Bedtime Story (1941): Hall’s Screwball Comedy of Remarriage, Starring Fredric March and Loretta Young

Alexander Hall’s Bedtime Story is a screwball comedy of remarriage, starring Fredric March and Loretta Young in top form.

Jane Drake (Young) wants to retire from the stage to a Connecticut farm, but her husband Luke (March) continues working on his latest play.

Fed up, Jane takes off for Reno to get a divorce, but she rushes back to his side, after reading that he is ill. It’s fake news, and she again leaves.

Jane goes back to Reno, and she begins dating William Dudley. Luke gets her to agree to go out with him and they accidentally cross the border into California, where they run out of gas.

They get a hotel room, and she advises how to fix the script of this new play. She pays for the room and for the gas, telling Luke her owes her $4.40 for his share.

She comes home to find an article in the paper that Luke has cast Virginia Cole (Eve Arden) as the lead. It’s fake news, and Virginia agrees to fool Jane by pretending to be cast in the new play.

Jane and Luke agree to auction off all of their furniture, and a man named Dingelhoff buys everything, including the desk Jane bought for Luke, except for a vase that Luke gave Jane, which Jane buys.

Rehearsals for the play are underway, with Virginia playing Jane’s part. Luke finds out that Jane is engaged to William.

Luke tricks Jane into coming to a rehearsal for the play. She gives Virginia some tips and Virginia pretends to be upset and “storms off”. With the prospect of Luke losing all the money he’s sunk into the play being lost without a leading lady, Jane reluctantly agrees to fill in, but only until Luke can find someone else. Then she learns that Luke and Eddie[clarification needed] have tricked William into getting arrested. Jane leaves to bail William out of jail.

Luke hires two men to act as inspectors, questioning Jane on the validity of her marriage. The fake inspectors insist that she had to have stayed in Reno for six weeks straight without leaving the hotel room.

Their friend Emma tells Jane that the production has shut down for good and that Luke paid them off. Jane hands Emma the receipt, asking for the money Luke owes her. Luke realizes that with the receipt he can prove that Jane’s marriage is not legal.

Luke sends various people to interrupt Jane and William on their wedding night. William gets fed up, but Jane is amused. A fight breaks out in their hotel and Jane leaves with Luke. They reconcile when Luke takes her back to their old apartment, having hired Dinglehoff to buy all of their furniture.