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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Bishop's Wife can be found here.
The Bishop's Wife is a 1928 book by American novelist Robert Nathan [1894-1985]. The story was adapted for the screen by screenwriters Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood. It was remade in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife.
Dudley (Cary Grant) responds to Bishop Henry Brougham's (David Niven) prayer for help. As the angel assigned to this district, Dudley explains that it's his job to help out where needed. True to his word, Dudley could be seen earlier that day helping a blind man to cross a busy street and saving a baby in a runaway carriage. He then ran into the bishop's wife Julia (Loretta Young), who was out doing her Christmas shopping, and he was moved by the sadness in her face, the problems that she and her husband have been facing since his promotion to bishop, and the happiness she expresses when she runs into Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley wants to help Julia but isn't quite sure how to go about it. When Henry prays for help, Dudley seizes the opportunity and appears in Henry's study. Henry, of course, was looking for help raising the money to build his cathedral, but Dudley had already become interested in Julia's unspoken prayers and showed up to "help Henry get some rest and relaxation," as Dudley put it.
No specific denomination is named in the movie. However, most viewers conclude that Bishop Brougham is an Episcopalian.
Many times. He makes fast-moving cars come to screeching halts and decorates a Christmas tree just by the wave of his hands. He causes Henry and Julia's daughter Debbie (Karolyn Grimes) to throw a curve (snow)ball so that the big kids will let her play with them. He sorts the bishop's Rolodex by tossing everything into the air and watching the cards file into piles as they land. He opens a locked door. He keeps refilling Professor Wutheridge's glass of sherry. He tells Wutheridge about the history of a Roman coin, resulting in the professor's writing of his book. He causes Mrs Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), the reluctant donor of $1 million to the building of the cathedral, to at least meet with the bishop when she tries to weasel out of it. He causes the taxi to bounce at the precise moment that Henry is about to call him an "angel" in front of Julia. He causes all the choirboys at St Timothy's Church to show up for practice. He causes the bishop to stick to a chair during his visit with Mrs Hamilton. He dictates a sermon to a typewriter that types all by itself.
The Bishop's Wife is set during the Christmas season and has many features associated with Christmas, such as a beautifully-decorated Christmas tree, the Nativity, Santa Claus, angels, snowfall, and gift-giving. The initial scenes of the movie revolve around the Bishop's wife doing her Christmas shopping, and the final scenes of the film take place on Christmas eve when the Bishop gives his Christmas sermon at St Timothy's Church. It has been argued, however, that the story itself could have taken place at any time of the year. While this is true, The Bishop's Wife has become a Christmas favorite to many viewers and, because of that, the movie often pops up on the television during the Christmas season.
Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled—all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's his birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.
Dozens. Probably too many to list them all here. For starters, there's The Preacher's Wife, the aforementioned remake of The Bishops Wife. If you like silent movies, try The Judge's Wife (1914), The Other Man's Wife (1919), and Alfred Hitchcock's The Farmer's Wife (1928). Early "wife movies" include: The Farmer's Wife (1941), The Tale of the Dean's Wife (1970), The Planter's Wife (1952), The Soldier's Wife (1971), La moglie del prete (The Priest's Wife) (1971), The Suicide's Wife (1979), La femme de l'aviateur (The Aviator's Wife) (1981), Neil Simon's The Slugger's Wife (1985), and The Boss' Wife (1986). More recent "wife movies" include: Screenplay: The Englishman's Wife (#5.4) (1990), The Butcher's Wife (1991), The Grocer's Wife (1991), The Rector's Wife (1994), The Politician's Wife (1995), The Rich Man's Wife (1996), The Astronaut's Wife (1999), The Pilot's Wife (2002), The Scoundrel's Wife (2002), The Strangler's Wife (2002), The Emperor's Wife (2003), The Nazi Officer's Wife (2003), The Governor's Wife (2008), The Anarchist's Wife (2008), and The Time Traveler's Wife (2008).
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