Bluebeard's Eighth Wife


1h 26m 1938
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife

Brief Synopsis

A millionaire who's been married seven times courts wife number eight.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 18, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play La huitième femme de Barbe-bleue by Alfred Savoir in La petite illustration (1921) and the English-language adaptation, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife , by Charlton Andrews (New York, 19 Sep 1921).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

Nicole De Loiselle meets American millionaire Michael Brandon while shopping in a store on the French Riviera. She buys the bottoms and he buys the tops of the same suit of pajamas, while she gives him tips on how to cure insomnia by spelling Czechoslovakia backwards. Michael continues to have insomnia, however, and demands to change his suite at the hotel. The managers show him a room but the Marquis De Loiselle is residing there. The marquis tries to convince Michael to go in on a deal with him, but Michael refuses until he recognizes the pajama bottoms and the marquis identifies himself as Nicole's father. Michael agrees to buy a Louis XIV bathtub from the penniless marquis as a gesture of good will and informs the marquis he wishes to marry his daughter. Michael later proposes to Nicole while she is at the beach with her friend Albert De Regnier, but she refuses because he seems arrogant. Michael then sends an apology and an invitation to dinner and they fall in love that evening. At her engagement party, however, Nicole discovers that Michael had been married seven times previously, and each time had arranged a $50,000 per year divorce settlement in a pre-nuptial agreement. Nicole furiously calls off the wedding, but then agrees to marry for a $100,000 settlement. They never consummate the marriage and live in separate rooms, despite attempts by Michael to bridge the gap. Nicole finally wears down Michael's resistance by pretending to have an affair with Albert, and Michael agrees to a divorce. He commits himself to a sanitarium because Nicole completely broke his spirit, but with their newfound wealth, the marquis buys the sanitarium and Nicole pledges her love to Michael.

Cast

Claudette Colbert

Nicole De Loiselle

Gary Cooper

Michael Brandon

Edward Everett Horton

The Marquis De Loiselle

David Niven

Albert De Regnier

Elizabeth Patterson

Aunt Hedwige

Herman Bing

Monsieur Pepinard

Warren Hymer

Kid Mulligan

Franklin Pangborn

Assistant hotel manager

Armand Cortes

Assistant hotel manager

Rolfe Sedan

Floorwalker

Lawrence Grant

Professor Urganzeff

Lionel Pape

Monsieur Potin

Tyler Brooke

Clerk

Tom Ricketts

Uncle Andre

Barlowe Borland

Uncle Fernandel

Charles Halton

Monsieur de la Coste President

Sally Martin

Little girl on beach

Olaf Hytten

Valet

Grace Goodall

Nurse

Jimmie Dime

Prizefighter

Pauline Garon

Woman customer

Eugene Berden

Waiter on stairs

Ray De Ravenne

Package clerk

Jean De Briac

Waiter in corridor

Sheila Darcy

Maid

Harry Lamont

Head porter

Blanche Franke

Cashier

Jacques Vanaire

Manager

Joseph Romantini

Headwaiter

Michael Visaroff

Vice-president

Alphonse Martell

Hotel employee

Paul Pryar

Radio announcer

Harold Minjir

Photographer

Gino Corrado

Waiter who carries Herton

Alex Weleshin

First porter

George Davis

Second porter

Albert D'arno

Newsboy

Mariska Aldrich

Nurse

Paul Gustine

Man in steamship office

Hooper Atchley

Excited passenger

John Picorri

Conductor

Albert Petit

Railway employee

Terry Ray

Secretary

Joseph Crehan

American tourist

Wolfgang Zilzer

Clerk in bookstore

Leon Ames

Ex-chauffeur

Henry Roquemore

Fat man

Barbara Jackson

Marie Burton

Joyce Mathews

Paula De Cardo

Gwen Kenyon

Suzanne Ridgway

Lola Jensen

Carol Parker

Dorothy Payton

Norah Gale

Harriette Haddon

Ruth Rogers

Dorothy White

Gloria Williams

Videos

Movie Clip

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938) - I'll Buy The Trousers Continuing the opening scene, the emphatic meet-cute, from the first screenplay collaboration by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, Ernst Lubitsch directing, as Claudette Colbert appears, in a French Riviera department store, rescuing Gary Cooper as a rich American who’s refusing to buy pajama-pants he doesn’t need, with Rolfe Sedan and Lionel Pape, in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, 1938.
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938) - American Understood The opening shot established the French Riviera, now we meet Gary Cooper, the implied American, shopping, met by Rolfe Sedan, then Lionel Pape, which leads to Charles Halton on the phone, in Ernst Lubitsch’s Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, 1938, also starring Claudette Colbert, from a screenplay by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder.
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938) - How Does One Get A Job? Claudette Colbert as financially-challenged French Riviera denizen Nicole arrives on the beach, meeting David Niven as pal Albert, when they’re confronted by Gary Cooper as American millionaire Brandon who, we discover, has bought a bathtub from her equally impoverished dad, aiming to woo her, in Ernst Lubitsch’s Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, 1938.
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938) - It's The Same Ocean! With French Riviera hotel staff (Franklin Pangborn accompanied by Armand Cortes) offering new rooms, Gary Cooper as the still not-named American millionaire who’s having trouble sleeping, the surprise appearance of Edward Everett Horton as the Marquis, in Ernst Lubitsch’s Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, 1938, also starring Claudette Colbert.

