I Married a Witch (1942) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
76 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
jjnxn-15 May 2013
Utterly entrancing comic fantasy with a captivating Veronica Lake.

The film is a light as air concoction directed by Rene Clair at breakneck speed which suits the material perfectly. The brief running time doesn't allow for any superfluous characters or dialogue and the film is cast with performers that make every second on screen count.

Robert Benchley is a scream as March's increasingly befuddled best friend while Elizabeth Patterson shows up doing the flustered housekeeper that she did so well. The only other two parts aside from the leads of any importance are filled by Cecil Kellaway as Veronica's father, a basically cruel character who he makes seem more impish than mean by the jaunty air he brings to the part. Then there's Susan Hayward, in a role that really moved her forward and one that she attacks with great relish, the beauty who would be a prize where she not a total shrew.

While all those players are excellent the two who make the picture great are the leads. They are a beguiling pair seemingly completely swept away with their adoration of each other. Their chemistry is delightful which is extraordinary since behind the scenes they openly loathed each other. Veronica was a complicated woman burdened with extreme psychological problems which led her to have a prickly personality and causing her to often have conflicts with both actors and crews. However in this case she was probably justified. March although a great actor was a notorious hot pants putting the make on anything that moved, when she rebuffed him he spent the remainder of the film treating her like dirt under his talented feet. She struck back by various methods probably the best being placing weights under her dress during a scene where he had to carry her repeatedly. Be that as it may both were too professional to allow their animosity to show on screen.

This is probably the best showcase Veronica ever had, This Gun for Hire is a close second, she is at all times seductive, alluring, humorous and seems to carry a gossamer glow with her wherever she goes. A pity she didn't have a chance to do more comedies during her brief heyday since she was so adept at them.

A gem of a film, see it!
33 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
" Veronica Lake Is Completely Captivating "
PamelaShort21 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Finally this priceless classic comedy is coming out on DVD. Veronica Lake is absolutely enchanting as Jennifer the playful, romantic witch. When I first watched this film, I was completely captivated by Lake's charming performance. This role seems to have brought out the best qualities of the very capable actress, and she easily steals the entire picture. It is a shame she wasn't offered more roles such as in this film, which showcases her versatility so well, for Veronica Lake certainly had a lot of witty comedic talent. Cecil Kellaway is equally entertaining as Jennifer's crafty warlock father. Robert Benchley adds his humorous touches. Susan Hayward performs perfectly as the snobby socialite, who impatiently waits for her flustered groom Fredric March who is continually being harassed and foiled by the beguiling blonde witch. Fredric March does his very best to keep up the pace, in the midst of the fast flowing antics. Rene Clair produced a rewarding comedy gem with I Married A Witch, a classic film that continues to reap much enjoyment. I highly recommend this movie for all Veronica Lake fans and for those just discovering the charms of the actress who enchanted audiences of the 1940s.
16 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Delightful romantic comedy fantasy which shows all concerned at the top of their form. Hollywood moonshine, impeccably distilled...
Nazi_Fighter_David23 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Veronica Lake's fooling, charming, biting witch (released from the trunk of a tree by a freak lightning storm, she returns to upset the household and descendants of the man who had her burnt a few hundred years earlier) was a role that suited her to perfection: she was a spry, punchy little cockerel from Broolklyn – breeding ground of other feisty spirits such as Clara Bow, Barbara Stanwyck, Mae West and Susan Hayward – whose beauty hid brains, and whose brains worked fast to seize a chance and make the most of it... She also had an explosive temper which she unleashed on those bigger than she, in size and power, resulting of course in the destruction of her career… But in her youth these qualities supplied her an electric current that switched a lot of people on…

Veronica resented being known for her long blonde hair, but fame draws on strange things to single out one person for the attention of others: with Bette Davis it was acting; with Crawford it was staring; with Hayworth it was dancing and with Lake it was her silky hair… But regardless of the gimmick that drew us to her, it was the unrepeatable quality within which made a star like Veronica Lake imitated and loved – not for what she may have thought she could do, but for the fact that she was there to do it at all
41 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is Veronica Lake's best movie.
gmonger14 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is Veronica Lake's best movie. She is the reason to watch this movie. It is a slower paced movie than today's comedies with a more subtle humor, sometime even a dry humor. I thought it was great. She is great. Veronica makes the movie , she is a great comedian, cuter than a button, and this is the best character she plays in her career. Talk about a great cast, Susan Hayward is hilarious as the bitchy fiancée. She is stunningly radiant in her opening scene in that white dress and both are a feast for the eyes.

