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This Thing Called Love(1940)

It’s hard to imagine that a comedy about a married couple not having sex could be condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency, but that was the case with the second screen version of Edwin J. Burke’s play. Rosalind Russell stars as a businesswoman who believes divorces could be prevented if couples would refrain from having sex for three months. She decides to test her theory on her own marriage, which doesn’t sit well with new husband Melvyn Douglas. His attempts to get his wife into bed raised the hackles of moralists, and the Production Code Administration was flooded with complaints. Pathé had previously filmed it in 1929 as a vehicle for Constance Bennett and Edmund Lowe. Columbia picked up the rights in 1938, planning to have Herman J. Mankiewicz write the script for Loretta Young with George Stevens directing. When it took two years to get the story cleared by the Production Code censors, the situation changed. Future Oscar-winner George Seaton wrote the script with Ken Englund and P.J. Wolfson, with Alexander Hall directing. Today, of course, this film’s premise is harmless fun, expertly played by the two stars who make this kind of comedy seem effortlessly chic. (d. Alexander Hall, 98m, 35 mm)

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