This is a successful re-make of “My Favorite Wife”, which starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. This is one of the few times where the re-make is better than the original. While the Grant/Dunne version is good, this one, to my complete surprise, is far better and far funnier.
Directed by Michael Gordon, who also directed Ms. Day in “Pillow Talk”, the film has a deft, light touch. It plays well as the light-hearted, romantic comedy that it is. Doris Day is delightful as the long lost wife and mother, believed to have been lost at sea, who is rescued from a desert island five years later and returns to her husband and family. Upon her return, she discovers that just that very morning her husband (James Garner) has had her declared legally dead and married another woman (Polly Bergen).
The film focuses on the first wife’s efforts to get her husband to tell his second wife that the first wife has returned. When the husband discovers, however, that his first wife spent those five years on the island with another man, Steve (Chuck Connors), and that they called each other Adam and Eve, jealousy rears its ugly head. Doris Day tries to defuse this by introducing a Casper Milquetoast type of guy (Don Knotts) as the Adam from the island, not knowing that her husband has already seen Steve and discovered him to be a hunk (Chuck Connors). There are a series of very funny scenes involving all of the parties in different conbinations. Doris Day’s mother-in-law (Thelma Ritter), however, brings the nonsense to a head and its eventual, satisfactory conclusion.
Doris Day is terrific as the long lost wife. Her perky, light comedic touch is perfect, and when she plays the part of a Swedish masseuse, she will have you laughing uproariously. James Garner is funny as the husband who must make a definitive choice. Thelma Ritter is perfect as the practical, no nonsense mother-in-law who ensures that all is well that ends well. Polly Bergen is perfectly cast as the slightly neurotic, second wife. Don Knotts is hysterical as the substitute Steve. Moreover, those familiar with the original film will enjoy its inclusion in this film in the form of a sly allusion. All in all, this is a fine romantic comedy.
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Move Over Darling starring Doris Day and James Garner is a very good movie, it is a remake of the classic 1940′s comedy My Favorite wife, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne and though I think the original is better I also like this remake and I think it is a very good movie that definitely should get a DVD release. Doris Day plays Ellen Wagstaff Arden a woman presumed drowned at sea in an accident, her husband Nicholas Arden played by James Garner has her declared legally dead after seven years and gets married to this woman named Bianca on the same day he has Ellen declared dead and it becomes very clear that Bianca is a spoiled, bitchy, high-strung, neurotic woman prone to temper tantrums if she doesn’t get her way and boy is she in for a shock! Ellen it turns out isn’t really dead but has been living on an island with a a man who also surrived the accident and they have been rescued from the island and on the same day she is declared legally dead and Nick marries Bianca, Ellen arrives at the house where she lived with Nick, sees their children who were very young when she disappeared so they don’t know who she is, and she sees Nick’s mother, who after recovering from the shock of seeing her tells her Nick has just remarried and you can tell she isn’t too fond of her son’s new wife, but since Ellen isn’t really dead and she is sure Nick has never gotten over Ellen they come up with a plan for Ellen to reunite with Nick. This movie is hilarious, the combination of romantic-comedy and slapstick is perfect! Doris Day and James Garner are both wonderful as Ellen and Nick and Thelma Ritter is wonderful as Nick’s mother Grace, and Polly Bergen who plays tempermental Bianca is also does a great acting job. I highly recommend this movie and I hope it gets on DVD and in widescreen I read somewhere that because of some legal battle it took a long time to get Move Over Darling on video and I hope that it doesn’t take a long time to get this movie on DVD!