Silent Feature: Why Change Your Wife?


Studio: A Paramount-Artcraft Picture
Released: May 2, 1920

Featured Cast: Gloria Swanson, Thomas Meighan, Bebe Daniels

Producer-director: Cecil B. DeMille
Screenwriters: Sada Cowan, Olga Printziau
Source: A William C. de Mille story
Art director: Wilfred Buckland
Cinematographer: Alvin Wyckoff
Editor: Anne Bauchens


When a fussy, demanding wife loses her husband, she makes herself over, inside and out.

Production Quotes

“I love to take some vitally interesting theme and work it out according to life. That is what I am doing with Why Change Your Wife? These themes I am toiling on do a damn lot of good.”

– Cecil B. DeMille in Hazel Simpson Naylor, “Cecil B. DeMille, the Master of Mystery,” Motion Picture 18, No. 10 (November 1919)


“This Paramount feature by Cecil B. DeMille isn’t a great feature, but it’s a good market product. Mr. DeMille is too obvious a workman to touch the high points of the imagination. What he has done is to preach a good everyday sermon in story form.”

– The Weekly Variety, April 30, 1920

Letters From Regional Theater Owners

“A perfect picture, lavishly staged, and pretty gowns adorn the stars. A picture that you can faithfully recommend to your patrons.”

– Charles H. Ryan, Garfield Theatre, Chicago, Illinois, Exhibitors Herald, Vol. XI, No. 13 (September 25, 1920)

Artist Comment

“My brother Bill’s story Why Change Your Wife? was about an exceedingly prim and proper wife, ‘whose virtues are her only vices,’ and whose efforts to impose her tastes and perfectionism upon her husband cause her to lose him, until at last she learns that being virtuous does not mean being dowdy.”

– Cecil B. DeMille, Autobiography


Why Change Your Wife? cost $129,349.31 and grossed $1,016,245.87.
(These figures have not been adjusted for inflation nor do they include the considerable profits realized from reissues, television syndication, and home entertainment formats.)