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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Populated with familiar faces from films of the 1930s, "The Doctor Takes a Wife" is both predictable (not necessarily a bad thing) and charming. Ray Milland plays the professor aspiring to greater things but thwarted by his bachelorhood (the dean wants only married men in the professoriate). The lovely Loretta Young is the author of feminist books on the glories of spinsterhood. Reginald Gardiner, a first-rate second fiddle, plays her publisher and love interest. Through a contrived mix-up, the small world inhabited by this film comes to believe that Young and Milland are married (when they are not). Milland's fiancé shows up and understandably does not understand the platonic relationship. Lots of slapstick ensues owing to the tangled web that has been woven, threaded with misunderstandings. To no one's surprise (except the character's) Milland and Young's characters fall in love, but there are complications. Are these complications worked out?--of course. Young's character is both sharp-tongued and vulnerable--clearly the more intelligent of the two. Milland plays the beleaguered male, trapped by circumstances,but basically honorable, in a 1930s sort of way. There are many films much worse than this that have glowing reviews; it's an undiscovered classic, terra incognita for the aficionado of film from generations past.
  • The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940) is not a movie to watch when you're on the downside (or any side) of a migraine. The "meet cute" in this Ray Milland and Loretta Young farce doesn't go easy on the ears in the first few scenes. I had to turn it off and try again later. I'm so glad I did because I discovered a real gem.

    Yes, you could insert Cary Grant and Irene Dunne and this movie would probably still be known today. But that was not to be and doesn't really matter once these two stop screaming at each other. When they do, they play quite well together and have great chemistry.

    Milland is extremely dashing and handsome. He's also very expressive and his comic timing and minor slapstick ability really shine. Interestingly, he's a doctor doing research on migraines and the medical jargon used is accurate. Loretta Young is always lovely, yet even she allows herself to get a little harried for the sake of the role. She's the feminist that finds herself in a pickle of a marriage ruse and is encouraged by her publisher to play along.

    Edmund Gwenn leads a terrific supporting cast and, as Milland's father, plays matchmaker as he often does. There are a few scenes that were so funny that I went straight for the rewind button. The two goofy football players set up one of the greatest. Of course, there's the fiancé, deadlines, meetings, pride, and all of the typical ploys to throw a wrench in a possible relationship. This is a romcom and a great one at that, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Suffice it to say that it has an ending I really adored and then went straight for the rewind button yet again.
  • Doctor Takes a Wife, The (1940)

    *** (out of 4)

    Minor but entertaining screwball-comedy about a feminist writer (Loretta Young) and a doctor (Ray Milland) who meet while on vacation but hate each other from the start. After a mix up the media makes a mistake an announces that they were married so the two must pretend to be so that they can keep their careers. There's nothing overly special about this film but it does contain enough laughs to make it entertaining. It was nice seeing Young play a feminist as she's constantly shouting and holding her head up high while at the same time playing the sweet and loving wife as a joke. Her sweetness mixes perfectly well with Milland's dry humor and he really shines with his comic timing. The only really weak segment of the film comes when Milland is rushing between two apartments while trying to keep his girlfriend from finding out Young is in the other apartment. Reginald Gardiner and Gail Patrick add nice support as the editor and Milland's other girl. Edward Van Sloan has a small, thankless role as well.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is an excellent screwball comedy. As some others have pointed out, with different leads, this might very well be a very famous film. But, we forget just how popular Loretta Young and Ray Milland were at points in their careers. Young's peak came just a very few years after this, while Milland's apex was half-a-decade away.

    There are two very positive things about this screwball comedy. First, the chemistry between Loretta Young and Ray Milland. Second, the screen play is quite clever and manages to keep the balance between the scheming of the "husband" and the scheming of the "wife", and logically brings them together in real one would expect.

    The supporting actors here also contribute to the success of the film. Edmund Gwenn is his usual charming self, in this case as the father of the "groom". Reginald Gardiner is particularly entertaining as the book editor who hatches the "plot".

    This is an excellent comedy, and demonstrates again that while MGM mastered the art of the musical, it was Columbia that often brought us some of the best comedies.
  • blanche-29 January 2011
    Loretta Young and Ray Milland star in "The Doctor Takes a Wife," a 1940 comedy that also features Edmund Gwenn, Gail Patrick, and Reginald Gardner. Young plays June Cameron, a 1940 version of a feminist who writes on the joys of being a bachelorette. When her editor/boyfriend (Reginald Gardner) summons her back to New York from her vacation, she hitches a ride with Dr. Timothy Sterling (Milland). Through a series of unfortunate events, the press reports that they're married, which will ruin June's current the status of her current best seller, Spinsters Aren't Spinach. Her publisher wants to keep the mistake going because June can now write about being married; and Dr. Sterling's newly married status wins him a big promotion. The fly in the ointment is Sterling's fiancée (Gail Patrick).

