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How to Commit Marriage

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How to Commit Marriage (1969) starring Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Jane Wyman
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Synopsis of How to Commit Marriage (1969) starring Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Jane Wyman

Frank Benson (Bob Hope) and Oliver Poe (Jackie Gleason) try to soothe over their differences with a golf game in "How to Commit Marriage"

In How to Commit Marriage, seemingly happily married couple Frank and Elaine Benson (played by Bob Hope and Jane Wyman) are on the verge of divorce.  But they plan to wait until after their daughter’€™s marriage. The groom’€™s father, Oliver Poe (Jackie Gleason) opposes marriage in general. And he dislikes Bob Hope’s character in particular.

They see how marriage hasn’t worked for their parents. So, the couple decides not to marry. They live together instead.  After the birth of their first child, they decide to put the baby up for adoption.  And the child is adopted by Bob Hope and Jane Wyman, who have reconciled to adopt their own grandchild.


The cast of "How to Commit Marriage"
  • Bob Hope (The Facts of Life) … Frank Benson. Father of the bride, unhappily married to Elaine.
  • Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners) … Oliver Poe. Father of the groom. Divorced, happily living with his mistress Laverne. He blames Frank for having sold him a defective house many years before.
  • Jane Wyman (The Lost Weekend) … Elaine Benson. Mother of the bridge, unhappily married to Frank.
  • Leslie Nielsen (Forbidden Planet) … Phil Fletcher. After the Benson’s separation, Elaine’s date at Oliver’s nightclub.
  • Maureen Arthur … Lois Grey. After the Benson’s separation, Frank’s shapely date. To make Elaine jealous.
  • Tina Louise (The Stepford Wives) … Laverne Baker. Oliver’s mistress. She’s happy living with Oliver. Although they don’t marry.
  • Tim Matheson (Divorce American Style) … David Poe. The groom, who backs out of marrying Nancy at the church.
  • Paul Stewart (Citizen Kane) … Willoughby
  • Irwin Corey … The Baba Ziba
  • JoAnna Cameron (The Power of Isis) … Nancy Benson. The bride, who doesn’t marry David. They live together, and she becomes pregnant.

Editorial review of How to Commit Marriage | Bob Hope, Jane Wyman, Jackie Gleason, courtesy of

Oliver Poe (Jackie Gleason) in "How to Commit Marriage"

Bob Hope and Oscar-winner Jane Wyman star as the perfect married couple with one minor exception: They are about to announce their divorce. However their daughter is getting married. And that’s just the beginning. The young couple must deal with the trials and tribulations of the groom’€™s father (Jackie Gleason) as he tries to stop the wedding. The film was quite fitting as Bob saw his own daughter Nora get married that same year.

Taking the helm as director was longtime collaborator Norman Panama. Panama directed Hope in Road to Hong Kong (the final ‘Road’ picture) wrote That Certain Feeling, Monsieur Beaucaire Road to Utopia and supplied the story for My Favorite Blonde. He also directed Danny Kaye in The Court Jester and penned the classics White Christmas and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. The film also stars Tina Louise (Ginger of Gilligan’s Island) Tim Matthieson (National Lampoon’s Animal House) and Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun).

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