The scenes of the re-staging of the wedding gets funnier and funnier, the angrier that she and her dad become. Veronica has a "beauty shot" ( a shot set up perfectly, almost as a still portrait and many times an establishing shot of that actor in the film, like Rita Hayworth flinging her hair back in Gilda or John Wayne, when the camera pulls up to a close-up in Stagecoach), that is one of the best ever. Later she is in a dress that you can see through, may be worth it just for that, and she is tiny and adorable throughout. Robert Benchley is a great comedian to play off of Frederick March, and Frederick is downright dashing and perfect for the part. The maid and Veronica's father are so important, as great character actors are, and shine in the few scenes they do.

This is one of the unknown great movies. Why it isn't as popular as, It happened One Night any Katherine Hepburn movie, or The Odd Couple type of movies is a mystery. Perhaps you may notice, that is the movies I will review to start, the great unknowns. Everyone knows about Gone with the Wind, Ben Hur, Casablanca etc... I hope my reviews can interest you enough to go see these lesser known films. This is one of them. Veronica's best and one of the best comedies of all time.
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Veronica's Best
davidjanuzbrown5 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I am a Veronica Lake fan, so I really do not care what the haters say about her (see March, Frederic). This is a classic movie, that is timeless. It is about two witches named Jennifer (Veronica Lake)and her father who are burned at the stake, and their remains are trapped in a tree. However, before that she puts a curse on all Wooley men which is to marry the worst possible woman, starting with the man she loves Nathaniel (March). If you see the speech he gives to his son, warning him not to tell his mother (he knows it is coming and he probably would have been better off with Jennifer in the first place). They show several different Wooley men (all played by March) who suffer that fate. One cannot wait to fight in the Civil War to get away from his wife. 270 years later, lightening strikes the tree and the spirits are released and they see another Wooley this time named Wally who is running for Governor and they plan on ruining is life. The witches come back to life (the father creates a fire in a Department Store to make a body and Wally hears a voice and "Rescues" Jennifer, and brings her to a hospital and she has no burns, and shows up at his home in his pajamas, starting the process of ruining him, because marrying a bad woman (Susan Hayward) is not good enough, Jennifer tries to get Wally to fall in love with her and break off his engagement to Susan Hayward. He does fall for her, but does not break the engagement, so she creates a love potion, for him to drink so she can take him away. However, a painting of Nathaniel hits her on the head, and Wally gives her the potion, making her fall in love with him. Spoilers ahead: Jennifer then wrecks the wedding and she and Wally end up eloping, and breaking the curse, and by witchcraft she gets everyone in the State to vote for him. However, her father does not approve and would rather have Jennifer in the tree with him and crashes their car into the same tree with Wally surviving but Jennifer losing her powers and dying. The last thing she tells him is "Love is stronger then witchcraft." They look in the window and see how brokenhearted Wally is losing her, and Jennifer pretends she is happy and her father gives her powers back, and she then traps him in a whiskey bottle and is reunited with Wally. They have a happy life with a boy and a girl but the little girl wants to play on a broom, so you know she will be trouble. The key line in the entire movie is the one Jennifer said: "Love is stronger then witchcraft." That is the key to not only breaking the curse: A Wooley marrying the right woman instead of the various shrews they ended up with (and it can only be Jennifer who is the right woman), which is what Wally did (with some supernatural help from Nathaniel and the clunk on the head), It also allows Jennifer to be with someone who really loves her, instead of her spirit continuing to be trapped like her father. 10/10 stars.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fredric March is bewitched, bothered, and bewildered by Veronica Lake
blanche-24 February 2006
The summary line only applies to the film, however.

This movie was intended by the studio for Joel McCrea. After making Sullivan's Travels, McCrea informed the top brass that he could not make another film with Veronica Lake. The role instead went to Fredric March, who declared "I Married a Witch" the most horrendous experience he'd ever had. It should be added that McCrea did work with Lake again 5 years later, after he had time to heal.

