Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Awful Truth, 1937

Directed by Leo McCarey
Written by Viña Delmar, Arthur Richman
Starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy

This is a great divorce-remarriage screwball comedy. Leo McCarey jammed it full of all kinds of jokes, from clever wit to slapstick, and they're really good. Irene Dunne is great and got top billing as she was a bigger star than Cary Grant at the time And when you think of Cary Grant as suave and funny, it originated here -- this is the movie that made him as that kind of an actor.

The last few minutes is a little disappointing, but everything prior to that is hilarious. (And, on a personal note, I was continually writing requests for this to be shown around Boston in the mid '80's at places like the Brattle, the Coolidge Corner, and Somerville Theater, which I think helped it be shown -- and I'm glad it worked, because it's awfully funny.)

It's in the Pantheon, of course, along with another McCarey-directed piece of inspired comedy, Duck Soup.

Extra joke for literary geeks (like me): Irene Dunne's music teacher is named Armand Duvalle, which is the name of Marguerite's lover in Camille, by Alexander Dumas fils. 

The Awful Truth at IMDB.


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