So this film is a remake of the Cary Grant and Irene Dunne screwball comedy, My Favorite Wife. Now you all know how I feel about remakes:
But I actually really enjoyed this one. I mean Doris Day? Young James Garner? You can’t go wrong with that.
Nick Arden’s (James Garnier) wife Ellen disappeared in a plane crash five years ago. After all the searching, wondering, and raising his daughters on his own; he decides that he has to face facts. Ellen is dead and never coming back. He needs to move on.
He decides to have Ellen declared legally dead, marry Bianca, and head out on a honeymoon to Monterey.
At the very moment those two are being married, Ellen (Doris Day) has just arrived on the California shore. It turns out she survived all those years on a desert island. They finally found her and she is eager to return home to her husband and children. However, when she gets to the house, her mother-in-law reveals what has happened.
Ellen hurries to get to Nick before he can consummate the marriage with his new wife. She gets to him in time, but Nick finds it difficult to tell Bianca what has occurred, especially as Bianca isn’t in the mood for talking.
This turns into even more hilarious hijinks as Nick discovers his wife wasn’t alone on that island but with an adonis. He tries to search out the truth, while Ellen hires a nerdy shoe salesman to pretend to be her co-survivor. Will this family be able to straighten everything out or will Nick end up with not two, but zero wives?
Most Romantic Moment: You’re My Wife and the Mother of My Children
So the most romantic moment comes at the very end of the film. They have had a huge blowup in the courthouse: Nick is cleared of bigamy, Nick and Bianca are annulled, Ellen is declared legally alive, but Steven Burkett (Ellen’s co-islander) came and has disrupted the Ardens getting back together.
Nick storms out of the courthouse and after beating up Steven and driving around Ellen has returned home unsure what to do. She is distraught over how it looks like she and Nicky are headed for divorce, and still afraid about what to do with the girls. She has wanted to tell them she is their mother, but hasn’t had the courage to do it. What if they hate her? They already have said they don’t need a mother, just their father.
She heads out to the backyard to talk to them, and finds out they already know. Their father told them and he is waiting with them in the pool for Ellen.
Now I know this may sound strange to be romantic, but it just shows how much he loves his wife and wants to be with her. I mean his kids were babies when she left, he could tell them nothing and use that lack of time together as a selling point in court to get full custody.
So not only does he want them to continue to be a family; but he also wanted to spare her any pain or rejection; instead letting the kids know who she is and getting them excited to see her.
That’s extremely romantic and caring.
To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
For the previous post, go to I Know You Can Do This: Working Girl (1988)
For more on James Garner, go to It’s Fantastico!
For more remakes, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)