Down 10,431 this week

The Lady Is Willing (1942)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  12 February 1942 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 392 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 2 critic

In order to adopt an abandoned baby, an actress arranges a marriage of convenience with a doctor.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1217 titles
created 28 Jan 2012
a list of 727 titles
created 27 Mar 2013
a list of 37 titles
created 29 Jun 2013
a list of 387 titles
created 07 Sep 2013
a list of 139 titles
created 27 Sep 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Lady Is Willing (1942)

The Lady Is Willing (1942) on IMDb 6.3/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Lady Is Willing.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Jigsaw (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

New York Assistant District Attorney Howard Malloy investigates a series of murders and uncovers an extremist group.

Director: Fletcher Markle
Stars: Franchot Tone, Jean Wallace, Myron McCormick
Blonde Venus (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A loafer and a manicurist, both planning to marry money, meet and form an uneasy alliance.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund
Morocco (1930)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A cabaret singer and a Legionnaire fall in love, but their relationship is complicated by the results of his womanizing and due to the appearance of a rich man who wants her for himself.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Menjou
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Ginger Rogers, "Allure" magazines editor-in-chief, suffers from headaches and continuos daydreams and undergoes psychoanalysis to determine why.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland, Warner Baxter
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Many passengers on the Shanghai Express are more concerned that the notorious Shanghai Lil is on board than the fact that a civil war is going on that may make the trip take more than three... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
Certificate: Passed Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In Panama, Maggie King meets soldier Skid Johnson on his last day in the army and reluctantly agrees to a date to celebrate. The two become involved in a nightclub brawl which causes Maggie... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, Charles Butterworth
Pushover (1954)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A larcenous undercover cop falls for the beautiful moll of a bank robber on the run and together they double-cross the hood nd the cops.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Kim Novak, Philip Carey
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An ex-GI wants to open a mink farm in Wisconsin; but is mistaken for a look-alike, a gambler who owes a lot of money.

Director: Leslie Fenton
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Marguerite Chapman, Akim Tamiroff
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Steamboat inventor Robert Fulton shows up in New York in 1807. Tavern keeper believes in him, but her boyfriend doesn't. All seems lost when sailors afraid of losing their jobs burn his boat.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Alice Faye, Fred MacMurray, Richard Greene


Complete credited cast:
Elizabeth 'Liza' Madden
Dr. Corey T. McBain
Aline MacMahon ...
Stanley Ridges ...
Kenneth Hanline
Arline Judge ...
Roger Clark ...
Marietta Canty ...
Mary Lou
David James ...
Baby Corey
Ruth Ford ...
Myrtle Glossamer
Harvey Stephens ...
Dr. Golding
Harry Shannon ...
Detective Sergeant Barnes
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Cummings
K.K. Miller
Murray Alper ...
Joe Quig
Kitty Kelly ...
Nellie Quig


Bold, eccentric Broadway performer Liza Madden befuddles her handlers by coming home with a baby she picked up on the street. She wants to keep the baby but has to find a husband to make adoption viable. Why not her new obstetrician Dr. McBain? She offers him help with his research on rabbits in exchange for marriage - and he accepts. The mismatched pair begin a marriage of convenience... Written by Gary Jackson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When she adopted a dimpled darling she had to find a dizzy take for a ride on the wildest merry-go-round of laughter that ever made you roar your breath away! (original Herald) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Madame veut un bébé  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Early in the shooting, Marlene Dietrich tripped while carrying child-actor David James. She twisted her body to save the baby from striking the floor, but severely injured her right ankle in a fall, and her entire right leg had to be placed in a cast. That's why in this film she is always shown in full-length outfits (gowns, slacks, etc.) and just one shot of her unclothed leg is seen, and that is in shadow. See more »


After the date, when at home(at about 01:00:30), the glass and the bottle of milk exchange places in Fred MacMurray's hands when going to the baby's room from the kitchen. See more »


Kenneth Hanline: I'd do anything for you. I'll write notes for you, I'll defraud managers for you, I'll steal babies for you. I'll do anything for you, but I won't marry you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's title appears on a billboard; and the opening credits are printed in a theatrical program. See more »


References Hellzapoppin' (1941) See more »


I Find Love
Written by Jack King and Gordon Clifford
Sung by Marlene Dietrich (dubbed by Virginia Rees) and unidentified baritone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Mad Miss Madden
25 December 2012 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE LADY IS WAITING (Columbia, 1942), under the direction of Mitchell Leisen, pairs Marlene Dietrich (on loan from Universal) and Fred MacMurray (from Paramount) for the only time. Nearly forgotten, and bearing no relation to the 1934 British-made movie of the same name starring Leslie Howard, the film itself offers the diverse Dietrich an opportunity to perform in light comedy far removed from the type of characters she's played during her early Paramount years (1930-1935), especially those under the stern direction of Josef Von Sternberg or those re-inventive offerings from Universal (1939-42) that all began with the classic western, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939). For MacMurray, it's another range for his talent playing a no-nonsense pediatrician who happens to detest babies, yet the same actor who made fathering his career in later years, especially the long running TV series, "My Three Sons" (1960-72).

