agrees. However, Jess defies her mother on this matter when she starts going out with Major Scott.
  • With Friends Like These...: Jess’ so called friend, Riette.