I have no idea why these actors had problems with this tiny, beautiful woman. "I Married a Witch" is a delightful light comedy which I suppose is the basis for "Bewitched." Apparently these Salem witches cursed an entire family so that they would be unlucky in love, and the movie quickly takes us through the generations of miserable men (all March in assorted wigs) until it gets to the present when March, a gubernatorial candidate, is set to marry a human witch (Susan Hayward). When lightning strikes a tree which was grown over the ashes of burned witches, Lake and her father escape. She takes human form and March "saves" her from a fire (that her father started). Then she mistakenly drinks a potion intended for him, and the situation really takes off.

Lake was 23 when this film was made; March was 45, and McCrea, had he made the movie, was 37. The very dignified March made a great politician, as the character in this film is - but he comes off as too old to be marrying Hayward or getting involved with Lake. Yes, we all know it happens. But this type of film was not March's métier. Eight years younger and ever boyish, of course, McCrea was more suited to the role in looks and acting.

My favorite scene is the botched wedding in which the soprano has to sing the beginning of "I Love You Truly" over and over as Susan Hayward becomes increasingly outraged. It's a young Hayward, but all the feistiness and strength is apparent.

Cecil Kellaway is Lake's father, and he gives a fine performance. Although her costars may not have agreed, I found Lake funny and beautiful in this movie, and it's a shame the last years of her life were spent as they were. She had a lovely screen presence.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wonderful Magical
aesgaard4117 June 2001
I love this movie! It's mystically enchanting and irresistably charming. It's probably the greatest movie which Veronica Lake ever did, and probably one of the best classics to come out of the heyday of Hollywood.As captivating as Marilyn Monroe was to become,Lake is wonderfully demure and waif-like in her appearance, and Fredric March shows great range between befuddled and charmed by lake as she enraptures him. The movie's appeal lives on in the romances of Bewitched and Dark shadows !
34 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
pipster10130 May 2001
After reading many film books such as the Hurrell one and "The image makers" I had really started to wonder about Veronica Lake. Having never seen any of her films I really wanted to see her in something...and to be honest to see if she was as gorgeous as in her photo's. Not being available in the UK my flat-mate picked me up a copy of this on a shopping-trip to NY.

Well-what can I say?! Veronica is more than I ever expected, BUT I really DO like the film too. I think it's funny, just the right length and the story has a certain charm and warmth to it that just leaves me smiling. Other viewers have complained about the darkness of it due to the film quality, but I find the beginning vaguely similar to Whale's Frankenstein. Okay, the start and indeed the whole film are slightly silly, but that's its naive charm. Lake has this naughty but loveable air about her that bounds around the screen - I love it and her! I'm really glad I own it, can't wait to both watch it again and see Veronica in something else...
45 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Haunt Me, Please Haunt Me!!
fairb4 June 2004
I'm sure there are many women just as beautiful as Veronica Lake. I'm sure there were, and will be, directors as gifted as Rene Clair. And I'm sure there are Irish mischief makers as amusing as Cecil Kellaway. And politicians as stuffy and pompous as Frederic March. But the combination here in this wonderful fluff is without equal.

Some Hollywood ace, befuddled and benumbed on a steady diet of coke and guacamole, has decided to remake this amazing film. Perhaps we will be shown a flash of real naked witch. But it will never be as sensual as the imagined view of Lake, as she appears in a smoke-filled hotel room. Perhaps in the re-make we will be shown the two characters locked together in a passionate embrace. But it will never equal what we imagine as we see the two ascend the stairs in this wonderful original.

It's not that Hollywood is doomed to produce banality in this new century; it's just that they seem to like it. There are very few films as good as I Married A Witch and there are very few directors who can call on studios like Paramount to supply them with gifted artists and craft persons to equal this witty and wonderful confection. Why even Susan Hayward, who did well with her strident image of bitchiness, is just right here. I suspect that new generations of filmgoers will never see this lovely film, for it is now OOP - out of print. But the horror of it all is I suspect those who made the new film never bothered to screen the old one, being convinced that they had nothing to learn about the craft of cinema.

