We're Not Married! (1952)

85 mins | Comedy | July 1952

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Producer:

Nunnally Johnson

Cinematographer:

Leo Tover

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller

Production Company:

Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The title of Gina Kaus's and Jay Dratler's unpublished story was "If I Could Remarry." Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that Tallulah Bankhead was originally considered for the role of "Ramona Gladwyn." In reviewing the film for NYT , Bosley Crowther noted that the Fred Allen-Ginger Rogers sequence "is not only endowed with stinging satire but with the magic of well-deserved fame. It is substantially the skit Mr. Allen and Tallulah Bankhead have played on the air as often, almost, as Lionel Barrymore had read A Christmas Carol ." A 7 Aug 1951 LAT news item reported that producer-writer Nunnally Johnson was writing one of the episodes for Helen Hayes. Although HR news items and production charts include the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Lou Mason, Bert Mustin, Bill Sundholm, Dolores Huff and Mona Knox. HR production charts also include Jan Sterling in the cast, but she does not appear in the released film.
       According to a 25 Nov 1951 NYT article, the picture was going to feature the stories of seven married couples, although the released film has only five. A Mar 1952 studio synopsis, contained in the PCA file, reveals that Hope Emerson and Walter Brennan were the stars of one of the dropped episodes, in which "Mattie Beaufort" (Emerson) an over-worked, rural housewife is courted by "Handsome" (Brennan), a shiftless philanderer. When Mattie receives the governor's letter notifying her of her marital status, she asks Handsome to read it for her, and he quickly feeds ... More Less

The title of Gina Kaus's and Jay Dratler's unpublished story was "If I Could Remarry." Information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that Tallulah Bankhead was originally considered for the role of "Ramona Gladwyn." In reviewing the film for NYT , Bosley Crowther noted that the Fred Allen-Ginger Rogers sequence "is not only endowed with stinging satire but with the magic of well-deserved fame. It is substantially the skit Mr. Allen and Tallulah Bankhead have played on the air as often, almost, as Lionel Barrymore had read A Christmas Carol ." A 7 Aug 1951 LAT news item reported that producer-writer Nunnally Johnson was writing one of the episodes for Helen Hayes. Although HR news items and production charts include the following actors in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Lou Mason, Bert Mustin, Bill Sundholm, Dolores Huff and Mona Knox. HR production charts also include Jan Sterling in the cast, but she does not appear in the released film.
       According to a 25 Nov 1951 NYT article, the picture was going to feature the stories of seven married couples, although the released film has only five. A Mar 1952 studio synopsis, contained in the PCA file, reveals that Hope Emerson and Walter Brennan were the stars of one of the dropped episodes, in which "Mattie Beaufort" (Emerson) an over-worked, rural housewife is courted by "Handsome" (Brennan), a shiftless philanderer. When Mattie receives the governor's letter notifying her of her marital status, she asks Handsome to read it for her, and he quickly feeds it to the hogs rather than have her learn that she would be free to marry him. A 25 Jul 1952 entry in HR 's "Rambling Reporter" column indicates that the sequence was filmed, but the reason for its removal from the finished picture has not been determined.
       According to a 22 Aug 1952 DV news item, well-known playwright J. B. Priestley filed an injunction and plagiarism suit against Twentieth Century-Fox, alleging that the film's title was too similar to that of one of his plays, When We Are Married , and also that the subject matter too closely resembled that of his play. Priestley dropped the suit shortly after it was filed, however. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Jun 1952.
---
Daily Variety
23 Jun 52
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1952.
---
Film Daily
1 Jul 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
20 Sep 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 52
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 52
p. 2.
Life
28 Jul 1952
pp. 69-70, 72.
Los Angeles Times
7 Aug 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Jul 1952.
---
Motion Picture Daily
23 Jun 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Jun 52
p. 1425.
New York Times
25 Nov 1951.
---
New York Times
12 Jul 52
p. 16.
New Yorker
19 Jul 1952.
---
Variety
25 Jun 52
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Harry Harvey
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prog mgr
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Perfidia" by Alberto Domínguez and Milton Leeds.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
July 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 July 1952
Los Angeles opening: 23 July 1952
Production Date:
early December 1951--late January 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 July 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1929
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
7,691
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15704
SYNOPSIS

On Christmas Eve, newly appointed justice of the peace Melvin Bush and his wife welcome Stephen Gladwyn and his fiancée Ramona to their home in Gretna Green, Maryland, "the marriage capital of the world." Despite Steve's anxiety about Melvin's inexperience, he and Ramona must marry immediately in order to be hired for a lucrative morning radio show. Melvin performs his first marriage ceremony for Steve and Ramona, who communicate with each other through sarcastic quips. Two years and six months later, Melvin's nephew, the state governor, and his cousin, Attorney General Frank Bush, inform him that he married six couples, including Steve and Ramona, a week before his appointment became official. The problem was uncovered when one of the couples attempted to divorce and found out that their marriage was never actually legal. Stymied over how to approach the remaining five couples, the governor's secretary suggests sending letters informing the couples of the situation and letting them decide how to handle it.
       Ramona and Steve, who have grown to loathe each other, are the first couple to receive the letter, and are overjoyed to learn that they are not really married. Their producer, H. D. Graves, frantically reminds them that their husband-and-wife radio program, Breakfast with the Glad Gladwyns , is the highest-rated morning show, and that if they are not married, they will no longer be making their $5,000 weekly salary. Graves is supported by radio station executive Twitchell, who points out that the Gladwyns signed their contract "Mr. and Mrs. Gladwyn," and must therefore get re-married in order to honor it. Steve and Ramona's quarreling instantly ceases as they ... +


