6.3/10
164
7 user 7 critic

Wife, Husband and Friend (1939)

Approved | | Comedy | 3 March 1939 (USA)
Woman hopes to be a great singer and is encouraged by her scheming teacher. After she flops her husband, encouraged by an amorous professional singer tries opera and also flops.

Director:

Gregory Ratoff

Writers:

Nunnally Johnson (screenplay), James M. Cain (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Loretta Young ... Doris Borland
Warner Baxter ... Leonard Borland aka Logan Bennett
Binnie Barnes ... Cecil Carver
Cesar Romero ... Hugo
George Barbier ... Major Blair
J. Edward Bromberg ... Rossi
Eugene Pallette ... Mike Craig
Helen Westley ... Mrs. Blair
Ruth Terry ... Carol
Alice Armand Alice Armand ... Sally Bostwick
Iva Stewart Iva Stewart ... Miss Carver's Secretary
Dorothy Dearing Dorothy Dearing ... Mrs. Price
Helen Ericson ... Mrs. Spalding
Kay Griffith Kay Griffith ... Nancy Sprague
Harry Rosenthal Harry Rosenthal ... Bill Wilkins
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Storyline

Leonard Borland's contracting business is doing badly, while his monied wife wants to pursue an operatic career. He lets her get on with it until she seems to be a success, when he finds he himself has a singing voice good enough to go on tour with. This brings some money in, and his new singing partner fancies him too. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A jó házasság titka See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James M. Cain, whose story "Two Can Sing" was the basis for this film, had himself trained as an operatic baritone. Opera figures prominently in several of his other stories, including "Serenade" and "Mildred Pierce" (though the opera parts of the plot of "Mildred Pierce" were dropped in the film version). See more »

Quotes

Leonard Borland aka Logan Bennett: You're just an old... Foof! Sorry, ladies.
See more »

Connections

Version of Everybody Does It (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Arlesiana
Music by Samuel Pokrass
Lyrics by Walter Bullock
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good but the update is a little better
8 March 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Warner Baxter, Loretta Young, and Binnie Barnes star in "Wife, Husband, and Friend," a 1939 comedy remade some years later as "Everybody Does It" with Paul Douglas, Celeste Holm, and Linda Darnell.

It's the story of a society woman (Young) who dreams, as her mother did, of a career in singing but just doesn't have the vocal chops. It turns out that her husband (Baxter) has an incredible voice. A diva (Barnes) falls for him and takes him along on tour with her, finally arranging for him to star with her in an opera.

The problem I had with this film is that it's exactly like "Everybody Does It" right up until the last half hour, and then it leaves out the best parts of the story. The opera scene in this film can't touch the opera performance in "Everybody Does It" - nor does it give an explanation for the behavior of the Baxter character, which we get in the later film.

My other problem is a singing one - the dubbing of Loretta Young's voice is too good. Celeste Holm did her own singing in "Everybody Does It," and it's pleasant, but not of operatic caliber, making the story more believable.

Nevertheless, in its own right, "Wife, Husband, and Friend" is cute, with some good performances. Baxter is very funny as the husband, and there's wonderful support from George Barbier and Helen Westley, who play Young's parents. Young is gorgeous and very effective.

Extremely enjoyable, but if you get a chance, see "Everybody Does It" for some extra comedy and to fill an important plot hole!


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