My Weddings in Film series explores the different stages of getting married as seen through classic movies. The fourth film, Double Wedding (1937), asks the question: whose wedding is it anyways?
Congratulations on setting a date for your wedding! Not only is your family very excited about the big day but they also have a lot of opinions about how it should go. And they are not afraid to share those thoughts with you. In fact, they've made a list. What? It's your day so you think it should go your way? Pshaw!
Weddings can sometimes bring out the worst in people. You've heard of Bridezillas right? They are those crazy brides who demand perfection and adoration at all times. But members of the bride's or groom's families can go a little 'zilla too. Take for example Margit Agnew (Myrna Loy) from Double Wedding (1937). The wedding between Margit's sister Irene (Florence Rice) and Waldo (John Beal) has been all arranged by Margit herself. Margit is all business, all the time: in her professional life and in her personal life too.
"I've arranged a wonderful honeymoon for them. They wanted California but I think Bermuda would be much nicer." - Margit
She's convinced Irene and Waldo to get married and is handling all the wedding details herself. That is until bohemian actor Charles Lodge (William Powell) gets in the way.
"I'm surprised Waldo ever had a chance to fall in love with you! Or was that Margit's idea" - Charles
"As a matter of fact it was. I should have thought of it myself but Margit explained to me that Irene was the only girl for me and I should I love her. So I did." - Waldo
For Margit, the marriage between Irene and Waldo is an arrangement which she sees as beneficial for all parties including herself.
"I've planned Irene's wedding for years." - Margit
Margit has lost sight of the true purpose of marriage: the union of two people who love each other very much. Is that Irene and Waldo? Not really. Irene loves Waldo and Waldo loves Irene but they are not in love yet. In fact, Irene who dreams of being an actress in Hollywood lusts more after Charles (William Powell). Why? Because he's his own self. He is not tied down by anything or anyone and he speaks his mind even when faced with opposition. That's what Irene wants out of Waldo. In fact, that's what Margit wants too but she doesn't know it yet! Until she meets Charles.
"What are you impersonating? A wedding cake?" - Charles
This movie is incredibly funny despite the pathetic situation both Irene and Waldo find themselves in. Powell and Loy have great on-screen chemistry and the slapstick humor is side-splitting. Plus the Art Deco style set designs are gorgeous! Fans of the Charlie Chan movies will recognize Sidney Toler as Margit's Butler.
Now Margit is an extreme case of a family member gone 'zilla. In this case, the exaggeration is the basis for the movie's delicious humor. However, in real life situations some family members do take their role (or what they think their role is) too far. Planning a wedding can be really tricky. It can be very easy to offend someone. The couple is usually walking on egg shells through the entire process. Finding that balance of planning the wedding you want while also keeping their family and friends happy can be really tricky. Sometimes that's achievable and other times that's impossible. And for some folks it means eloping and leaving the whole mess behind! Moral of the story? Don't be a Margit!