The TiVo suggested I watch Too Many Husbands, because it has the same premise as Move Over Darling and My Favorite Wife. A spouse is declared legally dead, survivor moves on, spouse reappears, hilarity ensues.
Only, while Too Many Husbands is classified as a comedy, there is not so much hilarity, and there just isn't enough exposition time spent on how neglected the wife must have been to merit her reaction, or the extremely awkward ending.
Of course, this sent me off on a search to find more movies. I found a few interesting things:
- If I want to get back to the original source, I have to go back to a Tennyson poem: Enoch Arden.
- I can look at Three For the Show, which was based on the Tennyson poem, and stars Jack Lemmon, so one would think it would be funny.
- There are very, very few cases of spouses returning from the dead in real life, but the one case is remarkable: Lawrence Bader. "Why isn't that an hilarious movie?" I ask.
- What I find remarkable is the law. If you are declared dead, it appears that for purposes of your spouse’s remarriage, you are dead. Your marriage ends as soon as you are declared dead, and like the NHL, there is no review even if the decision is found later to be entirely wrong. However, life insurance companies are like the Kentucky Derby: they run the replay and reverse the decision to pay out.
- I am struck, really, by how rarely it happens, especially given that even two generations back people easily disappeared and reappeared. Both my grandparents had those interludes. Dad's father disappeared for ten years, then returned one day. (Then he had a stroke and his wife visited revenge on him daily.) And of course Mom's grandfather left prison, changed his name, ignored his five children, and had to be tracked down by my grandmother.
- I also learned a wonderful word: Pseudocide, or faking your own death.