Four Wives

Four Wives is a 1939 American drama film starring the Lane Sisters (Priscilla Lane, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane) and Gale Page.[1][2] The film was directed by Michael Curtiz and is based on the story "Sister Act" by Fannie Hurst.[3] It was released by Warner Bros. on December 25, 1939. The film is a sequel to Four Daughters (1938) and was followed by Four Mothers (1941).

Four Wives
Movie poster
Directed byMichael Curtiz
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Written byJulius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
Maurice Hanline
Based onSister Actsuggested 1937 story in Hearst's International Cosmopolitan
by Fannie Hurst
StarringPriscilla Lane
Rosemary Lane
Lola Lane
Gale Page
Music byMax Steiner
CinematographySol Polito
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 25, 1939 (1939-12-25)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States


Ann Lemp Borden (Priscilla Lane) has been recently widowed, after her husband Mickey Borden (John Garfield), a down and out and unlucky musical genius, is tragically killed in a car accident. She now lives at home again with her father (Claude Rains), Aunt Etta (May Robson) and younger sister Kay (Rosemary Lane). Her two other sisters, Emma and Thea, are married.

Kay is dating a young doctor Clint Forrest Jr. (Eddie Albert); Emma and Thea are trying to conceive via their respective husbands. Ann, engaged to musical composer Felix Dietz (Jeffrey Lynn) suddenly discovers that she is pregnant with her deceased husband's child. Unable to forget Mickey, she vacillates on marrying Felix. A flashback shows Mickey playing an unfinished musical composition “that has only a middle…no beginning…no ending” and Ann finds herself frequently replaying the tune in her head or on her piano. Ann is distressed over the raw deal life had given Mickey. Felix eventually convinces Ann to marry him and they elope, but Ann is still caught up in the past tragedy. Felix finishes Mickey’s composition and conducts it nationally on radio, making a speech commemorating Mickey's genius and untimely death.

Convinced now that Mickey Borden did not die in vain, Ann comes back to reality, rediscovers her love for husband Felix and together with her family goes on to have a normal happy life complete with her child, nieces and nephews.



Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times writes in his movie review: "Sequels so rarely even approximate the quality of their originals that the Warners deserve a special word of commendation this morning for their "Four Wives," the Strand's inevitable aftermath to the "Four Daughters" which appeared on most of the ten-best lists last year. For it is a singularly happy film, well-written, well-directed and well-played, and it reconciles us tranquilly to the vista it has opened of a "Four Mothers" (although part of that already has been realized), a "Four Grandmothers" and possibly a "Four Granddaughters. The film runs its course entertainingly, making its little jokes about fatherhood, having its fun with the new matrimonial prospect's introduction to the family, regaining its dignity in the moments devoted to consideration of the posthumous problem child. The old cast has been assembled again: the Lane sisters, Gale Page, Claude Rains, May Robson, Frank McHugh, Dick Foran and Mr. Lynn; John Garfield appears briefly as the ghost of his former proud self, and Eddie Albert is the new young man, a young doctor with a high opinion of Pasteur and Ehrlich (both being Warner productions). A pleasant family reunion all around, in fact, being a tribute not merely to the Lemps but to the Lane sisters who play it, to the Epstein brothers who have written it, and to the Warners who have produced it."[4]

Home media

Warner Archive released Four Wives on DVD in August 1, 2011. The film was also released by Warner Archive in the "Four Daughters Movie Series Collection".


  1. "FOUR WIVES (1939)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  2. "Four Wives (1939)". All Movie. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  3. "Four Wives". American Film Institute. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  4. NUGENT, FRANK S. (December 23, 1939). "THE SCREEN; 'Four Wives,' the Warner Sequel to 'Four Daughters,' Opens at the Strand--'Katia' at Little Carnegie". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
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