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Married Bachelor

Married Bachelor(1941)

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Married Bachelor (1941)

In an effort to skirt the puritanical purview of the Hollywood Production Code, the major studios created a veritable subgenre of the screwball comedy that focused on marriages in trouble, from the soon-to-be divorced set of The Awful Truth (1937) to the divorced-but-still-in-love crowd of The Philadelphia Story (1940), to the oops-we're-not-legally-married club of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941). This distinction allowed well-meaning Misters and Missuses to split up in the first act, attract interested parties (and drive one another to distraction) in the second, and reconcile at the bottom of the third - all perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the Hays Office so long as no state laws were broken. Though all of the major studios chipped in, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer provided the most stable home for what came to be called "the comedy of remarriage" - with Edward Buzzell's Married Bachelor (1941) providing moviegoers with more of the same. Robert Young and Ruth Hussey star as happily married schemers one step ahead of their creditors. Though promising to go straight, Young winds up posing as the bachelor author of an advice book for married women, attracting a legion of loyal fans while, while Hussey cozies up in retaliation to his unsuspecting publisher. Sheldon Leonard and Sam Levine lend capable support as a pair of Runyonesque onlookers drawn into the charade. Screenwriter Dore Schary was then in charge of MGM's "B" unit but within seven years he would be running the studio.

By Richard Harland Smith

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