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The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)

Passed | | Comedy, Mystery, Romance | 13 May 1936 (USA)
A wealthy mystery writer uses her doctor ex-husband's non-payment of alimony to coerce him into a reconciliation.


Stephen Roberts


Anthony Veiller (screen play by), James Edward Grant (story by)




Complete credited cast:
William Powell ... Dr. Lawrence Bradford
Jean Arthur ... Paula Bradford
James Gleason ... Inspector Corrigan
Eric Blore ... Stokes, Bradford's Butler
Robert Armstrong ... Nick Martel (bookie)
Lila Lee ... Miss Prentiss, Bradford's Receptionist
Grant Mitchell ... John Summers, Luxury's Owner
Erin O'Brien-Moore ... Mrs. Summers
Ralph Morgan ... Leroy Hutchins, Warcloud's Owner
Lucile Gleason ... Mrs. Hutchins


Relations between Dr. 'Brad' Bradford and ex-wife Paula are surprisingly romantic. They divorced because Brad hated being dragged into murder mysteries, to which mystery writer Paula is addicted. But through horse trainer Mike North, Brad is embroiled in the case of a jockey who died of "heart failure" during a race. As they pursue clues, Paula pursues Brad for remarriage, and assorted hoods pursue the Bradfords. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WOMAN TROUBLE threatens the screen's No. 1 society sleuth ...in the story of a triple murder! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Cactus Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - April 19, 1938)


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The last movie directed by Stephen Roberts. He died shortly after the release of this film. See more »


The bite of a black widow spider is painful but rarely fatal. See more »


Dr. Lawrence Bradford: Did a Mr. North call?
Fill-in Receptionist: Yes, sir. He called this morning and said he was going west.
Dr. Lawrence Bradford: Well, what else - what else did he say. Where's the memo?
Fill-in Receptionist: Here it is. Oh, no. It was a Mr. West who said he was going north.
See more »


Features Human Cargo (1936) See more »


Wedding March
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn
Arranged by Roy Webb
See more »

User Reviews

The Thin Man .... with the wrong (ex) wife!
25 April 2005 | by CraigHamrickSee all my reviews

This movie was made the same year as the first Thin Man film, and it's another stylish black-and-white murder mystery starring the same leading man (William Powell), so comparisons are inevitable. Its script isn't nearly as strong as the best of the Thin Man flicks, but if you're a big TM fan, this film can ALMOST feel like an extra entry in the series -- except that the fabulous Myrna Loy is nowhere in sight.

Powell is just as polished here as he is in the Thin Man movies (though seeing him perform a chaste autopsy reminds you that he's playing a doctor, not Nick Charles), and he's well paired with Jean Arthur playing the titular ex-wife, who's bucking for a reconciliation with her reluctant former hubby. Her Paula comes across as a slightly smarter Gracie Allen in an endless stream of gorgeous designer gowns, sparkling diamonds, and perky hats. (In fact, if you're paying close attention, you'll notice that she switches costumes at a couple of slightly inexplicable moments.)

The couple bickers well (but not at the break-neck pace of Powell and Loy), and there is a little bit of simmering sexual tension (but again, not in the same league as P&L).

A typical exchange: Paula: She was wearing a cocktail dress. Bradford: What's a cocktail dress? Paula: (with a kooky smile) Something to spill cocktails on! Bradford: (deadpan) That sounds reasonable.

It feels like the writer couldn't quite decide if he wanted to present a relationship-driven comedy or a thrilling drama, and the undeniably talented actors seem equally confused at times. Still, it's ultimately an enjoyable film of its type (though what "type" that exactly is, is open to debate), and if you enjoy golden oldies -- and especially if you're fond of the two leads -- you won't be disappointed.

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Release Date:

13 May 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One to Two See more »


Box Office


$369,000 (estimated)
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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
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