Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Awful Truth

Rouvani sulhanen / Min fru har en fästman. US (c) 1937 Columbia. P+D: Leo McCarey. SC: Viña Delmar - contribution to screenplay construction: Dwight Taylor - based on the play by Arthur Richman (1922). DP: Joseph Walker. AD: Stephen Goosson, Lionel Banks. Interior Decorations: Babs Johnstone. Gowns: Kalloch. M: Ben Oakland, MD: Morris Stoloff. Song: "My Dreams Are Gone With The Wind" (Ben Oakland, Milton Drake). "Home On The Range". "La serenata" sung by Irene Dunne. CAST: Irene Dunne (Lucy Warriner), Cary Grant (Jerry Warriner), Ralph Bellamy (Daniel Leeson), Alexander D'Arcy (Armand Duvalle), Cecil Cunningham (Aunt Patsy), Molly Lamont (Barbara Vance), Esther Dale (Mrs. Leeson), Joyce Compton (Dixie Belle Lee), Skippy (Mr. Smith). 91 min. [Other film adaptations of the play: 1925, 1929, 1953.] A SFF print with Swedish subtitles by Torsten Manns. Viewed at Cinema Orion, 1 April 2009. - Print was intact but with low contrast. - Revisited: a film I had seen only on tv before. I had not unreservedly liked it because I sensed a mean streak in the parody of the characters around the Warriner couple. I have preferred the Lubitsch approach which makes fun of everybody, with tenderness underneath. - I still find that the film's weakness is that all except the Warriners are made too ridiculous, and as we feel no sympathy for them, the whole story is diminished. - Having said that, the film has abundant joys to offer. Even as I watch it I want to see it again, because there are too many touches to savour during a single viewing. - Cary Grant and Irene Dunne: sophisticated comedy acting at its best. - The skill of Cary Grant of making Irene Dunne's remarriage plans look ridiculous as he feigns to defend them. - The affection of Cary Grant as he rises to Irene Dunne's defense when her reputation is questioned. - Cary Grant's girlfriend's skirt-blowing song scene and its parody by Irene Dunne. - The dance scene with the waltz and the jitterbug. - The scene with the two hats and the dog. - Ralph Bellamy: "Well, I guess a man's best friend is his mother". - The final sequence is magnificent. The couple drive together on the final evening before their divorce is legal. The seriousness behind the fun. Irene Dunne tricks them to Aunt Patsy's cabin, a trysting place of affairs. There is between the two bedrooms a creaking door that won't stay shut. There is a black cat, a wind from the window, and a cuckoo clock with a male and a female figure. "Things are the way you made them". "Things could be almost the same, only a little different". The eroticism and sensuality of Irene Dunne in the final bedroom image is of Lubitsch caliber (resembling Jeanette McDonald's nightgown scenes).

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