Cast & Crew
Frederick "Junior" Osborne, son of shipping magnate Frederick "Senior" Osborne, is baffled by his father's capricious behavior. Formerly a staid businessman, Senior waltzes into his office one day and announces that he is turning the business over to Junior and plans to marry actress Leslie Collier. When Junior and his wife Enid meet Leslie that night at dinner, the table conversation drips with sarcasm about Senior and Leslie's age difference. After dinner, the Osbornes attend Leslie's farewell stage performance, and Senior erupts with jealousy over the amorous attentions of Leslie's leading man. After their wedding ceremony, the couple continues to bicker when Leslie refuses to assume her husband's name. During their honeymoon cruise to Mexico, Leslie and Senior finally enjoy domestic tranquility until they discover a stowaway, singer Carlos Bardez. Feeling sorry for the impoverished Carlos, Senior offers the singer refuge. Once the honeymoon couple and Carlos are ensconsed in the Osborne mansion, however, Leslie appoints herself Carlos' impresario, filling Senior with jealousy. On the night of Carlos' debut, Leslie comes home very late, and Senior storms out of the house and moves in with Junior and Enid. To reconcile his father and Leslie, Junior invites Carlos to move in with him and Enid. Junior's scheme fails, however, when Leslie moves out of the house and refuses to speak to Senior. Meanwhile, at Junior's house, history repeats itself when Enid assumes the role of Carlos' impresario and Junior jealously storms out on the night of Carlos' concert. Father and son then scheme to rid themselves of Carlos by underwriting a sixty-five city concert tour. Soon after, at their doctor's office, Enid and Leslie meet and both discover that they are pregnant. Meanwhile, at a ship launching, Senior is shown a gossip column announcing his impending fatherhood, and he and Junior rush to Leslie's hotel room, where Junior learns that he is to be a father, too.
General Sam Savitsky
Joseph P. Mack
Robert De Grasse
Laykin And Company
Hugh Mcdowell Jr.
Van Nest Polglase
Father Takes a Wife
Swanson had not been seen on the screen since Music in the Air (1934), when in 1941 an offer came out of the blue to co-star with Adolphe Menjou in a comedy, Father Takes a Wife (1941). RKO was offering her $35,000 for the film. "A comedown as well as a comeback," Swanson sniffed in her memoirs, but it was "exactly $35,000 more than any other studio had offered me in seven years." She accepted.
In Father Takes a Wife, Swanson played a Broadway star who marries shipping magnate Menjou, to the consternation of his son and daughter-in-law. Like Swanson, Menjou had been a silent screen star, and he and Swanson were old friends, but the two had never worked together. Menjou, whose career was still thriving, was top-billed in Father Takes a Wife, but most of the publicity went to Swanson. "There's GLAMOUR on the screen again, because GLORIA'S BACK!" the ads read. They also promised, "You'll swoon over her trunkfuls of stunning fashions!" by Rene Hubert, who had designed most of Swanson's personal and onscreen wardrobe since Madame Sans-Gene (1925).
Charming in a comic supporting role in Father Takes a Wife was Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz. He had been in a hit Broadway show, Too Many Girls (1939), and had been brought to Hollywood to star in the film version of that show. Co-starring in the movie Too Many Girls (1940) was Lucille Ball, and she and Arnaz fell madly in love. Father Takes a Wife was Arnaz's second film but was always an embarrassment to him. He was supposed to sing "Perfidia" in the movie but the studio executives felt like his voice was unsuited to the classical orchestration and had him dubbed by a singer with an Italian accent. As a result, he received letters for years from his Spanish fans who wondered why he affected a different accent for the part. The excellent supporting cast also includes former silent screen star Neil Hamilton, farceur Helen Broderick (mother of Broderick Crawford), and up-and-coming comedy character actors Grady Sutton and Mary Treen.
In her autobiography, Swanson writes that Father Takes a Wife director Jack Hively "treated me like returning royalty." But in a 1975 interview, she recalled him as inept, saying the film "could have been good, but the director had never been out of Pomona." It's more likely that the film's failure was due to bad timing. When Father Takes a Wife was released in September of 1941, Europe was at war, and the U.S. was on the verge of it. Filmgoers apparently weren't in the mood for lightweight comedies. Neither were critics, who greeted the film with such adjectives as "trifling," "fluffy," and "insubstantial." Swanson would not make another film until her stunning comeback in Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Director: Jack Hively
Producer: Lee Marcus
Screenplay: Dorothy Fields, Herbert Fields
Editor: George Hively
Cinematography: Robert De Grasse
Costume Design: Rene Hubert
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase
Music: Roy Webb
Principal Cast: Adolphe Menjou (Fredric Osborne, Sr.), Gloria Swanson (Leslie Collier), John Howard (Fredric Osborne, Jr.), Desi Arnaz (Carlos Bardez), Florence Rice (Enid Osborne), Helen Broderick (Aunt Julie), Neil Hamilton (Vincent Stewart).
by Margarita Landazuri
Father Takes a Wife
Swedish actress Signe Hasso and Argentine actor Alberto Vila were supposed to have made their American debuts in this film, but neither appeared.
Anne Shirley originally had the role of Enid, but left to star in All That Money Can Buy (1941).
Gloria Swanson requested that her former costumer, Rene Hubert, design her gowns.
The film lost $104,000 at the box office.
George Meader's name was misspelled as "Meador" in the onscreen credits. A pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that this picture marked Lee Marcus' promotion from program features into the top ranks of production. The picture was Marcus' last for the studio. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, the picture was to introduce Swedish actress Signe Hasso and Argentinian actor Alberto Vila to the American screen. Neither actor appeared in this film; Vila made his American debut in RKO's 1941 picture They Met in Argentina (see below). Hasso made her debut in the 1941 M-G-M film Journey for Margaret (see below). Although Hasso was under contract to RKO, she did not make a film for the studio until the 1945 film Johnny Angel (see below). By that time, her contract had expired and she had signed with M-G-M.
According to an article in New York Times, Anne Shirley and Jane Wyatt were considered for the role of "Enid." An item in Hollywood Reporter adds that Shirley left this picture to appear in All That Money Can Buy. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Carroll Clark as art director, his contribution to the finished film is doubtful. This was Gloria Swanson's first screen appearance since the 1934 Fox film Music in the Air. Adolphe Menjou and Swanson co-starred together in the 1920s. An item in Hollywood Reporter adds that Swanson requested that her former costumer, Rene Hubert, design her gowns for this picture. According to modern sources, the film lost $104,000 at the box office.