Comedy of remarriage

The comedy of remarriage is a subgenre of American comedy films of the 1930s and 1940s. At the time, the Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, banned any explicit references to or attempts to justify adultery and illicit sex. The comedy of remarriage enabled filmmakers to evade this provision of the Code. The protagonists divorced, flirted with strangers without risking the wrath of censorship, and then got back together.

The genre was given its name by the philosopher Stanley Cavell in a series of academic articles that later became a book, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Cavell argues that the genre represented Hollywood's crowning achievement, and that beneath all the slapstick and innuendo is a serious effort to create a new basis for marriage centered on mutual love – religious and economic necessity no longer applying for much of the American middle class.

In response to Cavell's article, scholar David R. Shumway claims it is possible "to make too much of the remarriage 'genre'". He points out that "only two of Cavell's seven comedies deal with characters who we actually see interacting as husband and wife for any length of time" and points out that all seven films fit into the screwball comedy genre.[1]

More recently, film critics A. O. Scott and David Edelstein both argued that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a 21st-century example of the genre.[2][3]

Notable comedies of remarriage

(Bold text denotes inclusion in Pursuits of Happiness)



  1. ^ Shumway, David R. (2003). "Screwball Comedies: Constructing Romance, Mystifying Marriage". In Grant, Barry Keith (ed.). Film Genre Reader III. University of Texas Press. p. 396. ISBN 9780292701854. OCLC 936762738.
  2. ^ Edelstein, David. "Forget Me Not: The genius of Charlie Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Slate (March 18, 2004)
  3. ^ Scott, A. O. "Charlie Kaufman's Critique of Pure Comedy". The New York Times (April 4, 2004)


Adam's Rib

Adam's Rib is a 1949 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor from a screenplay written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. It stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married lawyers who come to oppose each other in court. Judy Holliday co-stars as the third lead in her second credited movie role. The music was composed by Miklós Rózsa, except for the song "Farewell, Amanda", which was written by Cole Porter.

The film was well received upon its release and is considered a classic romantic comedy, being nominated for both AFI's 100 Movies and Passions lists, and coming in at #22 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs.

Gharwali Baharwali

Gharwali Baharwali is a 1998 Indian comedy drama film directed by David Dhawan and produced by Tutu Sharma. It stars Anil Kapoor, Raveena Tandon and Rambha in pivotal roles.The film is a remake of the Tamil film Thaikulame Thaikulame (1995), starring Pandiarajan which was remade in Telugu as Intlo Illalu Vantintlo Priyuralu (1996), with Venkatesh and in Kannada as Naanu Nanna Hendthiru (1999) with Ravichandran.

Grounds for Marriage

Grounds for Marriage is a 1951 American romantic comedy film directed by Robert Z. Leonard. Written and produced by Samuel Marx, the film stars Van Johnson and Kathryn Grayson.

Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?

Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? is a 1953 British comedy film directed by Maurice Elvey. The film was based on Vivian Tidmarsh's play by the same name.

Japanil Kalyanaraman

Japanil Kalyanaraman (Kalyanaraman in Japan) is a 1985 Tamil language film starring Kamal Haasan in the lead role of the protagonist. This was the first Tamil movie sequel (of Kalyanaraman). It garnered mixed reviews and performed average business at the box office.

Kiss Me Again (1925 film)

Kiss Me Again is a 1925 American silent romantic comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch. It stars Marie Prevost, Monte Blue, and Clara Bow. The film was based on the French play Divorçons! (1880), by Victorien Sardou and Émile de Najac, and the adapted version of the play Cyprienne.

Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum

Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum (lit. Child and God) is a 1965 Tamil-language Indian film directed by the duo Krishnan–Panju, starring Jaishankar, Jamuna and Kutty Padmini. An adaptation of Disney's The Parent Trap (1961), itself based on Erich Kästner's German novel Lottie and Lisa, the film tells the story of two twin girls bringing together their separated parents. The film, produced by AVM Productions and featuring music by M. S. Viswanathan, released on 19 November 1965. It was a commercial success, and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil. Krishnan–Panju remade the film in Telugu as Leta Manasulu (1966), in Hindi as Do Kaliyaan (1967). It was also remade in Malayalam as Sethubandhanam (1974).

Let's Do It Again (1953 film)

Let's Do it Again is a 1953 Technicolor musical film set in 1950 New York, and released by Columbia Pictures. The film was directed by Alexander Hall and starred Jane Wyman, Ray Milland, Aldo Ray, and Tom Helmore. It is the story of a composer's wife (Wyman) who tries to make him (Milland) jealous, but the ploy backfires and leads to divorce.

