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Marriage on the Rocks

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Title: Marriage on the Rocks  
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Subject: Frank Sinatra, Jack Donohue (director), Deborah Kerr, Michio Hazama, Sam O'Steen
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Marriage on the Rocks

Marriage on the Rocks
Directed by Jack Donohue
Written by Cy Howard
Starring Frank Sinatra
Deborah Kerr
Dean Martin
Music by Nelson Riddle
Edited by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates September 24, 1965
Running time 109 min
Country USA
Language English
Box office $3,000,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Marriage on the Rocks is a 1965 film comedy with Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, and Dean Martin about a businessman's wife who ends up divorced by mistake and then married to his best friend by an even bigger mistake. The film was written by Cy Howard and directed by Jack Donohue.

Marriage on the Rocks is not a musical, even though it pairs Sinatra and Martin. It would be their last feature film partnership for nearly 20 years, when they appeared together briefly in 1984's Cannonball Run II.



After nineteen years of marriage, Dan Edwards' wife Val is exasperated with his lack of attention to her and the amount of attention he pays to a Los Angeles advertising agency that he runs with his friend, Ernie Brewer, a laid-back second-in-command.

Once an exciting man, Dan has become a bore to Valerie, as well as to their two children and to her feisty mother who lives with them. By contrast, they all look up to the exciting, swinging bachelor "Uncle Ernie", who is always there to give advice to Val and the kids.

Ernie enjoys telling Dan that he's envious of his friend's family life and often reminds Dan that he was the one who was keen on Valerie first. Valerie likes it that Ernie does things her husband won't – dances with her, compliments her, even picks out the gifts Dan gets for her. Val is so frustrated, she seeks a lawyer's advice about wanting a divorce.

Ernie can see what his best friend is blind to, so he urges Dan to take his wife on a second honeymoon to Mexico. Once there, in a land of quickie marriages and divorces, Dan and Val get into an argument in front of proprietor Miguel Santos, and, before they know it, they're divorced.

An apologetic Dan makes it up to her, then arranges for them to be remarried right away. But an urgent business matter requires his presence back in L.A., then on to Detroit, to save his company's biggest account.

Ernie travels to Mexico to explain everything to Val, unaware that she's expecting Dan and has already put the wedding ceremony in motion. By mistake, she ends up married to Ernie.

Once he gets over his shock, Ernie anticipates a quickie divorce, but Val thinks she might enjoy this new arrangement. Dan, fed up with both of them, decides he's not exactly broken-hearted, either.

Dan immediately discovers the joys of a swinging bachelor life, cavorting with Ernie's sexy playmates and even with a young friend of daughter Tracy's. As for poor Ernie, it's up to him to run the business, which turns him into the same dull, inattentive husband to Val that her first one had been.


The film originally began under the title of Divorce American Style with Frank Sinatra personally selecting Deborah Kerr for the role of his wife. Cy Howard's original screenplay was deemed offensive and rewritten under the title Community Property over a period of four months, then given its final title. After a preview, Warner Bros cut out 14 minutes before its release to underwhelming reviews in September 1965. Nancy Sinatra was a last minute replacement for Mia Farrow.[2] The new title proved apt as during the filming Nancy Sinatra broke up with her husband Tommy Sands.

The Mexican Government was offended by the film's depiction of Mexico[3] and banned the film and other Sinatra films for what they regarded as a derogatory depiction of the nation.[4]

Shots of Dean Martin's actual house appeared in the film as did a [5]

See also


  1. ^ This figure consists of anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Big Rental Pictures of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 6
  2. ^ pp.146-147 Capua, Michelangelo Deborah Kerr: A Biography McFarland
  3. ^ p.129 Oliver, Mike Mike Oliver's Acapulco iUniverse
  4. ^ p.56 Zolov, Eric Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture University of California Press
  5. ^ p.119 Barris, George & Scagnetti, Jack Cars of the Stars Jonathan David Publishers, 1974

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