On Christmas Eve, newly appointed justice of the peace Melvin Bush and his wife welcome Stephen Gladwyn and his fiancée Ramona to their home in Gretna Green, Maryland, "the marriage capital of the world." Despite Steve's anxiety about Melvin's inexperience, he and Ramona must marry immediately in order to be hired for a lucrative morning radio show. Melvin performs his first marriage ceremony for Steve and Ramona, who communicate with each other through sarcastic quips. Two years and six months later, Melvin's nephew, the state governor, and his cousin, Attorney General Frank Bush, inform him that he married six couples, including Steve and Ramona, a week before his appointment became official. The problem was uncovered when one of the couples attempted to divorce and found out that their marriage was never actually legal. Stymied over how to approach the remaining five couples, the governor's secretary suggests sending letters informing the couples of the situation and letting them decide how to handle it.
       Ramona and Steve, who have grown to loathe each other, are the first couple to receive the letter, and are overjoyed to learn that they are not really married. Their producer, H. D. Graves, frantically reminds them that their husband-and-wife radio program, Breakfast with the Glad Gladwyns , is the highest-rated morning show, and that if they are not married, they will no longer be making their $5,000 weekly salary. Graves is supported by radio station executive Twitchell, who points out that the Gladwyns signed their contract "Mr. and Mrs. Gladwyn," and must therefore get re-married in order to honor it. Steve and Ramona's quarreling instantly ceases as they begin their commercial-laden show, which is listened to by Melvin and his wife, who are discussing the other four couples.
       The next couple to receive a chance to change their marital status is Annabel and Jeff Norris. Annabel is the statuesque winner of the "Mrs. Mississippi" beauty contest, and although Jeff is proud of his wife, he is dismayed to learn that her promoter, Duffy, intends to keep her so busy that she will not be able to return to her housewifely duties. Jeff is exhausted from caring for their infant son Bitsy, and so, when he receives the governor's letter, he calls the beauty pageant officials to announce that as a single woman, Annabel must be disqualified. Jeff's scheme backfires, however, when Annabel runs for and wins the Miss Mississippi contest.
       Kathleen and Hector Woodruff, the next couple on Melvin's list, have settled into an uneventful life in the suburbs, and are spending their usual quiet evening when Hector reads the governor's letter. Hector indulges in an elaborate fantasy of cavorting with his numerous ex-girl friends in fancy nightclubs, but when he imagines getting the huge bills for the entertainment, he quickly burns the letter before Katie can see it.
       Melvin's fourth ceremony was the wedding of Dallas millionaire Frederick S. Melrose and his exotic, much younger sweetheart Eve. The scheming Eve, who only married Freddie for his money, arranges for him to be photographed in a compromising position in a New Orleans hotel, and uses the photograph to blackmail him for a hefty divorce settlement. Freddie is thunderstruck by the greed of Eve and her lawyer, Stone, and when the governor's letter is delivered to his office, Freddie laughingly sees a solution to his problem. Pretending to cooperate, Freddie lists his numerous assets, then shows the letter to Eve. After Eve faints, Freddie smugly tells Stone that he can pick up his client now.
       The final couple, Willie and Patsy Fisher, bid a tearful farewell at a train station after Willie, a Navy man, is deployed to the Pacific. While the train pulls out, Patsy tells Willie that he is about to become a father, and after Willie reads the governor's letter, he is horrified by the realization that their baby will be illegitimate. Willie jumps off the train and goes AWOL, then telegrams Patsy to meet him in Port City. Patsy reaches their meeting spot, and they rush to city hall to get a license. The clerk gives them the license but informs them that they must be married by the justice of the peace, whose office is across the street. Crossing the street is made difficult by two patroling military police officers, who lose Willie after a brief chase. At the office, the justice of the peace informs the unhappy couple that they must first get a physical report, and Patsy is afraid that it will reveal her pregnancy. All that is needed is a simple blood test, however, but while they wait in the physician's office, Willie is arrested by the M.P.s. As the forlorn Patsy stands at the dock after Willie has been shipped out, a friendly chaplain offers his assistance. Upon hearing the problem, the chaplain arranges for Patsy and Willie, who has been thrown in the brig, to be married over ship-to-shore radio.
       Soon after, Annabel and Jeff are re-married, as are Katie and Hector. Ramona and Steve glumly go to city hall for their ceremony, and when an excited young couple emerges, Steve asks if they can share their rice. Cheered by the gesture, Steve and Ramona realize that they do love each other, and smile as they enter the city clerk's office. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.