My Life with Caroline

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My Life with Caroline
My Life with Caroline film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Screenplay by John Van Druten
Arnold Belgard
Based on The Train for Venice
1935 play
by Louis Verneuil and Georges Berr
Produced byLewis Milestone
Ronald Colman
William Hawks
StarringRonald Colman
Anna Lee
Charles Winninger
Reginald Gardiner
Gilbert Roland
Cinematography Victor Milner
Edited byHenry Berman
Music by Werner R. Heymann
United Producers Corp
RKO Radio Pictures
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • August 1, 1941 (1941-08-01)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$503,000 [1]
Box office$830,000 [1]

My Life with Caroline is a 1941 American comedy film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Ronald Colman and Anna Lee, in her second Hollywood film [2] and her first in a starring role. [3] The screenplay was written by John Van Druten and Arnold Belgard. [4]



Wealthy publisher Anthony Mason weds ditsy socialite Caroline, who continues to chase men while married. Caroline flirts with Paco Del Valle while at a charity ball in Alpine Lodge, Idaho, and Paco then asks her father Mr. Bliss for permission to marry his daughter. Bliss tells them that they need to ask her husband, and Caroline and Paco telegraph Anthony in New York.

As Caroline and Paco await an eastbound plane at the airport, Mason has just arrived. Seeing the two together, Mason recalls a nearly identical situation that occurred two years earlier when Caroline was enamored with sculptor Paul Martindale in Palm Beach, Florida. Caroline sees Mason's pilot carrying a bust in her image that had been sculpted by Paul and follows the pilot to where Mason had been waiting.

Paul, who also attended the charity ball, joins Anthony, Caroline, Bliss and Paco at the airport. Caroline tells Anthony that she cannot decide between Paco and Paul, forcing Anthony to work to win her back.



In 1940, William Hawks (brother of film director Howard Hawks), along with Ronald Colman, Charles Boyer, Irene Dunne, Lewis Milestone and Anatole Litvak, founded United Producers Corporation. The company intended to make 10 films for RKO, and My Life with Caroline was the first of five that were to star Colman. [5]

The film's screenplay was written by John Van Druten and Arnold Belgard, adapted from Louis Verneuil's film The Train for Venice , which was based upon the play The Train for Venice , written by Verneuil and Georges Berr. [4]

Milestone had tested actresses Miriam Hopkins, Paulette Goddard and Jean Arthur for the role of Caroline but decided on Anna Lee after seeing her in the British film Young Man's Fancy . [6] My Life With Caroline was Lee's Hollywood debut in a starring role. [3]

The film's sets were designed by art director Nicolai Remisoff.


In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther wrote: "Mr. Colman locks with Mr. Gardiner in what is supposed to be a battle of wits, and thus until the end of the picture they merely pummel one another with flat gags. There must be some logical explanation why Lewis Milestone, who, after all, is no fool, should put his usually fine directorial hand to a story as vapid as this. There must be some further explanation why Mr. Colman, Mr. Gardiner and Miss Lee, who are all of them competent performers, should be wasted on such obvious frippery. But it's too much for our comprehension. Let's just call 'My Life With Caroline' time ill spent, and draw the curtain quietly thereon." [4]

The film recorded a loss of $32,000. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 Richard Jewel, "RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951", Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol. 14 No. 1, 1994 p. 57
  2. Boyd Magers; Michael G. Fitzgerald (2004). Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Television Westerns from the 1930s to the 1960s. McFarland. p. 123. ISBN   0-7864-2028-6.
  3. 1 2 Tom Weaver (2006). Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s Through 1960s. McFarland. p. 261. ISBN   0-7864-2857-0.
  4. 1 2 3 Crowther, Bosley (October 30, 1941). "The Screen". The New York Times . p. 27.
  5. Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. Grove Press. 2000. pp. 321–322. ISBN   0-8021-3740-7.
  6. Anna Lee; Barbara Roisman Cooper; Maureen O'Hara (2007). Anna Lee: Memoir of a Career on General Hospital and in Film. McFarland. pp. 126–128. ISBN   978-0-7864-3161-8.