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I Take This Woman (1940 film)

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Title: I Take This Woman (1940 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Spencer Tracy, Ben Hecht, Hedy Lamarr, Frank Borzage, Josef von Sternberg, Adrienne Ames, Hal LeSueur, Jack Carson, Laraine Day, Mona Barrie
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

I Take This Woman (1940 film)

For the 1931 film, see I Take This Woman (1931 film).
I Take This Woman
Theatrical release poster
Directed by W. S. Van Dyke
Produced by Louis B. Mayer (uncredited)
Written by Ben Hecht (uncredited)
Screenplay by James Kevin MacGuinness
Based on "A New York Cinderella" 
by Charles MacArthur
Music by
Cinematography Harold Rosson
Editing by George Boemler
Studio MGM
Distributed by MGM
Release date(s)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I Take This Woman is a 1940 American drama film directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr. Based on the short story "A New York Cinderella" by Charles MacArthur, the film is about a young woman who attempted suicide in reaction to a failed love affair. The doctor who marries her attempts to get her to love him by abandoning his clinic services to the poor to become a physician to the rich so he can pay for her expensive lifestyle.[1]


On the way to New York in a ship, a famous psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Decker (Spencer Tracy), sees a young girl, Georgi ( Hedy Lamarr) attempting suicide by jumping from the top because of a failed romance with Phil Mayberry (Kent Taylor). The doctor rescues her and makes her understand how to live by doing real work.

After reaching New York, she visits the doctor and joins him in his practice at a clinic for the poor. They fall in love and marry. The doctor leaves his clinic and joins a famous hospital so that he can earn more money to support his wife in style. He becomes highly successful, and the owner takes him as a business partner.

Meanwhile, Phil pesters her to renew their love affair, saying that he still loves her. She finally meets with him at his apartment and asks him to stop disturbing her, realizing that she loves Karl instead. Before Georgi and Karl can depart for a belated honeymoon, Karl learns that Georgi and Phil had met in his apartment. Believing that she still loves Phil, Karl breaks off his relationship with Georgi in spite of her protest.

An important call comes from the hospital regarding a suicidal case of a young girl. Karl rushes to the hospital, but the girl dies in spite of his efforts. On the death certificate, he writes "suicide," but the father of the girl opposes him, wanting to avoid any scandal. Karl will not listen to him, and finally decides to quit working for the hospital and travel to China to do research. Before his departure, he visits his old clinic. His former patients are pleased, having heard from Georgi that he was planning to open the clinic again. But he refuses in spite of their disappointment. When some of the children, whose lives he saved, entreat him to reopen the clinic, he relents at last. Georgi asks, "Can I stay with you?" Karl happily agrees, and the film ends as they kiss.


  • Spencer Tracy as Dr. Karl Decker
  • Hedy Lamarr as Georgi Gragore Decker
  • Verree Teasdale as Madame "Cesca" Marcesca
  • Kent Taylor as Phil Mayberry
  • Laraine Day as Linda Rodgers
  • Mona Barrie as Sandra Mayberry
  • Jack Carson as Joe, the man yelling in the subway
  • Paul Cavanagh as Bill Rodgers
  • Louis Calhern as Dr. Martin Sumner Duveen
  • Frances Drake as Lola Estermont
  • Marjorie Main as Gertie
  • George E. Stone as Sid the Taxi Driver
  • Willie Best as Sambo, the Clinic Attendant
  • Don Castle as Dr. Ted Fenton
  • Dalies Frantz as Dr. Joe Barnes
  • Reed Hadley as Bob Hampton

Production notes

  • Production Dates: 18 Oct – early Nov 1938; 7 Nov – late Jan 1939; 4 Dec – late Dec 1939
  • This picture was based on the unpublished original story "A New York Cinderella," by Charles MacArthur.
  • Production of the film had a troubled history. Director Josef von Sternberg quit because of artistic differences. Director Frank Borzage took over, but the production was shelved in early January 1939 for more than 10 months, when W. S. Van Dyke took over and practically re-shot the whole film, with many different cast members.


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • TCM Movie Database
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