Why Change Your Wife? (1920)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Drama

Why Change Your Wife? (1920) Poster

Robert and Beth Gordon are married but share little. He runs into Sally at a cabaret and the Gordons are soon divorced. Just as he gets bored with Sally's superficiality, Beth strives to ... See full summary »


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25 January 2012 | HarlowMGM
Don't Change Your Screenplay
Director Cecil B. De Mille and actress Gloria Swanson had a monster hit in 1919 with the slightly comic melodrama DON'T CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND about a tired husband who neglects his wife. The next year De Mille and Swanson were reunited for this film, WHY CHANGE YOUR WIFE, which is virtually a remake of the earlier film, only this time the wife is neglectful spouse. This movie is actually a far superior film to the original however because it's played almost entirely for laughs here and Thomas Meighan is a far better actor and more appealing romantic lead than Elliot Dexter in the first film.

Young matron Gloria Swanson is barely 20 but she might as well be 50 the way she dresses and with that nagging, sour attitude of hers. She whines when her husband's dog is indoors, complains about his choice in music, and basically has turned into a fussy aunt. Husband Meighan's attempts at affection are rebuffed and in desperation he decides to buy a sexy gown for her, falling into the lair of vampy clothes model BeBe Daniels. BeBe manages to break up their marriage before Gloria can blink those legendary blue eyes and Meighan scarcely has a moment to breathe before he finds himself in yet another marriage and this one more troublesome than the first.

The cast is terrific here; beautiful, chic Gloria is remarkably believable as the young woman who has gotten old before her time. Thomas Meighan is excellent as the husband who goes from being one wives' puppet to a similar role with the second missus. Silent movie fans who are more familiar with the later silent career of Meighan (actually less than a decade away) when he was a more austere screen presence may be surprised how dashing he was at this point in his career and very much a matinée idol. BeBe Daniels is absolutely delicious as the tramp who ultimately decides "the best thing about marriage is alimony". This delightful romantic comedy stills packs quite a punch after some 90 years.

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Release Date:

11 April 1921


None, English

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