On the behalf of the United States I'd like to issue an apology to Diana Dors for her 1958 film I Married a Woman
. It was shot in 1956, the same year Dors appeared in the bleakly wonderful Yield to the Night
, probably her best role. I Married a Woman
was likely her worst--one of only two films she made in the United States during the height of her career it puts her under the dull, crushingly stupid yoke of lazy misogynist American sitcom writing of the 1950s.
The title itself is an insult to everyone, implying the hackneyed petulance and dim witted manipulation Dors is forced to display in this film are somehow characteristic of all women. The movie mostly follows her husband, salary man Mickey Briggs (George Gobel) who works for the beer company through which he met Janice (Dors) when she worked as part of an advertising campaign.
We join the couple after Janice has learned she's pregnant, something which the laws of sitcom dictate she can't simply tell her husband. She's required to play stupid word games to gauge the veracity of his affections, indulging in over the top sobbing when he unwittingly gives wrong answers. The movie trots out so many cliches there's even a scene where Mickey actually comes home with lipstick on his collar.
Of course, he can't simply give Janice the actual innocent explanation, he has to act exasperated at her alarm and storm out.
Adolphe Menjou, star and supporting player in many fine films of the 1920s and 30s, here plays Mickey's boss, his natural elegance not being particularly appropriate in this greedy doofus rich man role. But an even bigger American star was caught up in this embarrassment of a film.
John Wayne appears in two scenes for an uncredited cameo as himself. He ogles Dors in the second scene for a cheap bit of comedy that nonetheless makes one dream of what might have been. A proper movie starring Diana Dors and John Wayne? That I'd like to see.
Instead we have this bullshit. I felt nauseated and exhausted after watching it. The movie did nothing to advance Dors' career in the States--American audiences showing good taste for once. It's a shame they didn't get to know her the way Britain knew her. About the only good thing to come out of I Married a Woman
was a series of nice production photos of Dors, one of which I have as a desktop wallpaper among the many that my computer cycles through every thirty minutes.