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Why Change Your Wife? (1920)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 19 September 1921 (UK)
Robert and Beth Gordon are married but share little. He runs into Sally at a cabaret and the Gordons are soon divorced. Just as he gets bored with Sally's superficiality, Beth strives to ... See full summary »


Cecil B. DeMille


Olga Printzlau (scenario), William C. de Mille (story) (as William DeMille) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Thomas Meighan ... Robert Gordon
Gloria Swanson ... Beth Gordon
Bebe Daniels ... Sally Clark
Theodore Kosloff ... Radinoff
Sylvia Ashton Sylvia Ashton ... Aunt Kate
Clarence Geldart ... Doctor
Mayme Kelso Mayme Kelso ... Harriette, the Dressmaker
Lucien Littlefield ... Gordon's Butler
Edna Mae Cooper Edna Mae Cooper ... Gordon's Maid
Jane Wolfe ... Harriette's Client


Robert and Beth Gordon are married but share little. He runs into Sally at a cabaret and the Gordons are soon divorced. Just as he gets bored with Sally's superficiality, Beth strives to improve her looks. The original couple falls in love again at a summer resort. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 September 1921 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Hvorfor bytter Manden Hustru? See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Why Change Your Wife? featured the film debut of future Hopalong Cassidy star William Boyd. See more »


[Intertitle]: [about the cat and the dog] Two who already regret Robert's marriage.
See more »


Featured in Hollywood: Autocrats (1980) See more »


The Dying Poet
By Louis Moreau Gottschalk as L.M. Gottschalk
Interpreted by Victor Concert Orchestra
Published by Victor #35642-B
Recording date: 1915-04-26
See more »

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User Reviews

Silent DeMille - Gloria Swanson vs Bebe Daniels
10 July 2008 | by jjcremin-1See all my reviews

In 1920, Cecil B. DeMille was already the king of Paramount. Titles would show a DeMille coin and he was the producer and director in charge and already had spectacles under his belt. But he also made romantic comedies that very much are a product of their times. His most famous female star of the late teens to early twenties was Gloria Swanson, who would go on to be a major silent star in her own right during the era.

Thomas Meighan is not so well remembered today except for hard core silent buffs. Few of his films are rarely revived and he died in 1936 after a two year bout with cancer. Another major silent star who did have some successes in sound was Bebe Daniels, probably most famous for singing "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me" and breaking her leg in 42ND STREET.

Meighan and Swanson co-starred together in DeMille's MAN AND FEMALE a year previous to this one. Here, they are introduced as husband and wife in a script written by William DeMille, Cecil's brother. While Thomas shaves, Gloria pesters him into buttoning the back of her dress. It's a humorous modern day problem and both leads are funny as they frustrate each other.

She won't even let him listen to HINDISTAN - A FOX TROT on a vintage 78 and forces him to listen to A DYING POET instead. By the way, Hindistan is another name for India. There is throughout a condescending tone to non-whites. but it's not as bad as some other films. In fact, DeMille would be guilty of that throughout his career but I do bear in mind he wasn't alone and many were worse. More fun to watch, though, is what passed for high fashion in 1920. I don't think anyone would be caught dead today wearing what passed for bathing suits back then.

It is at the store where Meighan meets Daniels who gets to play a total vamp, even comically putting a heart size mole on her arm. She literally seduces him on the spot. While they go out, poor Gloria has her violin recital playing A DYING POET without her husband. Later on, straight laced Gloria Swanson reads about their marriage following her divorce. Well, two can play this game. Gloria goes to the store herself and gets herself some outrageous clothes and has several admirers follow her to a rich resort that has a great swimming pool where guests can sit. Somehow, Meighan and Swanson get back together while Daniels gets the violin player.

I really doubt people really lived like this in 1920, but romantic escapist films are made today. A fun little picture.

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