We're Not Married! (1952) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
24 Reviews
Sort by:
bensonj17 November 2001
The chief virtue of this film is the marvelous casting, which could hardly be better. And there's a pleasing variety to the episodes. That said, the edge to the writing and direction is definitely not as keen as one would like. To give just one example of the problem: A letter is sent to each couple, telling them that, through a technicality, they're not really married. In the opening sequence, we hear the letter dictated. At the appropriate point in each installment, the letter is introduced with a special musical theme, and the reader of the letter reacts appropriately. But then, each time, just to make the point completely clear, we are shown a close-up of the identically worded letter. Another example: Paul Douglas dreams of dates with beautiful girls, AND DREAMS, AND DREAMS... Also, though one suspects that Fred Allen had a hand in the writing of his sequence--a parody of radio breakfast couples--here, too, the satire is a little too obvious, their banter being merely a string of not especially clever product plugs (one of them having the miracle ingredient, chicken fat).

Calhern rises above the heavily ironic divorce-lawyer skit, and James Gleason gives one of his finest performances as a hick hustler promoting Marilyn Monroe in a fledgling Mrs. America contest. Had the rest of the film been as sharp as Gleason's well written and well performed characterization, it could have been a classic. The final sequence is the most successful, because of the fine, unaffected performances of Gaynor and Bracken (particularly the latter) and probably also because Goulding was most at home with this simple romance. A point of interest in the film as a whole is how much attitudes about marriage have changed since the film was made.

AMC has shown an amusing deleted sequence with Walter Brennan in its HIDDEN HOLLYWOOD series.
19 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Too gloomy, but two of the five stories hit the mark
Richard Burin11 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
We're Not Married (Edmund Goulding, 1952) is a series of star-studded short stories that's at its best when it's being sweet - not cynical. While its structure recalls If I Had a Million, which gave each of its main characters $1m to spank on the ventures of their choice, the story is reminiscent of Hitchcock's impressively tedious screwball comedy, Mr and Mrs Smith. Victor Moore sets the plot in motion as an over-eager, though slow-speaking, justice of the peace who starts marrying people before his licence permits. When the error is uncovered a couple of years later, five marriages are struck out, with the explanatory letters arriving at some critical juncture, giving the couples the chance to stick or twist.

As with perhaps my favourite anthology, Night on Earth, we start with the weakest story. The 'Glad Gladwyns', radio DJs Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers, are luvvy-duvvy on the air, bicker in the office and don't speak at home. Their story is mostly predictable and mostly miserable, stuffed with those leaden barbs that cinema enjoyed aiming at its rival medium during this period (see also: A Letter to Three Wives, It's Always Fair Weather) - including a string of audio adverts that seem to go on forever. Hmm. Anyway, onwards and upwards... The second chapter compensates by being pretty darn great: if you can imagine a good version of Lady Godiva Rides Again, made in America and lasting about 10 minutes - then it's like that. Marilyn Monroe is the reigning Mrs Mississippi, gunning for the regional beauty queen crown until she gets that letter, rendering her ineligible. David Wayne is in good form as her stay-at-home husband, changing nappies and avoiding sarky remarks from the postman until his trump card arrives. There are a couple of fantastic jokes in this one, which has a modern sense of humour along with its very '50s trappings, and buzzes with an energy most of the other segments don't possess.

Paul Douglas and Eve Arden are the next couple: again we're on slightly bleak ground, with the husband's motive for staying put leaving a sour taste - quite aside from not being that funny. Better, if no less cheery, is part four, in which multi-millionaire Louis Calhern is given the run-around by canny 'wife' Zsa Zsa Gabor, only to find a most unexpected escape route. The scene in which Calhern is framed by his partner's cohorts is funny, but we're ultimately asked to root for a bland if trusting financial weasel who's put a third of his money in secret accounts. Admittedly his wife is even more objectionable than he is. Happily, the movie saves its best for last, with a comic and moving segment reminiscent of star Eddie Bracken's collaborations with Preston Sturges - if lacking the touch of genius associated with that director. Bracken plays a soldier who's about to sail for overseas when he finds out that the baby he's expecting is going to be born out of wedlock. So he calls for his girl to join him and goes AWOL, dodging the Military Police as he tries to get hitched. It's madcap, in an agreeable way, with Bracken ideally cast as the eternally unlucky, put-upon little guy trying to do the right thing. There's also a small part for Lee Marvin, playing Bracken's army buddy. Finally, we get a brief coda giving a delayed wrap-up to the Rogers-Allen sequence that possesses more charm than the whole of the earlier chapter, and providing a fitting finale for Douglas and Arden. It's not a great film, but two of the five segments work really well and there's enough star power for the others to just about skirt by.
11 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
We're Not Married-Better to Elope After this One **1/2
edwagreen28 July 2007
Victor Moore, as a justice of the peace, who didn't realize that his authority to marry people didn't start until January 1. Therefore, all people he had previously married prior to this date were determined not to be married legally and were notified accordingly.

