MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,343 this week

My Favorite Wife (1940)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  17 May 1940 (USA)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 5,944 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 27 critic

Missing for seven years and presumed dead, a woman returns home on the day of her husband's second marriage.

Director:

Writers:

(original story), (original story), 6 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


Related News

Director Robert Wise Dies at 91
| IMDb News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 31 titles
created 15 Sep 2010
 
a list of 38 titles
created 29 Dec 2011
 
a list of 44 titles
created 17 Feb 2013
 
MP
a list of 30 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 47 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: My Favorite Wife (1940)

My Favorite Wife (1940) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of My Favorite Wife.

User Polls

Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A high school girl falls for a playboy artist with screwball results.

Director: Irving Reis
Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A couple's big dreams give way to a life full of unexpected sadness and unexpected joy.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Beulah Bondi
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas
Dream Wife (1953)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Clemson Reade, a business tycoon with marriage on his mind, and Effie, a U.S. diplomat, are a modern couple. Unfortunately there seems to be too much business and not enough pleasure on the... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Sheldon
Stars: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Walter Pidgeon
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In pre-WW2 Europe, a woman notices that wherever her husband goes, the Nazis seem to follow. Meanwhile, a charming reporter is following them...

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Walter Slezak
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An escaped prisoner and a stuffy law professor vie for the hand of a spirited schoolteacher.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Anabel Sims is determined to find the perfect husband. She thinks she's found her man in Madison Brown, a handsome pediatrician. She then prepares an elaborate scheme to trap him into marriage.

Director: Don Hartman
Stars: Cary Grant, Betsy Drake, Franchot Tone
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard "Baby."

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three years into their loving marriage with two infant daughters at home in Los Angeles, Nicholas Arden and Ellen Wagstaff Arden are on a plane that goes down in the South Pacific. Although... See full summary »

Director: Michael Gordon
Stars: Doris Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Gail Patrick ...
Ann Shoemaker ...
Ma
Scotty Beckett ...
Tim
Mary Lou Harrington ...
Chinch
Donald MacBride ...
Hotel Clerk
Hugh O'Connell ...
Johnson
Granville Bates ...
Judge
Pedro de Cordoba ...
Edit

Storyline

Ellen Arden arrives 7 years after being given up for dead in a shipwreck, to find her husband Nick just remarried to Bianca. The overjoyed Nick awkwardly tries to break the news gently to Bianca. But before he can do that, an unpleasant surprise--news that Ellen has spent the 7 years on a deserted island with fellow-survivor Burkett. Nick's jealousy tries to find out the truth. Hilarious confusion reigns before Nick chooses his favorite wife. Written by Riaz Shaikh <cisrfsx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The funniest, fastest honeymoon ever screened!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Meine liebste Frau  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 7, 1950 with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

When Nick first tries to sleep in the bed in the attic of the cabin, he pulls a toy cannon from under the bed and throws it across the room. When he does this, the doll on the night stand falls over. You can see the trip wire swinging behind Nick. In fact, the pin at the end of the wire lands on Nick's head. See more »

Quotes

Nick Arden: Do you ride in cabs or do you just trot alongside?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Rather than the usual "The End" title at the end, there is a "Good Night". See more »

Connections

Featured in American Masters: Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Played as part of the score when Cary Grant dons his Santa Claus costume
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Shakespearian masterpiece of farce.
25 July 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

Garson Kanin's best films are so bright, fast and funny, and have been plundered by so many pallid, feel-good imitators, that it's easy to overlook how courageously critical they can be, of prevailing social norms, for instance, what society takes to be normal - 'natural' - about crucial concepts like family, gender, marriage etc. In 'My Favorite wife', Kanin takes the idea that a particular social order is natural, and tears it apart, by putting civilisation on one side, nature on the other, and revealing that there's nothing remotely natural about civilisation, or our places in it; that these things are man-made, and so can be questioned, negotiated, even changed by man (or, as is more usual in Kanin's world, woman).

'Wife' opens with an elaborate sequence showing the structure of civilisation at work in its most intrinsic form - the legal system. The hero is a lawyer, and is trying to declare his missing first wife dead so he can marry another. There are a few things we notice here: the judge is hilarious, a cantankerous old buffer, testy, capricious, and not at all rigorous, or even knowledgeable in his application of laws which, after all, structure people's lives, and which, we learn, are constantly overturned by the Court of Appeals, so that something that should be inviolable is shown to be provisional. there is room for manoeuvre, but there is also room for corruption.

More important for Kanin's purposes are two incidental details. The wife has been missing for seven years, a fairy-tale or mythical number in a site of legal process, undermining its claims to ultimate, 'official' reality. The hero's name is Arden, which might remind us of Shakespeare's Forest ('As you like it'), and the spirit of play that will inform the film, with people assuming and discarding roles, putting on costumes, using props, putting on 'plays' or performances to deceive, enlighten or outmanoeuvre others.

On one level, this warns us against accepting appearances in a civilised world that depends on appearances (all the talk about respectability); on another, it shows that certain roles - like being a mother, or husband - aren't God-given, but roles which have to be constantly rehearsed and refined. Play can be subversive - the way Ellen Arden dresses up as a man, breaks up a marriage, or tries to conceal a possible adultery - but it is also seen as a necessary process of socialisation: the children learn to imitate their parents, as they theatrically make their lost mother 'perform' her confession. They learn that society is fluid, not fixed; they also learn to lie. (the hero winds up in an Attic (as in Greek comedy), but that might be taking the analogy to far!)

Hitchcock once said that he often used Cary Grant because he wanted to work against his established image. But the figure of masculine immaturity and insecurity so richly realised in Roger O Thornhill ('North by Northwest') is already fully-formed here in a 'hero' who jumps at any chance to avoid making difficult decisions. Kanin, like Hitchcock later, makes brilliant, ironic use of Grant's most famous previous roles: 'Topper', another story about a professional flustered by a 'ghost'; and, especially, 'Bringing up baby', not just in the comically ghastly leopardskin bathrobe his second wife buys him, but in the animal imagery used throughout (kids going to the zoo; Steve as Tarzan etc.), contrasting with his civilised world that is making him desperately unhappy, his identity and masculine certainty fragmenting. (knowledge that Grant used to live with Randolph Scott adds further comic potency to their scenes)

This conflict between Nick's civilisation and the 'natural' order is typically complicated - Nick clearly married Bianca for her sexual prowess; Ellen and Nick are compatible because of their intellectual superiority to everyone else (which gives a streak of cruelty to their games, and makes one feel genuinely sorry for BIanca).

'Wife' is a masterpiece of farce, of shared rooms, opening and shutting doors, frustrated sexuality, mixed identities - but what makes it a true classic are the flashes of whimsy - the Steve diving sequence that results in some the most bizarre, incongruous, and sidesplittingly funny visions ever seen on film.


12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Wow am I out of the mainstream schwapj
Definitely a chick flick ashmedan
Cary and Randolph's Rings christine_lynn_chilton
Isn't Irene Dunne just gorgeous in this movie? ladylavende
Really funny movie? I think so! Friesen_471
role reversal? dgave
Discuss My Favorite Wife (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?