March 9, 2022
Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)
Grade: 64/100

Director: Don Hartman
Stars: Betsy Drake, Cary Grant, Franchot Tone

What it's about. Betsy Drake is a salesclerk at a large department store in the big city. She is obsessed with getting married, but only one man will do: pediatrician Cary Grant. Problem is, Grant is a confirmed bachelor.

Drake attempts to make Grant jealous, by flirting with multimillionaire playboy Franchot Tone. Because it is a movie, Tone is not only the owner of the store that employs Drake, but is also the college frenemy of Cary Grant.

But not even the thought of Drake with Tone can make Grant propose, so Drake brings in another rival, her hometown boyfriend Eddie Albert, who apparently was typecast as a hayseed twenty years before "Green Acres". This, at last, is too much for Grant to bear. After all, he always gets the girl. Except in Gunga Din. But I digress.

Diana Lynn is Drake's loyal and much-suffering best friend and fellow shopgirl. Mary Noland plays Grant's much older receptionist.

How I felt about it. Only in a movie could any man, Cary Grant included, resist the beauty, honey voice, foreign finish school accent, and persistence of Nancy Drake. The real-life Cary Grant had succumbed the year before on the Queen Mary. By this time his divorce was final from heiress Barbara Hutton, and he was free to pursue Drake, something he would continue to do until RKO owner Howard Hughes served as best man to Grant on their Christmas 1949 wedding.

By 1948, Grant was sufficiently smitten by Drake to convince Hughes to feature RKO in a romantic comedy. It was Drake's first film, and purportedly Grant directed their scenes together, which constitute a majority of her lines. Hughes' tolerance was rewarded when the film became a box office smash.

Drake followed her successful debut with additional A-list female leads, respectively paired with William Powell, Robert Young, and Dennis Morgan. She even teamed up again with Cary Grant in Room for One More. She also had a short-lived radio series with Grant. Film roles petered out after that. Drake never had any children. She divorced Grant in 1962, and did not remarry. She lived to be 92.

As for the movie, it is a charmer. Drake is out of her mind, of course, but everyone humors her because it is 1948 and, after, every girl should be married. That means that every man should be married as well, and that includes even Archibald Leach, a.k.a. Cary Grant. Thus, all are complicit in her endless efforts to get Grant to propose, when he isn't so much as interested in dating her, and for some reason isn't even attracted to her.

Tone camps it up as the wealthy "wolf on the prowl" businessman, fortuitously between marriages for Betsy Drake's purposes. We do feel sorry for Eddie Albert, not only because his girl is stolen at the last moment by Cary Grant, but because Albert isn't even credited. He only has a couple of scenes, but still.

How others will see it. Although popular in its day, Every Girl Should Be Married is fairly obscure today. At, it has only 2.4K user votes, and the user rating is a middling 6.3 out of 10. Even women over 45 grade it only 6.4. The user reviews are aware that the film is a comedy, so nobody gets bent out of shape about Drake as an obsessive stalker, or the entrenched sexism that makes 1948 seem like a very long time ago. Which of course it was.