Here is where the fun begins. As would be the case in comedies, many of the couples don't have the best of marriages and some might use this as an excuse to exit from the scene.

The most hilarious of the group is the marriage between Zsa Zsa Gabor and Louis Calhern. She tries to get him involved with a hooker so that she can divorce him and under California law qualify for millions due to that state's laws. Does he turn the tables on her when it's determined that they're not married!

Marilyn Monroe has a bring fling as a beauty contestant in a Mrs. contest. When she wins, she is naturally ineligible as she and David Wayne aren't legally wed. Wayne uses this to his advantage to get Marilyn to stay home and take care of their youngster instead.

Thanks to the snafu, Eddie Bracken has married Mitzi Gaynor who finds herself pregnant as Bracken receives the news of their illegal marriage while being shipped off in the army. How the 2 manage to wed to provide the legitimacy cover for the baby is quite amusing.

Paul Douglas dreams of what the single life could be when he finds out that he is not wed to Eve Arden. Surprisingly, Arden is much restrained here. Amazing that her comic gifts were not utilized.

Fred Allen is awfully good along with his talk-show host wife Ginger Rogers, who battle off-air while fooling the public on their morning radio show. Isn't this a take-off of Dorothy Kilgallen and her husband Dick Kalmar?

A pleasant film. Before you wed, view the credentials of the person marrying you!
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fred & Ginger! (That Ginger, but not THAT Fred)
MCL11506 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Fred Allen, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, David Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Eve Arden, Mitzi Gaynor, Eddie Braken, Paul Douglas, Jane Darnell, James Gleason, Paul Stewart AND Zsa Zsa Gabor! Now that's MY idea of an all-star cast! Yes, "We're Not Married" is a light comedy for sure, but an enjoyable one. I for one got a kick out of the scene in which Zsa Zsa is raking her husband over the coals in a divorce settlement only to find out that she's not actually married! Call it art half imitating life! For anyone who loves films from the 30s,40s and 50s, this is a minor gem that should be seen at least once. I had thought I'd seen every movie that I'd ever enjoy at least once, so this came as a very welcome surprise. I just saw it on AMC which meant lots of commercial stops, so look for it on the Fox Movie Channel.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Five couples learn they're not legal
blanche-226 March 2009
Back in the '50s, a common sitcom episode was the married couple finding out that they're not legally married.

"We're Not Married," a 1952 film, has five such couples, including Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne, Eve Arden and Paul Douglas, Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor, and Louis Calhern and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

There were several episodic, anthology-type films from this period. "We're Not Married" deals with five very different couples and what the notice of non-marriage means to each couple. There's a wealthy man (Calhern) married to a gold digger (Gabor), a bickering husband and wife radio couple (Allen and Rogers), a couple in a slump (Paul Douglas and Eve Arden), an ambitious young woman and her husband (Monroe and Wayne) etc.

The best is the Calhern-Gabor, and Allen and Rogers make a good team and give bright performances. There are some funny sequences throughout.

Mores have changed a lot since this film, but it makes for pleasant watching with good direction by Edmund Goulding.
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Big Radios, Beauty Pageants, and a War in Korea
dougdoepke5 April 2009
It's a clever premise, but the results have dated rather badly. Unfortunately, the comedy level never reaches the sparkle it needs, though the opening vignette (Rogers and Allen) comes close. Perhaps that's not surprising given Director Goulding's credits, which suggest he's more at home with Bette Davis melodrama than with material of this sort. Also, I'm surprised a big-budget studio like Fox didn't film this in Technicolor, which would have added a lot to the atmospherics. Instead, we get dour gray tones that undercut the light-hearted mood, making the movie look older than it is. But then, 1952 was a year Hollywood was looking to retool in the face of TV's onslaught. The following year would see an explosion of wide- screen color beyond the reach of the livingroom tube. As a result, this comedy venture may have been caught in the transition.

