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Wife, Husband and Friend (1939)

Approved | | Comedy | 3 March 1939 (USA)
Woman hopes to be a great singer and is encouraged by her scheming teacher. After she flops her husband, encouraged by an amorous professional singer tries opera and also flops.



(screenplay), (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Doris Borland
... Leonard Borland aka Logan Bennett
... Cecil Carver
... Hugo
... Major Blair
... Rossi
... Mike Craig
... Mrs. Blair
... Carol
Alice Armand ... Sally Bostwick
Iva Stewart ... Miss Carver's Secretary
Dorothy Dearing ... Mrs. Price
... Mrs. Spalding
Kay Griffith ... Nancy Sprague
Harry Rosenthal ... Bill Wilkins


Leonard Borland's contracting business is doing badly, while his monied wife wants to pursue an operatic career. He lets her get on with it until she seems to be a success, when he finds he himself has a singing voice good enough to go on tour with. This brings some money in, and his new singing partner fancies him too. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

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Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A jó házasság titka  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


James M. Cain, whose story "Two Can Sing" was the basis for this film, had himself trained as an operatic baritone. Opera figures prominently in several of his other stories, including "Serenade" and "Mildred Pierce" (though the opera parts of the plot of "Mildred Pierce" were dropped in the film version). See more »


Leonard Borland aka Logan Bennett: You're just an old... Foof! Sorry, ladies.
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Version of Everybody Does It (1949) See more »


Music by Samuel Pokrass
Lyrics by Walter Bullock
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User Reviews

A James M. Cain comedy, yes!
7 March 2009 | by See all my reviews

This rarely shown 1939 Twentieth-Century-Fox comedy is based on a frothy novel by James M. Cain, best known today for his hard-boiled detective fiction and screenplays. With a first-rate script by one of Zanuck's most versatile collaborators --the writer/producer/director Nunnally Johnson, who the very next year would be nominated for his screenplay for "Grapes of Wrath," the movie is blessed with an unusual cast: Warner Baxter, whom one would never think of as a comic actor, is perfectly believable and extremely appealing as the too understanding husband; the incandescently lovely and, for once, the not-too-saccharine Loretta Young as his not quite talented enough wife; Binnie Barnes as the scheming other woman; Helen Westley as the dreadful mother-in-law, and finally one of Lubitsch's stalwarts, George Barbier, as Westley's long-suffering husband. Perhaps in tribute to the great maestro himself the film ends with Baxter and Young in a train singing "Beyond the Blue Horizon" which Jeanette MacDonald also sang in a train in Lubitsch's classic "Monte Carlo." Gregory Ratoff directs with great flair.

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