The Bishop’s Wife

The Bishop’s Wife. RKO Radio Pictures 1948.

Before watching the movie:

Cary Grant and David Niven are an unexpected pairing. Grant gets all the focus, so I saw Cary Grant and that it’s a romance and assumed that Grant is the Bishop. But it turns out that he’s an alleged angel and Niven is the Bishop, which makes more sense for their types.

Grant’s character inveigle his way into the Bishop’s life claiming to be an angel here to help with a challenging renovation, but mostly imposes upon him and attracts the attentions of his wife, hence the title. Sounds like an unusual setup for a screwball comedy.

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The Philadelphia Story

The Philadelphia Story. Loew's Productions 1940.
The Philadelphia Story. Loew’s Productions 1940.

Before watching the movie:

This is one I thought I’d get to for years and never did, until now. I had access to it for a long time, and then I moved away from it. But now I can see it again, so I am.

I have the impression this is a screwball comedy, but I may be reading too much into it from its superficial similarity to His Girl Friday via the married couple and ex-husband dynamic and the fact that it shares one third of the same stars. Certainly it has more to do with that movie than with Philadelphia. Continue reading

Monkey Business

Monkey Business. Twentieth Century Fox 1952.
Monkey Business. Twentieth Century Fox 1952.

Before watching the movie:

Here’s another that I found rattling around my automated recommendations, having never heard of it before The log line for this movie goes something like “a scientist discovers the fountain of youth, and a screwball comedy ensues”. It looks like there’s a love triangle, and there’s probably some dispute over who gets control over the youth serum, but I’m fairly clueless about it otherwise. Maybe it’s a bit like The Man in the White Suit?

I often think about how I’d like to watch a movie without knowing anything other than the genre, the cast, and the title, if that. But while it’s nice to watch a movie without preconceptions, it’s not as enjoyable to write about a lack of them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Cary Grant handle witty screwball dialogue well before, but I don’t think I know Ginger Rogers as anything but Fred Astaire’s dancing partner, which now occurs to me as almost certainly unfair to her.

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