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Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Favorite Wife (1940)

Seven years after his wife (Irene Dunne) was lost at sea, an attorney (Cary Grant) petitions the court to declare her legally dead so he can marry his fiancee (Gail Patrick). However, as they go off on their honeymoon, his first wife arrives back having been rescued off a desert island. Co-written by Leo McCarey (LOVE AFFAIR) and directed by Garson Kanin. Adapted from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem ENOCH ARDEN, this is a sparkling screwball comedy though it can't sustain itself towards the end where it becomes a rehash of THE AWFUL TRUTH. Grant and Dunne are expert farceurs so naturally they shine. Randolph Scott as the muscular vegetarian shipwrecked with Dunne is a bit of a bonehead so comedic chops aren't required. Which leaves Gail Patrick who doesn't seem to have a comedic bone in her body. Still, I felt sorry for her character as Grant treats her shabbily and even though she's a bit of a bitch, she deserved better. Remade in 1963 as MOVE OVER DARLING with Doris Day and James Garner in the Dunne and Grant roles. With Ann Shoemaker, Scotty Beckett and Donald MacBride.

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