To me, the Allen-Rogers sequence is the best. It's actually a rather scathing look at entertainment make-believe and the relentless assault of commercial advertising. In private life the two are barely speaking, while on radio they play a pair of happy marrieds who trade comic barbs in between pushing the sponsors' goofy products. It's rather deftly and bitingly done, even though the 57-year old Allen looks like he's been on a two-week bender. In passing—note that even though we see a number of living rooms, no TV's are in sight, only radios! This was Hollywood in its final stage of denial.

The other vignettes are mildly entertaining, with a look at a number of performers on the way up the ladder-- Monroe, Marvin, Wayne, Gaynor. Especially satisfying is the delicious opportunity the letter provides Calhern to turn the tables on the gold-digging Gabor and her grasping attorney. At least the screenplay had the good sense not to reconcile these two at the end. But notice how the script insists the others be reconciled in typical 50's happy ending style. This certainly rings hollow in the case of the feuding Allen-Rogers. Given a second chance, it's hard to see how they could possibly stay together. In the case of Douglas-Arden, the most incisive of the vignettes, they may be totally bored with one another (check the dinner scene), but are too complaisant to actually change. That strikes me as maybe not the funniest, but at least as the most realistic of the episodes.

Anyway, whatever the comedy lacks in sparkle, it is revealing of its time—radio, beauty pageants, war in Korea (implied in Bracken's troop ship). But I'm afraid that the clever premise plays better than the mild results.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Classic but entertaining cornball fluff
caa8214 April 2007
A previous person described this film as "fluff." This is a perfect word to describe it, and should contain a capital "F."

But it's also entertaining and interesting. It has a host of 1930's and 1940's actors (and some pre-dating talking pictures), as well "youngsters," Mitzi Gaynor, Marilyn Monroe and Lee Marvin (latter in an uncredited bit part).

The premise is pristine, and the "plot" revolves in a silly fashion around the supposed customs of that period, with people scurrying about with issues which wouldn't warrant any dramatic presentation today.

The thin plot involves several couples whose marriages were ruled invalid by the governor, since they were married by a justice-of-the-peace, near the end of the year sometime back, with his certification not valid until the following January 1st.

Rogers and Allen are a pair with a morning "couples" radio program (seemingly consisting of nothing but sponsor plugs and inane "nasty-nice" banter), with a sham marriage for purely economic purposes. Bracken and Gaynor are a young couple who need to be remarried before his army unit embarks, or else their expected child won't be legitimate, but (according to his sergeant) "a foul ball." Golddigger Gabor (not a stretch here) literally faints when the letter from the governor arrives at her wealthy husband's (Calhoun) office, while her lawyer is discussing her plundering his assets during a divorce settlement (precipitated by a set-up when a fully-clothed impostor, who resembles a conservatively-dressed elementary teacher poses as his wife in a hotel room, for about three minutes, while her confederates note the incident).

Although released in 1952, this is strictly a "40's" flick. Even then, certainly the governor would simply have effected a special edict making these unions legitimate, and even if not, Gabor, however devious her purpose, would have been able to claim some sort of common-law entitlement, or rights under whatever passed for "palimony" then.

Still, it's now a nostalgic piece, with nearly all the thespians gone, except for a couple or so, including Zsa Zsa, now 90, plus however many years are still fudged from her birth date.
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
If Married Couples Had a Second Chance....
theowinthrop31 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In the early 1950s there were several episodic movies that came out of 20th Century Fox, two of which had early performances of Marilyn Monroe. The two were O'HENRY'S FULL HOUSE and this film, WE'RE NOT MARRIED! The O'Henry anthology had stories that were funny ("The Ransom of Red Chief") and stories that were moving ("The Gift of the Magi"), and stories that were tragic ("The Last Leaf"). But WE'RE NOT MARRIED! was pure comedy, and as such worked quite well.

It is based on an old plot ploy that turns up in other films, like Hitchcock's MR. AND MRS. SMITH. What happens to a married couple, after a couple of years of marriage, when they discover that there is a flaw in their marriage that invalidates it? Like MR. AND MRS. SMITH, the flaw here is the legality of the license...of the justice of the peace. And in WE'RE NOT MARRIED, the nice but bumbling justice of the peace is Victor Moore. Moore had gotten word that he was appointed to the job, and began marrying as soon as he got the letter. He did not notice that he was not to marry anyone until a particular date. As a result there are at least six couples that he married who are technically living in sin.

How do they handle the problem? In MR. AND MRS. SMITH, Robert Montgomery's attempt to dismiss it as a minor problem almost destroyed his marriage (as Carole Lombard wonders what kind of man he really is). Here the stories are able to look at the situation carefully. The results are far more cynical in three cases.

