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Wives Never Know (1936)

J. Hugh Ramsey, author of "Marriage, the Living Death" decides that the marriage of his friends The Bigelows cannot possibly be as perfect as it appears.


Elliott Nugent


Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (screenplay), Keene Thompson (story)


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Credited cast:
Charles Ruggles ... Homer Bigelow (as Charlie Ruggles)
Mary Boland ... Marcia Bigelow
Adolphe Menjou ... J. Hugh Ramsey
Vivienne Osborne ... Renée La Tour
Claude Gillingwater ... Mr. Gossamer
Fay Holden ... Mrs. Gossamer
Louise Beavers ... Florabelle
Constance Bergen ... Miss Giddings
Purnell Pratt ... Higgins
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Pye Jack Pye


J. Hugh Ramsey, author of "Marriage, the Living Death" decides that the marriage of his friends The Bigelows cannot possibly be as perfect as it appears.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

18 September 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jos rouvat tietäisivät See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

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User Reviews

A Forgotten And Astonishingly Funny Comedy
1 July 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland have a dedicated if somewhat banal marriage in Topeka. He brings home his old college buddy, Adolphe Menjou, who has just written a book titled "Marriage, The Living Death." The high-living bachelor convinces Mary that their marriage lacks zest. If Charlie never cuts loose, she can never have the joy of jealousy and the pleasure of forgiving him. So Charlie goes out to fulfill his part of the deal with Vivienne Osborne, and comes home with a black eye, pneumonia and one of Miss Osborne's garters in his pocket, triggering off a hilarious third act to this absurd comedy.

The parts must have been written for the performers, and Elliott Nugent directs them to a tee; the absurd interplay between Menjou and Ruggles suits their screen characters to a tee; Miss Boland is perfect, looking goggle-eyed and confused with Mr. Menjou and ordering an ice cream soda from bartender Tom Kennedy in an illegal saloon. Even the small roles, like Frank O'Connor, who wants to arrest Ruggles for impersonating himself, have never been better.

I had never heard of this movie before it turned up, and it's a shock to me how good this unremembered comedy is. In terms of story, jokes and just plain comedic shtick, it is a masterpiece of its type.

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