Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Ex-Mrs. Bradford

Go To
He just can't get rid of her!

The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936) is an American Romantic Comedy/mystery film directed by Stephen Roberts, mimicking the success of the Thin Man series. It stars William Powell and Jean Arthur.

Dr. Lawrence “Brad” Bradford (Powell) divorced mystery author Paula (Arthur) for dragging him along on real life murder-mystery plots that put him in danger. But Paula has contrived a new way to get Brad back in her life; she blackmails on the basis of late alimony pay and forces him to help her investigate the suspicious death of a popular jockey.

It turns out that Paula was right. It was murder, and Brad's seriously involved since the police think he's the prime suspect. There’s a convoluted web of lies that Brad must get through to solve the mystery and fall back into the arms of Paula, much to his chagrin.


  • Always Murder: Almost everyone gets killed if they try to solve this case.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Paula, and by extension, Brad, since she drags him along.
  • Arc Words: "HOLD HIM, BRAD, I'LL CLUNK HIM!" (She invariably ends up clunking Brad.)
  • Clear My Name: The body of Mike North shows up at Brad’s door just as the police inspector comes in, making Brad suspect number one. He now has to solve the mystery in order to clear his name.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: It practically falls on Brad, and it makes him the prime suspect in the case.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Brad and Paula have their moments.
  • The Ditz: Paula, at least at first appearance.
  • Fainting: The butler does a Girly Man Faint when he’s taken along to the mortuary.
  • Idle Rich: Although Paula does write her mystery novels, it seems that she only does it to ward off boredom.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The death of the jockey was thought to be a heart attack. Brad finds a strange gelatin on his body, thinking nothing of it at first. However, the killer put a black widow spider in a gelatin capsule, and secretly put it on the jockey. As the jockey rode and sweated, the capsule melted, making the spider bite him, causing his death.
  • Mystery Magnet: Paula's addicted to finding fresh new crimes to write about.
  • Mystery Writer Detective: Paula sniffs out the suspicious crimes and gets her ex-husband to solve them.
  • Never One Murder: They just keep piling up as Brad gets closer to finding out the killer.
  • Only Sane Man: Brad is the only sane person whenever Paula is around.
  • Police Are Useless: They aren’t any help at all as usual.
  • Pretty in Mink: Paula is never without her furs.
  • Rom Com Job: Paula's obsessive novel writing.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Paula wears a beautiful black and white bias-cut gown.
  • Show Within a Show: In his Summation Gathering, Brad plays a film of when he secretly taped the suspects at the races.
  • Summation Gathering: Brad gets all the suspects in a room to watch his film about who he thinks committed the murder.
  • The Watson: Paula to Brad’s Holmes.