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An Episcopal Bishop, Henry Brougham, has been working for months on the plans for an elaborate new cathedral which he hopes will be paid for primarily by a wealthy, stubborn widow. He is losing sight of his family and of why he became a churchman in the first place. Enter Dudley, an angel sent to help him. Dudley does help everyone he meets, but not necessarily in the way they would have preferred. With the exception of Henry, everyone loves him, but Henry begins to believe that Dudley is there to replace him, both at work and in his family's affections, as Christmas approaches. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Originally Cary Grant played the bishop and David Niven the angel. When original director William A. Seiter left the film, Henry Koster replaced him and viewed what had been shot so far. He realized that the two were in the wrong roles. It took some convincing because Grant wanted the title role of the Bishop. He soon accepted the change and his role as the angel was one of the most widely praised of his career. See more »
When Dudley sits down to have dinner with the Bishop and his wife, the Bishop has a stalk of celery in his left suit pocket. He removes it from the pocket as he sits down. The next shot it is back in the same pocket and he takes it out again. See more »
Dudley, if we should need you again, will you come back?
Not I. I shall ask to be assigned to the other end of the Universe.
Is that because I was so difficult?
Oh, no. This difficulty was in me. When an Immortal finds himself envying the Mortal he is entrusted to his care, it's a danger signal. Take her in your arms and hold her tight.
Kiss her for me, you lucky Henry!
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When An Angel Envies The People He's Helping, It's Time To Leave
The year before this film came out another heavenly visitor in the person of Henry Travers visited earth after getting a complete and thorough briefing on his client James Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life. But other than learning that Travers liked a flaming rum punch we didn't learn too much about him.
Just as James Stewart prayed for guidance, David Niven who's a man of the cloth prays for it in The Bishop's Wife. Instead of lovable old Henry Travers, Niven gets as his aide, Cary Grant.
Niven proves to be a difficult client, but rather than expose him to an alternate universe, Grant does what he can in this world. Of course the woman who plays the title role, Loretta Young, is quite the distraction and Cary's having difficulty focusing.
Niven's a good man who's been raised to the post of bishop due to rich parishioner Gladys Cooper. He's to do her bidding and she bids that a cathedral be raised as a monument to her late husband. The burden of his conscience and dealing with Cooper has caused Niven to lose sight of what's really important in the world.
This is a Christmas season film so you know that everything will work itself out. If Cary Grant were an angel than I imagine he's very much like Dudley this minute. If I had a problem this Yuletide season, I'd kind of like Cary Grant to help me out, if I couldn't get Bing Crosby.
Loretta Young is radiant as the woman who causes Cary's halo to slip and David Niven is as charming as he always is. I also liked Monty Woolley as the professor and James Gleason as the cabdriver.
Make The Bishop's Wife a must for the Yuletide season. And see it back to back with the version that stars Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Courtney B. Vance.
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