Wife, Husband and Friend (1939)

75 or 79-80 mins | Comedy | 3 March 1939

Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles for this film were Women Are Dangerous and Career in C Major . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Ernest Pascal and Edwin Blum wrote a treatment and screenplay based on the story before Apr 1937, but Nunnally Johnson's work was based on the original story rather than the Pascal-Blum treatment and screenplay. HR reported in August 1937 that Myrna Loy was borrowed from M-G-M to co-star with Warner Baxter in this film, though her role was eventually played by Loretta Young. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Lionel Atwill was considered for the part of Hertz, Ed Brophy for the part of Jaffe, Charles Lane for the part of the hotel manager, and Eily Malyon for the part of Mrs. Craig. According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, Vladimir Bakaltinoff, the conductor for the film, once conducted at the Imperial Opera in Old Russia. The property man for the film, Count Phil de Esco, was the only titled property man in Hollywood. The story was performed by the Lux Radio Theatre on 28 Apr 1941 starring George Brent, Pricilla Lane and Gail Patrick. Modern sources state that writer Cain was paid eight thousand dollars by Twentieth Century-Fox for the film rights to this story. Nunnally Johnson filmed the story once again for Twentieth Century-Fox Film in 1949 as Everybody Does It , starring Paul Douglas and Linda ... More Less

The working titles for this film were Women Are Dangerous and Career in C Major . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Ernest Pascal and Edwin Blum wrote a treatment and screenplay based on the story before Apr 1937, but Nunnally Johnson's work was based on the original story rather than the Pascal-Blum treatment and screenplay. HR reported in August 1937 that Myrna Loy was borrowed from M-G-M to co-star with Warner Baxter in this film, though her role was eventually played by Loretta Young. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Lionel Atwill was considered for the part of Hertz, Ed Brophy for the part of Jaffe, Charles Lane for the part of the hotel manager, and Eily Malyon for the part of Mrs. Craig. According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, Vladimir Bakaltinoff, the conductor for the film, once conducted at the Imperial Opera in Old Russia. The property man for the film, Count Phil de Esco, was the only titled property man in Hollywood. The story was performed by the Lux Radio Theatre on 28 Apr 1941 starring George Brent, Pricilla Lane and Gail Patrick. Modern sources state that writer Cain was paid eight thousand dollars by Twentieth Century-Fox for the film rights to this story. Nunnally Johnson filmed the story once again for Twentieth Century-Fox Film in 1949 as Everybody Does It , starring Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18-Feb-39
---
Daily Variety
9 Feb 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Feb 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 37
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 39
pp. 4-5.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Feb 39
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Feb 39
p. 43.
New York Times
25 Feb 39
p. 19.
Variety
15 Feb 39
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art follow-up
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst cutter
Mus cutter
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
Ward--men
Ward--women
MUSIC
Mus dir
Voice double for Warner Baxter
Voice double for Loretta Young
Voice double for Binnie Barnes
SOUND
Asst sd
Sd stage man
Sd boom man
MAKEUP
Hair
Hairdresser for Loretta Young
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr clerk
Grip
Asst to prod
Asst prop
Best boy
Transportation for Loretta Young
Unit casting
Stage doorman
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the story "Two Can Sing" by James M. Cain in American Magazine (Apr 1938).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
Selections from the opera Arlesiana , music by Sam Pokrass, libretto by Armando Hauser.
SONGS
"Songs My Mother Taught Me," words by Natalie MacFarren, music by Antonín Dvorák
"Drink from the Cup Tomorrow," words and music by Samuel Pokrass and Walter Bullock
"On the Road to Mandalay," words by Rudyard Kipling, music by Oley Speaks
+
SONGS
"Songs My Mother Taught Me," words by Natalie MacFarren, music by Antonín Dvorák
"Drink from the Cup Tomorrow," words and music by Samuel Pokrass and Walter Bullock
"On the Road to Mandalay," words by Rudyard Kipling, music by Oley Speaks
"Beyond the Blue Horizon," words by Leo Robin, music by Richard Whiting and W. Franke Harling.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Career in C Major
Women Are Dangerous
Release Date:
3 March 1939
Production Date:
began early November 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 March 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8967
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 79-80
Length(in feet):
7,280
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4862
SYNOPSIS