That they were wrong becomes more obvious as the distance between the old and the new is measured in financial disaster. Perhaps next they might try to remake Sous Les Toits de Paris.
49 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Veronica Lake as a witch? Cool!
johno-2127 February 2006
I see that they are making a remake of this movie so I expect the original will be getting some publicity and more people will be introduced to it. Whimsical fantasy movies were popular in the 1940's and this is a fine example of that genre. French Director René Clair did a few fantasy films, The Ghost Goes West, that he made in the UK and It Happened Tomorrow, his other Hollwood fantasy flick. This film has a great cast in Veronica Lake, Fredric March, Susan Hayward and Cecil Kellaway. This is one of Lake's best movies and a good comic vehicle for her. She only made a dozen movies as a leading lady but I always liked Veronica Lake and I like her here. Fredric March who was a great actor seems a little miscast in this. It seems like he's just going through the motions to get this filmed at times and there really is no great chemistry between him and Lake. Cecil Kellaway is perfect and turns in a fine performance as Lake's father. Susan Hayward like March seems far too serious in this movie. It's a good, fun story and I've always liked this movie. I would give this a 8.5 on a scale of 10 and definitely recommend this.
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Superior light comedy
funkyfry15 October 2002
Pleasing comedy fantasy. There are some moments where watching Lake perform is really nice -- I love the bitchy look and how she puts her arms out when she slams the door with her magic in anger. Lake plays a witch who accidentally casts a love spell on herself, and therfore ends up domesticating herself and adopting moral attitudes her warlock father is opposed to. Fun and slightly meaningful in the Sturges mold.
28 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Nicely-done comedy with a good cast
smokehill23 May 2000
Very well-crafted comedy with some memorable work by Veronica Lake and a charming role for Cecil Kellaway (perfectly cast in this picture). Considering some of the fluffy, forgettable comedies of this era, this one deserves a much better following than it has enjoyed so far. Well worth watching.
41 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
a hidden little gem
MartinHafer19 July 2005
Veronica Lake and Cecil Kellaway are witches who have been sealed up in a tree for about 300 years. They are NOT nice witches and are thrilled when a bolt of lightning shatters the tree and releases them to do evil! The first thing they want to do is destroy the descendants of the man who persecuted them during the witch trials. His most direct descendant is Frederick March and he is about to marry the woman he loves. So, Veronica plans on meeting him and placing a love potion in his drink so he becomes attracted to her instead--with the intention of then dumping him and leaving him miserable. Of course, being a comedy, she accidentally drinks the potion and falls head over heels for March! The acting is excellent (particularly Kellaway who is uncharacteristically EVIL in this movie) and the writing superb in the short little picture.
24 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lake Makes The Film Fun
ccthemovieman-124 October 2006
This is a fairly humorous story with decent special effects, especially considering it was made over 40 years ago. The key ingredient for success in this film was Veronica Lake. She's known more for her peekaboo blonde locks and for starring with Alan Ladd in several hit movies, but Lake was a good comedienne, too.

Susan Hayward does well playing a snotty woman and Cecil Kellaway always plays an interesting character. Frederic March plays opposite Lake and I wish I hadn't read Lake's biography in which she explains how much she hated March. In made the love scenes lose a lot of impact when I learned how "forced" those scenes were.

Oh, well. It's still a nice, lightweight comedy, nothing special but entertaining for the most part.....but it helps to be a fan of Veronica Lake, which I am.
26 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
We go so far back into the Middle Ages that at one time we used to burn witches!
JamesHitchcock24 March 2012
The Salem Witch Trials have long had a hold on the American imagination, possibly because they offer a potential riposte to the oft-heard European jibe that America is a new country with no history to speak of. ("Whaddya mean, Bud, no history? Listen, Bud, we Americans go so far back into the Middle Ages that at one time we used to burn witches!") The trials have given rise to a number of serious works of literature, such as Hawthorne's "The House of the Seven Gables" and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible", but they have also inspired some lighter offerings, such as television series like "Bewitched", "Charmed" and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (which featured a cat named Salem).

"I Married a Witch" is an earlier example of using the witch trials as a source of comedy. In seventeenth century Salem a warlock named Daniel and his beautiful daughter Jennifer are denounced for witchcraft by a Puritan minister, Jonathan Wooley, and burned at the stake. In revenge, Jennifer places a curse Wooley and all his male descendants, who are doomed to make miserably unhappy marriages.

