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How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

Approved | | Comedy | 26 January 1965 (USA)
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A man who has set up the perfect lifestyle for himself makes the mistake of marrying while drunk... and his fantasies of murder are used against him.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mrs. Ford
...
Eddie Mayehoff ...
Harold Lampson
...
Edna
...
Judge Blackstone
...
Tobey Rawlins
...
Dr. Bentley
...
Harold's Secretary
Alan Hewitt ...
District Attorney
Barry Kelley ...
Club Member in Steam Room
Bill Bryant ...
Construction Worker
Charles Bateman ...
Club Member in Steam Room
Edward Faulkner ...
Club Member in Steam Room / Party Guest
Lauren Gilbert ...
Men's Club Manager
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Storyline

Stanley Ford leads an idyllic bachelor life. He is a nationally syndicated cartoonist whose Bash Brannigan series provides him with a luxury townhouse and a full-time valet, Charles. When he wakes up the morning after the night before - he had attended a friend's stag party - he finds that he is married to the very beautiful woman who popped out of the cake - and who doesn't speak a word of English. Despite his initial protestations, he comes to like married life and even changes his cartoon character from a super spy to a somewhat harried husband. When after several months he decides to kill off Bash's wife in the cartoon, his wife misinterprets his intentions and disappears. Which leads the police to charge him with murder. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bring The Little Woman...Maybe She'll Die Laughing!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

26 January 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cómo asesinar a su esposa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During a taping of "The Tonight Show", Jack Lemmon told this story. Prior to filming How to Murder Your Wife (1965), co-star Virna Lisi's husband made her promise that she would not be talked into doing a nude scene in her first American film. She assured him that she would not, signed the contract and traveled to Hollywood. While filming the 'revelation' scene, where Lemmon awakes to discover in horror that he got married at the bachelor party, Virna had to disrobe and lay in the bed nude but discreetly covered with a bed sheet. However, it was this day that her husband, an architect, arrived unannounced at the set to surprise his wife. When he walked into the scene, he became very upset. He focused his anger toward her co-star. Lemmon, realizing that discretion was the better part of valor, exited the set at full run with Virna's husband in tow. Running past several sound stages on the MGM lot, he quickly found a garbage dumpster, jumped in and closed the cover. He waited there until security officers found him. See more »

Goofs

In the comic strip detailing the way in which he murdered his wife, Stanley includes a panel showing the purchase of a mannequin. The mannequin, however, is only used to represent his wife for the purpose of taking photos used in the drawing of his strip; it would obviously not be involved in an actual murder plot. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Ford: 'Bash Brannigan, Secret Agent' is syndicated in 463 newspapers. You know why?
Harold Lampson: Sure, I know... Because it's hard-core pornography, softened slightly, ever so slightly, by excessive violence and SADISM!
Stanley Ford: 'Bash Brannigan' is enjoyed by millions because my readers know it's absolutely authentic! I'd never ask Bash to do anything I hadn't already done myself!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At first, it only says How to Your Wife on the screen, in white letters. Then, the word Murder shows up in red letters in the space between the two rows of text. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Illustrated Steele (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
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User Reviews

 
Great fun.
6 November 2005 | by (Dallas Texas) – See all my reviews

Neil Hefti's music is wonderful. He parodies spy thrillers and sex comedies in one clever score. He uses horns for the sex farce and echoes of the same horns for the spy parody. Simply brilliant.

I saw this movie when it came out and I remember more details than any movie I've seen. It made an amazing impression on me - at age 14. I was fascinated by the NY townhouse with that tiny front door right next to the single car garage with the electronic opener. Then there's the glopita glopita machine and the world's most powerful remote control.

And, today, it is still as funny as ever. Terry Thomas as the butler and on screen narrator is bragging away about his all-male world, when... Virna Lisi arrives as Mrs. Ford.

I know that many think it is an unadulterated attack on women, wives, and marriages. But, in an odd sort of way it lays bare the reality of human relationships. Everyone in every relationship that has lasted over the years has fantasized about killing the other person. It isn't a fantasy we want to come true. We've all thought at one time or another, "I'll kill myself and that will show'em!" Remember, that, at every step of the way it is clear that Mr. Ford loves Mrs. Ford - Bash lays Mrs. Brannigan on the bed, covers her with a blanket, and kisses her just as he's off on his caper to murder her.

It is certainly one true that the movie is dated as are 50's and 60's sex farces. But, the thing about this one is that it is so clever and it goes to such extremes even with the title. "How to Murder Your Wife." Indeed! But part of the fun of this movie is that it is so unpredictably predictable. We want to suspend disbelief for this movie. We want to laugh along.

It is said that this is one of Jack Lemmon's favorite movies - except for the murder trial. Funny thing is I thought the trial set the perfect notes for this farcical send-up of male fantasies.


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