As the opening credits present itself through passages taken from a theater program guide, the story introduces Elizabeth "Liza" Madden (Marlene Dietrich), a celebrated New York entertainer leaving the stage door entrance and approached by awaiting fans wanting her autograph. Minutes later, she's seen returning to her luxurious East 85th Street apartment holding a baby (David James) she found abandoned in a 47th street rooming house, much to the astonishment of her personal secretary, Buddy (Aline MacMahon), and Kenneth Harling (Stanley Ridges), her business representative. Since the infant is dressed in pink, and taking it for granted to be a girl, she names her Joanna. Elizabeth learns different after notifying Doctor Corey T. McBain (Fred MacMurray), a baby doctor, who, following an examination, tells her it's a boy. Re-naming him Corey, Elizabeth goes through whatever channels she could to adopt the infant. While Mrs. Cummings (Elisabeth Risdon) of the child welfare department agrees on letting her keep the baby until she can further look into the matter regarding its parents, in the meantime, Liza must also prove herself solvent and married. Choosing McBain as her marriage of convenience husband, she readily relocates herself into a larger apartment so McBain, having given up his practice, could have enough room for his experiments studying the blood stream of rabbits for his cure for pneumonia, and Little Corey, called "Butch" by the McBain, to have his very own nursery. As these two strangers slowly grow fond of one another, situations occur as Liza encounters Frances (Arline Judge), McBain's fortune hunting ex-wife living in the same building, and the arrival of the baby's parents (Murray Alper and Kitty Kelly) and their lawyer (Charles Lane) who, seeing how the lady is willing, agree in letting Liza keep the child for $25,000.

Although simply a movie more for amusement than logic, it's sometimes hard accepting the Dietrich character being so naive. It's a wonder she wasn't arrested for taking the infant without learning the circumstances of its abandonment. Possibly the screenplay should have gone through the cliché channels of having her suddenly acquiring the infant from a recently deceased relative or close friend of the theater. Either way would have proved more acceptable for the viewer. Though Dietrich had already played a mother earlier in BLONDE VENUS (Paramount, 1932), parenting was nothing new to her at this point. Her Elizabeth Madden, portrayed as a little eccentric and at one point advised to see a psychiatrist, may be a little out of her character range, though being a musical comedy star fits Dietrich to perfection. Similar circumstances for a woman like Dietrich being past 40 would have been better suited for an actress in the younger age range as Lana Turner or a Rita Hayworth. Dietrich's stubbornness and fiery temper, however, comes as a reminder of Mexican spitfire Lupe Velez. She gets some laughs in her favor as being one with a reputation for wearing screwy hats, though she's a fashion model here through her assortment of fur coats and jewelry.

Taken from an original story by John Edward Grant, areas of THE LADY IS WILLING seems to have been inspired by the witty comedy of BACHELOR MOTHER (RKO Radio, 1939) starring Ginger Rogers as a department store worker who takes in a baby found on a doorstep. With BACHELOR MOTHER being straightforward comedy, THE LADY IS WILLING is a mild blend of comedy-drama. Though the comedy angle is much more preferable, the dramatic portion is fortunately handled well without becoming disastrous. Two staged interludes to a song, "I Find Love" (by Jack King and Gordon Clifford) sung by Dietrich, are showcased, with Roger Clark acting as her dancing partner. Others members of the cast include: Marietta Canty (Mary Lou, the maid); Ruth Ford (Myrtle Gusselman, a Swedish maid actually from the Bronx); Eddie Acuff (Officer Murphy); Harry Shannon (Detective Sergeant Barnes); and Harvey Stephens (Doctor Golding). Though some sources credit Sterling Holloway in the movie as Arthur Miggle, his scenes are not visible in the final print.

Distributed to home video in 1994, THE LADY IS WILLING has turned up occasionally on TV Turner Classic Movies cable channel since August 9, 2008. Though an unlikely pair, the contrasting screen personalities of Dietrich and MacMurray do compliment each other, surely making this overlooked comedy, whenever shown on TV, a pleasing 90 minute experience for any classic movie lover. (***)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sorry, I hated it.. rayincumbria
Discuss The Lady Is Willing (1942) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: