We're Not Married!
***/**** Image A- Sound B+
starring Ginger Rogers, Fred Allen, Victor Moore, David Wayne
screenplay by Nunnally Johnson
directed by Edmund Goulding
by Bill Chambers With the advent of television, the movie business was suddenly floundering. While the long-term solution proved to be increasing the literal scale of motion pictures, the short-term fix found studios filching conceits tailored for the small screen. Like a number of Fox programmers from the early Fifties, We're Not Married! takes its cue from the anthology format of televised theatre; thanks to an agile Nunnally Johnson screenplay and the zesty direction of Dark Victory's Edmund Goulding, the film is one of the more cohesive portmanteaux on record. Owing to the nincompoopery of Governor Bush and his kinfolk (snicker), five couples were joined in bogus matrimony and are confronted with this news two years into their respective marriages. We're Not Married! covers the spectrum of reactions in a witty but surprisingly realistic manner, although, what with three of the five couples barely on speaking terms despite little time having elapsed since they wed, Johnson's script at first seems to be seizing on an even hotter trend than TV: divorce. (This is an observation, not a criticism.) In the story least convincingly resolved, Ginger Rogers and the unpleasant Fred Allen (no Fred Astaire, he) play fiercely bickering broadcasters who must choose between liberation and a future in radio, while the most crowd-pleasing, albeit misogynistic, segment builds to the cathartic comeuppance of a gluttonous trophy wife (a mute, sensationally well-cast Zsa Zsa Gabor). If the scenario in which Marilyn Monroe appears--as a beauty queen apparently confined by her marital status to pursuing pageant titles that begin with "Mrs."--isn't as compelling as the others, it's shrewdly buried in the first third of the picture, where its forgettability is destined to be, er, forgotten. Fox's DVD release of We're Not Married! looks sleek, save some age-related artifacts, and there is actually a bit of left-to-right imaging in the stereo remix. (The original mono track is also on board.) Trailers for As Young as You Feel, All About Eve, Bus Stop, Don't Bother to Knock, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Let's Make It Legal, Let's Make Love, Love Nest, Monkey Business, Niagara, The Seven Year Itch, There's No Business Like Show Business, We're Not Married!, and the "Marilyn Monroe: Diamond Collection" round out the disc. Note that the packaging inadvertently strikes a grim chord with its tagline: "Marilyn finds out that marriage isn't always until death do you part."
85 minutes; NR; 1.33:1; English DD 2.0 (Stereo), English DD 2.0 (Mono); CC; English, Spanish Subtitles; DVD-9; Region One; Fox