My Favorite Wife

Watch My Favorite Wife

"The funniest, fastest honeymoon ever screened!"
  • Passed
  • 1940
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 7.3  (11,423)

My Favorite Wife is a 1940 screwball comedy directed by Garson Kanin and starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, and Randolph Scott. The film centers around a man named Nick Arden, played by Grant, who believes his wife, Ellen, played by Dunne, died in a shipwreck seven years ago. He decides to have her declared legally dead and marries his new fiancee, Bianca, played by Gail Patrick. However, on the same day of the marriage, Ellen is rescued from a deserted island and returns home to find her husband has moved on with his life. As Ellen tries to win back her husband, she discovers that he is no longer the man she once knew and must navigate the complications of her return from the dead.

The film opens with a montage of Nick and Ellen's seemingly happy marriage, followed by a dramatic sequence of Ellen's shipwreck and presumed death. Seven years later, Nick is ready to move on and marry Bianca, but his plans are complicated when Ellen suddenly returns. The premise of a spouse returning from the dead is a classic trope of romantic comedies, but My Favorite Wife adds a modern twist by exploring the changes that occur in a person's life over time.

As Ellen tries to reintegrate herself into Nick's life, she is faced with the reality that he has moved on and has become a successful attorney. He is also raising their two children with the help of his mother-in-law, played by the renowned character actress, Ann Shoemaker. Nick is hesitant to believe that Ellen is really back, and his skepticism causes friction between them. This leads to a series of misadventures and comedic misunderstandings, including a scene where Ellen accidentally causes Nick's new boss, played by the always delightful Donald MacBride, to fall into a swimming pool.

The chemistry between Dunne and Grant is palpable, and they play off each other effortlessly. Dunne, in particular, shines as the determined and witty Ellen, who refuses to give up on her marriage. She is the film's emotional anchor, and her journey to win back Nick's heart is both heartfelt and hilarious. Grant, meanwhile, is his usual charming self, but there is a harder edge to his performance than in some of his other romantic comedies. His character's frustration with the situation is understandable, but he also comes across as selfish at times, creating a complex dynamic between the two leads.

Randolph Scott, who was a real-life friend of Grant, plays an interesting role as Ellen's fellow survivor on the island. He is smitten with Ellen and sees her return as an opportunity to finally win her over. Scott brings a quiet intensity to his scenes that contrasts well with Grant's energy and Dunne's wit. Despite his limited screen time, he is an essential part of the film's love triangle.

The film's script, written by Leo McCarey and Bella Spewack, is full of clever banter and quick wit. The dialogue crackles with energy, making for a fast-paced and entertaining viewing experience. The film's humor also relies heavily on physical comedy, particularly in a scene where Ellen tries to retrieve her suitcase from a cab. The scene is a masterclass in comedic timing, with Dunne performing a series of pratfalls and slapstick maneuvers that will have viewers laughing out loud.

My Favorite Wife is a classic romantic comedy that has endured for over 80 years. Its themes of love, loss, and second chances are universal and still resonate with audiences today. The film's cast, particularly Dunne and Grant, elevate the material with their performances, making it a must-see for fans of classic Hollywood cinema.

My Favorite Wife is a 1940 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.

My Favorite Wife
Where to Watch My Favorite Wife
My Favorite Wife is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent My Favorite Wife for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (11,423)