Years pass, and generation after generation the Wooley men marry women who make them miserable. Finally, in 1942, a bolt of lightning splits the tree beneath which Jennifer and Daniel have been buried, thus freeing their spirits. They discover that history is about to repeat itself again. Wallace Wooley, the latest scion of the clan and a politician running for the governorship of Massachusetts, is about to marry the domineering and bitchy Estelle Masterson. Things take a strange turn, however, when Jennifer falls in love with Wallace, much to the disgust of her father, who wants to use his unexpected freedom as an opportunity to wreak further vengeance on the Wooley family. (The film, with its theme of a witch falling in love with a mortal, was the inspiration for "Bewitched").

This was one of Veronica Lake's early star vehicles. Although only 19, she had shown earlier the same year in "This Gun for Hire" that she was a gifted actress in film noir, and in "I Married a Witch" she showed that she could also turn her hand to comedy, making Jennifer a delightfully playful and sexy heroine. Another noted Hollywood beauty, Susan Hayward, plays Estelle. It is notable that although Hayward was five years older than Lake, and a more experienced actress, she was cast in an unsympathetic supporting role while it was the younger girl who took the lead. In the long run, however, it was to be Hayward who proved the more durable; Lake's career was all but over by the end of the forties, whereas Hayward was to remain a leading lady throughout the fifties and into the sixties.

There is another good performance from Cecil Kellaway as the drunken old reprobate Daniel, but the weak link is Fredric March who makes Wallace too much of a stuffed shirt for the hero of a romantic comedy film. I was disappointed in his contribution to this film, as I had previously always admired his work; possibly comedy was not his forte. March had previously called Lake "a brainless little blonde sexpot, void of any acting ability", so it is hardly surprising that they did not get on with one another and that there is little chemistry between their characters. (The relationship between the two leads in this film reminded me of that between Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe in "The Prince and the Showgirl", another film where a middle-aged heavyweight actor dismissed his younger female co-star as a lightweight, only for her to prove herself more gifted at light comedy than him).

The film might have worked better with a younger leading man closer in age to Lake, although that might have entailed some rewriting of the script. (A twenty-something state governor is hardly plausible). The original choice for Wallace was Joel McCrea, but he turned the role down, having also fallen out with Lake on the set of "Sullivan's Travels". (Lake's fiery temper and her gift for making enemies were among the reasons why her career was to be a short one).

Overall, "I Married a Witch" is one of those forties comedies which still remains watchable today, largely because of an often humorous script and a vivacious leading lady. I felt, however, that it could have been better with a different leading man. 7/10
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A classic
JasparLamarCrabb23 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The great René Clair's whimsical fantasy featuring the unlikely pairing of Fredric March & Veronica Lake. Lake is a 200 year old witch who returns to wreak havoc on the relative of her persecutors. March is the relative & he gets a real run for his money from the troublesome Lake. The film has become a classic and rightly so. It's very funny, very different for a 1942 Hollywood film and the performances are absolutely perfect. Lake in particular is a real surprise and the great supporting cast includes Cecil Kellaway and Robert Benchley. Susan Hayward is hilarious as March's bitchy fiancé. The cinematography is by Ted Tetzlaff.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I'm bewitched!
Karl Self22 November 2008
Trust a Frenchman to make the perfect romantic comedy / date flick. And simply the perfect movie. This was my first Veronica Lake movie, and I was very curious what a comedy from the weighty réalisateur of existentialist classics such as Porte de Lilas would look like. And I was positively surprised in every aspect. "I Married A Witch" is just about one of the best movies I have ever seen. The movie is the nearest best thing to falling in love yourself. Brilliant script, brilliant dialogues, brilliant actors, brilliant use of special effects. And how could Veronica Lake ever have become so forgotten? She just oozes sex appeal. She makes Marilyn Monroe look like a truck driver in drag. It becomes very apparent how, back in the day, every girl would have wanted to be her, and how every man would have wanted to be with her. I'm sold on Constance Frances Marie Ockelman.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Veronica's Movie All the Way
lilamendezes126 March 2017
I have to say, I really enjoyed this film. Veronica Lake is funny and charming in a role that really showcases her skills as a comedienne- in my opinion, it's a shame she didn't get the chance to do more comedies, since film noir seems to be what she is best remembered for today.

Frederic March, although I like him as an actor in other films, is somewhat miscast here. He simply seems too old for the part of Veronica's love interest. However, I suppose it doesn't really matter who played Wally in the film- make no mistake about it, this is Veronica Lake's film, all the way. She's the driving force behind the film, March is just along for the ride.

