Marriage on the Rocks

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Marriage on the Rocks
Marriage on the Rocks (1965 film poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJack Donohue
Produced byWilliam H. Daniels
Written byCy Howard
StarringFrank Sinatra
Deborah Kerr
Dean Martin
Nancy Sinatra
Joi Lansing
Music byNelson Riddle
CinematographyWilliam H. Daniels
Edited bySam O'Steen
A-C Productions
Sinatra Enterprises
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 24, 1965 (1965-09-24)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,000,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Marriage on the Rocks is a 1965 comedy film starring Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, and Dean Martin about a businessman's wife who ends up divorced by mistake and then married to his best friend by an even bigger mistake. The film was written by Cy Howard and directed by Jack Donohue.

Marriage on the Rocks is not a musical, even though it pairs Sinatra and Martin. The picture would be their last feature film partnership for nearly 20 years, when they appeared together briefly in 1984's Cannonball Run II.


After nineteen years of marriage, workaholic Dan Edwards's wife Valerie is frustrated. Rather than tending to her needs at home, Dan spends most of his time at an ad agency he runs with old friend, Ernie Brewer, a laid-back bachelor and Dan's second-in-command. Once a real swinger, Dan has become a bore to his whole family. By contrast, the kids look up to the exciting "Uncle Ernie", who is always there to give advice. Valerie likes it that Ernie does things her husband won't – dances with her, compliments her, even picks out the gifts Dan buys for her. At one point, Val becomes so impatient she seeks a lawyer's advice concerning divorce. Back at the office, Ernie can see what his best friend is blind to, so he urges Dan to take his wife on a second honeymoon to Mexico.

Once there, in a land of quickie marriages and divorces, Dan and Val get into an argument in front of proprietor Miguel Santos, and, before they know it, they're divorced. But an apologetic Dan makes it up to her and arranges for them to be remarried right away. However, an urgent business matter requires his presence back home to save his company's biggest account. Valerie stays in Mexico to await Dan's return. But the business matter is extended and Ernie has to travel to Mexico to explain everything to Val, unaware that she's already put the wedding ceremony in motion. By mistake, she ends up married to Ernie.

Once over the shock, Ernie anticipates a quickie divorce, but Val thinks she might enjoy the new arrangement. Dan, fed up with both of them, decides he's not exactly broken-hearted either. He re-discovers the joys of bachelorhood, cavorting with Ernie's sexy playmates. As for poor Ernie, it's now up to him to run the business, which turns him into the same dull, inattentive husband that her first spouse had been. In the end, however, everything is put right.


Publicity photo of Frank Sinatra in Marriage on the Rocks


The film originally began under the title of Divorce American Style with Frank Sinatra personally selecting Deborah Kerr for the role of his wife. Cy Howard's original screenplay was deemed offensive and rewritten under the title Community Property over a period of four months, then given its final title. After a preview, Warner Bros cut out 14 minutes before its release to underwhelming reviews in September 1965. Nancy Sinatra was a last minute replacement for Mia Farrow.[2] The new title proved apt as during the filming Nancy Sinatra broke up with her husband Tommy Sands.

The Mexican Government was offended by the film's depiction of Mexico[3] and banned the film and other Sinatra films for what they regarded as a derogatory depiction of the nation.[4]

Shots of Dean Martin's actual house appeared in the film as did a Ford Mustang and a Ford Thunderbird customised by George Barris.[5]

65 Mustang customised by George Barris

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This figure consists of anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Big Rental Pictures of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 6
  2. ^ pp.146-147 Capua, Michelangelo Deborah Kerr: A Biography McFarland
  3. ^ p.129 Oliver, Mike Mike Oliver's Acapulco iUniverse
  4. ^ p.56 Zolov, Eric Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture University of California Press
  5. ^ p.119 Barris, George & Scagnetti, Jack Cars of the Stars Jonathan David Publishers, 1974

External links[edit]