He Married His Wife (1940)

82-83 mins | Comedy-drama | 19 January 1940

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HISTORY

According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, on 31 Jan 1938, executive producer Darryl Zanuck held a story conference, in which it was decided that the character "Hunter" had to be "changed completely" to be more like the character that Cesar Romero played in Happy Landing (see above). Ann Sothern was suggested for the role of "Ethel" at the story conference, and Lyle Talbot was suggested for the role of "Carter." At a 12 Aug 1938 story conference, Zanuck complained that the major fault of the first draft of the continuity was that it was "treated as a cream-puff farce" when it should have been "treated as sincere and honest comedy-drama." Zanuck cited a number of films, including Wife, Doctor and Nurse (see below), Three Blind Mice (see below) and Alexander's Ragtime Band (see above), as examples of good writing because they were "treated simply and honestly." Zanuck went so far as to suggest that writer Sam Hellman view Three Blind Mice again because, he said, it was "the type of treatment and attitude we want applied to He Married His Wife ." A Sep 1939 story conference resulted in the changing of "Dickie's" character from a radical to a yoga lover.
       A Var pre-production news item indicated that Warner Baxter and Binnie Barnes were originally set for the starring roles in the film. Barnes and Baxter were starred in Wife, Husband and Friend (see below) together, and this film was referred to as a "follow up" to it. Although ... More Less

According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, on 31 Jan 1938, executive producer Darryl Zanuck held a story conference, in which it was decided that the character "Hunter" had to be "changed completely" to be more like the character that Cesar Romero played in Happy Landing (see above). Ann Sothern was suggested for the role of "Ethel" at the story conference, and Lyle Talbot was suggested for the role of "Carter." At a 12 Aug 1938 story conference, Zanuck complained that the major fault of the first draft of the continuity was that it was "treated as a cream-puff farce" when it should have been "treated as sincere and honest comedy-drama." Zanuck cited a number of films, including Wife, Doctor and Nurse (see below), Three Blind Mice (see below) and Alexander's Ragtime Band (see above), as examples of good writing because they were "treated simply and honestly." Zanuck went so far as to suggest that writer Sam Hellman view Three Blind Mice again because, he said, it was "the type of treatment and attitude we want applied to He Married His Wife ." A Sep 1939 story conference resulted in the changing of "Dickie's" character from a radical to a yoga lover.
       A Var pre-production news item indicated that Warner Baxter and Binnie Barnes were originally set for the starring roles in the film. Barnes and Baxter were starred in Wife, Husband and Friend (see below) together, and this film was referred to as a "follow up" to it. Although Baxter was eventually replaced by Joel McCrea, an Apr 1939 HR news item reported that the start of production on the film was held up due to Baxter's recuperation from an illness. HR pre-production news items noted that Twentieth Century-Fox negotiated with Paramount for the loan of actor Charlie Ruggles, and that the Burman estate in Santa Barbara, California, was named as the site of location filming. Some scenes were also filmed at Hoover Ranch in Calabasas, California. According to a HR pre-release news item, Lee Bowman was originally announced for the part played by Cesar Romero. HR also noted that The Four Tumbleweeds and the jitterbug dance team Albert and Jilbert were to be featured in the picture, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Studio publicity material notes that this film was completed in thirty days, four days under schedule, and that Nancy Kelly was knocked unconscious during filming when she swung her dress, which had lead weights stitched into the hem, and it hit her in the head. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Jan 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Jan 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Sep 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Jan 40
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Nov 39
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jan 40
p. 46.
New York Times
20 Jan 40
p. 11.
Variety
1-Apr-39
---
Variety
17 Jan 40
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 January 1940
Production Date:
2 October--9 November 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
19 January 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9545
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82-83
Length(in feet):
7,477
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
5790
SYNOPSIS