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Adaptation
Release Date
Mar 18, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play La huitième femme de Barbe-bleue by Alfred Savoir in La petite illustration (1921) and the English-language adaptation, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife , by Charlton Andrews (New York, 19 Sep 1921).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Articles

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife -


In spite of Gary Cooper's screen image as an aw-shucks nice guy, in real life he was a sophisticated, sexy bon vivant who cut quite a swath through Hollywood's feminine population. Both sides of Cooper are on display in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938), co-starring Claudette Colbert and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The film, which put a comedy spin on an old French folk tale about a man who marries multiple times and the woman who sets out to end his marital misadventures, marked the first screenplay collaboration for one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriting teams, Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett.

Wilder, who was Jewish, fled Europe for Hollywood in 1933, and landed a job at Paramount without making much of an impression at first, contributing stories and uncredited bits of screenplays. That changed when the studio paired Wilder with Brackett, an east coast patrician fourteen years his senior. Their unlikely partnership was contentious, but as Wilder noted, "Sometimes we would argue violently, but that was good, that was how we got along. He forced me to think in English, especially when I argued with him, which was a lot...I was excited at the idea of working with Lubitsch. One thing Brackett and I agreed on was Ernst Lubitsch."

The opening scene of Bluebeard's Eighth Wife is a classic "meet cute," classic Lubitsch, and classic Brackett and Wilder. Cooper and Colbert are both shopping for men's pajamas; he wants only the tops, and she wants only the bottoms. Before long, they're sharing more than just pajamas, and a whirlwind courtship leads to marriage. But as in all screwball comedies, especially Lubitsch's, that's only the beginning of complications, misunderstandings, and general comic mayhem. The inspiration for the film was apparently the life of much-married millionaire Tommy Manville, who wed eleven women and had thirteen marriages (he divorced and re-wed one, and stayed married to another). Although the original source material for the film was about a nobleman who marries often and murders his brides, there are no dead spouses in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife . It's played strictly for laughs, as clever Colbert makes sure that Cooper's eighth wife is his last.

A pre-stardom David Niven is fourth-billed in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife , as one of Colbert's admirers. Niven was thrilled to be in such stellar company as Colbert and Cooper, and even more so to work for the first time with Lubitsch. So was Wilder, who called Lubitsch "the best writer that ever lived." In his autobiography, Niven described Lubitsch as sitting "like a little gnome, beside the camera, perched on a step ladder, giggling and hugging himself at all his own wonderful inventiveness...I learned major lessons about playing comedy during that time and will forever remember a statement of his: 'nobody should play comedy unless they have a circus going on inside.'"

Brackett and Wilder's fraught partnership continued through more than a dozen memorable films, including comedies like Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939), and Howard Hawks's Ball of Fire (1941), and dramas like The Lost Weekend (1945), and their final film together, Sunset Boulevard (1950), both of which Wilder also directed. Brackett took on producer duties, but the collaboration that thrived on conflict had stopped working. As Wilder diplomatically explained it, "The sparks weren't flying anymore." Brackett found out that their partnership was over not from Wilder, but from a studio press release.

The team that Wilder himself had jokingly called "the happiest couple in Hollywood" went their separate ways, and each had his own success, Brackett moving to 20th Century Fox as a writer and producer. Wilder's career and his subsequent writing collaboration with I.A.L. Diamond produced many hits, and with 1960's The Apartment, Wilder became the first person to win Oscars for writing, producing and directing the same film. But none of Brackett's subsequent films were as brilliant as those he wrote with Wilder. Recalling the end of their partnership, Brackett wrote, "It was such a blow, such an unexpected blow. I thought I'd never recover from it. And in fact, I don't think I ever have."

Producer, Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Screenplay: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
Cinematography: Leo Tover
Editor: William Shea
Costume Design: Travis Banton
Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Robert Usher
Music: Boris Morros
Principal Cast: Claudette Colbert (Nicole de Loiselle), Gary Cooper (Michael Brandon), Edward Everett Horton (Marquis de Loiselle), David Niven (Albert de Regnier), Elizabeth Patterson (Aunt Hedwige), Herman Bing (Monsieur Pepinard), Warren Hymer (Kid Mulligan), Franklin Pangborn (Assistant Hotel Manager), Armand Cortes (Assistant Hotel Manager), Rolfe Sedan (Floorwalker), Lawrence Grant (Professor Urganzeff)
84 minutes

by Margarita Landazuri
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife -

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife -

In spite of Gary Cooper's screen image as an aw-shucks nice guy, in real life he was a sophisticated, sexy bon vivant who cut quite a swath through Hollywood's feminine population. Both sides of Cooper are on display in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938), co-starring Claudette Colbert and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The film, which put a comedy spin on an old French folk tale about a man who marries multiple times and the woman who sets out to end his marital misadventures, marked the first screenplay collaboration for one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriting teams, Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Wilder, who was Jewish, fled Europe for Hollywood in 1933, and landed a job at Paramount without making much of an impression at first, contributing stories and uncredited bits of screenplays. That changed when the studio paired Wilder with Brackett, an east coast patrician fourteen years his senior. Their unlikely partnership was contentious, but as Wilder noted, "Sometimes we would argue violently, but that was good, that was how we got along. He forced me to think in English, especially when I argued with him, which was a lot...I was excited at the idea of working with Lubitsch. One thing Brackett and I agreed on was Ernst Lubitsch." The opening scene of Bluebeard's Eighth Wife is a classic "meet cute," classic Lubitsch, and classic Brackett and Wilder. Cooper and Colbert are both shopping for men's pajamas; he wants only the tops, and she wants only the bottoms. Before long, they're sharing more than just pajamas, and a whirlwind courtship leads to marriage. But as in all screwball comedies, especially Lubitsch's, that's only the beginning of complications, misunderstandings, and general comic mayhem. The inspiration for the film was apparently the life of much-married millionaire Tommy Manville, who wed eleven women and had thirteen marriages (he divorced and re-wed one, and stayed married to another). Although the original source material for the film was about a nobleman who marries often and murders his brides, there are no dead spouses in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife . It's played strictly for laughs, as clever Colbert makes sure that Cooper's eighth wife is his last. A pre-stardom David Niven is fourth-billed in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife , as one of Colbert's admirers. Niven was thrilled to be in such stellar company as Colbert and Cooper, and even more so to work for the first time with Lubitsch. So was Wilder, who called Lubitsch "the best writer that ever lived." In his autobiography, Niven described Lubitsch as sitting "like a little gnome, beside the camera, perched on a step ladder, giggling and hugging himself at all his own wonderful inventiveness...I learned major lessons about playing comedy during that time and will forever remember a statement of his: 'nobody should play comedy unless they have a circus going on inside.'" Brackett and Wilder's fraught partnership continued through more than a dozen memorable films, including comedies like Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939), and Howard Hawks's Ball of Fire (1941), and dramas like The Lost Weekend (1945), and their final film together, Sunset Boulevard (1950), both of which Wilder also directed. Brackett took on producer duties, but the collaboration that thrived on conflict had stopped working. As Wilder diplomatically explained it, "The sparks weren't flying anymore." Brackett found out that their partnership was over not from Wilder, but from a studio press release. The team that Wilder himself had jokingly called "the happiest couple in Hollywood" went their separate ways, and each had his own success, Brackett moving to 20th Century Fox as a writer and producer. Wilder's career and his subsequent writing collaboration with I.A.L. Diamond produced many hits, and with 1960's The Apartment, Wilder became the first person to win Oscars for writing, producing and directing the same film. But none of Brackett's subsequent films were as brilliant as those he wrote with Wilder. Recalling the end of their partnership, Brackett wrote, "It was such a blow, such an unexpected blow. I thought I'd never recover from it. And in fact, I don't think I ever have." Producer, Director: Ernst Lubitsch Screenplay: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder Cinematography: Leo Tover Editor: William Shea Costume Design: Travis Banton Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Robert Usher Music: Boris Morros Principal Cast: Claudette Colbert (Nicole de Loiselle), Gary Cooper (Michael Brandon), Edward Everett Horton (Marquis de Loiselle), David Niven (Albert de Regnier), Elizabeth Patterson (Aunt Hedwige), Herman Bing (Monsieur Pepinard), Warren Hymer (Kid Mulligan), Franklin Pangborn (Assistant Hotel Manager), Armand Cortes (Assistant Hotel Manager), Rolfe Sedan (Floorwalker), Lawrence Grant (Professor Urganzeff) 84 minutes by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A news item in AC notes that Charles Schoenbaum took over photography when Leo Tover was stricken with influenza. Copyright records indicate that Marlene Dietrich acted as a guide for Eric Locke and crew in Vienna, where they shot 30,000 feet of film, some of which are used in the film. In addition, noted French director Sacha Guitry appears in one scene. Composer Werner R. Heymann's name is spelled "Werner Heyman" in the onscreen credits. A previous film based on the same source was released by Paramount in 1923 as Bluebeard's 8th Wife starring Gloria Swanson (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0497). According to a modern source, Ernst Lubitsch promised the part of "Nicole" to Claudette Colbert as early as 1932, during production of DeMille's The Sign of the Cross (see below).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States March 28, 1995

Released in United States on Video March 28, 1995

Shown at Cannes International Film Festival (Retrospective) May 9-20, 2001.

35mm

b&w

Released in United States March 28, 1995

Released in United States on Video March 28, 1995