42 user 6 critic

Double Harness (1933)

A woman tricks a playboy into marrying her and then tries to make him legitimately fall in love with her.


John Cromwell


Jane Murfin (screen play), Edward Poor Montgomery (from the play by)




Complete credited cast:
Ann Harding ... Joan Colby
William Powell ... John Fletcher
Lucile Browne ... Valerie Colby Moore
Henry Stephenson ... Colonel Sam Colby
Lilian Bond ... Monica Paige
George Meeker ... Dennis Moore
Reginald Owen ... Freeman
Kay Hammond ... Eleanor Weston
Leigh Allen Leigh Allen ... Leonard Weston
Hugh Huntley Hugh Huntley ... Farley Drake
Wallis Clark ... Postmaster General
Fred Santley Fred Santley ... Bruno (as Fredric Santley)


A woman tricks a playboy into marrying her and then tries to make him legitimately fall in love with her.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | playboy | theater | snitch | ship | See All (29) »


A story of a romance that ended with marriage..marriage at the point of a hidden gun! (Print Ad- Waycross Journal-Herald, ((Waycross, Ga.)) 9 September 1933) See more »


Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The newspaper article announces that Valerie and Dennis have taken up residence at 2200 Lombard Street (in San Francisco). That address is in the Marina District of the city and as of 2016 is the address of a pizzeria. See more »


Lilian Bond's character "Monica Paige" has name misspelled in newspaper headline and caption "Mrs. Monica Page Returns". See more »


Valerie Colby Moore: What about Monica Paige?
Joan Colby: What about her?
Valerie Colby Moore: Isn't John Fletcher her private preserve?
Joan Colby: Isn't married to her is he?
Valerie Colby Moore: He isn't married to anyone and never will be if he can help it. That boy is fast on his feet when it comes to avoiding the minister.
See more »


Featured in TCM: Twenty Classic Moments (2014) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
Played at the wedding rehearsal
See more »

User Reviews

A Gem Of Social Satire From The Depths Of The Depression
30 April 2007 | by Patriotlad@aol.comSee all my reviews

Once again, the big thinkers at Turner Classic Movies have provided film buffs with a tremendous cinematic coup, this being the re-release of six films crafted by Merian C. Cooper as executive producer, and tied up in litigation over the screening rights for decades. Among these films is the social satirical gem, "Double Harness," which is available from TCM via those cable TV providers who have TCM On Demand.

The film is, therefore, free for viewing at the convenience of the customer and this one comes highly recommended.

In all honesty, it was not until the very final scenes of this film, that I realized it was set in San Francisco ( and not New York ), and that the entire production was a satire. The beginning and middle sections of this movie -- from a play by Edward Poor Montgomery -- seem to fit nicely in the oh-so-predictable slot of "melodrama." Just about every player in this film is a character carved strictly out of "upper crust" marble, with all the trappings of the idle rich in the '30s.

Not that the idle rich in the Depression years had it so good, of course, as they apparently had to cut back on the caviar before dinner at least once in a while. The alert film buff will realize that this story is strictly from "la la land" in the first scenes, where the two sisters Colby are viewing bridal dresses for the younger one, Valerie, who is about to be married. The bill for her trousseau comes to well over $ 3000 at a time when $ 100 per week was a lot of money for a family of four. And by the way, everybody smokes ... a lot.

Everyone in this movie is fabulously wealthy by the standards of the day, even though their interests are under pressure from the economic turbulence of 1931-1932. Losses from a bank failure are mentioned in passing in one scene, but the audience cannot help but be captivated by the opulence of the lives of these characters. This film also serves to further establish the absolute brilliance of William Powell, who is the lazy playboy named John Fletcher, heir to a shipping line.

Powell seems to play his character with an almost sublime restraint, and a barely concealed exuberance: it is as if he knew in his subconscious mind that this was an "Ann Harding" picture and it was his duty to bolster her performance and her presence. He does so, in the most magnificent fashion, and it adds power to the social satire which is the weave of this cinematic fabric. It all comes together at the end, where a most elaborate private dinner party collapses into a drunken disaster for the younger sister, and a fist-fight for the butler and the cook !! And there's a happy ending, too, of course.

The only thing this film lacked was more ... more of the luminous Ann Harding, more of how she was slowly capturing the real man inside the phony, shallow playboy Fletcher, and more of how William Powell brought that character into reality from a stiff and rather formal screenplay, the kind of "very talkative" cinematic fiction so common in that era.

Nine of ten, and since it can be viewed for free, On Demand, it is highly recommended to any and all film buffs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

23 September 1933 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

A doppia briglia See more »


Box Office


$329,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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