My Favorite Wife
|My Favorite Wife|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Garson Kanin|
|Produced by||Leo McCarey|
|Written by||Leo McCarey
Samuel and Bella Spewack
|Music by||Roy Webb|
|Editing by||Robert Wise|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Running time||88 minutes|
My Favorite Wife (released in the U.K. as My Favourite Wife) is a 1940 screwball comedy produced and co-written by Leo McCarey and directed by Garson Kanin. The picture stars Irene Dunne as a woman who returns to her husband and children after being shipwrecked on a tropical island for several years, and Cary Grant as her husband. The story is an adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Enoch Arden"; in tribute, the main characters' last name is Arden. The supporting cast features Gail Patrick as the woman Grant's character is about to marry when his actual wife abruptly turns up and Randolph Scott as the man with whom his wife had been trapped on the island.
After seven years, lawyer Nick Arden (Cary Grant) has his wife Ellen (Irene Dunne), missing since her ship was lost, declared legally dead so he can marry Bianca (Gail Patrick). It turns out however that Ellen was merely shipwrecked on a deserted island, and has been rescued. When she returns home, she learns that Nick has just left on his honeymoon with his second wife.
When Ellen tracks him down before his honeymoon night, he is at a loss as to how to break the news to Bianca. He keeps putting off the unpleasant business. Meanwhile, Bianca becomes frustrated by Nick's odd behavior (especially the non-consummation of their marriage) and calls in a psychiatrist, Dr. Kohlmar (Pedro de Cordoba). Further complications ensue when an insurance adjuster (Hugh O'Connell) mentions to Nick a rumor that Ellen was not alone on the island, but had the company of a Stephen Burkett (Randolph Scott) and that they called each other "Adam" and "Eve". When Nick confronts Ellen, she recruits a mousy shoe salesman (an uncredited Chester Clute) to pretend to be Stephen, but Nick has already tracked down the real, appallingly virile and handsome Stephen (Randolph Scott).
Nick tries to explain the situation to Bianca and Dr. Kohlmar, but they do not believe him ... until he is arrested on a charge of bigamy. In court, Judge Bryson (Granville Bates), the same judge who had Ellen declared legally dead and also married Nick and Bianca, annuls the second marriage. By this time, Ellen is no longer sure of Nick's feelings for her. Stephen asks her to marry him and return with him to the island, but she still loves Nick. In the end, Nick and Ellen are reconciled.
- Irene Dunne as Ellen Wagstaff Arden
- Cary Grant as Nick Arden
- Randolph Scott as Stephen Burkett
- Gail Patrick as Bianca Bates
- Ann Shoemaker as Ma, Nick's mother
- Scotty Beckett as Tim, the Ardens' son
- Mary Lou Harrington as Chinch, the Ardens' daughter
- Donald MacBride as Hotel clerk
- Hugh O'Connell as Johnson, the insurance adjuster
- Granville Bates as Judge Bryson
- Pedro de Cordoba as Dr. Kohlmar
The film was a big hit and made a profit of $505,000.
20th Century Fox began filming a 1962 remake starring Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, and Cyd Charisse under the working title of Something's Got to Give, which was to be directed by George Cukor. There were problems from the beginning, mostly due to Monroe's failure to show up on time for work. Monroe was fired and Martin backed out when the studio attempted to recast Monroe's role with Lee Remick. Following Monroe's death in August 1962, Doris Day and James Garner were cast, and the new version, extremely faithful to the old one, was released by Fox as Move Over, Darling (1963). A recreation of surviving footage cobbled from the unfinished Something's Got to Give exists, along with some scenes reshot with Remick.
- Richard Jewel, "RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951", Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14, No 1, 1994. p. 55
- "NY Times: My Favorite Wife". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
- My Favorite Wife at the American Film Institute Catalog
- My Favorite Wife at the Internet Movie Database
- My Favorite Wife at AllMovie
- My Favorite Wife at the TCM Movie Database
- Historic reviews, photo gallery at CaryGrant.net