Film Review of Somethings Got to Give: Another Mans Wife and an Eligible Hunk on a Desert Island Versus Another Womans Husband and a Second Wife in The Family Home
A beautiful photographer comes back five years after being presumed dead. Her children have no memory of her, and her husband has a new wife. When “Something’s Got to Give”, will it be the hunk who helped her survive or the family that moved on?
Something’s Got to Give is an uncompleted feature film by screenwriters Walter Bernstein, Nunnally Johnson, and Samuel and Bella Spewack; producers Gene Allen, Peter Levathes, and Henry T. Weinstein; and director George Cukor. Respective responsibility for cinematography, editing, and music is by Franz Planer and Leo Tover; Tori Rodman; and Johnny Mercer. The filming location is in Los Angeles, California at 20th Century Fox studios.
Nine hours of footage are the results of 3-1/2 months of production stored in 20th Century Fox vaults until 1999. The movie may have been intended to run anywhere from 90+ minutes (1-1/2 hours) to less than 120 minutes (2 hours). Audiences may imagine the film’s configuration through Prometheus Entertainment’s 37-minute digital restoration. The abbreviated form was released to American Movie Classics on June 1, 2001 and to DVD format.
The film is based upon the 1940 comedy film My Favorite Wife by screenwriters Samuel and Bella Spewack; screenwriter/producer Leo McCarey; director Garson Kanin; cinematographer Rudolph Maté; editor Robert Wise; and music man Roy Webb. It was remade in 1963 by screenwriters Hal Kanter, Leo McCarey, Jack Sher, and the Spewacks; producers Martin Melcher and Aaron Rosenberg; director Michael Gordon; cinematographer Daniel L. Fapp; editor Robert L. Simpson; and music man Lionel Newman. The roles of Nick, Ellen, Stephen, and Bianca were interpreted by Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick in 1940 and by James Garner, Doris Day, Chuck Connors, and Polly Bergen in 1963.
Something’s Got to Give is supposed to begin with photographer Ellen Arden’s (Marilyn Monroe) return from a suspected Pacific Ocean drowning five years before. Only her desert island companion, Steven Burkett (Tom Tryon), and her rescuers know that Ellen lives. Husband Nick (Dean Martin) marries girlfriend Bianca Russell (Cyd Charisse) after a judge (John McGiver) declares Ellen legally dead. Children Lita (Alexandra Heilweil) and Timmy (Robert Christopher Morley) no longer remember Ellen.
Ellen assumes the persona of Swedish-born Ingrid Tic. She builds upon two facts: both children like her, and the family dog remembers her. But she faces two challenges. She must convince Nick that an unassuming, unresponsive shoe salesman (Wally Cox) was her five-year companion. That failing, Ellen must persuade Nick that nothing happened when she was “Eve” to the really handsome, muscular Steve’s “Adam”.
Something’s Got to Give is a poignant but enduring reminder of Marilyn Monroe’s (1926-1962) generosity as an entertainer whose talented performances include emoting comedy, drama and tragedy as well as dancing, modeling, and singing.
Copyright: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 by Derdriu