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Why Change Your Wife (May 21, 1920)

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Released in on May 21 1920: This Cecil B. DeMille comedy drama starring Gloria Swanson and Bebe Daniels is as fresh in concept today as it was in 1920.

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille

The Actors: Gloria Swanson (Beth Gordon), Thomas Meighan (Robert Gordon), Bebe Daniels (Sally Clark), Theodore Kosloff (Radinoff), Sylvia Ashton (Aunt Kate), Clarence Geldart (the doctor), Mayme Kelso (Harriette, the Couturiere), Lucien Littlefield (Gordon's butler), Edna Mae Cooper (Gordon's maid), Jane Wolfe (client), William Boyd (Naval Officer at the hotel), Clarence Burton (party guest), Julia Faye (bathing suit mannequin), Madame Sul-Te-Wan (Sally's maid).


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This Cecil B. Demille classic silent motion picture begins with a screen stating: "Angels are often dead husbands, but husbands are seldom live angels. Wives know this, but they can't seem to get used to it." So begins the tale of Robert and Beth Gordon. They are married, if not happily. Everything they do seems to annoy the other. This story is told from the husband's point of view, so Beth's hen-pecking ways are illustrated well. Beth thinks Robert drinks too much. Beth thinks Robert Smokes too much. Beth thinks that Robert should listen to classical music instead of that new sexy tango stuff. Beth will not permit Robert's dog to enter the house - all dogs must be outside, and away from Beth. Pop a really big bowl of popcorn, and grab a large soda, because you won't want to miss a minute of this comedy classic!
One day Robert decides that maybe if he got Beth a nice gift that she might be more happy, so he goes to a local dress shop to find a nice negligee for his wife. Low and behold, one of the models at the shop is a young girl who's mother used to work for Robert's father, and she always had a thing for Robert. She gets into the sexiest lingerie that the shop has, and makes it even sexier by removing the slip that should be worn under the see-through material. When she models it for Robert, he immediately becomes embarrassed, but is also taken by young Sally. He buys the lingerie for his wife Beth, but when she tries it on, she refuses to wear it in front of her husband, even with the slip underneath. Their marriage keeps getting worse until they get a divorce, and after the divorce, Robert and Sally get together and Sally manages to get Robert to marry her.

Well, this should be the perfect marriage now, right? Wrong! Sally and Robert bicker even more than Beth and Robert. And Robert's dog? Well, Sally is a 'cat' girl, and her pussy cat does not like Robert's dog, and Robert's dog gets all kinds of pleasure chasing the cat into precarious places. One day Sally finds a brochure about a wonderful beach resort on the Atlantic coast, and convinces Robert to take her for a vacation there. Once there, we find a young woman that is the toast of the beach, with all the men clamoring around her. She is wearing a skimpy bathing suit that even reveals her knees! How scandalous! As it turns out, this wild woman is Beth, Robert's ex-wife, who has 'seen the light' and discovered that you get your man with honey instead of vinegar. One of the best parts of this picture is the text cards. They were written with great wit and humor. For instance, when Robert meets his ex-wife Beth, she fondly pets his dog and holds it close to her. Robert wonders why she suddenly likes the dog that she couldn't stand before, and a text card appears with her words of reply: "The more I see of men, the more I like dogs." - Now tell me, that is a line that a comedian today could use, and get just as big a response as I'm sure this one did in the movie houses of 1920.

That is as far as I'll go with the plot, but believe me, there are lots more laughs and plot twists in this Cecil B. DeMille early classic. It's easy to see why he became a legend in the theater, as he displays a genius with the camera and the plot. Fellas, I think you may enjoy this one even more than the ladies, as it is told from the man's perspective, and if you've never watched a silent movie before, this is the perfect one to get you hooked!