    Completely predictable, of course, and dated, but still fun because of the terrific cast and good direction by Alexander Hall. Both the stars are very good. Young is beautiful in her tailored suits and gives her material the needed light touch. Milland always had a flair for comedy and does a good job as the stubborn doctor. Amusing, and a look back at the old days when this kind of film was popular.
  • In a role that was obviously first intended for Cary Grant, Ray Milland through an innocent series of misunderstanding finds everyone with the mistaken impression that he's married to Loretta Young. That would be all right, but the unmarried Young has just written a best selling book that has become a feminist manifesto in its day about how unattached women need not feel inferior. At least one of her readers feels she's a traitor to the breed.

    Milland is a doctor, but not of the practicing kind, he's an instructor at a college with hopes of a professorship which is granted to him when the folks in charge of his college think he's now married. He had intended to marry Gail Patrick once again in her typecast part as the other woman. She doesn't like it at all.

    On the other hand Reginald Gardiner as Young's publicist is perfectly willing to go with the flow. He's got plans in the wind for a book on the joys of being a newlywed if Young will keep up the charade.

    So how will two people who really can't stand each other keep this up? That is the crux of the plot of The Doctor Takes A Wife.

    Milland has a drunk scene which he does well and might have led to his casting in The Lost Weekend. He certainly fills Cary Grant's shoes quite nicely in the film. Young also does well as does the rest of the cast.

    I also have to single out Frank Sully and Gordon Jones as a pair of amiable lunkhead football players who Milland passes to keep their eligibility. They look to return the favor and see how they do it.

    The Doctor Takes A Wife is not a top drawer screwball comedy, but it certainly will amuse.
  • Loretta Young (Kismet, zillions of romantic stories on love & marriage) is successful author June Cameron, who gets tangled up with Dr. Sterling (Ray Milland - Lost Weekend, the Major and the Minor). He agrees to help her out of a jam, but of course, their "resolution" causes problems in his own life, and later, problems in her life. Supporting roles by Reginald Gardiner and also Gail Patrick. Many similarities here to the 1945 film "Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck, but they credit different authors. Also similar to "Third Finger Left Hand".. (Lionel Houser wrote Christmas in CT.. and Third Finger..) Loretta Young always reminds me of Ann Marie from the TV show "That Girl" -- thru a series of misunderstandings she herself has caused, she drags everyone around her into this huge ball of confusion, and has to straighten everything out at the last minute. Silly but fun. This flick could have been an episode of "Three's Company".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a very cute screwball comedy-romance--the type film they made so well in the 30s and 40s. Like many such films, it's got a plot that is VERY hard to believe and may cause some critical viewers to shake their head in disbelief. However, if you are a reasonably normal person, you can suspend your sense of disbelief and have a ball with this picture.

    Ray Milland and Loretta Young are both staying at a resort in upstate New York. Both need to go to New York, but Young is without a car and stuck there for another day. So, she decides (without asking him) that she's going to tag along with Milland in his car--even though he is a total stranger. To make things worse, in the beginning of the film, she is a very hard to like angry feminist who doesn't appreciate Milland's help.

    On the way, they stop in Greenwich, Connecticut (a town that was known for weddings in bygone days) and due to some impossible to believe circumstances, they are assumed to be newlyweds. To make matters worse, Loretta is an author who has written best-selling books about living the single life and she is pretty much a man-hater. Naturally, the false story makes it to the newspapers and now Loretta wants to correct the story but no one believes it (due to some MORE impossible to believe events). However, her editor thinks this fake story might be a GOOD thing, as now she can write books about married life. So, it's up to the thorny Loretta to convince a man who is practically a stranger (Milland) to pretend to be her husband. At first, he balks, but finally agrees due to his own hidden agenda.

