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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
When Dudley first composes the Christmas sermon he mentions the gift of a tie before a book, but when the bishop gives the sermon, he reverses the order and mentions the book before the tie. See more »
Dudley, the angel, comes to earth to teach a thing or two to the people of this town, or so it seems. He touches everyone he encounters in a positive way. The message is how we humans get so involved in things that are so unimportant that we miss the big picture.
This film, directed by Henry Koster, is a classic. In fact, I am surprised it doesn't play more during Christmas, or maybe I have missed seeing it around that time of the year that is the setting for the angel's appearance. It seems as though Dudley is pointing to the arrival of Christmas at a time, perhaps, when the season had still a non-commercial aspect and it was, after all, a family affair.
The cast was exceptional. Cary Grant is Dudley, the man/angel who turns everything he touches into a lesson on how to be kind. Julia, the bishop's wife, plays the neglected woman with conviction. David Niven plays the preoccupied bishop who is trying to bring the moneyed people of town to his side in order to erect his monument to his own ego.
Gladys Cooper is also a distinguished face in the film. She is Mrs. Hamilton who learns a thing or two about humility. Elsa Lanchester was a happy figure in whatever film she appeared. Monty Woolley, as the professor is also effective. James Gleason was one of the most prolific character actors of his generation. He is excellent as Sylvester, the taxi driver who befriends Julia and Dudley. Their ice skating sequence is one of the best things of the film.
This is a film to treasure.
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