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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
Howard Hawks' first film to be shot in Europe, it was beset with problems. The German winter was unbearably cold and most of the cast and crew fell ill. Ann Sheridan caught pleurisy (which developed into pneumonia), Cary Grant contracted hepatitis with jaundice, and Hawks broke out in hives. See more »
A ship's sick bay would have adequately trained personnel (hospital corpsmen) to handle any situation.
To call "Florence" into sick bay to help with a baby delivery wouldn't have been necessary. See more »
I was wavering between awarding this movie a 7 or an 8, and have finally plunked for an 8 because a movie with Cary Grant in it has got to be truly horrible and an utter stinker to get anything below an 8.
This should make it pretty obvious what the best thing about this otherwise average film was. The chemistry between Grant and Sheridan is amusing but not engaging (not the way his verbal sparring with other co-stars like Katharine Hepburn and Rosalind Russell just sparkle right off the screen); the plot is contrived and the romance between the two main characters--Henri and Catherine--isn't particularly believable. (Grant and Sheridan fail at what Gable and Colbert did so well in 'It Happened One Night': making it believable and real and sympathetic that two characters at absolute loggerheads *could* fall helplessly in love.)
This doesn't mean that the film is *bad*. The first half of the movie is mildly amusing, with the bickering between the two main characters as they take a motorcycle trip to their destination. But the best part of it probably comes when Henri and Catherine get married (three times!), with all its attendant problems. It is Grant's perfect comic timing and adorable mien that makes the blatantly "please laugh now" moments genuinely funny. The look of resignation, anger, or suppressed annoyance on Henri's face as he repeatedly asserts that he is "an alien spouse" under the Congressional War Brides Act must be seen to be believed. And I dare anyone *not* to laugh when Grant cross-dresses. That is probably the best part of the film.
An average film without Cary Grant, a better one for having him in it, but definitely an average (if not poor) Grant film. If you want to introduce a friend to the charms of Cary Grant or to screwball comedy, you're better off with Bringing Up Baby or His Girl Friday. This one's probably for true Grant aficionados only.
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