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Too Many Husbands

Too Many Husbands(1940)

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Somerset Maugham's stage play later opened in New York on October 8, 1919; as Home and Beauty it opened in London on August 30, 1919. This film was Wesley Ruggles' first picture as director and producer for Columbia. The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that the PCA informed Columbia in October 1939 that the script of the play was in violation of the Production Code because of its "apparent lack of any respect for the sanctity of marriage; its farcical treatment of the subject of bigamy; and its very frank and detailed discussion of the unsavory subject of divorce by collusion." Although Hollywood Reporter pre-release news items and production charts list actors Mary Treen, Garry Owen, Mercedes Angell and Lee "Lasses" White in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A February 1940 Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that Columbia selected a jury of twelve female college students from UCLA to help it decide which of two possible endings it should use for the film. A subsequent news item noted that all of the film except for the ending would be screened for coeds from UCLA and USC, and that they would discuss the ending with studio officials. The director had one ending in which Jean Arthur takes Fred MacMurray as her husband, and another in which she takes Melvyn Douglas. The studio also reportedly sent out more than 10,000 questionaires to college students throughout the country to help it decide which ending to use.
       Too Many Husbands received an Academy Award nomination in the Sound Recording category. Another film based on the same source is the 1955 Columbia film Three for the Show, directed by H. C. Potter and starring Betty Grable and Jack Lemmon.