That marvellous repository of 20th century photography, If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, posted this fun image from the set of My Favourite Wife. Between takes, the film’s director Garson Kanin is throwing jacks with cast members Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Granville Bates.
Despite the obvious staging of the shot, I do like stills from this period which aren’t conventional publicity material. Kanin looks like a real laugh riot, doesn’t he….?
My Favourite Wife is a film I’ve spent a lot of time with, it being one of the subjects of my thesis’ third chapter. It was designed to replicate the success of The Awful Truth (1937, also starring Grant and Dunne), but it misses the verve and intelligence of that film. Perhaps it would have been a different story if Leo McCarey had been able to direct – an automobile accident meant that he was only able to act in the capacity of producer.
There are great things in the film – I particularly like Grant’s reaction on first seeing Dunne, and every scene featuring Randolph Scott – but there’s a flatness and a tiredness about the whole affair. It’s as though the film tries to pay homage to the conventions of the remarriage comedy without really understanding how those conventions operate. And I can’t forgive the film’s cruelty to Gail Patrick’s character.
Over to you, readers. Am I being too hard on My Favourite Wife?