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Too Many Husbands (1940)

Approved | | Comedy , Romance | 21 March 1940 (USA)
Long-missing Bill Cardew returns to find his wife Vicky remarried...and in no hurry to settle for just one husband.

Director:

Wesley Ruggles

Writers:

Claude Binyon (screen play), W. Somerset Maugham (based upon the play by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Arthur ... Vicky Lowndes
Fred MacMurray ... Bill Cardew
Melvyn Douglas ... Henry Lowndes
Harry Davenport ... George
Dorothy Peterson ... Gertrude Houlihan
Melville Cooper ... Peter
Edgar Buchanan ... McDermott
Tom Dugan ... Sullivan
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Storyline

It's been a year since Bill Cardew was declared dead by drowning, and his widow Vicky is now married to his old friend and business partner, Henry Lowndes. When Bill unexpectedly returns from the island where he was marooned, what is Vicky to do? Well, having twice been a rather neglected wife, Vicky finds all the attention from two husbands competing for her favors delightful, and is in no hurry to make a decision...much to the discomfiture of hapless Bill and Henry. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

TWO'S COMPANY...THREE'S ILLEGAL! (original 6-sheet poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 March 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wesley Ruggles' Too Many Husbands See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Two endings were filmed, one in which Jean Arthur ends up staying with Melvyn Douglas and one in which she ends up with her first husband, Fred MacMurray. See more »

Quotes

Vicky Lowndes: You can't tell a woman to meet her dead husband at eight o'clock! You just can't! You, you mean, he's a - live?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Alchemist in Hollywood (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Sung a bit by Fred MacMurray and hummed by Dave Willock
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Marriage In Which They Deserved Each Other -- All Three Of Them
29 January 2012 | by oldblackandwhiteSee all my reviews

Too Many Husbands is a prime example of the screwball comedy. All the usual elements are in place -- romance out of whack, a collection of goofy but likable characters, frenetic, sometimes slapstick action, fast-delivery, witty dialog, a ridiculous situation, class satire, and the cops further gumming up the works -- all breaking off in unexpected directions like the baseball pitch the genre is named after.

A flighty rich dame (Jean Arthur) finds herself married to two different men at the same time, and she loves both of them. She is not an intentional bigamist. Hubby number one, sexy but ever wandering Fred MacMurry was lost at sea and declared legally dead, so the lonely widow marries his best friend, reliable, hard-working smoothie Melvin Douglas. When hubby number one shows up alive after all and ready for action with his beautiful wife, the fun ensues. Poor Jean, she just can't make up her mind which husband to choose. With one a reckless adventurer and the other a neglectful workaholic no sensible woman would want either, but this is Jean Arthur! She's having a whale of a time as the two compete to show her more attention than either ever had in the past. She may just take forever to make up her mind!

Jean Arthur, who was reportedly a serious dingbat in real life, seems perfectly cast in this type of role. MacMurry and Douglas are in their element here, too. The three bright stars, all at their peaks, make this one a delight all the way through. Good support comes from Henry Davenport, another mainstay of the screw-baller, as Jean's harried father, and Edgar Buchanan, looking younger than you thought he ever was, as a suspicious cop.

Too Many Husbands is a bit of a slow-starter, but give it a chance. Under Wesley Ruggles' sure direction, it soon picks up steam, getting wackier and funnier as it goes along. The great acting, gorgeous, luminous, old nitrate black and white cinematography and smooth editing you have come to expect from big studio productions of the 'thirties and the 'forties make this one a pleasure to watch. Smooth, glossy entertainment from Old Hollywood's Golden Era.


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