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Hired Wife (1940)

Approved | | Comedy | 13 September 1940 (USA)
Cement company CEO Stephen Dexter asks his secretary Kendall to marry him as a wife in name only, an arrangement made to protect his finances from an attempt at a hostile business takeover.... See full summary »


William A. Seiter


Richard Connell (screenplay), Gladys Lehman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Rosalind Russell ... Kendal Browning
Brian Aherne ... Stephen Dexter
Virginia Bruce ... Phyllis Walden
Robert Benchley ... Roger Van Horn
John Carroll ... Jose de Briganza
Hobart Cavanaugh ... William
Richard Lane ... McNab
William B. Davidson ... Mumford (as William Davidson)


Cement company CEO Stephen Dexter asks his secretary Kendall to marry him as a wife in name only, an arrangement made to protect his finances from an attempt at a hostile business takeover. Once the threat to his company is neutralized, he asks Kendall for a divorce and is dismayed when she engages in continuous ploys and antics to maintain the marriage. Written by Applause Meter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Esposa alquilada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on August 19, 1946 with Brian Aherne reprising his film role. See more »


Stephen Dexter: Who thought up this unsavory scheme?
Kendal Browning: What's so unsavory about my being your house guest?
Roger Van Horn: Well, then treat her as a boarder. You two don't have to act married, unless somebody's looking.
Stephen Dexter: But think of the position it puts me in!
Kendal Browning: 'We Dexters prefer death to dishonor.' Well, what about me? What am I going to tell my husband?
Stephen Dexter: Huh?
Kendal Browning: Not you. The good one I'm going to marry next.
Roger Van Horn: Well, have it your own way. I advise you to grit your teeth and go through with it.
Stephen Dexter: No!
Kendal Browning: No!
See more »


Referenced in Buck Privates (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Roz's Delightful Followup to "His Girl Friday"
2 August 2012 | by deltascorch90See all my reviews

It's a strange fact that this film immediately proceeds Rosalind Russel's perhaps most noteworthy film, "His Girl Friday," yet this one doesn't even have a Wikipedia link, and so far only has one review on this website. After all, she gave an impressive performance in that notorious film, and I am completely vexed as to how that role didn't grant her massive attention from the masses, though it seems this film was made by Universal, which wasn't exactly a top-drawer as far as I understand.

Nevertheless, if you happen to have come across this film or have divulged any interest in watching it, I would encourage your desire and eagerly anticipate your enjoyment. After all, this film really is quite swell, even if it isn't particularly a classic in any way. Its plot is screwball, to be sure, with aspects of the Comedy of Remarriage thrown in for good measure, such is the widespread appeal of that genre at this time. While I cannot attest to the picture quality being excellent-- naturally this film lacked the MGM sheen, or even the crispness of some Paramount or Columbia features-- that doesn't detract from any pleasure you might find herein. Naturally I assume that given Rosalind Russel's starring in this film it would most appeal to her fans, and if you are caught in her own particular spell you will no doubt appreciate her character here, which is embodied by the typical qualities which this actress is so renown at invoking, such as her being a strong, coordinated, wise-cracking woman of competence yet who retains an essential romantic, traditionalized passion underneath it all; to be sure, this is a typical Roz role.

Even further surprising is the fact that at least two of the other actors herein are recognizable as appearing in several other films, by which I understand Virginia Bruce and Robert Benchley to be those. All in all, this film is typical of its time, certainly being the type of story that only could have ever been produced before the horrors of the war about to be fought, and if you enjoy such a circumstance; such a setting; such a plot; such characters-- then I cannot understand why you should not watch this film, or join me in wondering why it wasn't successful, or given more attention.

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