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US multi-millionaire Michael Barndon marries his eight wife, Nicole, the daughter of a broken French Marquis. But she doesn't want to be only a number in the row of his ex-wives and starts her own strategy to "tame" him. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Years before pre-nuptial agreements became a regular thing, Ernest Lubitsch made a screen comedy on which they are the basis. Bluebeard's Eighth Wife involves Gary Cooper as a multi-millionaire living on the French Riviera who's been married seven times and now marries Claudette Colbert for number eight. But Cooper's a good sport about it, he always settles with his ex-wives for a $50,000.00 a year as per an agreement they sign before marrying him. Sounds like what we now call a pre-nuptial agreement.
Of course Claudette wants a lot more than that and she feels Cooper takes an entirely too business like approach to marriage. She'd like the real deal and is willing to go some considerable lengths to get it.
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife has some really funny moments, the original meeting of Cooper and Colbert in a men's store where Cooper is insisting he wants only pajama tops and Colbert looking for only bottoms. And of course my favorite is Colbert trailing and blackmailing the detective Cooper sends to spy on her. Herman Bing has the best supporting role in the film as that selfsame, flustered detective.
I've often wondered how back in the day Hollywood could get away with casting so many people who are non-French in a film like this. Of course Cooper is an American and Colbert of the cast is the only one actually of French background. Though David Niven is charming as always, having him be a Frenchman is ludicrous, he is sooooooo British.
Nevertheless Bluebeard's Eighth Wife is an enjoyable film and a great example of what was called 'the Lubitsch touch' back in the day.
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