7.4/10
8,235
78 user 28 critic

My Favorite Wife (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 17 May 1940 (USA)
Missing for seven years and presumed dead, a woman returns home on the day of her husband's second marriage.

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writers:

Bella Spewack (original story), Sam Spewack (original story) (as Samuel Spewack) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Irene Dunne ... Ellen Wagstaff Arden
Cary Grant ... Nick Arden
Randolph Scott ... Stephen Burkett
Gail Patrick ... Bianca Bates
Ann Shoemaker ... Ma - Nick's Mother
Scotty Beckett ... Tim - the Ardens' Son
Mary Lou Harrington Mary Lou Harrington ... Chinch - the Ardens' Daughter
Donald MacBride ... Hotel Clerk
Hugh O'Connell ... Johnson - Insurance Adjuster
Granville Bates ... Judge Bryson
Pedro de Cordoba ... Dr. Kohlmar
Edit

Storyline

Ellen Arden arrives 7 years after being given up for dead in a shipwreck, to find her husband Nick just remarried to Bianca. The overjoyed Nick awkwardly tries to break the news gently to Bianca. But before he can do that, an unpleasant surprise--news that Ellen has spent the 7 years on a deserted island with fellow-survivor Burkett. Nick's jealousy tries to find out the truth. Hilarious confusion reigns before Nick chooses his favorite wife. Written by Riaz Shaikh <cisrfsx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The funniest, fastest honeymoon ever screened!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meine liebste Frau See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Date of Release (USA), Friday, May 17th, 1940, was five days after 1940's Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12th, 1940. See more »

Goofs

When Nick first tries to sleep in the bed in the attic of the cabin, he pulls a toy cannon from under the bed and throws it across the room. When he does this, the doll on the night stand falls over. You can see the trip wire swinging behind Nick. In fact, the pin at the end of the wire lands on Nick's head. See more »

Quotes

Nick Arden: Something's come up. My wife.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the Opening Credits, are embroidered on lace-lined silk squares reminiscent of wedding pillows that hold the rings when there are children bearing them is in progress. See more »

Connections

Remade as Something's Got to Give (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

The Skaters Waltz (Les patineurs)
(1882) (uncredited)
Music by Emil Waldteufel
See more »

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User Reviews

An Entertaining Use of the Idea
24 August 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This gets pretty good comic mileage out of the often-used 'Enoch Arden' (or, as here, 'Ellen Arden') idea of the long-lost spouse who returns to find his/her spouse now involved with someone else. Numerous movies have used it both for drama and for comedy, and in this case, the premise is adapted to the screwball comedy formula that was so popular for a time in the 1930s and 1940s.

The story starts by slightly revising the usual setup, with Irene Dunne as the formerly shipwrecked spouse, Cary Grant as the husband who has since become involved with another woman (Gail Patrick), plus Randolph Scott as a wild card in the relationships. Practically every stage of the story is highly implausible (probably deliberately so) but amusing, and it is generally left to the cast to make things work, which they usually do.

Grant usually seems quite at home in this kind of comedy, and he and Dunne work well together, depicting their characters' relationship with the kinds of intangibles that help make the whole scenario more believable. Patrick is always quite good as an elegantly icy rival to the heroine, and Scott also works well here in his role. Amongst the supporting cast, Granville Bates gets some very good moments as the grouchy judge.

For as far-fetched as the scenario seems at times, it works pretty well. The cast is strong enough to carry the weight, and it would have been hard to improve upon their combination of talents. It doesn't have quite the depth of comic variety or the subtlety of implied commentary that the best screwball comedies have, but it's an entertaining movie worth seeing.


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