I Want a Divorce (1940) - Rotten Tomatoes

I Want a Divorce (1940)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Ironically, the marriage between Dick Powell and Joan Blondell was beginning to fall apart at the time they co-starred in Paramount's I Want a Divorce. The film manages to sustain two plotlines, with newlyweds Alan and Geraldine MacNally (Powell and Blondell) beginning to have second thoughts about their union, while David and Wanda Holland (Conrad Nagel and Gloria Dickson) are in the last stages of their divorce proceedings. It so happens that Alan is the struggling attorney handling the Holland case, much to his wife's chagrin. As the hearings proceed, Alan and Geraldine drift further and further apart, only to abruptly reunite when Wanda Holland's suicide after losing custody of her son forces Alan to rethink his own priorities. Often written off as a mere comedy, I Want a Divorce has a surprising amount of meat on its bones. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Dick Powell
as Alan MacNally
Joan Blondell
as Geraldine 'Jerry' Brokaw
Gloria Dickson
as Wanda Holland
Conrad Nagel
as David Holland, Sr.
Frank Fay
as Jeff Gilman
Jessie Ralph
as Grandma Brokaw
Harry Davenport
as Grandpa Brokaw
Mickey Kuhn
as David Holland Jr.
Dorothy Burgess
as `Peppy' Gilman
Sidney Blackmer
as Erskine Brandon
Louise Beavers
as Celestine
Natalie Moorhead
as Mrs. Tyrell
George Meader
as Murietta
Charles McAvoy
as Captain of Detectives
G.P. Huntley
as Michael
Roscoe Ates
as Process Server
Byron Foulger
as Secretary
Edward Earle
as Minister
Edwin Stanley
as Minister
Frank Austin
as Taxi Driver
Isabel Withers
as Secretary
Frank Wayne
as Bailiff
Paco Moreno
as Peppy's Father
Eva Puig
as Peppy's Mother
John Kelly
as Marine
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Critic Reviews for I Want a Divorce

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

Miss Blondell and Mr. Powell have been persuaded to hit the old high pace when playing their lighter scenes. Some of these are amusing, but they simply don't sandwich into the whole. And, when the story goes heavy -- well, confidentially, it sinks.

April 27, 2020 | Full Review…

Overall, it's satisfactory entertainment for the adult trade, despite bump tempo in pace, and the sudden swing from light marital comedy in the middle to a rather tragic dramatic conclusion.

April 27, 2020 | Full Review…

With moments of strong drama, the picture is entertaining comedy, acted by a very competent cast.

April 27, 2020 | Full Review…

I Want a Divorce has many good angles, considerable humour, some substantial emotional colour, but not enough strength. It entertains but fails to convince.

April 27, 2020 | Full Review…

The humor and freshness of their early scenes get under the skin: when the film swings surprisingly, from comedy to deep drama, and the women in the audience get out their handkerchiefs, Joan and Dick keep in full charge of their roles.

April 27, 2020 | Full Review…

Excellent both in quality and as entertainment.

April 27, 2020 | Full Review…

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