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It's been a year since Bill Cardew was declared dead by drowning, and his widow Vicky is now married to his old friend and business partner, Henry Lowndes. When Bill unexpectedly returns from the island where he was marooned, what is Vicky to do? Well, having twice been a rather neglected wife, Vicky finds all the attention from two husbands competing for her favors delightful, and is in no hurry to make a decision...much to the discomfiture of hapless Bill and Henry. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The script was initially ruled too scandalous to produce by the MPAA, which cited the film's "apparent lack of any respect for the sanctity of marriage; its farcical treatment of the subject of bigamy; and its very frank and detailed discussion of the unsavory subject of divorce by collusion." It is unclear what changes to the script were made to satisfy the censorship board, but the revised version of the script finally received the MPAA's stamp of approval. See more »
Though one might suspect "Too Many Husbands" as being in the same vein as "My Favorite Wife," it's actually based on a Somerset Maugham play. The stars of this 1940 film are Jean Arthur, Melvyn Douglas, Fred MacMurray and Harry Davenport. After her first husband, Bill Cardew (MacMurray) was lost at sea, his grieving, lonely widow Vicky marries his friend and business partner, Henry Lowndes (Douglas) six months later. Boy is she surprised when Bill shows up alive. So is her new husband and her father (Davenport). It then falls to the confused Vicky to decide which husband she wants.
This is a very amusing comedy with terrific performances from all the stars. Melvyn Douglas, one of the truly great American actors, had to do this type of film until he finally reached old age and could show the world how sensational he was. He's very funny, his voice cracking when he's upset. The men act like quarreling children, playing games of oneupmanship and chasing Vicky everywhere. Seeing the frilly guest room, Bill questions Henry's effeminate taste. "What's this fabric?" Bill asks, holding up a piece of curtain. "DOTTED SWISS!" Henry yells in a booming voice. In another scene, Bill impresses Vicky by jumping over furniture, causing Henry to give it a try. He falls flat on his face. Arthur does an excellent job as a somewhat dizzy woman who loves both men, and Davenport is a riot as her sober-faced, worried father. MacMurray has always seemed bland to me, but he holds his own as the returning husband who's been stranded on an island for a year.
Much better than I thought it would be, and Arthur fans will love it.
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