In an all-star cast, Clifton Webb plays the owner of Gifford Motors who needs a new general manager. He brings three candidates to his headquarters in New York – along with their wives . It’s Gifford’s reckoning that the right wife is very important to his choice.
So the three couples arrive from out of town – Dallas, Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Elliot Reid plays Clifton Webb’s nephew who ferries the wives around New York so they can take in the sights.
The girls go shopping as Lauren helps June pick a dress.
The boys get to see what’s coming down the line in the new designs.( all from the Ford motor company.)
- June Allyson, as Cornel Wilde’s wife, plays pretty much the same character she did in “ Executive Suite” also in 1954 – sweet, funny, home loving, supportive – and seemingly unaware of the importance of this trip to New York .
Fred has an ulcer but he still wants the top job.
Lauren agrees to support Fred , though she wants a divorce.
Arlene wants the job as much as Van, if not more.
And Arlene is willing to be very grateful to Clifton if her husband gets the job.
The film is an easy watch, with so many stars in it. There are sufficient contrast between the three couples, but, personally, I thought Van Heflin and Arlene Dahl were the most interesting duo.
Clifton Webb, as always, is very good.
- I was impressed with Margalo Gillmore as Clifton Webb’s sister who opens her country home on Long Island for a weekend gathering of the couples.
(Margalo worked primarily on the stage. She created the part of ‘Mary’ in THE WOMEN, and ‘Kay Thorndike’ in STATE OF THE UNION – parts played by Norma Shearer and Katharine Hepburn in the film versions.
She was born in London but came to America and debuted on Broadway in 1917. She acted on stage with Edward G. Robinson,Leslie Howard , Laurence Olivier, Charles Boyer .
Margalo and Clifton Webb played husband and wife in a 1951 picture called ELOPEMENT. She also played Grace Kelly’s mother in HIGH SOCIETY. She only made about a dozen films, her last being THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS.
- Director Jean Negulesco indicates to a June Allyson exactly what he wants. Cornel Wilde looks on.
Jean Negulesco (1900-1993) had given Twentieth Century Fox two winners previously, with HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE and THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN.
The Romanian born director came to America in 1927 but didn’t make his first feature till 1944 (MASK OF DEMETRIOS). His other films include HUMORESQUE, ROAD HOUSE, JOHNNY BELINDA.
Theme song from the film.
WOMEN RULE THE WORLD. The men are only puppets in this French poster!
The film was based on a McCalls’ magazine story called “MAY THE BEST WIFE WIN.”
This is a very entertaining and slick piece of filmmaking with Negulesco coaxing fine performances from a deep and attractive cast. I find this sideways looks at ambition, relationships and the post-war version of the American Dream fascinating aesthetically and thematically.
Glad you liked it, Colin. I don’t think it’s up there with LETTER TO THREE WIVES, or EXECUTIVE SUITE, but it has a lot of good moments, mainly when Webb or Dahl are in the scenes.
I agree that Arlene is the most interesting of the three women. The scene where she gets her comeuppance from Clifton Webb is the highlight of the film. It’s not often we get to see the vulnerable side of Lauren Bacall but she gives a fine performance in this one.
I agree, she is so sure of herself but she is up against Clifton Webb!