Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Favorite Wife (1940) & Move Over, Darling (1963)

Well, here is your blogathon host saving the best for last. Just kidding! All of the entries to the They Remade What?! Blogathon that I have had a chance to read so far have been amazing!!! I am constantly blown away by all of the talented writers I come across. I can't wait to read the rest of them!

For my films I chose My Favorite Wife (1940) starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant and Move Over, Darling (1963) starring Doris Day and James Garner. Now usually when it comes to remakes one stands above the other in my opinion. In the case of these two films it's pretty close.

Pardon me, did you say they remade My Favorite Wife?

My Favorite Wife (1940) is the film that is better known because, let's face it, Cary Grant is in it, not to mention the extremely talented Irene Dunne. Now to big fans of Doris Day maybe it's the other way around, but for me the only version I knew for several years was the original. Recently I signed up for Netflix and discovered Move Over, Darling (1963). When I realized what it was a remake of, and as a fan of James Garner, I put it on my list.


Both films are essentially the same with My Favorite Wife having more scenes at the end (Cary Grant dressed up like Santa Claus anyone?).

The basic storyline is this: Ellen Arden (Dunne, Day) is lost at sea and after 7 years is officially claimed dead. This gives her husband, Nick Arder (Grant, Garner), the chance to finally remarry. The only problem is, the day he gets married, Ellen shows up - very much alive!
Nick is overjoyed to find out that his wife is still alive. The problem is, how does he explain it to his new bride, who is in a 'honeymoon' mood?
Ellen can't understand why Nick can't just tell her but she has problems of her own. She can't seem to tell the kids that she is their mother. She also happened to not mention that she wasn't alone all those years. She was with a man who she called 'Adam,' and who called her 'Eve.'
Ellen hires someone to pretend he's Adam, someone that Nick could never be jealous about, a timid, small man. Unknown to her, however, Nick has already tracked down Adam at the pool: big, strong, handsome, athletic, real good with the ladies - you get the picture.

Ellen eventually knows that Nick knows who the real Adam is and ... this is where the two pictures differ. In My Favorite Wife, Dunne and Grant string each other along a little longer. Dunne takes the children up to a cabin in the mountains so that she can tell them she is their mother. Grant makes an excuse so that he has to spend the night too. Dunne makes him sleep in the attic. After he keeps bothering her, she tells him that she will make her decision at Christmas. Enter Cary Grant as Santa Claus. The children have of course already figured out that Dunne is their mother and everything ends happily ever after, with Grant divorcing his second wife, Bianca, and having Dunne declared alive again.
In Move Over, Darling, Day and Garner go to court, have both marriages dissolved, and go their separate ways, so to speak. Garner goes home with Day following shortly after so she can pack her things. She goes around the back of the house to discover Garner and their kids in the pool. He has already told them who their mother is and they too have a happy ending.

I love both films but I have to say, the supporting cast is better in Move Over, Darling. We get Thelma Ritter as Garner's mother (she's always a plus) and Don Knotts (The Andy Griffith Show) as a nervous shoe salesmen that Day pays to pretend he's 'Adam.' Adam is played by Chuck Conners (The Rifleman). Polly Bergan takes on the role of Bianca. Other television stars, aside from James Garner (Maverick) and the two mentioned above, include Alvy Moore (Mr. Kimbell - Green Acres) as a room service waiter and John Astin (Gomez Addams - The Addams Family) as an insurance man.

In My Favorite Wife we get Randolph Scott as Adam and Gail Patrick as Grant's new wife, Bianca. We also get Asta the dog from The Thin Man series!

Even though the films are virtually identical, they each have their own comedic scenes that aren't in the other and as both have wonderful casts they are definitely both worth watching.


  • From IMDb: Move Over, Darling was a re-shot version of Something's Got to Give (1962), the never completed film Marilyn Monroe was working on when she died. It co-starred Dean Martin as Nick and Cyd Charisse as Bianca. It was supposed to begin filming on April 23, 1962, but the schedule was reorganized due to Monroe suffering a sinus infection. Production shot around her scenes using the rest of the cast. Soon enough, the shooting fell 10 days behind schedule. Monroe's last day on the set fell on her birthday, June 1, 1962. When Monroe called in sick again the following Monday, June 4, she was fired a few days later on June 8. Dean Martin refused to continue filming without Monroe, and the movie was left unfinished (most of the footage was unseen, until it was restored into a 37-minute short which aired on television on June 1, 2001. You can watch it here and the unedited footage here). The following year, it was recast with James Garner, Doris Day and Polly Bergen, retitled Move Over, Darling and released in December 1963. Many of the same sets were used.

  • In the scene where Garner pulls Day off of Bergan, he accidently broke several of her ribs. Day didn't tell him and finished the scene. The next day Garner discovered what had happened when he put his arms around and felt the bandages.

  • Leo McCarey was supposed to direct My Favorite Wife, but shortly before the filming began he was injured in an automobile accident, and had to hand over the direction to Garson Kanin. Actress Gail Patrick has stated that the severity of McCarey's injuries had an effect on the film company, and they found it very difficult to enter into the spirit of the comedy with the serious hospital bulletins they were hearing.

My Favorite Wife airs on Turner Classic Movies November 27 at 10am and again on December 22 at 10pm.
Move Over, Darling is still on Netflix, at the time of this posting (As of April 1st, 2017, it has been taken down and then recently put back up).


  1. I feel that Polly Bergen stole "Move Over, Darling" from her extremely talented co-stars. She is my favourite part of the movie. On the other hand, my husband has a "thing" for Gail Patrick.

    Congratulations on your successful first blogathon. Well done!

    1. Bergen is a very convincing new bride. I spent most of the movie looking at James Garner though... ;)

      Thanks so much!! It wouldn't have been successful if it wasn't for all of you great people!!!

  2. Move Over, Darling is such a hilarious movie, but I didn't know it was a remake of one with Cary Grant. Now I'll have to track down My Favorite Wife! Great blog post!

    1. You definitely need to see it! And thanks!

  3. I've seen (and greatly enjoy) My Favorite Wife, but haven't yet seen the remake with Doris Day – which also sounds like a lot of fun.

    This blogathon has really increased my Must Watch List!!

    1. It is a lot of fun. That's why I love blogathons! I have so many new movies to keep an eye out for on TCM.

  4. I enjoy both films, and like you, I have a hard time picking one over the other. I'm not in love with Irene Dunne, but Cary Grant does such a fantastic job it balances things out for me. I adore the cast of Move Over, Darling more -- Day and Garner's chemistry practically jumps off the screen! All in all, both are good screwball comedies. I only wish Something's Gotta Give had been finished. It shaped up to be a fun movie, and I like what footage I've seen.

    1. I found the footage of the Monroe film when I was writing this post but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

      I really do like Day and Garner together. I like their film "The Thrill of It All" too.

  5. I've only seen 'Move Over Darling' many years ago, and loved it - but I really must see the Cary Grant version, as he and Dunne are such a great combination! This has been a fun blogathon.

    1. Thanks! I enjoyed hosting it :)

    2. I'm now co-hosting one for Sinatra's centennial, if you are interested :)