This color film is a reworking of a stage play by Arthur Richman, The Awful Truth (1922), which was previously filmed in 1925, again in 1929 (The Awful Truth), and in a 1937 film of that name starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant.

The lyrics for the musical numbers were written by Ned Washington.

Move Over, Darling

Move Over, Darling is a 1963 American comedy film starring Doris Day, James Garner, and Polly Bergen and directed by Michael Gordon. The picture was a remake of a 1940 screwball comedy film, My Favorite Wife, with Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Gail Patrick. In between these movies, an unfinished version, entitled Something's Got to Give, began shooting in 1962, directed by George Cukor and starring Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe, who was fired from production due to her chronic lateness but then later rehired, before ultimately dying prior to the film's completion.

Move Over, Darling was chosen as the 1964 Royal Film Performance, and had its UK premiere on 24 February 1964 at the Odeon Leicester Square in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

At the 21st Golden Globe Awards, Doris Day was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical but lost to Shirley MacLaine in Irma la Douce.

My Favorite Wife

My Favorite Wife (released in the U.K. as My Favourite Wife) is a 1940 screwball comedy produced and co-written by Leo McCarey and directed by Garson Kanin. The picture stars Irene Dunne as a woman who returns to her husband and children after being shipwrecked on a tropical island for several years, and Cary Grant as her husband. The story is an adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, "Enoch Arden"; in tribute, the main characters' last name is Arden. The supporting cast features Gail Patrick as the woman Arden has just married when his first wife, now declared dead, returns, and Randolph Scott as the man with whom his wife had been marooned. My Favorite Wife was RKO's second-biggest hit of 1940.


Phffft is a 1954 black-and-white romantic comedy film starring Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, and Jack Carson, and features Kim Novak in a small but significant role. The picture was written by George Axelrod and directed by Mark Robson, and was the second film starring Holliday and Lemmon that year, after It Should Happen to You.

Private Lives (film)

Private Lives is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Sidney Franklin. The screenplay by Hanns Kräly and Richard Schayer is based on the 1930 play Private Lives by Noël Coward.

Smarty (film)

see also Smarties (disambiguation)Smarty, known in the United Kingdom as Hit Me Again, is a 1934 American Pre-Code comedy film directed by Robert Florey and starring Warren William and Joan Blondell.

The film's title refers to Blondell's character, happily married but with a habit of provocative teasing. One evening her teasing leads to a slap on the face from her husband. For this she engages her husband's friend and attorney Vernon (Horton) to divorce him, marries Vernon, then begins to verbally tease him as well, wearing revealing clothes, and inviting her ex-husband over for dinner.

Suddenly, It's Spring

Suddenly, It's Spring (some sources list the title without a comma) is a 1947 comedy film directed by Mitchell Leisen. It stars Paulette Goddard and Fred MacMurray.The story is set in 1945, at the end of World War II. Goddard and MacMurray play a married couple seeing other again after both served in the military. When they parted, they were planning to divorce, but they never went through with it. Now reunited, they must decide if the marriage should end. Meanwhile, another woman considers herself betrothed to the husband, and a friend of the husband has romantic designs on the wife.

That Old Feeling (film)

That Old Feeling is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and starring Bette Midler and Dennis Farina.

That Uncertain Feeling (film)

That Uncertain Feeling is a 1941 American comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas and Burgess Meredith. The film is about the bored wife of an insurance salesman who meets an eccentric pianist and seeks a divorce. The screenplay by Walter Reisch and Donald Ogden Stewart was based on the 1880 French play Divorçons by Victorien Sardou and Émile de Najac.

The Awful Truth (1929 film)

The Awful Truth was a 1929 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film, distributed by Pathé Exchange, directed by Marshall Neilan, and starring Ina Claire and Henry Daniell. The screenplay was written by Horace Jackson and Arthur Richman, based on a play by Richman. Ina Claire starred in the original stage version on Broadway in 1922. The film is now considered lost.

The Birds and the Bees (film)

The Birds and the Bees is a 1956 screwball comedy film with songs, starring George Gobel, Mitzi Gaynor and David Niven. A remake of Preston Sturges' 1941 film The Lady Eve, which was based on a story by Monckton Hoffe, the film was directed by Norman Taurog and written by Sidney Sheldon. The costumes for the film were designed by Edith Head.

We Were Dancing (film)

We Were Dancing is a 1942 MGM romantic comedy film directed by Robert Z. Leonard, written by Claudine West, Hans Rameau and George Froeschel, and starring Norma Shearer and Melvyn Douglas. It is based loosely on Noël Coward's 1935 play of the same name, together with ideas from Ways and Means, another play in Coward's Tonight at 8.30 play cycle, and Coward's Private Lives.

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