Cast & Crew
Popular New York writer Malcolm Niles looks forward to a romantic evening with actress Vivian Herford until her mother shows up and talks about wedding plans. Hoping to avoid marriage to Vivian, Malcolm decides to go on the cross-country autographing tour that his friend and publisher Robert Hanson has been suggesting. While signing books in a small Southern town, Malcolm meets Nancy Briggs, who expresses complete disinterest in his books and plans to marry her sweetheart, George Wilkins, Jr., that evening. Discarding thoughts about Nancy, whom he regards as eccentric, Malcolm is ecstatic when Robert wires him that Vivian has just left New York. Boarding his train to return home, though, Malcolm discovers that Nancy, too, is on board. George, who has been working as the manager of a dry cleaning shop in New York for some time, has failed to show up for their wedding and Nancy plans to find him. Despite Malcolm's efforts to avoid Nancy, he misses his train on its last stop looking for her gloves, then finds her at his door in New York. Because Nancy has discovered that George is not the manager of his shop and has, in fact, disappeared, she has nowhere to go but to Malcolm, from whom she wants help in locating her fiancé. He is at first inclined to throw her out, but when Vivian shows up, he tells her that he has found another woman, Nancy. Staying with Malcolm on a platonic basis, Nancy gradually becomes an important part of his and Robert's lives. She cooks and cleans for them and soon becomes a person to whom everyone in their otherwise hardened New York neighborhood can turn. While at first Nancy's unsophisticated ways chagrin Malcolm, he starts to fall in love with her, as does Robert, and is ready to kill his friend when Robert "sleepwalks" into her room. Despite the diagnosis of their old college roommate, psychiatrist Dr. Alonzo Z. Stewart, that Malcolm is in love with Nancy, he continually denies it until Robert sends for Nancy's family and the contrast between his socialite parents and her unsophisticated relatives causes arguments among everyone present. When George shows up just then to reclaim Nancy and starts a fight, Malcolm finally admits he loves her and proposes. After their wedding, Nancy and Malcolm board a steamship for Europe, but when she suddenly thinks she has left her gloves ashore, Malcolm races down to get them and can't get back in time before it pulls away from the dock.
James B. Carson
David Alison Horsley
Dr. William Axt
J. K. Mcguinness
Dalton S. Reymond
Frederick Y. Smith
Edwin B. Willis
Three Loves Has Nancy
With a screenplay by the great writing team of Bella and Samuel Spewack, David Hertz and George Oppenheimer, Three Loves Has Nancy was a typical 1930's lightweight comedy and Gaynor played what had become a stereotypical role for her: the small-town girl who comes to the big city, which she had played so successfully the year before in A Star Is Born (1937). In this film, she plays a Southern girl about to be married who meets a famous novelist, played by Franchot Tone. Tone falls in love with her while on a book tour, despite being engaged himself. The plot becomes more complicated when Gaynor comes to New York and ends up keeping house for Tone and his friend, played by Robert Montgomery who also falls in love with her. There is jealousy and misunderstandings galore until the inevitable happy ending.
Three Loves Has Nancy wasn't an important picture but MGM didn't need it to be. With their goal of releasing 52 films a year, there was room for frothy comedies that would pull in modest box office receipts. The film received good notices from the critics when it was released on September 2, 1938, with the New York Times calling it "Good clean fun with a lot of sparkling lines. Miss Gaynor is properly impish and appealing" and Variety noting "This may not be the funniest picture of the season but it's the wackiest. It was adapted by Bella and Sam Spewack, George Oppenheimer and David Hertz from an original by Lee Loeb and Mort Braus and apparently it took all six to cram all the screw-ballisms into the script. Three Loves Has Nancy is a completely daffy, reasonably entertaining romp."
For Janet Gaynor, the best part of Three Loves Has Nancy was meeting the man who designed her costumes, Gilbert Adrian (born Adrian Greenburg). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the premiere studio of the 1930s with "more stars than there are in Heaven" as their motto. No other studio had sets as elaborate or costumes as sumptuous. As MGM's premiere costume designer, Adrian had made a name for himself at the studio since 1928 dressing everyone from Joan Crawford to Garbo. He was assigned to Three Loves Has Nancy to dress Janet Gaynor and the two fell in love. They married in August 14, 1939 and Gaynor traded in her film career to be a wife and mother. In 1980 she spoke with the New York Times about her decision to quit movies, "I had been working steadily for 17 long years. I just wanted to have time to know other things. I wanted to fall in love. I wanted to have a child. I wanted to live. And I knew that in order to have these things, one had to make time for them. Then, as if by a miracle, everything I really wanted happened. I had met Adrian. We fell in love. We had a child. Suddenly, I was in a whole new world...a world that Adrian exposed me to." The two would be married twenty years until Adrian's death from a heart attack in 1959.
Producer: Norman Krasna
Director: Richard Thorpe
Screenplay: David Hertz, George Oppenheimer, Bella Spewack, Samuel Spewack; Lee Loeb, Mort Braus (story)
Cinematography: William Daniels
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: Dr. William Axt
Film Editing: Fredrick Y. Smith
Cast: Janet Gaynor (Nancy Briggs), Robert Montgomery (Malcolm 'Mal' Niles), Franchot Tone (Robert 'Bob' Hanson), Guy Kibbee (Pa Briggs), Claire Dodd (Vivian Herford), Reginald Owen (William, the butler), Cora Witherspoon (Mrs. Herford), Emma Dunn (Mrs. Briggs), Charley Grapewin (Grandpa Briggs), Lester Matthews (Dr. Alonzo Z. Stewart), Grady Sutton (George Wilkins, Jr.), Mary Forbes (Mrs. Hansen), Grant Withers (Jack).
by Lorraine LoBianco