7.9/10
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The Awful Truth (1937)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 21 October 1937 (USA)
Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

Director:

Leo McCarey

Writers:

Viña Delmar (screen play), Arthur Richman (based on a play by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Irene Dunne ... Lucy Warriner
Cary Grant ... Jerry Warriner
Ralph Bellamy ... Daniel Leeson
Alexander D'Arcy ... Armand Duvalle
Cecil Cunningham ... Aunt Patsy
Molly Lamont ... Barbara Vance
Esther Dale ... Mrs. Leeson
Joyce Compton ... Dixie Belle Lee
Robert Allen ... Frank Randall
Robert Warwick ... Mr. Vance
Mary Forbes ... Mrs. Vance
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Storyline

Before their divorce becomes final, Jerry and Lucy Warriner both do their best to ruin each other's plans for remarriage, Jerry to haughty socialite Barbara Vance, she to oil-rich bumpkin Daniel Leeson. Among their strategies: Jerry's court-decreed visitation rights with Mr. Smith, their pet fox terrier, and Lucy doing her most flamboyant Dixie Belle Lee impersonation as Jerry's brassy "sister" before his prospective bride's scandalized family. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A classic screwball comedy, a memorable night's entertainment See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

21 October 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Awful Truth See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ralph Bellamy got a good taste of Leo McCarey's working style very early on. He was simply told to show up on the set the following Monday for filming, with no script, no dialogue, or even a hint about his upcoming scene. So he went to see the director, but received no help at all from the perpetually upbeat McCarey. "He just joshed and said not to worry, we'd have lots of fun but there wasn't any script," Bellamy wrote years later. The actor showed up on set for the first day of production to find Irene Dunne at a piano. (McCarey almost always kept a piano on his sets, and he would often sit playing while he thought up a new scene or piece of business he wanted his actors to try.) Dunne was pecking away at the melody to "Home on the Range," and McCarey asked Bellamy if he could sing. "Can't get from one note to the other," the actor replied. "Great!" McCarey said and ordered the cameras to roll while Dunne played and Bellamy sang for all he was worth. When they finished the song, they heard no "Cut." Looking over, they found McCarey by the camera, doubled over with laughter. Finally he said, "Print it!" The scene ended up in the finished picture. That was the way McCarey worked, and Bellamy had to get used to it quickly. See more »

Goofs

When Lucy has her chin on her hand, the position of her hand changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jerry Warriner: Come on, Haig, get that sun lamp ready.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Home on the Range
(1904) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel E. Kelley
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley (1872)
Played on piano by Irene Dunne
Sung by Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another Irene Dunne original! Thank you, Lord!
19 March 2003 | by benoit-3See all my reviews

'The Awful Truth' just came out on DVD and what a treat! I'd never seen it before. It's sort of a first draft of 'My Favorite Wife' (remade as 'Move Over Darling') and has all the patented screwball-romantic comedy-French farce elements of the 'Palm Beach Story' but in a less sophisticated form. Even though 'The Awful Truth' may have established a formula for all subsequent screwball comedies, let's face it, it's still rude and crude around the edges. But it probably was the 'There's something about Mary' of its time and Leo McCarey apparently got an Oscar for Best Director. Its gags and dialogue are at times so unexpected as to be termed "experimental". The movie is really all about the sexual tension between Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, married partners who wilfully dissolve their marriage over the husband's possible infidelity (barely alluded to) and his lack of confidence in his wife's virtue (a.k.a. jealousy). But this being 1937, sexuality has to be expressed in devious, contrived ways, including the occasional gratuitous slapstick. The Swiss clock ending is worth the price of admission in this respect. As is Cary Grant's date's obscene nightclub performance and his martial arts irruption into a society afternoon recital where his wife (Dunne) is singing an Italian aria that none of Grant's pratfalls can interrupt, except for one, memorable, epoch-making, anthology-ready second and a half towards the end that no other (singing) actress could have pulled off. What one has to remember, I guess, is that none of this nonsense had ever been attempted, seen or done on a screen before and it must have seemed terribly daring and innovative, thanks to the complicity and high spirits of a perfect cast, including Gee-shucks cowboy Ralph Bellamy, irrepressible faux-French charmer Alexander D'Arcy and worldly aunt Patsy (Cecil Cunningham). Irene Dunne, as usual, is a total original, and, by the way, Katharine Hepburn copied her comedy style and not the other way around (check your dates, guys).


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