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An opera singer and her ex-husband find that their romance refuses to die with their marriage.
Throat specialist Dr. Lincoln I. Bartlett is dismayed when his ex-wife, opera diva Ina Massine, returns to New York after three years and suggests that their divorce may have been a mistake. Although Linc is now engaged to Agnes Young, the daughter of his mentor, Dr. Carleton Radwin Young, Ina is determined to win Linc back. She arranges with her old friend, impressario "Delly" Delacorte, to be the featured singer for a doctor's orchestra in which Linc plays the oboe, and pretends not to care when the flustered Linc introduces her to Agnes. A few days later, Ina lets herself into their old apartment while Linc is showering. He tries to make her leave, because his older brother Chris, a toy manufacturer who has always been attracted to Ina, and Agnes will soon arrive for drinks, but just as Linc grabs Ina's arm to throw her out, Chris and Agnes come in. Although annoyed, Agnes accepts Linc's explanation of what happened. On Ina's opening night in La Bohème , she has a sore throat, and Delly calls Dr. Young. Because Young is away, Linc comes in his stead, not knowing the consultation is for Ina, and assumes she is faking. When he examines her throat, though, she shows symptoms of a tropical disease he fears she picked up on tour in South America. He warns that she must rest her voice or risk losing it permanently, and she pretends to acquiesce, but moments later goes onstage. After an impeccable performance, Ina concludes that Linc has made a bad diagnosis, until the next day, when she goes into a screaming rage after reading about Linc and Agnes' impending marriage and suddenly cannot speak. When Young examines Ina's throat, he tells Linc that it is not a tropical disease, but the psychosomatic illness "functional euphonia," that the high-strung Ina contracted following the shock of Linc's marriage announcement. Young advises that psychiatric help and a new love interest will lead to Ina's speedy recovery. A worried Linc then relates the problem to Chris, who is happy to provide Ina's new love interest. He suggests that they both go out with Ina, then Linc should gradually come up with phony emergencies so that Chris and Ina can be alone. Linc agrees to a thirty-day trial, but Ina shows no interest in Chris. One evening, when Chris is entertaining out-of-town clients, Ina uses her time alone with Linc to show him her diary, hoping to prove to him that the divorce was not entirely her fault. She then suggests that they go to Greenwich Village to one of their favorite places from the old days. Although he is reluctant, Linc enjoys the Dixieland music and dances the Charleston so enthusiastically that he attracts the attention of some of Agnes' friends. On the way home in a cab, Ina cuddles up to Linc, causing him to lose a button. She pantomimes that she can mend it for him and invites him back to her place. In her apartment, Ina continues to try to seduce Linc, but he leaves after receiving a call from the cabbie, whom he had secretly asked to telephone him feigning a medical emergency. The next morning, Agnes' friends call to tell her about Linc, prompting her to confront him. He manages to assuage her anger and goes through with a planned lecture to her women's club on avoiding the common cold, only to come down with one himself as the club's air conditioning unit blows cold air on him. When Agnes phones him that night, he encourages her to go to the theater with Chris, instead of coming to attend him, so that he can get some sleep. He also speaks with Stella, Ina's maid, and asks her to tell Ina that he is too sick to go out. A short time later, Ina lets herself into the apartment and comforts Linc with a warm foot bath, some soup and a hot toddy. Her remedies soon relax the feverish Linc and he falls into a deep sleep listening to a recording of her singing Bizet's Carmen . The music inspires Linc to dream that he, Agnes and Chris are also in the opera and he awakens screaming for Ina. Ina, meanwhile, has been sleeping in a pair of his pajamas on the couch, and when he awakens her suddenly, her voice returns. They are both so happy that they embrace, just as Chris and Agnes walk into the apartment. Agnes is furious, especially when Linc tries to explain that he was following her father's recommendation. Hearing this, Ina is also angry and leaves, still in Linc's pajamas. When Agnes then sternly advises him on what the terms of their marriage must be, Linc suddenly loses his voice and Agnes storms out. Just then, a policemen brings back Ina, who was not appropriately dressed for walking the streets. When she deduces that Linc's functional euphonia means that he still loves her, she agrees to marry him again and they kiss, thus restoring his voice.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 11 Jan 1951; Los Angeles opening: 12 Jan 1951|
|Release Date:||1951||Production Date:||
A Robert Z. Leonard Production
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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User Ratings & Review
Brad Hainsworth 2013-10-22
This wonderful light musical should be seen more often. It's one of MGM's best, but perhaps least known films. Why is it not available of DVD???
Cheers for "Grounds for Marriage"
Henry Shaffner 2013-04-27
Hi! As my wife and I are in Music ourselves (members of ASCAP) we very much appreciated this film.MGM was working on all cylinders on this one, and...
robert snyder 2011-10-16
In Grounds for Marriage Kathryn Grayson finally gets an opportunity to show how well she can handle the lead role in a romantic comedy. Although the story...