Cast & Crew
Ann Winters, a statistician for an insurance company, explains to her board of directors that there would be fewer divorces if newlyweds postponed the consummation of their marriage for three months pending the adjustment of their personalities. Deciding to test her theory on her own upcoming marriage, Ann informs her fiancé, Tice Collins, of her plans at her sister's divorce hearing. When Tice explodes with anger over Ann's scheme, the judge mistakes Tice for Tom Howland, her sister Ruth's loudmouthed husband, and immediately grants Ruth her divorce. Later, Tice seeks the advice of his lawyer, Harry Bertrand, who tells him to proceed with the marriage because Ann will surely overcome her reservations once they are wed. On their wedding night, Tice employs all the wiles at his command to implement his lawyer's advice, but he is unsuccessful. Later, when the newlyweds throw a dinner party to ease the pressure their abstension has created, things turn sour when Tice and Ann fight over the guest list. Tice has invited Harry, who has recently separated from his wife and has brought a date to the party, only to run into his wife Florence, who was invited by Ann. Chaos ensues when Ann's boss, from whom Ann has hidden the fact that she plans to have children, arrives and mixes with Julio Diestro, a millionaire who plans to give Tice a business loan and seeks reassurance that he is doing business with a family man. By the time Ann finally capitulates, Tice has contracted poison oak and flees, only to return to find another man in his bedroom and pajamas. Tice refuses to listen to Ann's explanation and announces that he is leaving to sell his business. Tice's friends prevent his departure by having him charged with insanity and abducted in a straight jacket. Meanwhile, Ann makes preparations to leave for Reno to file a divorce, but when she discovers that Tice has returned, they make amends and retire to the boudoir together.
Lee J. Cobb
Katherine Lee Bates
Werner R. Heymann
M. W. Stoloff
Samuel Augustus Ward
P. J. Wolfson
An April 1938 Film Daily news item indicated that Herman Mankiewicz was slated to adapt Edwin Burke's play, but his involvement with the property apparently did not materialize. A contemporary news item in Motion Picture Daily noted that this film would star Loretta Young. In addition, a Hollywood Reporter news item noted that this was to be George Stevens' first directorial assignment under his Columbia contract. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Joan Storm in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
According to the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in April 1938, Columbia submitted a rough draft of the screenplay to the PCA, which called the material "a travesty on marriage...filled with double meaning lines." The PCA held its negative assessment of the story for nearly two years, and in February 1940, rejected Columbia's treatment of the film because of the depictions of "Tice" trying to sleep with his wife, and because of the comic approach to his wife's alleged pregnancy. A contemporary news item in Motion Picture Herald notes that Binnie Barnes threatened to sue Columbia for forcing her to shed clothes in the film. According to the censorship file, the PCA ordered the deletion of the aforementioned scene from the film. The file also indicates that following the release of the film, the MPAA received many complaints from viewers regarding decency.
This Thing Called Love was banned by the Legion of Decency because it "militated against the Christian concept of marriage." The film was also banned by censors in Ireland and Australia. An earlier film based on Burke's play was the 1929 Pathé film This Thing Called Love, directed by Paul L. Stein and starring Edmund Lowe and Constance Bennett (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5639).