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Film / The Doctor Takes a Wife

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The Doctor Takes a Wife is a 1940 American Screwball Comedy film directed by Alexander Hall, starring Loretta Young and Ray Milland.

June Cameron (Young) is a best-selling author who wrote a book about how spinsters don't need a man for fulfillment. Through a series of misunderstandings, the press believes that she married Timothy "Tim" Sterling (Milland), a medical school instructor that she just met and with whom she has an instant enmity. After at first being appalled at the result the news would have with her audience, her publisher decides to let the mistake go uncorrected for a few weeks so she can write a best-seller about being married; Tim at first refuses, but later cooperates after discovering that being married may help with a promotion at academia.

This film features examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Marilyn calls Tim "cookie". June mocks Tim to no end for this.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: June's publisher tries this when told about June's supposed marriage, but the apparent evidence makes it backfire.
    Johnny: [to a reporter] The whole thing is silly! If June Cameron's married, then I'm the King of Turkestan.
    [the reporter gestures at the "Just Married" sign in Tim's car besides them]
    Reporter: Make way for His Majesty...
  • Companion Cube: June discovers a anatomical head model in Tim's luggage and, since she claims that it resembles her uncle Chester, she stars calling it Chester too. At one point she even talks to it like if it was a real person.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Pretty much every other line said by June is a quip:
      Tim: [holding a bottle of liquor] Ten years old.
      June: That's more than I can say for you.
    • Lampshaded by Tim:
      Tim: You know, it strikes me you're laboring under the impression that you're superior to Marilyn. Well, maybe in sarcasm, yes.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Marilyn, Tim's girlfriend, of the minor flaws variety (June mocks Marilyn for calling Tim "cookie"). She's pretty much toast once June realizes that she loves Tim.
  • Eerie Anatomy Model: Despite being unable to stand the sight of anatomy diagrams, June takes a liking to the anatomy head Tim has on his desk, because it reminds her of her uncle Chester. As such, she starts calling it Chester and talks to it as if it were a real person, which includes promising it that Marilyn won't be its mother (i.e., that Tim won't marry Marilyn).
  • Exiled to the Couch: A variant happens when a drunk Tim falls asleep in June's bed and can't be moved, so June is forced to sleep on the couch.
  • Fake Pregnancy: June fakes a pregnancy to put the kibosh on Tim and Marilyn's engagement.
  • Knitting Pregnancy Announcement: After realizing that she loves Tim, June goes to the party he and Marilyn throw to announce their engagement (as it has been assumed by this point that June and Tim were going to "divorce") and starts sewing baby clothes to intentionally make everybody assume that she's pregnant. It works exactly as planned, and Marilyn faints.
  • Love Epiphany: June realizes that she loves Tim at the end of the period pretending to be married during a discussion with Johnny.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: After June and Tim are mistaken for having married, they continue the charade when they find it is to their mutual advantage before both develop real feelings for each other.
  • Two-Timer Date: Tim has one of these when Marilyn invites herself to his apartment after explaining his situation to her (as he claimed that he doesn't share it with June) and his father's colleagues unexpectedly arrive to his appartment; Tim uses a neighbor's unoccupied apartment adjacent to his to host Marilyn and has to hurry back and forth between them.