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The Bishop's Wife (1947)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,520 users  
Reviews: 108 user | 34 critic

A bishop trying to get a new cathedral built prays for guidance. An angel (Cary Grant) arrives, but his guidance isn't about fundraising.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Bishop's Wife (1947)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Monty Woolley ...
...
...
...
Sara Haden ...
Karolyn Grimes ...
Tito Vuolo ...
...
Mr. Miller
Sarah Edwards ...
Mrs. Duffy
Margaret McWade ...
Miss Trumbull
Anne O'Neal ...
Mrs. Ward (as Ann O'Neal)
Ben Erway ...
Mr. Perry
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bishop | fund | angel | christmas | prayer | See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 February 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jede Frau braucht einen Engel  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the end of the film, when David Niven is giving the sermon, he mentions Uncle Harry, when Cary Grant dictates the sermon earlier in the film, the name is Uncle Henry. See more »

Goofs

When Dudley is dictating the sermon, he says "the uncle could", but the typewriter types "the uncle can". See more »

Quotes

Dudley: The only people who grow old were born old to begin with.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
(uncredited)
Music by: Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1840)
Lyrics by: Charles Wesley (1839)
Sung by the children chorus in the opening scenes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Light But Worthwhile Holiday Classic
30 November 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

While not quite on the level of "It's a Wonderful Life" or the best of the "Scrooge" adaptations, "The Bishop's Wife" is still a worthwhile holiday classic. Much of the story is relatively lightweight material, but that's not necessarily all bad, since it thereby avoids taking itself too seriously. It is simple but thoughtful, and often quite entertaining. When it picks up a little more substance towards the end, it is then that much more effective for having maintained a lighter tone for much of the movie.

The cast is quite strong. Very few actors could handle a role like Dudley as well as Cary Grant does, giving it plenty of energy and believability. David Niven and Loretta Young also give fine performances. With the likes of James Gleason, Gladys Cooper, and Elsa Lanchester, plus a couple of good moments from Monty Woolley, the supporting cast also helps a great deal. The production is unpretentious, even downplaying the possibilities for miraculous tricks much of the time, and it works well.

The 1990's remake had a couple of strengths, but it was not up to the standard of the classic version. Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston's singing, and a fine supporting performance from Gregory Hines provided some good reasons to see it. But there was too much predictable padding, and the level of the screenplay and the directing were not up to the standard of the cast.

As for the classic version, it avoided most of the potential mistakes. By taking itself less seriously and focusing on a few core developments, it fits together nicely. The closing sequence in particular works very well, and it is easily the best part of the movie.


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