Sunday, August 21, 2011

Too Many Husbands & Wives Plots for Screwball Comedy

Too Many Husbands (released in the United Kingdom as My Two Husbands) is a 1940 romantic comedy film about a woman who loses her husband (Cardew) in a boating accident and remarries, only to have her first spouse reappear. The film starred Jean ArthurFred MacMurray and Melvyn Douglas. It is based on the 1919 play "Home and Beauty" by W. Somerset Maugham

My Favorite Wife (released in the U.K. as My Favourite Wifeis a film released less than two months later with a similar plot, but with the sexes reversed, with Cary Grant losing his first wife, Irene Dunne, in a boating accident and remarrying after seven years, only to find his first wife re-appear just as he's getting ready for his honeymoon night. It was produced and co-written by Leo McCarey and directed by Garson Kanin. The story is an adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Enoch Arden"; in tribute, the main characters' last name is Arden. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best StoryBest Score and Best Art Direction by Van Nest Polglase and Mark-Lee Kirk.

20th Century Fox began filming a 1962 remake of My Favorite Wife starring Marilyn MonroeDean Martin, and Cyd Charisse under the working title of Something's Got to Give, which was to be directed by George Cukor.
It was Monroe's last work; from the beginning its production was disrupted by her personal troubles. Marilyn Monroe was fired for seldom showing up for shooting early in its production cycle, appearing in only about 30 minutes of usable film. 

Unable to complete the movie, and having already sunk a considerable amount of money into the production and sets, 20th Century Fox went ahead with the project, under a new title, new director, and recast stars. At first, they tried to continue with Lee Remick in Monroe's place, but Martin balked at working with anyone else and that version was never completed. Monroe was re-hired but died before she could resume filming. Doris Day and James Garner were eventually cast in the roles originated by Irene Dunne and Cary Grant in My Favorite WifeChuck Connors played the Randolph Scott role, replacing Tom Tryon, who'd been cast in the Monroe version. Following Monroe's death in August 1962, the new version was released by Fox as Move Over, Darling (1963).

In a scene from Move Over, Darling, the movie that Ellen ( Doris Day ) describes to Bianca while giving her a massage is My Favorite Wife.

Nine hours of largely unseen footage from the film remained in the vaults at 20th Century Fox until 1999, when it was digitally restored by Prometheus Entertainment and assembled into a 37-minute segment for the two-hour documentary, Marilyn: The Final Days. It first aired on American Movie Classics on June 1, 2001, which would have been Monroe's 75th birthday. It is available on DVD.

The Tom Hanks film Cast Away has a plot similarity: the lead character is marooned on an island for several years; on his return he finds that his girlfriend has given him up for dead and has married someone else.

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