Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941)

90 or 95 mins | Romantic comedy | 31 January 1941

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writer:

Norman Krasna

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Mr. and Mrs . Materials contained in the RKO Archives Script Files at the UCLA Arts Library--Special Collections reveal that writer Norman Krasna wrote scripts for this film under the titles Who Was That Lady I Seen You With? and No for an Answer . According to a pre-production news item in HR , Joan Harrison was hired to work on the screenplay, but her contribution to the final project has not been confirmed. A HR production chart places Kate MacKenna in the cast, but her appearance has not been confirmed. Other pre-production news items in HR note that RKO wanted Cary Grant to play the role of "David Smith," but the studio was already contractually obligated to Robert Montgomery, who was on loan from M-G-M. Alfred Hitchcock was on loan from David O. Selznick's company.
       In a modern interview, Hitchcock said that he agreed to direct the film as a favor to Carole Lombard. Hitchcock, who was known for his suspense films, claimed that because he did not understand the type of people portrayed in the film, he just photographed the script, never veering from Krasna's screenplay. The HR review commented that Hitchcock should stay away from comedies. According to an article in Life , Lombard directed the scene in which Hitchcock strolls by and tips his hat to Montgomery. A modern source adds that Lombard, in response to Hitchcock's now-famous remark that all actors are "cattle," ordered a corral built on the set in which she placed three cows, each bearing a tag ... More Less

The working title of this film was Mr. and Mrs . Materials contained in the RKO Archives Script Files at the UCLA Arts Library--Special Collections reveal that writer Norman Krasna wrote scripts for this film under the titles Who Was That Lady I Seen You With? and No for an Answer . According to a pre-production news item in HR , Joan Harrison was hired to work on the screenplay, but her contribution to the final project has not been confirmed. A HR production chart places Kate MacKenna in the cast, but her appearance has not been confirmed. Other pre-production news items in HR note that RKO wanted Cary Grant to play the role of "David Smith," but the studio was already contractually obligated to Robert Montgomery, who was on loan from M-G-M. Alfred Hitchcock was on loan from David O. Selznick's company.
       In a modern interview, Hitchcock said that he agreed to direct the film as a favor to Carole Lombard. Hitchcock, who was known for his suspense films, claimed that because he did not understand the type of people portrayed in the film, he just photographed the script, never veering from Krasna's screenplay. The HR review commented that Hitchcock should stay away from comedies. According to an article in Life , Lombard directed the scene in which Hitchcock strolls by and tips his hat to Montgomery. A modern source adds that Lombard, in response to Hitchcock's now-famous remark that all actors are "cattle," ordered a corral built on the set in which she placed three cows, each bearing a tag with one of the stars's names. This was Lombard's last picture for RKO. According to some modern critics, some of Hitchcock's later cinematic techniques were foreshadowed in this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Jan 1941.
---
Film Daily
20 Jan 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 40
p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 41
p. 2.
Life
27 Jan 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald
25 Jan 1941.
---
New York Times
21 Feb 41
p. 16.
Variety
22 Jan 41
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Mr. and Mrs.
No for an Answer
Who Was That Lady I Seen You With?
Release Date:
31 January 1941
Production Date:
5 Sep--2 Nov 1940; retakes filmed on 13 Nov, 19 Nov and 4 Dec 1940
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 January 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10597
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 95
Length(in feet):
8,567
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6670
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

When Ann Smith impulsively asks her husband David whether he would marry her if he had it to do over again and he answers no, the battling Smiths begin another skirmish. David then leaves for his law office and is visited by Harry Deever, who announces that the Smiths' three-year marriage is void because of a legal technicality that existed in Ann's home town, where they were married. Deever's next stop is the Smith apartment, where he informs Ann, whom he has known since childhood, that she is not legally married. When David calls to invite Ann to Mama Lucy's, their favorite haunt before marriage, she is sure that he plans to propose to her, but he fails to pop the question, and she throws him out of the house. To support herself, Ann takes a job as a clerk at a department store, but when David follows her there and causes a commotion, she is fired. After Ann proclaims that she no longer wishes to be married to David, David's law partner, Jeff Custer, decides to reconcile the couple and arranges to have dinner with Ann at her apartment that night. When David turns up unexpectedly, Ann decides to make him jealous and finagles a date with Jeff at the Florida Club the following night. Disappointed, David returns to his men's club, where Chuck Benson, another dispossessed husband, offers to introduce him to Gertie, a "high class girl." To make Ann jealous, David suggests going to the Florida Club, but when he meets the decidedly unclassy Gertie, he gives himself a nosebleed to escape his date. David's ploy backfires, ... +


When Ann Smith impulsively asks her husband David whether he would marry her if he had it to do over again and he answers no, the battling Smiths begin another skirmish. David then leaves for his law office and is visited by Harry Deever, who announces that the Smiths' three-year marriage is void because of a legal technicality that existed in Ann's home town, where they were married. Deever's next stop is the Smith apartment, where he informs Ann, whom he has known since childhood, that she is not legally married. When David calls to invite Ann to Mama Lucy's, their favorite haunt before marriage, she is sure that he plans to propose to her, but he fails to pop the question, and she throws him out of the house. To support herself, Ann takes a job as a clerk at a department store, but when David follows her there and causes a commotion, she is fired. After Ann proclaims that she no longer wishes to be married to David, David's law partner, Jeff Custer, decides to reconcile the couple and arranges to have dinner with Ann at her apartment that night. When David turns up unexpectedly, Ann decides to make him jealous and finagles a date with Jeff at the Florida Club the following night. Disappointed, David returns to his men's club, where Chuck Benson, another dispossessed husband, offers to introduce him to Gertie, a "high class girl." To make Ann jealous, David suggests going to the Florida Club, but when he meets the decidedly unclassy Gertie, he gives himself a nosebleed to escape his date. David's ploy backfires, however, and a jealous Ann suggests to Jeff that they spend the night at the World's Fair. When the pair get stuck on a ferris wheel in the rain, Ann takes the soaking wet Jeff to his apartment and prescribes a glass of liquour to ward off a cold. Following Ann's instructions, the teetotaling Jeff downs one glass after another until he becomes totally inebriated, but remains "a gentleman." The next day, David waits outside Ann's apartment in a taxi. Telling the driver that he is a private detective, David instructs him to follow Ann. When she goes to Jeff's office, David bursts in and finds Jeff's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Custer, fostering a romance between their son and Ann. Although David tries to shock them by revealing intimate details of Ann's life, Jeff insists upon bringing Ann to Lake Placid to become better acquainted with his parents. At the lake, Jeff and Ann are assigned rooms in a remote cabin, where they discover that David is their neighbor. When an inebriated David passes out in the snow and feigns delirium, Ann becomes concerned and Jeff begins to doubt her commitment to marry him. Upon discovering David's ruse, Ann angrily berates him, and in response, David professes his love for her but urges Ann to marry the more sedate Jeff. After dinner that night, Ann confides to Jeff that she plans to make David hate her so that he will start a new life. Alone in her room, Ann begins to yell so that David can hear her, pretending that Jeff is seducing her. Running into her room, David grabs Ann by the head, and when Jeff refuses to defend her honor, she becomes hysterical. At that moment, Jeff's parents enter the room and forbid him to marry Ann. After Ann walks out on Jeff, she and David battle their way to a reconciliation. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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