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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 6: Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

Slide 6: Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

One of the great writer-directors of the classic Hollywood era, Preston Sturges was a man who was more familiar than most with the dynamics of marital life, as he tied the knot four times during his sixty years on this earth. Having previously mined the comic potential of marriage in both The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story, Sturges made Unfaithfully Yours just months after the collapse of his third marriage, and its dark tone is telling. The movie is a black comedy about a middle-aged conductor (Rex Harrison) confronted with evidence indicating that his young wife (Linda Darnell) has cheated on him. Over the course of a concert, he fantasizes about three ways of dealing with the infidelity: killing his wife and framing her lover, forgiving her and graciously stepping aside, or playing Russian roulette with her lover. Though now considered one of Sturges’ great movies, Unfaithfully Yours – despite its happy ending – was too dark for audiences at the time, and its failure at the box office accelerated the end of Sturges’ career. (Ironically, Sturges shortly afterwards married the much younger Sandy Nagle, to whom he remained happily hitched until his death in 1959.) Unfaithfully Yours was remade in 1984 with Dudley Moore and Nastassja Kinski.