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Every Girl Should Be Married

Every Girl Should Be Married(1948)

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teaser Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)

In the lighthearted romantic comedy Every Girl Should Be Married (1948), wistfully romantic shopgirl Anabel Sims (Betsy Drake) is determined to find the perfect husband. When she meets the handsome single pediatrician Dr. Madison Brown (Cary Grant), she is immediately love struck. When he resists her less than subtle advances, Anabel launches an elaborate plan of attack to capture his heart using every trick and scheme she can think of to land her dream man.

Life imitated art for stars Cary Grant and Betsy Drake, who were married in real life one year after the film's release. Drake, the granddaughter of Chicago's Drake Hotel founder, was Grant's third wife. The couple had met a year earlier aboard the luxury liner Queen Mary traveling from England back to the United States. Formally introduced to each other by actress and fellow passenger Merle Oberon, Grant and Drake became friends and soon were romantically involved. At the time, Drake was a stage actress from America with no film credits to her name, but Cary Grant saw her potential.

When Grant returned to Hollywood after the trip, he convinced Dore Schary, head of production at RKO, to sign Betsy Drake to a contract. Not surprisingly, Every Girl Should Be Married became one of Grant's next film projects and he convinced Schary to let Drake be his co-star despite her lack of on-screen experience. Initially, the role was intended for Barbara Bel Geddes and Drake resisted having such a high profile silver screen debut, but Grant convinced her that she was ready. He wanted so much for her to shine in the picture that he used his substantial influence on everyone of importance from the producer to the director to screenwriter Don Hartman. Grant made sure he had a say in anything that concerned Drake's performance from lighting to dialogue. In fact, he may have gone overboard. According to Charles Higham and Roy Moseley, authors of Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart, "Cary watched every move Betsy made on the set, endlessly checking her out, imitating her cruelly in scenes, and at times encouraging her - mistakenly - to imitate Katharine Hepburn's mannered playing. Betsy seemed to take on Cary's own fussiness, and soon studio publicists would be complaining that she was excessively concerned over her appearance on the screen. Self-conscious over her thinness, she refused to pose in a bathing suit."

In the end, the gamble on neophyte Betsy Drake, who carries the bulk of the film, paid off. Released with fanfare as RKO's big Christmas offering, Every Girl Should Be Married was a financial success. Drake's endearing natural quality won audiences over, making her character's questionable behavior, which might be called stalking by todays standards, seem comic and innocent. After all, what girl wouldn't pull out all the stops for Cary Grant?

Cary Grant and Betsy Drake were married for nearly 13 years, which was the longest of Grant's five marriages. The couple made one more film together Room for One More (1952) before divorcing in 1962. Drake gave up acting soon after, making her final screen appearance in Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion in 1965. Grant, a screen legend, continued making movies until his unofficial retirement in 1966.

Producer: Dore Schary, Don Hartman
Director: Don Hartman
Screenplay: Stephen Morehouse Avery, Eleanor Harris, Don Hartman
Cinematography: George E. Diskant
Film Editing: Harry Marker
Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino
Music: Leigh Harline
Cast: Cary Grant (Dr. Madison Brown), Franchot Tone (Roger Sanford), Diana Lynn (Julie Hudson), Betsy Drake (Anabel Sims), Alan Mowbray (Mr. Spitzer), Elisabeth Risdon (Mary Nolan).
BW-85m. Closed captioning.

by Andrea Passafiume

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