Monday, June 11, 2012

Movie of the Week – The Awful Truth

This week’s movie is The Awful Truth (1937).

The romantic comedy is about Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a married couple that get divorced after a series of compounding misunderstandings. And yet, they seem to still love each other as they sabotage each other’s attempts to move on romantically. The film is directed by Leo McCarey, who specialized in comedy coming out of the silent film era. Most of the scenes were improvised by the cast and director on the day, with only the general story arc being known. Before The Awful Truth, for which he won a Best Director Oscar, his best known film was The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup. He also directed the classic romance drama An Affair to Remember (at the end of his career). McCarey worked with composer Ben Oakland, cinematographer Joseph Walker and art director Lionel Banks on the film. However, its great success is due to its wonderful leads: Irene Dunne and Cary Grant (who would again star together in My Favorite Wife – which is almost the same movie). Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D’Arcy, Cecil Cunningham, Molly Lamont, Ester Dale, and Joyce Compton feature in support. Interestingly, Cary Grant thought that the film was not working at all and wanted to be released from his contract – only for it to be one of his early hits, and help really launch his career as a leading man. The Awful Truth is also one of the early, and best, screwball comedies – many of the classic comedies from the 1930s and early 1940s are screwball comedies. This is a must-see for fans of screwball comedies and Cary Grant. Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD and Streaming

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