Louis Calhern, a millionaire, marries Zsa Zsa Gabor (a gold digger) who arranges to frame him so she can divorce him and get a bundle. Calhern, confused and not knowing what to do, gets the letter from Moore and suddenly realizes Gabor has no legal standing to do anything (this was long before the concept of "palimony"). Suddenly, to the consternation of her attorney (Paul Stewart) and Gabor, not only is Calhern cooperative, but he's positively full of information about hidden assets. At the very conclusion he drops the shoe on Zsa Zsa by giving her the letter as a personal message of a deep feeling for her. As he leaves the room we hear her faint.

Walter Brennan (in a section of the film that was cut originally but has been restored) is a backwoods Lothario who loves to charm Hope Emerson. Emerson is married with several kids (which Brennan knows about) but he keeps saying how he'd love to marry her if only she were free (Brennan does this because he really loves Emerson's cooking - charmed by him she is feeding his lying face). Then she gets the letter from Moore, and asks Brennan to read it (Hope can't read). Brennan realizes what it's about, and hastily lies about the contents, and says it is junk mail. Then he destroys it. Little does he realize, after that sequence ends, that Moore and his wife (Jane Darwell) are discussing the rural address and problems of delivery there, and decide to send a second copy just to be certain.

Paul Douglas is married to Eve Arden, but their marriage is in one of those rut periods. When he gets the letter, he starts imagining his new freedom, dating another good looking woman each night. Only at the end of this dream does he suddenly envision the cost of such a lifestyle (an expensive cost for 1952). At the end he decides to forget about the gorgeous women and look at how nice, peaceful, and stable that rut he's in really is.

There are also stories involving Mitzi Gaynor and Eddie Bracken, Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne, and (possibly best) Fred Allan and Ginger Rogers as a bickering couple who are like Dorothy Kilgallen and her husband Dick Kalmar on radio's "Breakfast With Dorothy and Dick". While not the greatest of film comedies, it's pretty consistently amusing in getting as much mileage out of the central plot ploy. Certainly worth watching and enjoying when it turns up on television.
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Clever Comedy But Probably Not Legally Accurate
dcjimd2 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a clever sketch comedy movie about what happens when a half dozen couples discover that they are not legally married. All of the sketches are amusing and one or two are hilarious and it stars some of the best character and up and coming actor and actresses that Hollywood had to offer at the time (Ginger Rogers, Louis Calhern, Marilyn Monroe, David Wayne, Eddie Bracken, Paul Douglas, Eve Arden, one of the Gabor sisters and many more).

However, as an attorney, I cannot help but mention that the technical legal flaw that in the movie causes the invalidation of these marriages (the fact that the Justice of the Peace's term of office did not actually start until a few days after the marriages were celebrated) probably would not actually matter at all. The law of most states states that if a couple goes through the legal forms of marriage in good faith and then lives and present themselves to the world as a married couple for a substantial period of time, they ARE married in the eyes of the law despite any minor technical quibbles to the contrary. In fact, in many places a couple that does not even bother to go through with a marriage ceremony but lives together and acts like a married couple can be considered legally man and wife (this is sometimes known as a "common law marriage.")

So much as I enjoyed seeing the greedy Gabor sister stymied when she tries to take Louis Calhern to the cleaners in their divorce settlement, I am afraid that under the community property law of California he would still be obliged to pay up. And Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor's characters need not be concerned about the status of their unborn child, there is no question under the law that the little tyke would be regarded as legitimate.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
How Many People Get A Do Over In Marriage?
bkoganbing19 October 2011
When Justice of the Peace Victor Moore learns that he jumped the gun in marrying traveling elopers passing through his state it causes great consternation in the lives of five random couples across the USA who discover that We're Not Married. In discussing the matter with the wife played by Jane Darwell he actually comes out with the clever notion that if these folks made a mistake they're getting a second chance at marriage without going through the pangs of divorce.

We're Not Married chronicles the lives of these five couples when they learn of the rush to marry mistake caused by Moore when he married them before his commission took effect. Usually the story that gets the most critical acclaim is the one involving Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers who play a nationally broadcast happily married radio couple. That's for public consumption actually these two bicker about everything. Screenwiter Nunnally Johnson was at his satiric best when he spoofed such radio personalities as Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenberg who did just that kind of broadcast perpetually hawking their sponsor's products.

The others are pretty good too. David Wayne and Marilyn Monroe have an unusual arrangement where she goes out and wins beauty contests and he stays home taking care of the kid. The non-marriage throws them for a while as she as just won the Mrs. Mississippi contest, but they make lemonade out of the lemon.

Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor have a more serious problem, he's a soldier with orders for Korea, she's in a family way. It takes quite a lot to get that situation resolved and not an entirely happy ending for Bracken.

The weakest episode by far is Paul Douglas and Eve Arden. I was surprised that Arden who usually gets some of the best lines in her films is strangely muted by the script. They play a couple who has settled into boredom and the episode was the most boring of the bunch.

But my favorite is Louis Calhern and Zsa Zsa Gabor. He's an oil millionaire with a gold digging wife who has a bottom feeding lawyer in Paul Stewart. What happens to Zsa Zsa and Stewart is classic.

The idea of a marriage suddenly not being legal was tried out in one of Alfred Hitchcock's few comedies Mr.&Mrs. Smith with Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard being the suddenly unmarried couple. We're Not Married increases the idea by a factor of five. I wouldn't say this film is five times better than Hitchcock's, but it's still very good and done by people more at home in the genre.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
WE'RE NOT MARRIED! (Edmund Goulding, 1952) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI12 December 2007
This is another early Marilyn Monroe picture; in this case, it's a compendium of stories involving a handful of marriages – presided over by reliable Victor Moore – which are discovered to have been illegal because his term of office hadn't yet officially started when the ceremony was performed! So, he's made to send each of these a letter explaining the awkward situation and, according to where they stand at that particular moment in their married life, see how they decide to act upon it. The couples are played by Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers, David Wayne and Marilyn Monroe, Paul Douglas and Eve Arden, Louis Calhern and Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor. The least episode is the one with Douglas and Arden, where the latter becomes suspicious of just what goes on during the former's business trips; the Calhern-Gabor episode is mildly interesting for having her turn out a schemer – planning to appropriate her husband's fortune with the help of shyster lawyer Paul Stewart…until he's saved by the propitious arrival of Moore's letter!; Wayne has a hard time adjusting because of Monroe's triumph in a "Mrs. Mississippi" contest – believing his troubles over when the marriage is revealed to have been null, his 'wife' promptly enrolls in a "Miss Mississippi" competition (which, naturally, she wins); Bracken is a soldier who goes AWOL in order to consolidate his wedding vows when it transpires that his child (whose birth is imminent) may be declared illegitimate – Lee Marvin appears briefly as Bracken's buddy in this, one of the two most satisfying episodes; the other is the one featuring constantly-bickering pair Rogers and Allen, which unbearable situation threatens to sink their early-morning radio show (where they're ironically billed as the ideal married couple)! Again, the film is handled with utmost professionalism – and is undeniably entertaining while it's on – but which now feels dated and undistinguished.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
pretty entertaining
Robert D. Ruplenas9 August 2000
This is a thoroughly entertaining little piece of fluff with a great comic premise and good performances from a fine cast. Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen, in particular, work wonderfully together as the bickering radio stars who must play a lovey-dovey couple on their morning show. It is too bad that Allen - who has such a wonderfully dry and cynical comic persona (sort of a Walter Matthau prototype) - didn't make more movies. This is a fun way to while away an hour and a half.
10 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A lot of fun--and I sure wish Hollywood had made more films like it.
MartinHafer9 February 2009
WE'RE NOT MARRIED was a terrific film--highly enjoyable and in a format very reminiscent of a great old film, IF I HAD A MILLION (1932). Both stories have many small stories that are all connected by a common theme. In MILLION, a variety of strangers are given a million dollars and the impact of this on their lives is explored. Here in WE'RE NOT MARRIED, the theme is that six marriages turn out NOT to be legal! It seems that the justice of the peace jumped the gun and married these couples just before his license took effect! You hear about the first case they discovered and then the rest of the film follows the remaining five couples. Most of the stories are comical and even the more serious ones still have a funny twist.

Each story is excellent, though probably the weakest of these is the one, unfortunately, that gets the most attention when you look up the title on IMDb. This is because it happens to co-star Marilyn Monroe. While she is just fine in the film, she really has little to do other than to look pretty and her role is one of the smaller ones in the film--so naturally publicity department guys plastered her all over posters and video cases!! In fact, no one star dominated in the film--it was truly a group effort. And, fortunately, none of the stories were poor and a few were simply terrific (especially the Louis Calhern/Zsa Zsa Gabor one as well as the Eddie Bracken/Mitzi Gaynor ones).

