Top positive review
A star-studded comedic romp from 1952
on June 23, 2006
We're Not Married is a star-studded comedy from 1952 that helped catapult Marilyn Monroe to stardom. Ginger Rogers gets top billing, but the spotlight is shared by just about everyone in this terrific cast. The premise of the movie centers around a rather scatterbrained, newly appointed (by his nephew the governor) justice of the peace who marries a number of couples immediately after receiving his formal letter on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, his appointment was not official until January 1, meaning that over two years later several couples from many walks of life suddenly discover that they are not legally married. The reaction of each couple to this news is, to say the least, quite varied. Ginger Rogers and Fred Allen play a popular morning show husband and wife team who get paid to sound like the happiest couple on earth, yet they no longer even speak to each other off the air; they treat the news at first as a miracle come true. Marilyn Monroe plays a beauty contestant who has to give up her newly-won crown of Mrs. Mississippi, much to the delight of her exceedingly domesticated husband (David Wayne). The Woodruffs (Paul Douglas and Eve Arden) are perhaps the most typical married couple, conversing about only the most mundane topics when they speak at all, and the husband cannot help but entertain thoughts of painting the town red once again with a different woman on his arm each night. The news arrives in the form of divine justice for wealthy businessman Freddie Melrose (Louis Calhern), whose gold-digging wife (Zsa Zsa Gabor) is planning on taking him for everything he's worth in divorce court. The most memorable couple by far have to be the Fishers, though. Willie Fisher (Eddie Bracken) is hit with two tons of bricks just as he is shipping out with his military unit: he and his wife are not legally married, and his beloved Patty (Mitzi Gaynor) is pregnant. The links he goes to in order to make sure his child will not be born out of legal wedlock are quite touching and make for a most satisfying, uplifting ending.
We're Not Married is a comedy that succeeds exceedingly well. The acting is superb all the way around, and some real truths about marriage are to be found within and among the laughter the film generates. Although Marilyn Monroe does not have one of the more significant roles in the film, her performance was impressive enough to land her face on the cover of Life magazine alongside a caption referring to her as the new talk of Hollywood. 1952 was the real breakout year for Marilyn, and this deeply amusing film has a lot to do with that fact. Do not watch it just for Marilyn, though, as We're Not Married is a great joy to watch in and of itself.