Man-Proof is a 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Richard Thorpe. The film is based on the 1937 novel The Four Marys written by Fannie Heaslip Lea.[2]

Promotional poster
Directed byRichard Thorpe
Produced byLouis D. Lighton
Written byFanny Heaslip Lea (novel)
Waldemar Young
Vincent Lawrence
George Oppenheimer
StarringMyrna Loy
Franchot Tone
Rosalind Russell
Walter Pidgeon
Music byFranz Waxman
CinematographyKarl Freund
Edited byGeorge Boemler
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • January 7, 1938 (1938-01-07)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,095,000[1]


The daughter of wealthy and famous novelist Meg Swift, Mimi is a young woman who seems to have a perfect life. The opposite appears to be the case, as her deep love for playboy Alan Wythe remains unanswered. Despite her mother's newspaper artist friend Jimmy Kilmartin warnings of Alan's scandalous past revolving women, Mimi is determined to one day become Mrs. Wythe. However, another woman beats her to the title. Mimi is crushed when she finds out that Alan is marrying heiress Elizabeth Kent, but swallows her pride to serve as the bridesmaid.

At the wedding, Mimi overhears snobbish women gossiping about her love life. As a result, she gets drunk and admits to Alan she is in love with him. Later that night, Jimmy attempts to console her, as does Meg. Encouraged by her mother, Mimi agrees to move out of the house and build up a career to forget Alan. After moving in an apartment, Jimmy arranges her a job as an illustrator at his newspaper. Months go by and Mimi has become a happy woman, although she has not forgot about Alan. When she receives notice of Alan and Elizabeth's return from their honeymoon, she pretends she no longer has feelings for Alan.

Encouraged by those thoughts, she even agrees to meet Alan and offers him to be friends. Alan is interested in the thought of befriending a woman and they decide on going out. Meg and Jimmy spot them attending a boxing match and are immediately worried. The next day, following a joyful night with Alan, Mimi admits to Jimmy that she is still in love with Alan. Jimmy tries to prevent her from breaking up a marriage, but Mimi is determined to convince Alan to divorce Elizabeth so they can marry. She calls Elizabeth and informs her of her true feelings.

Later that day, Alan, despite being discouraged by Jimmy, meets Mimi with plans of continuing their affair. He is worried, though, when he finds out he is to divorce Elizabeth. They are interrupted by a visit from Elizabeth, who blames her husband for being too selfish. Alan agrees with his wife, and accompanies Elizabeth to save their marriage, leaving Mimi behind crushed. Yet again, Jimmy consoles Mimi and they agree on ending their quarrel over their different views on morality. After arriving at Meg's, they realize they have been in love with each other the entire time and they kiss.



Man-Proof went into production in 1937 under the working title The Four Marys.[3] In July 1937, it was announced that Richard Thorpe would direct the film, with Myrna Loy, Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas and Franchot Tone in the leading roles. Douglas was later replaced by Walter Pidgeon.[3]

By the time shooting started, leading lady Myrna Loy was still mourning with the death of her friend and colleague Jean Harlow.[4] Nevertheless, she recalled that she experienced production of Man-Proof as joyful, due to her positive experience with co-stars Pidgeon and Rosalind Russell.[4] Loy and Russell became friends during shooting,[4] though they had been frequent competitors for movie roles in the past.[5]


The film received generally negative reviews, with critics complaining that the film was "trifling," "thin" and "clich├ęd."[4] Furthermore, Man-Proof flopped at the box office.[4]

Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $824,000 in the US and Canada and $271,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $217,000.[1]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Info "Screenplay Info for Man-Proof (1938)" Check |url= value (help). Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  3. "Notes for Man-Proof (1938)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  4. "Man-Proof: Overview Article". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  5. "For Your Amusement" by Miriam Bell, The Miami News, October 30, 1935, p. 11
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