"Oh, it's Adolphe! It must be!" Lovely Juliet Corton (Florence Eldridge) is sure the dashing coiffeur who just arrived to style her hair is her husband, presumed dead in a railway crash five years earlier. The dashing stylist (vaudeville star Frank Fay) is sure she's nuts. But what if Juliet is right? What if a hypnotist could restore Adolphe's memory of their marriage, lost after the crash? Who could possibly object to such a happy ending? Perhaps Juliet's new husband (James Gleason), who is not eager to vacate the matrimonial bed.
Complications abound in this racy pre-Code farce that also includes a wacky set of friends and servants, a second case of amnesia, a nice hot bath, the wife Adolphe acquired after the accident and two sets of twins.
Whatever rapport comedian Frank Fay enjoyed with Broadway audiences invariably evaporated when he appeared on film. In THE MATRIMONIAL BED, Fay is his usual overbearing self as Adolphe, a small-town husband who is rendered an amnesiac in a train crash. Five years pass, during which time Adolphe marries Southern belle Sylvaine (Lilyan Tashman). In the meantime, Wife Number One Juliette (Florence Eldridge), believing her husband dead, has also remarried, to Gustave (James Gleason). One afternoon, she walks by a neighborhood barbershop, where Adolphe is now working -- and it isn't hard to guess what happens next. The fact that Frank Fay and director Michael Curtiz were constitutionally incapable of getting along undoubtedly hurt the overall effectiveness of this otherwise passable farce. MATRIMONIAL BED was remade in 1941 as KISSES FOR BREAKFAST, where it was frankly much funnier; on the other hand, the earlier film does contain a surprising amount of "gay" humor which still elicits chuckles when seen today.
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