I am always keen to see classic films I have missed out on, including those from actors and actresses of times gone by, this is one such movie I never would have heard of if not being on television, and I looked forward to it, directed by Michael Gordon (Cyrano de Bergerac, Pillow Talk). Basically it has been five years since the wife of Nicholas Arden (James Garner) disappeared, she is believed to have died in a plane crash and lost at sea in the South Pacific. Nick is now ready to move on with his life and goes to court to declare his wife legally dead, so he can marry Bianca Steele (Polly Bergen), all on the same day. However, he is unaware, that at the same time, his wife Ellen Wagstaff Arden (Doris Day) has returned home to Los Angeles, she was found stranded on an island. She is dropped off by the Navy, but Ellen asks them not to publicize her return, nor notify Nicky, she wants to do it herself. Upon arriving back home, Nicky's mother Grace (Thelma Ritter) is shocked to see her, she informs her that he has just got remarried this morning. Grace tells Ellen that he has gone with new wife Bianca on honeymoon to Monterey, she says she should go to tell Nick she is alive. Nicky is equally shocked when he momentarily sees Ellen waiting in the lobby, but he tries to keep up pretences to Bianca. Nick makes an excuse to leave his new wife, and finally gets the opportunity to see Ellen, he is now placed in a difficult position, although he still loves her, he has Bianca's feelings to consider. He finds it difficult to tell Bianca that his wife is alive, she is in an amorous mood. Ellen is getting frustrated as he constantly makes excuses to delay this information, and then she gets angry when she sees Bianca kissing him. Nick tries to stop her, but Ellen returns home, where she finds the opportunity to connect with her children, who she has not seen since they were babies, she tucks them into bed and sings to them. Nick decides to delay his circumstances by faking a neck injury so that he will be taken home. He and Bianca return to his Los Angeles home, but he is shocked to see Ellen there posing as a European maid. Ellen demands that Nick tell Bianca the truth, and to prove that he still loves her. But then life insurance clerk Clyde Prokey (The Addams Family's John Astin) comes knocking at the door, he has information about another man stranded with Ellen on the island. Nick is convinced that Ellen has been unfaithful, Ellen is unable to explain what really happened between them, so she goes to a shoe store, on Grace's suggestion, to find a man to pose as this mysterious man, she gets a Shoe Clerk (Don Knotts) to help her. Meanwhile, Nick has found this man for himself, Stephen 'Adam' Burkett (Chuck Connors), he is a younger, handsome and athletic man. Nick does not fall for Ellen's trick of using the shoe clerk posing as Adam, but he goes along with her ruse. Nick deliberately takes her to the swimming pool where Adam is lingering, she is shocked when they are eventually reunited, she cannot deny that something may have happened between them. Nick winds up chasing Ellen as she drives away heartbroken, she tries to get away, but manages to get herself caught, soaked and covered in suds in a car wash. Nick and Ellen return home, where she finally admits that she is Nick's thought-to-be-dead wife, Bianca is naturally shocked, there is a lot of bickering between the three. Nick is taken to court to appear before Judge Bryson (Edgar Buchanan), the same judge who married him and Bianca, Grace has had him arrested for bigamy. Bianca and Ellen both want a divorce from Nicky, the bickering continues with the judge getting confused and frustrated. Eventually Bianca is granted a divorce, she quickly hooks up new boyfriend, Dr. Herman Schlick (Elliott Reid), the charges of bigamy are dropped, and Ellen is declared legally alive, but she is refused a divorce, so she storms out. Ellen returns home and decides it is time for her children to know who she truly is, but they are already waiting in the swimming pool with Nick. Ellen is delighted as they acknowledge her as their mother, Nick is happy also, and the family embrace. Also starring Fred Clark as Mr. Codd (Hotel Manager), Pat Harrington Jr. as District Attorney, Max Showalter as Hotel Desk Clerk, Pami Lee as Jenny Arden and Leslie Farrell as Didi Arden. Day's wholesome image may have been a little out of place at the time of the swinging sixties, her popularity suffered a little, but her talent endures, Garner is amusing as the husband to two women put in the most awkward and complicated situation, Bergen is alright as "the other woman", and Ritter does get many memorable moments as the outspoken mother-in-law. This film is actually a remake of the Cary Grant movie My Favorite Wife, which I had not seen before this, it is a very interesting concept, it has a very witty script, screwball moments build up throughout, creating more hilarious dilemmas for the characters, and the title song and "Twinkle Lullaby" by Day are nice songs, a fun to watch comedy. Very good!
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