    Although they naturally don't like each other (heck, I was hoping that Milland would belt her because she was so nasty), you KNOW that with such a film that ultimately they'll fall in love. However, despite being tough to believe and formulaic, the journey there is just delightful and fortunately Young's character relaxes a bit and seemed much more likable as the film progressed. Cute and charming--this clever movie has somehow been overlooked and deserves to be seen. Watch it with a friend.
  • I agree with the other positive reviews here, with one reservation. The film is a very funny, well written and performed screwball comedy. I especially enjoyed the sequence where Miland has to scramble between two adjoining apartments, a situation I've seen lots of times in comedy films; it's delightful here because of Miland's perfect performance and the spot on comic pacing. It's great fun seeing the cutsy-pie, air head performance of Gail Patrick; in her other "other woman" roles ("My Favorite Wife", etc.) she plays it stern and bland, here she's very funny and likable. OK, my one reservation--Loretta Young is miscast; she is off-putting in the first half of the film, seeming a total bitch. Later in the film, as her character softens she becomes a sympathetic character and right for the part. Hers is a role that seems to have been written for Roziland Russel or Jean Arthur; as I watched the film it was very easy to imagine those actresses fitting the part and the dialog to perfection. Occasionally Young seems to be handling her lines as Russel would, including her vocal inflections.
  • While not being crazy about the title, and the story didn't sound overly special being not an awful lot different from other comedies at the time there were still enough interest points to make me want to see 'The Doctor Takes a Wife'. Loretta Young was always very well suited to this type of film, Edmund Gwenn was always watchable and it was interesting to see Ray Milland in a comedic role, being more familiar with him in drama (i.e. 'The Lost Weekend', 'Dial M for Murder').

    Fortunately, 'The Doctor Takes a Wife' turned out to be very enjoyable. Nothing original or exceptional, but good fun all the same once you get past a beginning that makes one conflicted whether to switch off or not. Young shows why this type of role suited well and Milland works remarkably well in comedy. Despite things that could have been done better, 'My Doctor Takes a Wife' has a lot to recommend and generally doesn't deserve to be as overlooked as it has been.

    To me, and a few others it seems, 'The Doctor Takes a Wife' doesn't start off particularly promisingly. Found it too busy and noisy, at times too in need of a tightening. And Young's character is not likeable at all and is quite irritating actually to begin with, while she does become much more tolerable as the film progresses it takes time to get there.

    Not unexpectedly, the story is very silly and some situations are unlikely and a bit overdone.

    However, there is so much to like about 'The Doctor Takes a Wife'. A big selling point being the cast. Milland shows a surprising deftness for comedy, with wonderfully varied and amusing expressions that never came over as forced or artificial. Young is very charming and with sparkling comic timing as her character becomes easier to root for, and does her best when the character was problematic. Gwenn is always endearing, while Gail Patrick is cute and amusing and Reginald Gardiner is very funny without going over the top or mugging. Despite having different acting styles, Milland and Young have great chemistry together.

    Alexander Hall directs with a sure, adept hand, showing ease and engagement with the material once getting past the first portion of the film. A lot of the dialogue is both acidly witty and at times surprisingly sophisticated and the slapstick didn't feel over-engineered or repetitive. The pace generally is lively and the production values are slick and elegant.

    Summarising, good fun if nothing outstanding. 7/10
  • AAdaSC20 December 2014
    Loretta Young (June) has just written a best-selling book about how spinsters can enjoy life without men. She is stuck out of town and needs to get back to her agent and boyfriend Reginald Gardiner (John) to start work on her second novel. Cue Lecturer Ray Milland (Dr Stirling). He has a fiancée Gail Patrick (Marilyn) who he intends to marry once he gets a professorship at his college. He is in the same out of town area and he ends up giving Young a lift back into New York. By some misunderstanding, a "Just Married" sign is attached to his car, and everyone assumes the couple have just got married. Uh-oh, this is bad for Young's career and for Milland's. But, actually, the situation could benefit them both. Watch to find out how…

    This film is OK while you watch it but nothing outstanding. I thought Loretta Young was the best character despite being a bit of a horror at the beginning. And I've never been a fan of that wisecracking, screwball comedy quick patter where everyone talks over each other. SHUT UP! This film, annoyingly, has some tedious sections with this contrived device, especially at the beginning. However, once we get away from these, the dialogue is actually quite funny in parts, eg, Loretta's quip to Milland in the car when one of his model heads falls onto the car floor - "Trunk murderer? She asks him directly. Another amusing scene occurs where one of the meat-head College boys is asked a test question and asks for Milland's number and if it's OK to phone him later with the answer.

