Marriage, Once Upon a Time
A Screwball Comedy Hints at Better Days
Saturday, July 10, 2004 2:51 am
In very old movies a married couple is usually seen to sleep separately, husband in one twin bed and wife in the other. Nowadays we snicker at this — and rightly so. Though the motive to this contrivance may have been modesty, the effect of it is prudery. The marriage bed, after all, is the proper place for sex. By showing one bed we would affirm what is right; by showing twin beds, on the other hand, we clumsily imply that sex has no fit role in a good clean world.
Sometimes, however, an old movie can be not prudish but simply naive, and naive in a way that does affirm what is right. Case in point: My Favorite Wife. This movie, having been made in 1940, does have that silly nonsense with the twin beds; but it also has a particularly wonderful moment of sense.