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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 8: We’re Not Married! (1952)

Slide 8: We’re Not Married! (1952)

Most romantic movies choose to end their narratives with a literal or implied “happy ever after” conclusion, so those films which deal with what happens after the bride and groom say “I do” are always looking for where the narrative conflict is going to come from. The solution presented by such movies as the 1952 quintet of stories We’re Not Married is to take a distinctly negative view of matrimony. This Edmund Goulding film, most notable for starring Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe, is about five sets of spouses married by a priest before his license to wed has come through, and who then find out a few years later – to their considerable relief – that their unions are not, in fact, legal. In the 1960s, there were two more prominent anti-marriage movies which tapped into the ethos of the sexual revolution in a very old-fashioned, misogynistic manner. How to Murder Your Wife (1965) starred Jack Lemmon as a confirmed bachelor who immediately rues wedding gorgeous Virna Lisi and then decides the only way to get his old life is to bump her off, while the Walter Matthau vehicle A Guide for the Married Man (1967) presents a primer on the dos and don’ts of cheating on your wife.