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EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED (director/writer: Don Hartman; screenwriters: Stephen Morehouse Avery/story by Eleanor Harris; cinematographer: George E. Diskant; editor: Harry Marker; music: Leigh Harline; cast: Cary Grant (Dr. Madison Brown), Franchot Tone (Roger Sanford), Diana Lynn (Julie Hudson), Betsy Drake (Anabel Sims), Alan Mowbray (Mr. Spitzer), Elisabeth Risdon (Mary Nolan), Richard Gaines (Sam McNutt), Eddie Albert (Joe); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Dore Schary/Don Hartman; RKO; 1948)
“A cutesy lightweight romantic comedy with a crass sitcom premise that should make one cringe.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A cutesy lightweight romantic comedy with a crass sitcom premise that should make one cringe. The crowd pleasing formula resulted in a big box office hit (cleared $775,000) for the RKO film that opened during the Christmas season in 1948. Cary Grant, the film’s star, recruited Betsy Drake for the co-starring role. She was a stage actress he had just met in London and had become smitten with. Betsy got the role after Cary arranged a screen-test and coached her, and she made her film debut a success; shortly after the film they were married (they made another film together called “Room For One More”). Writer-director Don Hartman fails to get much comedy out of the comedy; cowriter Stephen Morehouse Avery bases it on the story by Eleanor Harris. It’s a trifle that might tell something dark about America’s postwar sexual dilemmas if it weren’t such a trifle.

The single Anabel Sims (Betsy Drake), a salesgirl in the children’s wear department in Sanford’s Department Store, tells perky single co-worker and best friend Julie Hudson (Diana Lynn) while sitting at the store’s drugstore luncheonette counter that she wants to snag the perfect man and sees no reason why traditional roles shouldn’t be reversed and the gal pursues the man. While at the magazine rack she accidentally runs into Dr. Madison Brown (Cary Grant), a dashing bachelor pediatrician who is buying a baby magazine, and decides he’s the man she wants to marry and raise a family with and pursues him with an obsession that would if not meant for a comedy film land her under court ordered psychological treatment as a stalker.

The heart of the film has a determined Anabel springing a trap to get the marriage-averse doctor to propose. She researches his life and gets to know everything about him. When the Doc fails to respond to her charms, she assumes that by making him jealous she can win him over. Anabel uses as a foil her millionaire playboy boss Roger Sanford (Franchot Tone), a three-time divorc√©, as she connives to make it seem like he’s pursuing her. But Brown knows Sanford from their college days, and the two don’t, at first, get upset over her aggressiveness. Sanford will seize the opportunity to try to make sexual advances on Anabel, but she holds out for the resistant Brown.

Things move along in a contrived manner as the disarmingly forthright but scary predator Anabel goes after her prey and at the same time fends off Sanford, while taking opportunistic materialistic advantage of being linked to the millionaire romantically. When Anabel is about to give up snagging her prey she brings out hometown country bumpkin Joe (Eddie Albert) to propose marriage, her longtime hillbilly radio performer boyfriend that she never loved, and Brown changes his mind with the new competition and realizes that he really loves her after all and proposes. Everything about this film rubbed me the wrong way, including the polished performance of Grant and the cloying one by Drake.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”