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I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies

I Do and I Don

by Jeanine Basinger,
The Boston Globe, January 30, 2013

"Marriage is not a word,” actor Eddie Cantor once declared. “It's a sentence.”

The most important event in the lives of millions of people, marriage, even at it's best, as Cantor implied, is often filled with daily responsibilities and tedium. For moviemakers, according to Jeanine Basinger, it has been a nightmare. Because Americans like freedom, adventure, and action, the chase, not the capture, the unknown, not the known, she points out, producers and publicists avoided the label marriage, and screenwriters struggled to create a problem “that might threaten, destroy, undermine, question or somehow subvert the status of wedded bliss.” And to solve it, somehow, some way, so that the couple could live happily ever after. Off screen.


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