    One last point - how come they cast all the spinsters to look the same? There is a definite spinster look to the women at the start of this film. What the best-selling book really should have told them to do was to get dressed up and go sit in a bar. They should then get sorted with a shag and everyone's happy. The world can be a very simple place if we just take the right attitude.
  • misctidsandbits28 December 2012
    If you have a number of these types of movies, they become more competitive. While this one is good in part, not a throwaway, neither is it particularly a keeper if you're short on space. Ms. Young does well enough with what she has to work with, Reginald Gardner the same, but Ray Milland disappoints here as some other places as well. He's better cool and collected, very effective in that, like in "Dial M for Murder." He just embarrasses me here with his contrived expressions, and I recall experiencing that with him previously in a comedy. So artificial, so put on, you wonder why they let it pass. There are good segments, but overall, I wouldn't go out of my way to watch this one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What a great little film. Ray Milland as the Doctor and Loretta Young as a feminist before it was popular. She writes a popular book "Spinsters are not Spinach" about being a single woman and being happy about it. He is a research doctor hoping to get a professorship so he can earn enough money to marry his girl. They meet by accident, and from then on they go through one mishap after the other. People think they married, however they did not but if found out it would ruin bother their careers. They move in together to continue the farce. Finally they realize they are in love and due to his stubborn short thumbs wind up together. They look great together and Milland always had a great comedic talent.
  • Loretta Young and Ray Milland aren't to blame for the weak and tedious script which keeps piling one mishap after another in an attempt to qualify as a smart screwball comedy.

    Suspension of disbelief was not possible for me, especially for the sequence that has Milland running back and forth during a cocktail party to keep his fiancé from learning Loretta Young is in his apartment. Milland handles the bit with deft touches, but the improbability is too apparent even for a screwball comedy.

    And Gail Patrick overdoes her "cutesy" act as his moronic girlfriend. Even Reginald Gardiner and Edmund Gwenn are unable to overcome some awkward comic moments.

    Milland and Young do the best they can with the formula script, but the end results are meager with the film straining for a few genuine laughs. Furthermore, Young's character is too sarcastic to be likable for the first part of the story, but of course softens for the happy ending.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When his was first released in 1940, I was about 12 years old, & if I saw it I may have thought it was quite funny.

    That was 70 years ago,The movie is no longer funny.It is a silly, almost stupid slapstick comedy.

    I no longer enjoy slapstick comedy.

    Loretta Young & Ray Milland,both seem out of place in this farcial effort. Reginald Garner & Edmund Gwenn, Gail Patrick are featured.

    I wonder if this was originally a play,as it is basically one set.

    This was on a disc with A Night to Remember, I had to shut it off as it was even stupider than this film.

    Rating: **1/2 (out of 4) 68 points (out of 100) IMDb 6 (out of 10)
  • Entertaining comedy for adults. Loretta Young and Ray Milland use their star power to make preposterous circumstances almost seem normal. The type of adult comedy that isn't made today. Nothing risque. No four letter words. No preaching. No political correctness. Just pure entertainment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    1940 was the year of marital mix up screwball comedies. such as "My Favorite Wife" and "Too Many Husbands". In the present farce, Ray Milland plays an academic medical researcher(Tim Sterling),who has a serious girlfriend in Marilyn Thomas, but manages to get mixed up in a newspaper-promoted scandal with Loretta Young(as June),stemming from a misplaced 'Just Married' sign on the back of Milland's car, in which Loretta happens to be a passenger. Now, Loretta recently has been much in the news, with her new best seller: "Spinsters Aren't Spinach", which discusses the advantages of women staying single. Thus, it is quite embarrassing for her to apparently suddenly marry a stranger. They are never asked to present a marriage license until near the end.......Loretta and Milland began as enemies, trying to outshout each other on adjacent front desk phones at a hotel. But, when Loretta found out that Milland had a car and was going to NYC, where she needed to go, she threw herself at him, piling her suitcases on top of his. But, their conversation soon revealed that Milland was a male chauvinist, who believed that men were superior in every way. This contrast didn't bode well for a future romantic relationship between the two. Nonetheless, circumstances pushed them in that direction, until they presumably tied the knot for real, as we expected. .....Now that Loretta supposedly was married, her publisher and boyfriend John Pierce (Reginald Gardiner)convinced her to write a book on the advantages for women of marriage! Meanwhile, Milland convinced Marilyn that his 'marriage' to Loretta was a sham for the purpose of promoting her book being written, and to engineer his promotion to full professor, according to the prejudice of the Dean......In the middle section, Milland moves into Loretta's apartment to promote the fiction that they are married. However, Marilyn doesn't know this, and one day announces she will visit Milland. So, he walks on the common balcony to the next apartment, and climbs in the window. He goes back and forth on the balcony(since there are guests in Loretta's apartment), bringing liquor and munchies. Finally, she arrives, he being very fortunate to steer her to this apartment. Eventually, he arranges for Loretta to phone him about an urgent medical case, which induces both to leave just before the real occupants of the apartment arrive.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Doctor Takes a Wife" clearly fits the definition of screwball comedy. And this movie is a romp of hilarious scenarios and dialog. As a couple of other reviewers have noted, this is a film made for Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. But, Grant and Dunne couldn't be in all the comedies Hollywood was cranking out at the time. And this movie doesn't suffer a bit for their absence, because Loretta Young and Ray Milland deliver superb performances. Milland's frantically hopping in and out of windows between apartments with such aplomb made me think of Grant and his similar antics in various films.

