In Name Only (1939)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  18 August 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,766 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 15 critic

While out riding in the country, wealthy New Yorker Alec Walker meets young widow Julie Eden, and a relationship quickly develops. However, Alec has not told her that he is already locked ... See full summary »



(screen play), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Maida Walker
Mr. Walker
Helen Vinson ...
Katharine Alexander ...
Jonathan Hale ...
Dr. Gateson
Mrs. Walker
Alan Baxter ...
Maurice Moscovitch ...
Dr. Muller (as Maurice Moscovich)
Spencer Charters ...


While out riding in the country, wealthy New Yorker Alec Walker meets young widow Julie Eden, and a relationship quickly develops. However, Alec has not told her that he is already locked into a loveless marriage to the avaricious Maida, who has contrived to convince his parents she is the ideal wife. A completely coincidental car crash alerts the two women to each other's existence, a situation to which they react very differently. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

18 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Kind Men Marry  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 11, 1939 with Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Kay Francis reprising their film roles. See more »


When Alec is found in the hotel room unconscious, a doctor is called. The doctor opens the knot on his tie and unbuttons his shirt for examination. The next scene Alec's shirt and tie are back to buttoned and tied. See more »


Alec Walker: [after being asked who was on the phone] I haven't the remotest notion. She calls me up every now and then and we talk. I call her my telephone dream girl. It's practically weird.
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Featured in Kisses (1991) See more »


Joy To The World
Music attributed to George Frideric Handel
Words by Isaac Watts (1719)
Played and Sung on a radio on Christmas day
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A forgotten classic
20 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A top-notch tearjerker, IN NAME ONLY is a surprising frank and realistic study of the dissolution of marriage and relationships. Carole Lombard and Cary Grant, both of whom were best known to audiences of the day for light romantic comedies, are fantastic in roles that are far removed from their typical fare. Grant continues to successfully stretch the contours of his on-screen persona (a process that begin with 1939's ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS), and Lombard has seldom been as beautifully self-effacing as she is in this film. The commanding Kay Francis literally owns the role of Grant's bitchy wife, and her perfectly calculated performances manages to radiate with the appropriate menace without falling into one-dimensional parody (which is not an easy feat).

The film feels unique in both structure and tone when compared to other movies from the same era. The first-third of the picture almost feels like the set up for a screwball comedy, but film then takes several unexpected turns before launching into a dark and haunting third act. This structure is highly unusual for a studio film of this era, as is the somewhat gloomy approach to the material, but it all works thanks to director John Cromwell and his amazing cast. The film was not highly regarded among critics nor most audiences when originally released, but the reputation of IN NAME ONLY has gained additional luster over the decades and is now considered to be somewhat of lost gem by many film fans.

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