By the way, one of the other better skits has an interesting story. The Fred Allen/Ginger Rogers story is quite good, but Fred ALSO used this bit on the radio and made it a good bit funnier. Along with Tallulah Bankhead, Fred did the same sappy and commercial ridden bit on the radio. Then, he did the same bit again with Tallulah assuming the couple were having a really, really bad day. They slap the kid and call her names, they shoot the canary and have a thoroughly miserable morning. Having this story end this way in the film would have been great, but instead a more conventional ending was used. And by the way, I am NOT old enough to remember this radio bit--but I heard it on a record album a while back featuring great radio bits.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not bad, not bad
MtDewdependant6 July 2003
This was one of Marilyn's earliest films. It's a cute little movie and a must-see for Marilyn fans.

To me, the best part was at the end with Ava Gabor. That was hilarious.

If you're up for a good, light comedy, pop this one in one night, relax, & enjoy!
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
We're Not Married! makes a wonderful mix of comedy and drama concerning the way various couples react when they find out they're not legally wed
tavm27 June 2012
Just watched this on Netflix Streaming. In this one, Victor Moore plays a justice of the peace who presided over six weddings before his license to do so took effect. That means none of those couples are legally married. An explanation of one of them is provided in discussion so only five is seen as depicted on screen: Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers are the first we actually meet and see attempting to get hitched just before they start their morning radio show. They're the funniest as they argue just before airtime before then acting all lovey-dovey plugging various sponsors. Reminds me of an actual skit Allen did with Tallulah Bankhead on his actual radio show in which they also played a married couple on the air doing both the lovey and bickering version of their banter that I heard once on a long playing 33 1/3 rpm record back in the late '80s. The next segment has Marilyn Monroe as a Mrs. America contestant while hubby David Wayne is taking care of their baby and doing housework. Then there's Eve Arden and Paul Douglas as a slightly boring couple with Douglas doing a little fantasizing with other women when he gets his letter. The next one has Louis Calhern as a Dallas oil executive (talk about coincidence as this is my next review concerning original "Dallas" cast members in my movie/TV appearances list in chronological order though the cast member I'm referring to here was Wayne who was the first Digger Barnes there) who gets a divorce summons from Zsa Zsa Gabor (known for many such cases herself in her real-life future). And, finally, there's Eddie Bracken as an Army man who doesn't want his pregnant wife-Mitzi Gaynor-to birth an illegitimate child while he's away. Like I said, the first segment was the funniest with the Monroe/Wayne, Calhern/Gabor, and Arden/Douglas ones also providing some laughs but the most touching is the last one. By the way, it's fascinating seeing Lee Marvin in that one not playing a tough guy. In summary, We're Not Married is quite a good mix of various short stories put in one feature.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
We're living in sin
jarrodmcdonald-11 March 2014
Are you ready for it? Here it comes! Married folks learn their weddings were not exactly legal. Yes, it's true!

There are quite a few complications in this clever romp from 20th Century Fox. Screenwriter Nunnally Johnson has created a masterpiece and come up with a smart way to subvert the production code. In the story, he presents a vast array of characters that have received the benefit of marriage without actually having been hitched. In one couple's case, they already have a child!

At least most of the couples on screen want to stay married/get married again. Which is more than most of the couples who probably are watching this movie.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A very good movie!
rodrig5827 December 2017
Marilyn fails to steal the movie but she is very close (too small role in one of those 5 episodes). All the other actors are excellent and all the stories are exciting, true, like in real life and the the whole movie is a real moral lesson. A true delight in seeing so many precious stars, some of them smaller some of them bigger, such as Ginger Rogers, Mitzi Gaynor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Louis Calhern, Jane Darwell, Victor Moore, etc. They all have real charm, they are very talented, they are natural, credible. Very entertaining!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Common Law Marriage
dsmith606814 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The section with Louis Calhern getting out of nasty divorce with gold digger Zsa Zsa Gabor due to the letter stating they weren't married was great, but probably doesn't work. I believe they lived in Dallas Texas which was and is a common law state. In Texas a common law marriage can be created if a couple meets a three-prong test showing evidence of all of the following:

-first, an agreement to be married;

-after such agreement, cohabitation within the State of Texas; and

-after such agreement, representation to others (within the State of Texas) that the parties are married.

So they were probably legally married.

