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Captain Henri Rochard is a French officer assigned to work with Lieut. Catherine Gates. Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Capt. Rochard tries to return to America with the other female war brides. Zany gender-confusing antics follow. Written by
Intelligent, Reality-Based Satire; The Cast is Very Good; What Fun
Howard Hawks has fashioned many a film on his favorite subject of the war between men and women. But none has been more droll, in my estimation, than "I Was Male War Bride". The movie was filmed in actual French locations not long after the end of WWII. The plot revolves about the necessity for two officers, a Frenchman and an American WAC, to go on a mission together--after a disastrous first assignment, at least on a personal level. The adventures, mishaps, one-upsmanships, accidents and lodging-room mixups they have results in further infuriating the French officer, at the same time he is falling in love with his maddening partner. But the real problem for them begins when they decide to get married and go to the United States--and the only way it can be handled swiftly is if he is declared to be a "war bride". The Frenchman is admirably played despite his accent by Cary Grant; the female is the lovely Ann Sheridan, who proves herself to be adept at verbal comedy of the deadpan variety. Other seen to advantage in the film include Randy Stuart, Kenneth Tobey as a grumpy officer, and Marion Marshall. Editor James B. Clark and hairstylist Ben Nye were kept busy during this one; and Lyl;e Wheeler provided luminous images to accompany Cyril Mockridge's clever music. Henri Rochard's story is so real and so involving that the writers who worked on it were able to milk this slender premise for all it was worth. The climax as Grant manages to get to sail home to the US on a ship disguised as a female only adds to the overall sense of intelligence in charge and fun in the air. Not a great film, perhaps, but an important lesson in how to ground satirical comedy in reality, and reap the benefits of a situation .
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