Every Girl Should Be Married (1948): Hartman’s Romantic Comedy, Starring Cary Grant and Betsy Drake (Future Real Wife)

Don Hartman directed Every Girl Should Be Married, a romantic comedy, starring Cary Grant, Betsy Drake (his future real-life wife) and Franchot Tone.

Every Girl Should Be Married
Every Girl Should Be Married FilmPoster.jpeg

Our Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

The pedestrian script was based on short story written by Eleanor Harris in October 1947 edition “Ladies’ Home Journal.”

Department store salesclerk Anabel Sims (Betsy Drake) would like to get married. So when handsome pediatrician Dr. Madison Brown (Cary Grant) asks for her help in making a purchase, she’s determined to get him.

He is happy as a bachelor, but Anabel is determined, learning everything about him, where he went to school, his favorite foods. Madison soon realizes her intentions and fends her off.

Anabel makes a reservation at a restaurant. knowing that Madison habitually dines there. In an attempt to make him jealous, she pretends to be waiting for wealth playboy Roger Sanford (Franchot Tone), who’s her employer; but he’s also Madison’s university classmate.

Roger believes that she is using Madison as a ruse to get acquainted with him. However, the scheme fails, and Madison’s feelings remain unchanged.

Nonetheless, Roger falls in love with her, and eventually asking her to marry him. When Anabel’s best friend Julie (Diana Lynn) warns Madison, he begins to worry, knowing of Roger’s success with women.

One eve, while waiting for Anabel, they are unexpectedly joined by “Old Joe” (Eddie Albert), Anabel’s longtime hometown beau, who announces their marriage. Madison congratulates them, but after second thought, he makes his own bid for her hand.

In the end Joe bows out, and after leavings, Madison informs Anabel that her research on him was incomplete. All along, he recognized “Joe’s” voice from the radio show he listens to frequently.

Cary Grant married Betsy Drake, his third wife in real life, one year after the film’s release. Drake was a stage actress from with no film credits, but Cary Grant convinced Dore Schary, head of RKO Pictures, to sign her to a contract. Barbara Bel Geddes was initially intended to play Anabel Sims, but Grant Howard Hughes wanted Drake to play the role.

The film was a positive experience for Grant and Drake, but Hughes’ excessive interference led to Schary abrupt resignation from RKO. Hughes then allowed Grant to rewrite the script, and shift the film’s focus from his character to Drake’s.

Though overly conventional and lacking any humor, the film was RKO’s most commercial production of 1948, making $775,000 in profits.

Grant and Drake reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast held on June 27, 1949.

Cary Grant as Dr. Madison W. Brown
Franchot Tone as Roger Sanford
Diana Lynn as Julie Hudson
Betsy Drake as Anabel Sims
Alan Mowbray as Mr. Spitzer
Elisabeth Risdon as Nurse Mary Nolan
Richard Gaines as Sam McNutt
Harry Hayden as Gogarty
Chick Chandler as Harry, the Soda Clerk
Leon Belasco as Violinist
Fred Essler as Pierre, the Restaurant Owner
Anna Q. Nilsson as Saleslady
Eddie Albert as Harry Proctor, aka “Old Joe” (uncredited)


Produced, directed by Don Hartman
Written by Don Hartman, Eleanor Harris (story), Stephen Morehouse Avery (Script collaboration)
Music by Leigh Harline
C. Bakaleinikoff
Cinematography George E. Diskant
Edited by Harry Marker
Distributed by RKO Pictures

Release date: November 9, 1948

Running time: 85 minutes
Box office $2.8 million


TCM showed this movie on January 4, 2021.