After marrying an American lieutenant with whom he was assigned to work in post-war Germany, a French captain attempts to find a way to accompany her back to the States under the terms of the War Bride Act.
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.
Captain Henri Rochard of France is assigned to work with First Lieutenant Catherine Gates of the U. S. Army. Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Rochard tries to return to America like female war brides could under the auspices of America's 1945 War Brides Act. Zany gender-confusing antics follow. Written by
Despite his illness, Cary Grant thoroughly enjoyed making the film, calling it "the best comedy I've ever done." See more »
The boat changes between the time they ask to use it and when they get in it. You can tell by the size and location of the words "US Army." See more »
Capt. Henri Rochard:
My name is Rochard. You'll think I'm a bride but actually I'm a husband. There'll be a moment or two of confusion but, if we all keep our heads, everything will be fine.
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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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