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In 1672, two witches (Jennifer and her father Daniel) were burned by puritan Jonathan Wooley. In revenge, Jennifer cursed all future generations of the Wooley family, that the sons will always marry the wrong woman and be miserable. In the 20th century, a bolt of lightning frees Jennifer and her father from the tree that had kept their souls imprisoned. Jennifer assumes corporeal form and decides to make up-and-coming politician Wallace Wooley, then unhappily engaged, even more miserable by getting him to fall in love with her before his wedding. Wallace is a straight arrow, though, and Jennifer has to resort to a love potion. As we all know, love potions tend to backfire, with comedic results. Written by
Sol Saks, creator of Bewitched (1964), stated in an interview for "True Hollywood Story: Bewitched" that he drew inspiration both from this film and Bell Book and Candle (1958) in creating the iconic TV series. Columbia Pictures owned the rights to both of those movies. Since it also owned the television studio that was to produce "Bewitched," Saks didn't worry about getting sued. See more »
The film opens with a scene of Puritans in the Massachusetts colony burning witches. No-one was ever burned for witchcraft in America. The accused witches of Salem, Massachusetts, and its environs were hanged, with the exception of Giles Corey, who was pressed to death with rocks. Burning was the European method of executing witches, and pop culture has long confused the two historical spheres. See more »
Fredric March is bewitched, bothered, and bewildered by Veronica Lake
The summary line only applies to the film, however.
This movie was intended by the studio for Joel McCrea. After making Sullivan's Travels, McCrea informed the top brass that he could not make another film with Veronica Lake. The role instead went to Fredric March, who declared "I Married a Witch" the most horrendous experience he'd ever had. It should be added that McCrea did work with Lake again 5 years later, after he had time to heal.
I have no idea why these actors had problems with this tiny, beautiful woman. "I Married a Witch" is a delightful light comedy which I suppose is the basis for "Bewitched." Apparently these Salem witches cursed an entire family so that they would be unlucky in love, and the movie quickly takes us through the generations of miserable men (all March in assorted wigs) until it gets to the present when March, a gubernatorial candidate, is set to marry a human witch (Susan Hayward). When lightning strikes a tree which was grown over the ashes of burned witches, Lake and her father escape. She takes human form and March "saves" her from a fire (that her father started). Then she mistakenly drinks a potion intended for him, and the situation really takes off.
Lake was 23 when this film was made; March was 45, and McCrea, had he made the movie, was 37. The very dignified March made a great politician, as the character in this film is - but he comes off as too old to be marrying Hayward or getting involved with Lake. Yes, we all know it happens. But this type of film was not March's métier. Eight years younger and ever boyish, of course, McCrea was more suited to the role in looks and acting.
My favorite scene is the botched wedding in which the soprano has to sing the beginning of "I Love You Truly" over and over as Susan Hayward becomes increasingly outraged. It's a young Hayward, but all the feistiness and strength is apparent.
Cecil Kellaway is Lake's father, and he gives a fine performance. Although her costars may not have agreed, I found Lake funny and beautiful in this movie, and it's a shame the last years of her life were spent as they were. She had a lovely screen presence.
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