Rich people beware, always get a prenuptial agreement which existed (under different names) even when this movie was made
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Mulligan Marriage
thejcowboy2217 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What a premise for a movie. Five separate novellas a bit dated for the contemporary viewer but I watched this movie twice and second impressions did some justice to this film. Basic story line, Two Golden agers, Newly appointed Justice of the Peace Melvin Bush (Victor Moore) and his Wife Mrs. Bush played by Jane Darwell receive a disturbing letter that reads that Five couple they married were not legal due to the fact that the justice's license wasn't processed while he married five couples at his residence. All five couple are notified with different set of circumstances. Marilyn Monroe plays a professional beauty pageant contestant and bread winner as Mrs. America but the letter states that she never married. Her husband Jeff (David Wayne), and babysitter realize she can't run as Mrs. America. Story number two has a popular radio couple live from their luxury penthouse sipping coffee and gossip about their past evenings together. Yet off the air neither one speaks to each other. Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers play their parts to perfection as this episode was very representative of today's celebrities. Our third portrait shows two of my favorite character actors Eve Arden and Paul Douglas as Katie and Hector Woodruff. Yet the sketch was promoting boredom in the extreme. Reason enough to take a trip to the kitchen or bathroom for a mild break. The fourth marriage mockery was my favorite and should be a benchmark for all elderly men marrying fast woman who are only out for their husbands wealth. Zsa Zsa Gabor sets up her husband (Louis Calhern) in an adultery scam. Caught on camera with witnesses, Zsa Zsa quickly with attorney by her side wants whats coming to them financially. Love the stunning reaction when the telegram comes in that exclaims that she was never married . The fifth and final entry was poignant as there's no question that Newly drafted Willie Fisher (Eddie Braken) and wife Patsy (Mitzi Gaynor)love each other deeply and are newly expected parents. Trouble is the fateful telegram is received after our new army recruit is in travel to his basic training center by train. Private Fisher doesn't want to go off to Korea without being legally married worried that he might not make it back and the shame and humiliation to the child that comes with it. Patsy travels on the next train as our desperate couple tries to straighten things out before the battle. When I thought about it, if I were to get married a third time I would use a fake Justice of the Peace rather than a prenuptial agreement. More discreet and effective if the true colors emerge from the newly appointed spouse.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A sparkling all-star cast in a comedy classic
Gideon2427 September 2016
A sparkling all-star cast and a clever cinematic concept are the primary selling points of a surprisingly fun 1952 comedy called We're Not Married.

Nunnally Johnson, who wrote the screenplay for How To Marry the Millionaire, also penned this story of a dotty old justice of the peace (Victor Moore) who receives his appointment papers before they actually go into effect and marries five different couples without realizing that he wasn't an actual justice yet. Two years later, the snafu comes to light and the five couples are all sent a letter informing them they are not legally married. What is so fun about this movie is that the news that they're not legally married anymore brings unexpected reactions from the various couples and the lives they have built together in two years.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen play a couple who have a radio show together but they hate each other; however, their continued employment makes being married a contractual obligation; Marilyn Monroe plays a housewife and mother who is the breadwinner in her household by entering beauty contests for married women; Louis Calhern plays a wealthy businessman about to be taken to the cleaners by his hedonistic wife (Zsa Zsa Gabor); Paul Douglas and Eve Arden play a couple who are just in a rut and Eddie Bracken plays a soldier who learns his bride (Mitzi Gaynor) is pregnant and goes to extreme measure to make sure his child will be born legitimately.

Despite the multiple story lines, this movie is surprisingly economic and moves along at a very nice pace, making each story just long enough to make the audience care but not become bored with them either.

The performances are terrific with standout work from Rogers, Allen, David Wayne as Monroe's husband, and especially Calhern, who is absolutely brilliant in his vignette with Gabor. The film doesn't provide a lot in terms of production values, but what it does is provide solid entertainment that is still watchable some 60 years later
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Anthology comedy
vert00118 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Light as a feather anthology features a large cast and a premise that was old at the time (among others, Hitchcock had used it before and Dick Van Dyke would come up with the funniest version a decade later on his TV show). Due to a technicality, the marriages of five couples are invalid. Given a second chance, what will they do?

The first segment has Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen playing a bickering radio couple whose program is heavy on product placement, light on anything else. It was a version of a popular skit Allen had done on radio with Tallulah Bankhead and predictably proved to be quite funny.

Marilyn Monroe pops up in the second segment as a beauty contest hopeful. It has a clever twist at the end and a nice little performance from veteran character actor James Gleason.

Eve Arden and Paul Douglas are wasted as a bored couple who prove boring to watch.

Obvious is the segment featuring Zsa Zsa Gabor as a gold digger, but Louis Calhern gives a fine performance as her husband.

Finally, Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor go searching for a preacher in what is supposed to be the most touching segment, and which certainly isn't funny in any way.

