The Cary Grant Blogathon: My Favorite Wife (1940)

“Make up your mind old man. You’re not allowed to have two wives, you know”…

Like many Classic Movie fans, I just adore Cary Grant — and I just adore about every film that he ever made in his 30+ year film career. He can play anything from suave, sophisticated and sexy — to befuddled, nervous and downright goofy. He can easily weave comic elements into his dramatic roles, and can play comedy with such a straight-laced seriousness, that it’s endearing. But what I love most about Cary Grant, is that he is simply mesmerizing on the screen — you just can’t take your eyes off him…

That said, I have lots of Cary Grant films on my favorites list — – Arsenic and Old LaceBringing Up BabyHouseboatMr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and North by Northwest just to name a few — so you would think that it would be extremely difficult for me to pick just one Cary Grant film to cover for this Blogathon… and yet, it was extremely easy for me to choose — my choice was set in stone from the get-go…

My Favorite Wife movie poster

My Favorite Wife is one of my all-time favorite movies, not to mention one of my ‘desert island picks’ — but it’s even more than that… It’s also my ‘go-to’ movie when I’m feeling ‘down in the dumps,’ or sick, or stressed — or if I I simply need to relax and set aside some time for a guaranteed laugh…

So, why do I adore My Favorite Wife?  Well, it’s the delightful screwball comedy plot and the wonderful cast, as well as the witty repartee between Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott… But most of all, it’s Cary Grant’s portrayal of the frantic and frazzled Nick Arden as he reacts to the crazy (and unforeseen) circumstances that have descended upon him… And, it’s probably no surprise that Grant plays the role to perfection, as he pivots from astounded newlywed – to nervous bigamist – to jealous husband – to annulled and ‘confused’ spouse.

The Plot in a Nutshell: Ellen Arden (Irene Dunne) who was shipwrecked on an island for seven years and presumed dead, returns home on the day of her husband Nick’s (Cary Grant) second marriage. Awkward Honeymoon aside, complications arise when Nick finds out that Ellen wasn’t alone on that island for all those years!

The Featured Cast:

  • Cary Grant: Nick Arden
  • Irene Dunne: Ellen Arden
  • Gail Patrick: Bianca (Nick’s new wife)
  • Randolph Scott: Steve Burkett (the gorgeous man stranded on island with Ellen for all those years!)

A Few Fun Facts:

  • The film was loosely based on the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem Enoch Arden about a fisherman presumed lost at sea who returns home to find that his wife has remarried.
  • Cary Grant and Randolph Scott were good friends and long-time roommates.
  • This is the second of three films that starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne: The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Penny Serenade.

And now for some of my favorite scenes and quotes:

Cary Grant, the ‘astonished husband,’ upon seeing his wife Ellen for the very first time in seven years — at the hotel, on his Honeymoon with new wife Bianca.


Cary Grant My Favorite Wife

As the ‘nervous bigamist’ — with lots on his mind!


As the ‘jealous husband’ — with quite a cause to be, upon seeing Steve Burkett for the very first time!

Lady by Pool: Young man, is that Johnny Weissmuller?
Nick: No, I wish it were.


my favorite wife courtroom sceneAs the annulled and ‘confused’ spouse — who must now ‘make up his mind’ 🙂


And, what does Nick finally decide? Will he move on with his new wife and life, or will he  reconcile with his true love??? Well, I won’t tell, but perhaps you’ll remember this famous image from the end of the film…

Cary Grant as Santa in My Favorite Wife


A Big Thank You to Phyllis Loves Classic Movies (@Solidmoonlight) for hosting this wonderful event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this Blogathon so please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

This entry was posted in Blogathons, Posts by Annmarie Gatti and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Cary Grant Blogathon: My Favorite Wife (1940)

  1. There truly are so many wonderfully funny moments in this movie. The more I see it, the more I love Granville Bates as the judge. What a hoot!

    • Annmarie Gatti says:

      I just can’t get enough of this movie… Love Granville… also Chester Clute and Donald MacBride! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post 🙂

  2. I now thoroughly want to see this again! I’ve only seen it once, a very long time ago. When I was still a child. But your review has made me wonder why I haven’t seen it since. 🙂

    • Annmarie Gatti says:

      I can’t help but laugh when I watch it… I think I know the dialog by heart 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. I really appreciate it!

  3. Phyl says:

    This is a great movie that I really need to watch again! I love that elevator scene. Cary always does that surprised look so well 😉

    Thanks so much for participating in this Blogathon! Enjoyed reading this 🙂

    • Annmarie Gatti says:

      Thanks! I enjoyed writing it… gave me an excuse to watch the movie again (for the umpteenth time) — like I really needed an excuse 🙂

  4. Pingback: Marilyn: Behind the Icon – Something’s Got To Give | Classic Movie Hub Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.