My Favourite Wife

GARSON KANIN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  

Reunited after their grand success in The Awful Truth,  and  once again play a married couple in this delightful comedy. This time, he’s a widower whose wife (Dunne) presumably died on an anthropological voyage to Indonesia seven years earlier. Unlucky for him, it is on the day of his wedding to his new bride () that Dunne shows up, having been rescued from the island where she was shipwrecked after the sinking. She does her best to be understanding about her husband’s new situation, but now Grant has two wives and must narrow down his selection. Things get complicated when it turns out that he has a rival as well; she spent seven years, presumably under only the most respectable conditions, with another man on the island, and it turns out he’s an athletic hunk (played by ) who makes Grant very jealous (the joke for modern audiences is that these two men, who were living together in real life, are fighting over this lovely woman). Leo McCarey co-wrote the screenplay with story writers Bella and Sam Spewack, but unfortunately suffered a car accident before filming could commence and was replaced in the director’s chair by Garson Kanin. The film itself suffers as a result, lacking the energetic pace that McCarey would have given it, despite being fine entertainment. It fails to capture the sparkle of The Awful Truth, though there’s no denying that the two stars have marvelous chemistry (as if Grant ever lacked chemistry with any of his co-stars) and the situations that they’re in, all of them carefully structured to preserve the sanctity of matrimony, are thoroughly adorable. Remade in 1963 with Doris Day and James Garner as Move Over, Darling.

USA, 1940

Original story by , , , Screenplay by Bella Spewack, Sam Spewack

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1940

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