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   THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947) 

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CAST
Cary Grant
Loretta Young
David Niven
Monty Woolley
James Gleason
Gladys Cooper
Elsa Lanchester
Sara Haden
Karolyn Grimes
Tito Vuolo

DIRECTED BY
Henry Koster

PURCHASE


DVD



About Grant




Time: 109 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Fantasy

Won Academy Award for Best Sound. Nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Score.


This semi-serious comedy casts Cary Grant as Dudley, a cheeky angel sent to Earth to help Henry (Niven), a struggling bishop, recover his faith and reinvigorate his marriage. A little jealousy – what man wouldn't be worried about his wife falling for Grant – goes a long way to curing the latter matter. Finding ways to open the bishop's eyes about his failing congregation, which is due to his obsession with building a new cathedral, takes some heavenly inspiration and a few dirty tricks.

What Dudley fails to anticipate are his burgeoning feelings for Julia (Young), the loving, lovely and devoted wife of the bishop. While he never strays from his true purpose, he begins to truly enjoy his attempts to make the bishop jealous. Julia is the type of woman every man wants to marry. She's sacrificed much personal happiness for the good of her husband's career and congregation. As attractive as Dudley is, his attention to her only makes Julia miss her husband more, causing her to redouble her efforts to rekindle the joy that's recently been absent from their marriage.

Though spiritual in nature, this is not an overly preachy film, allowing the characters and situations to speak for themselves. That being said, it's chock full of the holiday spirit and is, for the most part, undeniable upbeat. Grant's a little too suave and mischievous to be completely believable as an angel, but his heart's in the right place and his performance is so charming and inspired you won't really care. Major kudos also goes out to Young, whose measured turn is so honest and open there's no way any man, even a heavenly one, could resist her sweet, smart and kind-hearted nature.


"Sometimes angels rush in where fools fear to tread."

There's huge potential for Julia to be insufferable in her goodness, but Young keeps her firmly down to earth, creating a character we should all aspire to be more like: thoughtful, generous and resilient. Dudley's growing affection for Julia causes him to be a touch malicious when it comes to helping the bishop, which keeps the film from being overly sentimental. Much of the film's humor comes from the awkward and embarrassing situations Niven finds himself in thanks to Dudley.

I put off seeing this film for a long time, despite my undying love for Grant, because I thought it was going to be too pious and corny. I was dead wrong. This is a sophisticated, silly and occasionally soft-hearted story that reminds you to take time out to really enjoy your life and especially to never take those you love for granted. Sure, it's a bit hokey, but THE BISHOP'S WIFE expounds its' message with a perfect mixture of wit, drama and heart, which doesn't happen very often in Hollywood. The message may be old hat, but the story is wonderfully unique and inspirational. Since it stars three of the era's best actors, you're practically ensured the experience will be an enjoyable one. A film guaranteed to make your holiday season a little bit brighter.


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