How to Murder Your Wife

Synopsis: Stanley Ford leads an idyllic bachelor life. He is a nationally syndicated cartoonist whose Bash Brannigan series provides him with a luxury townhouse and a full-time valet, Charles. When he wakes up the morning after the night before - he had attended a friend's stag party - he finds that he is married to the very beautiful woman who popped out of the cake - and who doesn't speak a word of English. Despite his initial protestations, he comes to like married life and even changes his cartoon character from a super spy to a somewhat harried husband. When after several months he decides to kill off Bash's wife in the cartoon, his wife misinterprets his intentions and disappears. Which leads the police to charge him with murder.
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Richard Quine
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min

Greetings, gentlemen.

I assume your wives are not with you,

as the title of our piece is sufficient

to strike terror in their hearts

and cause them to remain at home

in their kitchens, where they belong.

In any case, gentlemen,

you have come here tonight to learn.

And so you shall. So you shall.

We will begin by considering

the case of Mr Stanley Ford.

Unlike you poor souls,

Mr Ford has had the wisdom never to marry.

He is, therefore,

a completely happy man.

This is Mr Ford's town.

This is Mr Ford's town house.

This is the terrace

of Mr Ford's town house.

Look at us - the last stronghold

of gracious living in a world gone mad.


Oh, by the way,

my name is Charles, Mr Ford's man.

I flatter myself that I am also

his confidant and friend.

Like everybody else in New York,

Mr Ford has a tiny bit of construction

going on net door.

Actually, it's not so bad, really.

We've almost come to like

the little cries of the workmen

and the gloppetta-gloppetta noises

which emanate

from the gloppetta-gloppetta machine.


Over there.

In any case,

the interior of the house is soundproof

and so life goes on.

This is Mr Ford's living room.

Notice if you will the complete absence

of a so-called woman's touch -

no gay little chintzes,

no big gunky lamps.

In fact, everything is masculine.

And perfect.

In fact, the sort of place

you could have had.

Ah, if only you'd had the sense

not to get married.

"Ah," but you say, "poor lonely man.

How does he spend his evenings?"

I should imagine the young lady, having, er,

danced all night,

literally left here walking on air.

And this is the nerve centre

of the entire establishment -

my quarters.

If you were fortunate enough

to have a room such as this,

your wife would undoubtedly

have taken it over

to house her aged

and disagreeable mother.

This is Mr Ford's martini glass.

Should be properly chilled

by seven o'clock this evening.

This is Mr Ford's shower.

Thermostatically controlled

at Mr Ford's body temperature -


Now it is time to reveal Mr Ford himself.


Mr Ford?

Mr Ford, sir,

it's 10:
30 and the sun is shining.

- Oh...

- Please, Mr Ford.

Never try to speak

until you've had your shower. Upsy-daisy.


Oh, very good, very good.

160, right on the button.

I don't know how you do it.

Of course, I do know how you do it.

Your calories are counted

very carefully.

Do you realise it's six months since an

ounce of butter has been used in this house?

- Charles, do you know what day it is?

- I do, sir.

At exactly 12:

the Faberg diamond will be ours.

It's been an exciting adventure,

but I shall be glad when it's over

so we can move on to the next caper.


Wait a minute.

Hold it.


Ka-chow! Ka-chow!


Come in, Charles.

Pardon me, sir.

Mr Lampson did indeed telephone.

The Port Authority is livid.

The freighter people are furious.

- And Mr Lampson himself is terribly upset.

- He's a lawyer. He's paid to be upset.

At any rate, in one burst of brilliance,

Bash Brannigan has concluded

the case of the Faberg Navel.


Brilliant, sir. Absolutely brilliant.

I especially care for the "splunk".

And what is to be our net caper, sir?

I've got it all worked out.

It's the story of a man who gets murdered

while staring at top of

the Empire State Building.

I think I'll call it the

"Skyscraper Gaper Caper".

Sounds really exciting, sir.

Oh... But you'll have to shoot most of it

from the helicopter

and it will involve closing off

Fifth Avenue from 34th to 59th.

It'd be great to blow up

one of those glass office buildings!

Ba-room! Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.

What's the matter, Charles? Don't like it?

Oh, I love it, sir!

But I was thinking of Mr Lampson.

Poor, poor Mr Lampson.

Stanley, can you stop for just a minute?

I'm speaking to you now as your friend!

You're a grown man, and grown men

cannot go around - repeat - cannot go around

spreading terror on the New York streets

at noon accompanied...

Will you stop just a minute, Stan.

By naked women!

She wasn't naked.

She had a diamond in her navel.

And those demented butlers

and criminals with knives!

You cannot continue comporting yourself

like an escaped lunatic!

Bash Brannigan is syndicated

in 463 newspapers. You know why?

Sure, I know.

Because it's hard-core pornography

softened slightly, ever so slightly,

by excessive violence and sadism!

Bash Brannigan is enjoyed by millions

because it's authentic.

I'd never ask Bash to do anything

I hadn't done myself.


Stan? Stan? Uh...

I wanna remind you, lad,

that you're now 37 years old.

And, quite frankly,

it's time that you settled down.

Edna and I were discussing it last night

and Edna feels -

I agree -there's something almost immoral

about a man of your age who isn't married,

doesn't go to an office,

sits around drawing a comic strip

that appeals only to morons, Stanley!

Stanley? Stanley, are you listening?

- H-hey, Stan?

- Hmm?

I happened to mention to the kids that I was

gonna be meeting with you this afternoon,

and, well, we kind of have a little family

argument there that we want you to settle.

The point is that Hal and Tommy both think

that the microfilm is hidden

in the diamond in the girl's navel.

Of course, I told them they were crazy.

In fact, I went out on a limb.

I told them that I was your lawyer

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

George Axelrod

George Axelrod (June 9, 1922 – June 21, 2003) was an American screenwriter, producer, playwright and film director, best known for his play, The Seven Year Itch (1952), which was adapted into a movie of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's and also adapted Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate (1962). more…

All George Axelrod scripts | George Axelrod Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "How to Murder Your Wife" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    How to Murder Your Wife


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.