    One other reviewer thought Young didn't fit her part well – because her character, June Cameron was too nasty and unpleasant in the early scenes. Rather, I think she played the part perfectly. We don't have to like a character's persona to have it be right for the role. And in the very opening, that's what sets the stage for the confrontational relationship between the two leads, which is the source of the best humor in the film.

    Young played her part just right, as she gradually softened from the hard-nosed, high-strung and strongly opinionated liberated feminist. But, not so fast that we were deprived of a lot of comedy in dialog from her. Milland's Dr. Timothy Sterling is also superb. His character isn't naturally confrontational, so he will make a point and then sit quietly and listen to June's rantings. When she's done, he'll make some observation about a typical case for clinical study, or such. He is an M.D. studying the cause of migraine headaches and in line for a professorship at the college.

    The chemistry between Young and Milland is a joy to watch. They must have had tremendous fun together making this film. But, they are not all that there is to the movie, and a fine supporting cast lends a great deal to the story and the humor. The third lead, Reginald Gardiner, is especially good as John Pierce. Gail Patrick is a hoot as Marilynn Thomas, and Edmund Gwenn is delightful as Tim's dad, Dr. Lionel Sterling. The smaller roles were equally good, most adding some comedy.

    June's calling Tim by a different scientific term in subsequent scenes is boisterously funny. Following are some of those and other hilarious lines from the film. This is one of the best comedy films ever made with battling dialog and the leads hurling insults right and left. For more of these pithy pearls of put-down, see the Quotes section here on the film's IMDb page.

    June, "Will you please relax, my meddling medico."

    June, "Don't you yell at me, you microbe hunter."

    June, "Well, if that's the way you feel about it, my pathological playmate."

    June, "Now you listen to me, my microscopic friend, you might be able to give orders to that barnacle you're engaged to…."

    Tim, "Why, you couldn't lure me out of a burning building."

    June, "Look, Johnny. I don't know anything about marriage." John, "Oh, what's that got to do with it? Dante didn't have to go to hell to write his 'Inferno.'"

    June, "You know, Johnny and I were discussing only yesterday how quietly repulsive you are." Tim, "Johnny... loves everything about you -- your books, your profits, your apartment, your liquor, your cigarettes."

    George, "Have you two had a quarrel?" June, "Yes. Yes, he hit me." George, "You didn't?" June, "Yes, he did." Tim, "Well, I only pushed her." George, "You only pushed her? Tim, I shouldn't have to remind you that this is not the Neolithic age." Tim "Well how would you like it if someone said that your father was a pompous, opinionated old wind bag?" June, "I didn't say that." George, "I would be honest enough to admit that the person was absolutely right." June, "Pop, he's lying. I never said that." George, "I don't care who said it, my dear, it's true. I talk too much. Your mother always said that."

    Tim, "Well, gentlemen, as you well know, 75 is the passing grade, and so far you've confined all your passing to the football field."

    Tim, "Here's examination question number one. How many bones are there in the human body, Mr. O'Brien?" O'Brien (played by Gordon Jones), "(pause) … Well, uh, there must be dozens." Tim (wincing), "Well, I can't exactly call that wrong. Good luck on Saturday."

    June, "You know, a discussion on the mayelin sheath of the cerebrospinal nerve fiber is good any time." Tim, "Where did you pick that up?" June, "Oh, I've been looking through some of our wedding presents."