All in all, pretty ordinary.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Five Against The Spouse
writers_reign4 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In 1952 the compendium film that dated back to at least 1932s Rome Express still had a little steam in it and We're Not Married was Fox's second entry in the genre following O'Henry's Full House. The premise is that old chestnut in which several disparate couples learn that their marriage is invalid. In chronological order the couples are Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers and once you get past the still-attractive Rogers settling for Fred Allen it's not a bad start. Allen, who of course made his name on radio and seldom ventured before the camera, very possibly had a hand in the script which is essentially a diatribe against sponsor-heavy radio shows. He and Rogers are the only couple actually seen getting wed (by Victor Moore with wife Jane Darwell as witness) and only do so in order to get their own Mr and Mrs radio show, an obvious take-off of Dorothy Kilgallan and Dick Kalmar. Next is the shortest sequence which is ironic as it is the one featuring Marilyn Monroe, then just coming up but today 'selling' the DVD. She plays a Beauty Quenn 'Mrs. Mississippi' and hubby David Wayne is not a happy bunny because manager James Gleason is constantly whisking her away on PR trips. This sequence typifies the sloppiness of the film as a whole; the letter informing Monroe and Wayne of their illegal marriage is clearly shown addressed to their home in Mississippi yet NO ONE in the entire sequence has a southern accent. The third segment involves two fine players in Eve Arden and Paul Douglas and both are totally wasted. Then comes Louis Calhern married to gold-digger Zsa Zsa Gabor, the good thing about this one is that Paul Stewart is also on hand as Gabors lawyer. Finally we get Mitzi Gaynor married to Eddie Bracken and pregnant. Bracken, a soldier, is literally shipping out overseas and is forced to go AWOL in order to re-marry Gaynor and ensure his offspring's legitimacy (this was 1952, remember). One of the best things about this is the casting, not only the featured players but also the uncredited players, Lee Marvin (with enough lines to justify a credit surely), Byron Foulgar, Tom Powers, Dabs Greer and Emile Meyer. Far from great but equally far from chopped liver.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Painfully lame
zetes3 June 2012
Painfully lame comedy. Victor Moore gets a license to marry people on Christmas, but doesn't realize it doesn't go into effect until New Year's Day. In that span, he marries five couples, and this film tells the five stories of what happens when they find out. The answer: nothing at all interesting. Not a single one of these scenarios is the least bit amusing. Only Marilyn Monroe completists ever need watch this film. I seriously don't even remember her story, though. I think she was a beauty pageant contestant who finds out she can't compete if she's married, but then she finds out she's not, so everything's okay. That's the level of storytelling we're dealing with here. Also starring Ginger Rogers, Mitzi Gaynor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Paul Douglas and Jane Darwell.
3 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Anthology drama, not comedy, about legal marriage problems
weezeralfalfa31 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a potentially interesting topic, with an all-star cast, largely wasted in a screenplay that's too dispersed, with too little humor. I regard this film as essentially an anthology of little dramas, some with a measure of comedic content. I suspect probably 3 couples rather than 5, would be optimal in the time given.

Reviewer dejimd points out that lack of a legal marriage license doesn't necessarily mean that, legally, a couple is not considered married. Thus, the apparently difficult position of Eddie Bracken and Mitzi Gaynor in regard to her pregnancy is not as serious as they had feared. On the other hand, gold-digging Zsa Zsa need not have fainted when she received the notice that her marriage certificate was invalid because the justice of peace that married them was new and not legally able to perform marriage ceremonies for another week. It's perhaps surprising that the bickering couple played by Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers decide to undergo a legally valid marriage ceremony. My guess is that they made sure they were legally married because their jobs at the radio station depended on their being married to each other.

The Paul Douglas and Eva Arden couple seemed bored with each other, with no baby to provide a common interest. I wouldn't be surprised if they had rejected a shoring up of the legality of their marriage. I suspect they may have bowed to inertia, in hopes their relationship would eventually get better.

The David Wayne & Marylyn Monroe pair look to have a short-term economic strategy, with David serving as the stay-at-home babysitter, while she is traveling around competing in beauty contests. I correctly guessed that they would renew their marriage ceremony.

Of course, we wouldn't expect Louis Calhern to agree to make his marriage with gold-digging Zsa Zsa look any more valid.

In conclusion, being as how the premise that the common problem of these 5 couples is that they are not legally married is suspect, and the supposed humor is minimal, I can't recommend this film, unless you have a star actor you want to see.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews