My Favorite Wife (1940)

My Favorite Wife (1940), directed by Garson Kanin.

Seven years after his wife is lost at sea, her husband has her declared dead so he can remarry. Who should reappear right after the wedding? How to explain things to the new missus? Wife #1 really is our hero's favorite.

After seeing The Awful Truth (1937) recently I just wanted more Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. This is a good one, if not quite as lively as the previous film.

The precious bit is that the jokes are entirely on Grant this time. Turns out his wife spent those seven years stranded on a tropical island with he-man Randolph Scott. Now Grant suffers from intense sexual jealously and a feeling of not quite measuring up. Whatever did or did not happen, the wife doesn't mind him suffering at all. The sexual innuendo is pretty blunt this time.

Wife #2 is Gail Patrick, last seen as the evil sister in My Man Godfrey (1936). She first came to Hollywood to audition for the part of the panther-woman in Island of Lost Souls (1932).

In one scene Dunne does a dead-on Katharine Hepburn impression; this was the same year as The Philadelphia Story (1940).

Like iron to a magnet, screwball comedy scripts always wind up at the remote luxury cabin.

Photographed by Rudolph Maté.