Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at ... See full summary »
A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.
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>
One scene shows Cary Grant and Loretta Young in a conversation. Director Henry Koster staged this with the two facing each other, but both complained that this showed the "wrong" side of their faces. In order to show the "right" side, they both had to be looking screen left, which made a face-to-face talk impossible to film. Koster had a window set piece brought in, and he filmed it from outside, with both looking out in the same direction, Grant behind Young. The next day, producer Samuel Goldwyn visited the set after seeing dailies and berated Koster for shooting the scene in that manner. Koster replied by asking Young and Grant to explain why the scene was shot that way. After both told Goldwyn about the "right" and "wrong" sides of their faces, Goldwyn said "Look, if I'm only getting half a face, you're only getting half a salary!" and stormed off the set. The subject of "right" and "wrong" sides never came up again. See more »
When Dudley is dictating the sermon, he says "the uncle could", but the typewriter types "the uncle can". See more »
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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