6.2/10
87
5 user 3 critic

Don't Tell the Wife (1937)

Approved | | Comedy | 5 March 1937 (USA)
A seasoned con artist and his associates discover that their scheme to get rich by selling stock in a worthless gold mine is fraught with obstacles.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
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Nancy Dorsey
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Steven A. 'Steve' Dorsey
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Major Manning
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Lazarus Hubert Gregory 'Cupid' Dougal (as Guinn Williams)
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Insp. Mallory
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Larry 'Horace' Tucker
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Ann 'Annie' Howell
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Mike Callahan
...
Warden
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Salesman Hagar
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Sam Taylor (as Cy Jenks)
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Storyline

Arch schemer Major Manning is fresh from prison but eager to hatch another "deal". He concocts a plan with his associates to sell stock in a worthless gold mine and skip with the profits. But first they need to establish the proper front. With money they borrow from Steve's wife--who thinks the money is being used to start a legitimate business--they rent a posh office, hire seasoned telemarketers to make the pitch and convince a dim newspaper columnist to lend the organization his prestigious-sounding name. The stocks sell like hotcakes and things look rosey for the boys. But when the little woman starts asking Steve too many questions; and when the rube fronting the company decides to take his job seriously; and when a customer complains to the authorities, prompting a detective to start nosing around the office--things begins to unravel for the Major. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

5 March 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Once Over Lightly  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Great Cast but No Laughs
1 May 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Don't Tell the Wife (1937)

** (out of 4)

An all-star cast of character actors are wasted in this rather flat comedy. A con man gets released from prison and decides to head back into the stock fraud racket but his ex-partner is now married and his wife (Una Merkel) refuses to let him "invest" any money unless they can show proof that this new business deal is legit. They hire a dimwitted magazine writer (Guy Kibbee) to pretend to be a wizard at stocks but he ends up causing more trouble than anything. DON'T TELL THE WIFE has a decent idea but sadly it never comes together due in large part to some poor pacing from director Christy Cabanne but also a very weak screenplay that frankly just doesn't contain anything funny. It's a real shame that the screenplay is so disappointing because we're treated to a very good cast. Kibbee really can't add too much to the film as he's playing the same type of dimwitted character that he had countless times by this point in his career. The actor is always charming to watch but his character is really letdown by the script. Merkel is also wasted in her supporting role as is Lynne Overman as her husband and Thurston Hall as the con man. Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams plays his typical dumb thug and we also get Lucille Ball in a small part as well as Hattie McDaniel in a brief bit and we also have Wilfred Lucas in a very brief bit. DON'T TELL THE WIFE remains mildly entertaining thanks to the wonderful cast but there's just no getting around the fact that for a comedy there just aren't any laughs.


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