Henri Rochard is a French captain assigned to work with Lt. Catherine Gates. Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Rochard tries to return...
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A business tycoon decides to wed a Middle Eastern princess whose customs dictate the pair must live apart for several months before marrying; even more complications settle in when the tycoon's ex-fiancée is assigned to chaperone the pair.
Henri Rochard is a French captain assigned to work with Lt. Catherine Gates. Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Rochard tries to return to America with the other female war brides. Zany gender-confusing antics follow. Written by
Although the film shows hundreds of American female military personnel stationed in Germany after World War II, apparently few were interested in the local men. According to Howard Hawks's "I Was a Male War Bride," only the male soldiers wed Europeans, and the military bureaucracy and red tape were stacked against American women marrying European men. With that premise, an American Lieutenant, Ann Sheridan, falls for Frenchman Cary Grant, and the couple resort to extraordinary ploys to both comply with and circumvent the rules to marry and bring Grant to the U.S. as Sheridan's "bride." Although Grant is about as French as Big Ben and looks as feminine in drag as Sylvester Stallone, Cary is Cary and brings charm and charisma to his improbable role of Captain Henri Rochard. Tough and sexy Sheridan is better cast, but the sum of the two stars exceeds either apart. Cary and Ann have chemistry and work well together in a plot that could have easily fallen apart with a less skilled team of actors and director.
Grant plays the patient and suffering spouse, who must endlessly explain that he is married to an American soldier and entitled to shelter and transportation in a system that does not recognize his gender as compatible with his situation. Throughout, Grant's face and body language speak volumes about the frustration of dealing with bureaucracy and filling in forms in triplicate. Although at times Sheridan seems oblivious to the depth of Grant's problems, her performance is fine, and she convincingly captures the transition from an initial loathing of to an eventual attraction to Rochard. Shot on location in post-war Germany, the black-and-white photography captures the beauty of the countryside and the devastation of the cities with documentary like precision. Hawks keeps the proceedings well paced, and, while rarely laugh-out-loud funny, "I Was a Male War Bride" and its megawatt stars provide excellent entertainment.
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