The opening of the opera season in New York City is no time for rejoicing in the life of building contractor Leonard Borland. Each year, his wife Doris instantly becomes smitten with the singing bug, a weakness the women in her family are cursed with, according to her father, Major Blair. Upon arriving home one day, Leonard finds Doris exercising her vocal cords under the tutelage of voice teacher Hugo and her overbearing mother. Leonard, taking the bull by the horns, throws both Hugo and his mother-in-law out. Despite this, Doris prepares for a recital that is coming up three months, something Leonard comes to support, believing such a performance will get singing "out of her system." At the last moment, Doris learns that music critic Rudolph Hertz has been given the wrong date for her recital. The dutiful Leonard visits Hertz at a luncheon, and when the critic refuses to attend the recital, Leonard blasts the critic for ignoring his wife. Opera diva Cecil Carver witnesses Leonard's act of love and becomes instantly smitten. Doris' recital is a huge success, due in large part to Leonard's filling the hall with friends and business associates. While Leonard's business suffers under the strain of a recession, Doris continues her spendthrift ways, planning for a major singing career. Cecil calls Leonard and invites him to her apartment to advise him on Doris' career. At their meeting, Cecil tells Leonard that his wife has not a bad voice, but not a good one, either. A telegram arrives informing Cecil that she must perform a song she does not know. ... +


The opening of the opera season in New York City is no time for rejoicing in the life of building contractor Leonard Borland. Each year, his wife Doris instantly becomes smitten with the singing bug, a weakness the women in her family are cursed with, according to her father, Major Blair. Upon arriving home one day, Leonard finds Doris exercising her vocal cords under the tutelage of voice teacher Hugo and her overbearing mother. Leonard, taking the bull by the horns, throws both Hugo and his mother-in-law out. Despite this, Doris prepares for a recital that is coming up three months, something Leonard comes to support, believing such a performance will get singing "out of her system." At the last moment, Doris learns that music critic Rudolph Hertz has been given the wrong date for her recital. The dutiful Leonard visits Hertz at a luncheon, and when the critic refuses to attend the recital, Leonard blasts the critic for ignoring his wife. Opera diva Cecil Carver witnesses Leonard's act of love and becomes instantly smitten. Doris' recital is a huge success, due in large part to Leonard's filling the hall with friends and business associates. While Leonard's business suffers under the strain of a recession, Doris continues her spendthrift ways, planning for a major singing career. Cecil calls Leonard and invites him to her apartment to advise him on Doris' career. At their meeting, Cecil tells Leonard that his wife has not a bad voice, but not a good one, either. A telegram arrives informing Cecil that she must perform a song she does not know. Discovering that Leonard knows the song, Cecil convinces him help her learn it. Leonard warns her about his voice and proceeds to shatter a glass. Cecil instantly recognizes that Leonard, not Doris, has the great opera voice and offers to train him. At first Leonard refuses, but Cecil convinces him by playing on his insecurity of being a "boy-made-good who married the society girl." By being a great singer, Cecil tells him, Leonard will finally be on Doris' social level. While Doris' singing career flounders, Leonard's career as "Logan Bennett" meets with great success on a tour of Eastern cities with Cecil. After returning to New York in preparation for a national tour, Leonard finds Doris in bed under doctor's care having been booed off the stage in her professional debut as the opening act at a movie theater. That night, at her mother's party to celebrate her "great success," Doris is confronted by Cecil. Leonard claims innocence to adultery and tells all, but no one believes him until he performs "On the Road to Mandalay." Doris runs from the party and throws Leonard out of their apartment, after which Leonard goes on a week-long drunk, spending what little money he has left, until he is found by Cecil. Back in Cecil's clutches, Leonard is forced to perform the lead in an opera. On opening night, Leonard makes a fool of himself, much to the delight of everyone but Doris. Backstage, Doris goes to Leonard, telling him that she loves him now more than ever. Leonard's business partner, Mike Craig, arrives, and informs him they have a job building a million-dollar racetrack in Florida. On the train to Florida, Leonard and Doris break into a rendition of "Beyond the Blue Horizon." When Mrs. Craig joins in, Mike playfully stuffs a pillow in her mouth. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.