I Take This Woman (1931 film)

I Take This Woman is a 1931 American pre-Code romance film directed by Marion Gering and starring Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard.[1]

I Take This Woman
Lobby card
Directed byMarion Gering
Screenplay byVincent Lawrence
Based onLost Ecstasy
by Mary Roberts Rinehart
CinematographyVictor Milner
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 27, 1931 (1931-06-27) (USA)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

Based on the novel Lost Ecstasy (1927) by Mary Roberts Rinehart, the film is about a wealthy New York socialite who falls in love and marries a cowboy while staying at her father's ranch out West. After her father disinherits her, and after a year of living as a cowboy's wife, she leaves her husband and returns to her family in the East. The film was released by Paramount Pictures.[1]

The film has no connection to the 1940 film I Take This Woman starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr, which is based on the Charles MacArthur story "A New York Cinderella".[1]


After causing yet another scandal, Kay Dowling (Carole Lombard), the spoiled daughter of wealthy New Yorkers, is given a stark choice by her fed-up father (Charles Trowbridge), go to his ranch in Ursula, Wyoming, (to avoid being named a co-respondent in a divorce case) or be disinherited. Kay's fiance, Herbert Forrest (Lester Vail), proposes getting married immediately, but she chooses the ranch.

Later, while spending her days on the ranch with her good-humored aunt Bessie, Kay falls reluctantly in love with one of her father's cowhands, Tom McNair (Gary Cooper), and impulsively marries him. When her father learns of the union, he disowns her. Kay and Tom are forced to live in a one-room shack while Tom tries to expand his cattle herd.

One year later, Kay is unhappy with life on the ranch, and longs for the comforts of her family's palatial mansion. One day, she receives a telegram from home, and tells Tom that her father is sick and that she must be with him. Back in New York, Kay writes a letter to Tom, asking for a divorce. Soon after, Tom arrives at the estate and explains that he left the ranch to become a professional bronco rider in a rodeo. Kay assumes that he never received the letter, and Tom never mentions it. One night during a party, Tom overhears the guests making fun of him and he tells Kay she can have her divorce. Later, as she realizes that life with Herbert would amount to a life of playing golf, Kay visits Tom at the rodeo. During his performance, he is thrown from a bronco and hurt. Kay rushes to Tom's side, and the two reconcile and decide to return to the ranch.


Preservation status

This film apparently became an "orphan film" when the rights reverted to author Mary Roberts Rinehart. The original 35mm negative and all supporting material was shipped back to her, but she had no interest in (or appropriate storage for) the material. A single surviving nitrate print from the UCLA Film and Television Archive became the basis for a restoration, funded by the Louis B. Mayer Foundation. The restored print was screened in March 2017 at the Festival of Preservation at UCLA.


  1. "I Take This Woman (1931)". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
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