Thursday, October 12, 2006

Must-See Movies: My Favorite Wife & Move Over Darling

For the first time in Lounge history (add pompous fanfare here) I'm endorsing two movies at once:

  • My Favorite Wife (1940) with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, and
  • Move Over Darling (1963) with Doris Day and James Garner.
If you mention one movie, you have to mention the other, because the the 1963 flick is a remake of the 1940 film -- and both are excellent.

In both movies, Ellen Arden (Dunne and Day) arrives 7 years after being given up for dead in a shipwreck, to find her husband Nick (Grant and Garner) just remarried. Ellen decides to crash the honeymoon before the marriage can be consummated (ah, the 40's and 60's!) and to surprise her husband. But that's not even the half of it. Nick finds out that while Ellen was stranded on an island for 7 years, she was not alone. As Ricky Ricardo says, "She's got some 'splaining to do!"

I do tend to lean towards the 1963 version of this story for three reasons: 1) the comedy is higher with more pratfalls and slapstick, 2) the supporting roles played by Don Knotts (the shoe salesman), Edgar Buchanan (the judge), and Thelma Ritter (the mother-in-law), and 3) I could watch James Garner in any movie he makes.

Some interesting trivia: The 1963 film was originally titled "Something's Got to Give" and was to star Marilyn Monroe in the lead role. Monroe died before completion and so the movie was reshot entirely and released a year later than originally planned. Also just a year before, Day and Grant starred together in That Touch of Mink. I wonder if in between takes she asked his advice about doing the remake?

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