The supporting cast is also great, especially Susan Hayward who is quite good as "the shrew." I also enjoyed seeing Elizabeth Patterson, Mrs. Trumball on "I Love Lucy", as March's long- suffering maid.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Whimsical comedy with wonderful Lake...wooden March...
Doylenf24 May 2001
Veronica Lake and Cecil Kellaway seem to get into the spirit of this whimsical comedy about witchcraft--while Fredric March (who reportedly disliked working with Lake whom he considered an inferior actress) does not come off well in comedy. Lake plays a witch whose ancestors burned her at the stake 300 years ago. March is engaged to Susan Hayward, but with the entry of Lake into his life, everything goes haywire. March is a gubernatorial candidate whose election to office is threatened by Lake's dexterity with broomstick magic.

Based on an unfinished novel by Thorne Smith (creator of "Topper"), the film emerges as a screwball romantic comedy well directed by Rene Clair and benefits from some good trick photography. The video print I have is on the murky side--I'm sure the original print featured better overall photography than the video version. With a cast that includes Robert Benchley among the supporting players, this is a comedy treat ideal for viewing on Halloween.

Warning: More enjoyable if the print quality is good!
23 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
jbekins21 January 2000
VERONICA LAKE IS TRULY ONE OF THE REAL BEAUTIES OF THE 1940's This is one of the great fun movies of all time. Think about it a witch changes the election just for fun. March is befuddle throughout. He is in love with Susan Hayward (another great beauty). She could be the best actress of her time. March turns in another great performance. See this movie and you will see the plot for "Bewitched" the long running TV show of the 1960's. Lake and March did it first and they did it right!! FUN FUN FUN
16 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Puritans can be so tiresome, but this film is not
AlsExGal24 September 2016
I just love this little film that was probably the inspiration for "Bewitched", the 60s TV series. Planned before Pearl Harbor, and released after Pearl Harbor, it is probably just what American audiences needed. I feel that this is a great movie because it so perfectly embodies what a movie is meant to do: Entertain! There is no social commentary, political justice or ideological discourse. It is a: "park your troubles at the door" type of film which sweeps the viewer away into a world of whimsy.

In the 17th century two actual witches, father Daniel and daughter Jennifer, are burned at the stake by Jonathan Wooley. Before Jennifer dies she curses Jonathan and all of his male progeny by declaring they will all marry the wrong woman. After their death their spirits are trapped in a tree so they cannot rise from the dead and cause more mischief.

But mischief they cause via Jennifer's curse as one Wooley after another marries a shrewish bossy woman and we see all of them being ordered about. Wow, that was a great curse! Now we come to modern day - 1942 - and Wallace Wooley (Fredric March) is about to marry the daughter of his political backer, Estelle Masterson (Susan Hayward). I found Hayward unrecognizable but she is great at playing the shrew. But alas, the night before their wedding the tree holding Jennifer and Daniel's spirits is struck by lightning and they are free! Jennifer says she wants a human body again, but Daniel says that requires fire, so they decide to burn down the Pilgrim Hotel. Jennifer gets a body (Veronica Lake), but the spell provides only the body - no clothes. Wallace rescues Jennifer from the burning hotel and since she has no ID, he takes her home and puts her in his bed to rest - still with no clothes. Now this would look great on the eve of his marriage and shortly before his election for a naked woman to be found in his bed - and she is.

Now Daniel is still without a body and has run into his own troubles with modern society. In the meantime Jennifer decides to punish Wallace by making him fall in love with her and crushing his heart. But these things never go right for the inexperienced witch without dad's supervision, and the fun just goes from there. From Jennifer accidentally taking the love potion meant for Wallace, to her casting a spell so that Wallace wins EVERY vote, to Daniel not liking his new son-in-law and being rather vicious about it.

Veronica Lake was great here in a role that did not require a lot of range. Many have criticized her acting over the years, but I have never seen her in a film where she came across as a ham. Fredric March is great as a guy with Puritan pilgrim blood in him. He really makes you believe he is the stodgy offspring of generations of Puritans.

