The Awful Truth (1937)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  21 October 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 12,962 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 57 critic

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.



(screen play), (based on a play by), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Alexander D'Arcy ...
Cecil Cunningham ...
Esther Dale ...
Robert Allen ...
Robert Warwick ...
Mary Forbes ...


Before their divorce becomes final, Jerry and Lucy Warriner both do their best to ruin each other's plans for remarriage, Jerry to haughty socialite Molly Lamont, she to oil-rich bumpkin Daniel Leeson. Among their strategies: Jerry's court-decreed visitation rights with Mr. Smith, their pet fox terrier, and Lucy doing her most flamboyant Dixie Belle Lee impersonation as Jerry's brassy "sister" before his prospective bride's scandalized family. Written by Paul Penna <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's a Glorious Comedy... Uproarious Romance!


Comedy | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

21 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cette sacrée vérité  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


What Cary Grant didn't realize was that Leo McCarey was transforming his career by creating a nervous tension in the actor that inspired his performance. And in the process, the director was building scenes from fresh moments between his actors. Giving the barest outlines of a scene, he would have his actors try something on their feet. For instance, in one rehearsal, he told Irene Dunne to simply open the door of her apartment and say, "Well, if it isn't my ex." He told Grant to answer with whatever came into his head. Grant replied, "The judge says this is my day to see the dog." McCarey then built the scene around that moment and shot it while the actors were still fresh. The line stayed in the picture. See more »


When Lucy has her chin on her hand, the position of her hand changes. See more »


[first lines]
Jerry Warriner: Come on, Haig, get that sun lamp ready.
See more »


Referenced in When Comedy Was King (1960) See more »


My Dreams Are Gone With the Wind
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Ben Oakland
Lyrics by Milton Drake
Performed by Joyce Compton (dubbed)
Reprise by Irene Dunne
See more »

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User Reviews

That hat doesn't fit, Cary
20 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Screenplay) and a huge box office hit when originally released, THE AWFUL TRUTH is a screamingly hysterical marital comedy that hasn't lost one iota of its punch in the seven decades since it's release. Irene Dunne is amazing in a layered performance that is both subtly affecting and side-splittingly funny - sometimes within the same scene! The scene in which Dunne masquerades as Grant's floozy, night club dwelling sister is one of the brightest highlights in film comedy history. Dunne received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for her inspired work in this film, which endures as a reminder of why she was one of Hollywood's top actress during the thirties and forties.

After flirting with success in SHE DONE HIM WRONG (1933), SYLVIA SCARLETT (1935), and TOPPER (1937), Cary Grant finally became a bonafide superstar with his performance in THE AWFUL TRUTH. Grant was an absolute master when it came to delivering one liners, and the prowess that he displays in the film's many moments of physical comedy is nothing short of phenomenal. Exceptional performances are also delivered by the rest of the cast (including Best Supporting Actor Oscar Nominee Ralph Bellamy), but the film's real scene stealer is the incredible canine performer Asta as Mr. Smith, which is easily the best performance by a dog ever! Leo McCarey won a much-deserved Academy Award for his frenetic direction of what is surely one of the all-time greatest comedies.

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