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The Comedy of Marriage

Posted May 17, 2010 to photo album "The Comedy of Marriage"

In anticipation of the release of Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy The Kids Are All Right, FilmInFocus’ Peter Bowen and Nick Dawson look at works across multiple mediums that also poke fun at the institution of marriage.

Slide 1: The Country Wife (1675)
Slide 2: The Marriage of Figaro (1786)
Slide 3: Blondie (1930)
Slide 4: The Thin Man (1934)
Slide 5: My Favorite Wife (1940)
Slide 6: Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
Slide 7: Adam's Rib (1949)
Slide 8: We’re Not Married! (1952)
Slide 9: The Honeymooners (1955)
Slide 10: Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)
Slide 11: The Lockhorns (1968)
Slide 12: La Cage aux Folles (1973)
Slide 13: Seems Like Old Times (1980)
Slide 14: Roseanne (1988)
Slide 15: The War of the Roses (1989)
Slide 16: Frankie & Johnny Are Married (2003)
Slide 17: It’s All Relative (2005)
Slide 5: My Favorite Wife (1940)

Slide 5: My Favorite Wife (1940)

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, the wittiest writers in Tinseltown seemed capable of making any scenario funny. Marriage was maybe a little harder to make hilarious, but Leo McCarey and his co-writers on My Favorite Wife worked out that having a spouse maybe wasn’t that funny, but two spouses could be hilarious. The 1940 hit comedy My Favorite Wife starred Cary Grant as Nick Arden, a man who declares his wife Ellen (Irene Dunne) dead after she’s been missing for 7 years, so that he can marry Bianca, the new love in his life. But, on the day of Nick’s marriage to Bianca (and before he can consummate it), Ellen miraculously appears. What’s more, it turns out Ellen herself has a new partner, making the already complex situation even stickier. McCarey’s comedy of romantic entanglement was remade in 1963 with Doris Day and James Garner under the title Move Over Darling (1963), which was a recast version of Something’s Got to Give, the movie abandoned when Marilyn Monroe died during filming. The theme of multiple marriages was dealt with once again with even more farcical results in Micki & Maud (1984), which featured Dudley Moore as a hapless bigamist who tries to keep his two pregnant wives from meeting each other.