As for the perfectly cast Cecil Kellaway as the easily distracted Daniel, all I can say is that I guess it is easier to have a witch as a father in law than as a mother in law (Agnes Moorhead as Endora in Bewitched). Mothers in law can be a much more severe and long term problem apparently.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A favorite when I was a boy and still worth watching
larryrcrump19 January 2003
When I first saw this film in the fifties and I was in my early teens, I thought then that Veronica Lake was one of the sexiest and good-looking ladies that I had ever seen. After watching the movie again recently, I still think so. She displayed a good sense of timing in this film. It was rather sad to read of her later history leading up to her death.
11 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
utgard1421 January 2014
In the 17th century, a witch named Jennifer (Veronica Lake) and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) are burned at the stake by Puritans. The leader of these Puritans is Jonathan Wooley (Fredric March). Before she dies Jennifer places a curse on Wooley that he and all of his descendants will have unhappy marriages. This curse is proved to be true in an amusing series of snippets of the history of the Wooley men (all played by March) and their bad luck with women. In the 20th century lightning strikes a tree that grew in the spot where the witches were burned. This frees their souls to walk the Earth again. Jennifer immediately sets her sights on Wooley's latest descendant Wallace, a politician engaged to marry an unpleasant woman named Estelle (Susan Hayward).

Very funny and charming comedy with an excellent cast headed by the sexy Veronica Lake. Anyone who has seen Sullivan's Travels knows that she was a talented comedienne. Unfortunately she was also reportedly difficult to work with so her career as an A-lister was fairly short. She's brilliant in this, however. Cecil Kellaway is also terrific in a more villainous (but still likable) role than we're used to seeing from him. Fredric March does an excellent job playing straight man to Lake. Robert Benchley, as always, is wonderful. Great writing and a pleasant tone throughout. A true classic everybody should see.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A long long time ago, when people believed in witches..............
hitchcockthelegend25 March 2008
Is this René Clair's best English speaking picture? Well fans of the glorious "And Then There Were None" will no doubt disagree, but I personally feel that this is Clair's best mainstream picture.

It's 1690 & Daniel & Jennifer are branded witches, burnt at the stake they curse their persecutors, the Wooley family. The curse being that no male member of the family will ever know happiness. We then see a number of sequences thru history where various male Wooley's are beset with misfortune. On to 1942 and the latest Wooley is a fella named Wallace, he is a pompous prig soon to marry the snobbish Estelle, also, he is running for governor of the state backed by his fiancée's wealthy father. A storm breaks and lightning strikes the old tree that the accused witches Daniel & Jennifer were buried with years and years ago, this releases the duo with Daniel as a booze loving rotunding rouge and Jennifer as a smouldering blonde sexual siren. Jennifer sets about wooing Wallace with every trick in the book, while Daniel is less than impressed and does all he can to overcook the broth.

I Married A Witch is now rightly acknowledged as the inspiration for the hit running series Bewitched, and as good as I found that particular show, it could never replace the love I have for this delightfully breezy picture. The cast are a true delight, Miss Gorgeous Bone Structure 1942; Veronica Lake, is simply wonderful as Jennifer, sexy yet vulnerable, Lake shows a real impacting comedy streak, and as memorable as she was in the Noir genre, it's real nice to see her having fun for a change. Fredric March plays all the Wooley's on show, and personally it's a given that March delivers top performances for each characterisation. Bonus here is the turn from Cecil Kellaway as Daniel, full of snide snaps and booze sodden songs, he's an engaging character given maximum gusto from Kellaway. Susan Hayward is Wallace's snob fiancée Estelle, the role doesn't call for a great deal, but the marker was set here and Hayward would go on to be a true great in the acting circle.

René Clair directs with very accomplished comedic hands, what is, a lovely jovial film with neat special effects. And when one knows that the film was born out of an incomplete novel {written by Topper scribe Thorne Smith}, it just goes to show that magic literally can happen on the screen!. 8.5/10
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Great Fantasy-Comedy
gavin69427 July 2016
A beautiful 17th-century witch (Veronica Lake) returns to life to plague politician Wallace Wooley (Fredric March), descendant of her persecutor (also Fredric March).

I come to this film as a fan of horror films, and this is certainly not a horror film despite the subject matter of witchcraft. But it is a decent fantasy film, with more than a bit of comedy. I loved it, and think it really ought to be better known.

Most amusing are all the tales of people who hated Veronica Lake, and did not enjoy working with her. That, coupled with the string of producers and writers attached, makes it rather surprising how enjoyable everything came out. Why did they hate Lake?
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed