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The Awful Truth (1937)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 21 October 1937 (USA)
Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Alexander D'Arcy ...
Cecil Cunningham ...
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Mary Forbes ...
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Storyline

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 <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

21 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cette sacrée vérité  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In the last scene, the door between the two connecting bedrooms has no latch, only a fake knob on either side. You can see the smooth edge of the door. See more »

Quotes

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

Version of The Awful Truth (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

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
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User Reviews

 
Another Irene Dunne original! Thank you, Lord!
19 March 2003 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

'The Awful Truth' just came out on DVD and what a treat! I'd never seen it before. It's sort of a first draft of 'My Favorite Wife' (remade as 'Move Over Darling') and has all the patented screwball-romantic comedy-French farce elements of the 'Palm Beach Story' but in a less sophisticated form. Even though 'The Awful Truth' may have established a formula for all subsequent screwball comedies, let's face it, it's still rude and crude around the edges. But it probably was the 'There's something about Mary' of its time and Leo McCarey apparently got an Oscar for Best Director. Its gags and dialogue are at times so unexpected as to be termed "experimental". The movie is really all about the sexual tension between Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, married partners who wilfully dissolve their marriage over the husband's possible infidelity (barely alluded to) and his lack of confidence in his wife's virtue (a.k.a. jealousy). But this being 1937, sexuality has to be expressed in devious, contrived ways, including the occasional gratuitous slapstick. The Swiss clock ending is worth the price of admission in this respect. As is Cary Grant's date's obscene nightclub performance and his martial arts irruption into a society afternoon recital where his wife (Dunne) is singing an Italian aria that none of Grant's pratfalls can interrupt, except for one, memorable, epoch-making, anthology-ready second and a half towards the end that no other (singing) actress could have pulled off. What one has to remember, I guess, is that none of this nonsense had ever been attempted, seen or done on a screen before and it must have seemed terribly daring and innovative, thanks to the complicity and high spirits of a perfect cast, including Gee-shucks cowboy Ralph Bellamy, irrepressible faux-French charmer Alexander D'Arcy and worldly aunt Patsy (Cecil Cunningham). Irene Dunne, as usual, is a total original, and, by the way, Katharine Hepburn copied her comedy style and not the other way around (check your dates, guys).


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