On the one-year anniversary of their divorce, T. H. "Randy" Randall and his ex-wife Valerie dine together in the restaurant where they fell in love. While dancing with Valerie, Randy, who ruined their marriage by loving his race horse more than his wife, is arrested for not paying her alimony. Thrown into jail, the desperate Randy concocts a plan with his attorney, Bill Carter, to end his alimony payments and therefore his financial woes by marrying Valerie off. As soon as he is released, Randy tries to match up his dull friend, Paul Hunter, with Valerie, and succeeds in getting the two to join him on a trip to wealthy socialite Ethel Hilary's Duck's Point estate. Ethel, though quite an eccentric herself, thrives on entertaining interesting people at her home, such as yoga afficionado Mr. Dicky Brown. Ethel extends her hospitality to all, including a dashing man she has never met before named Freddie, who arrives uninvited. Freddie instantly becomes infatuated with Valerie and woos her with an evening serenade of her favorite song. The next morning, Ethel, who heard the lovely music from her room and believes it was Randy's song to her, thanks him for it. When Randy discovers that Valerie has spurned Paul in favor of Freddie, he reprimands her for her poor treatment of his friend and insists that he, not Freddie, escort her to a picnic. However, when Randy's car has a flat tire, Valerie is provided with an opportunity to resume her romance with Freddie, who drives by and exchanges his passenger, Ethel, for Randy's. At the picnic, Valerie keeps Freddie at bay until she can coax ... +


On the one-year anniversary of their divorce, T. H. "Randy" Randall and his ex-wife Valerie dine together in the restaurant where they fell in love. While dancing with Valerie, Randy, who ruined their marriage by loving his race horse more than his wife, is arrested for not paying her alimony. Thrown into jail, the desperate Randy concocts a plan with his attorney, Bill Carter, to end his alimony payments and therefore his financial woes by marrying Valerie off. As soon as he is released, Randy tries to match up his dull friend, Paul Hunter, with Valerie, and succeeds in getting the two to join him on a trip to wealthy socialite Ethel Hilary's Duck's Point estate. Ethel, though quite an eccentric herself, thrives on entertaining interesting people at her home, such as yoga afficionado Mr. Dicky Brown. Ethel extends her hospitality to all, including a dashing man she has never met before named Freddie, who arrives uninvited. Freddie instantly becomes infatuated with Valerie and woos her with an evening serenade of her favorite song. The next morning, Ethel, who heard the lovely music from her room and believes it was Randy's song to her, thanks him for it. When Randy discovers that Valerie has spurned Paul in favor of Freddie, he reprimands her for her poor treatment of his friend and insists that he, not Freddie, escort her to a picnic. However, when Randy's car has a flat tire, Valerie is provided with an opportunity to resume her romance with Freddie, who drives by and exchanges his passenger, Ethel, for Randy's. At the picnic, Valerie keeps Freddie at bay until she can coax a marriage proposal from him, but is shocked when she learns that he is married to another woman. Though Freddie promises to divorce his wife, Valerie turns her back on the lothario and packs her bags. Randy wants to re-marry Valerie, whom he still loves, and panics when it appears that she will be marrying Freddie. When Randy proposes to Valerie, she finally hears the words that she has wanted to hear for a long time and eagerly accepts his proposal. Her excitement is brought to an abrupt halt, however, when Bill, not realizing it is Randy and not Freddie that she is marrying, tells Valerie that Randy will be happy to see his "plan" end in success. Hurt and angry that she should be taken for granted and that Randy was only motivated by his financial difficulties, Valerie decides to marry Paul. Ethel gladly makes the arrangements for the wedding at Duck Point, but chaos ensues when two grooms appear to take Valerie's hand in marriage. Furthermore, the ceremony takes place during a radio broadcast of the horse race in which Randy's horse, "Ajax," is racing, and Bill and Randy's excitement spreads throughout the wedding party until the ceremony is completely disrupted. Valerie, forced to choose between Paul and Randy, decides to remarry Randy, and the two are overjoyed when Randy's horse wins the race. +

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

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