Too Many Husbands
Icons of Screwball Comedy Volume 1
Jean Arthur, Fred MacMurray, Melvyn Douglas
Directed by Wesley Ruggles
Based on a Somerset Maugham play
Originally released 1940 B&W
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
81 minutes

Of the four comedies on the Volume 1 Icons of Screwball Comedy DVD Too Many Husbands is the best and the most screwball of them all. The 4 comedies on this 2 DVD are not classics and basically B movies but Too Many Husbands is very entertaining and this Icons of Screwball Comedy set is quite good too. For classic movie fans, the print used here is pristine.

Vicky (Jean Arthur), “I like my husbands to love me, to fight for me. Is that wrong?”

Father, “It sounds wrong when you use the plural.”

This is the situation in Too Many Husbands. The beautiful Vicky learns her lost at sea and believed to be dead husband Bill (MacMurray) is alive. Problem is in the year since she has married his best friend Henry (Douglas). When she realizes both men are more than willing to woo her back, she is more than happy to encourage them to do so.

The original basics of the slapstick comedy are here: marital confusion, witty dialogue, slapstick. There is certainly not as much slapstick as the modern version of this comedic genre but the dialogue is generally wittier. Jean Arthur is the real star of this movie. Fred MacMurray, best known for his late fifties and early sixties Disney comedies (including the original Flubber and The Absent-Minded Professor) is stiff here. Douglas is the better of the two leads.

Too Many Husbands is more situation than slapstick comedy although MacMurray  and Douglas indulge in some furniture destroying physical work as part of their battle to impress their wife.

Of the four movies on the Volume 1 Icons of Screwball Comedy DVD set, this one is the most timeless in its humor.

Look for Frank Sinatra in an uncredited bit part as the elevator operator.

Other reviews for Icons of Screwball Comedy:

Icons of Screwball Comedy Volume 1 – If You Could Only Cook

Other screwball comedies:

A Fish Called Wanda (classic with Jamie Lee Curtis)

My Man Godfrey (classic has not aged that well)

Aunt Agatha’s Apartment

Duplex (very good comedy with Drew Barrymore in spite of Ben Stiller)


What’s Up Doc? The ultimate screwball comedy with the greatest comedy car chase ever.

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