Easy to Wed (1946): Musical Comedy, Starring Van Johnson, Esther Williams, Lucille Ball

From the Archives:

Edward Buzzell directed Easy to Wed a Technicolor musical comedy, starring Van Johnson, Esther Williams, Lucille Ball, and Keenan Wynn.

The screenplay by Dorothy Kingsley is an adaptation of the 1936 film Libeled Lady by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Howard Emmett Rogers, and George Oppenheimer.

Financier J. B. Allenbury (Cecil Kellaway) is determined to file a $2 million libel suit against The Morning Star when the newspaper prints a story claiming his daughter Connie (Esther Williams) was responsible for the break-up of a marriage.

Anxious to save his paper from financial ruin, editor Curtis Farwood (Paul Harvey) enlists the help of business manager Warren Haggerty (Keenan Wynn), who postpones his marriage to Gladys Benton (Lucille Ball) to assist his employer.

Warren’s scheme involves having reporter Bill Chandler (Van Johnson) temporarily marry Gladys so that she can sue Connie for alienation of affection when an intimate photo of Bill and Connie Allenbury surfaces, “proving” that the story is not libelous.

In order to get the damaging picture, Bill ingratiates himself with the Allenburys, who are vacationing at the Hotel Del Rey in Mexico. He heads south of the border with Spike Dolan and introduces himself as a writer who enjoys hunting, which is J. B.’s favorite hobby.

When Warren and Gladys threaten to expose Bill as bigamist, Bill announces that Gladys’ mail-order divorce from her previous husband is not legally binding and therefore her marriage to Bill is also not legal.

Gladys reveals that she obtained a second divorce in Reno that’s legally binding, and the Allenburys finally agree to drop their lawsuit.

Cast
Van Johnson as Bill Chandler
Esther Williams as Connie Allenbury
Lucille Ball as Gladys Benton
Keenan Wynn as Warren Haggerty
Cecil Kellaway as J. B. Allenbury
Ben Blue as Spike Dolan
Paul Harvey as Curtis Farwood
Jonathan Hale as Hector Boswell
James Flavin as Joe
Celia Travers as Mary, Farwood’s secretary
June Lockhart as Barbara “Babs” Norvell
Grant Mitchell as Homer Henshaw
Josephine Whittell as Mrs. Burns Norvell
Ethel Smith as herself, at the organ
Carlos Ramírez as himself