For Reel

We’re Not Married! (1952)
February 27, 2012, 5:13 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Edmund Goulding

The stressed importance of familial stability in post-war America has made the 1950s an era prone to a specific kind of satire. Clichés, exemplified in such cultural staples as “Leave It to Beaver”, are numerous: white picket fences, housewives in pearls and heels. In 1952, Edmund Goulding suggested a more cynical look at the tenuous bonds of matrimony in a star-studded anthology picture entitled We’re Not Married!. An elderly man, played by Victor Moore, is appointed justice of the peace, however he prematurely begins marrying couples before he is legally enabled to do so. The film follows five couples who respond to the news that, as the title suggests, they are not married. In one of the chapters, Paul Douglas and Eve Arden play a dissatisfied married couple. When Douglas receives his fateful letter, he fantasizes about getting together with a different woman every day of the week. Once he realizes the expenses of a life of womanizing, he decides that he would be better off to remain in a loveless marriage. Like all of these episodic pictures, the material is very hit-and-miss, however two of the five segments are quite good. The chapter involving Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen is wildly entertaining, thanks to a particularly scathing sequence in which the radio team is forced to speak almost exclusively in advertisements, poking fun at the ultra-consumerist decade. Louis Calhern and ZsaZsa Gabor feature in the best of the chapters, however, in which Calhern’s gold-digging wife files for divorce with intentions of making off with millions, before Calhern reveals that she has no claim to any of his assets.

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