Here we are again with a new release for 2018, the 1937 screwball comedy The Awful Truth, starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Ralph Bellamy.
We find Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant) and his wife, Lucy Warriner (Irene Dunne) getting divorced, due to their suspected (but not proven) infidelities. They try to move on, but Lucy’s attempted romance with Daniel Leeson (Ralph Bellamy) is sabotaged by Jerry’s constant interruptions. Lucy finally realizes she loves Jerry and calls off the relationship with Daniel, only to find that Jerry has also taken up with somebody. So Lucy decides to engage in some sabotage herself.
I have heard this being described as one of the best, if not the best, screwball comedies. While I personally wouldn’t go quite that far, I can’t deny that this movie does belong up there. I very much consider Cary Grant to be the king of screwball comedies, as the very mention of any of his movies being considered “screwball comedies” is enough to convince me to try the movie. While, for me, this is one of his weaker screwball comedies, I still have nothing but high praise for the movie.
There are many things that this movie does right. Ralph Bellamy in his Oscar nominated role as Daniel Leeson seems to be the forerunner of the type of character he would play again in other screwball comedies like Carefree (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940). The buildup between Cary Grant’s Jerry and Alexander D’Arcy’s Armand Duvalle, the man whom Jerry suspects Lucy of having an affair with (not really true), which results in a fight that we can only hear when Jerry has to hide in Lucy’s bedroom at a time that Armand is already hiding from Jerry is absolutely hilarious. And of course, I can’t forget Irene Dunne’s Lucy doing an imitation of one of Jerry’s early girlfriends after the breakup, Dixie Belle Lee (Joyce Compton), for the heiress he is almost engaged to, was certainly funny. And to think that so much of what was done in the movie was spontaneous, due to director Leo McCarey’s style of doing things, is just awe-inspiring (never mind the fact that this movie was the first time that we get to see Cary Grant’s screen persona fully formed).
I do recommend this movie if you get the chance! The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection.
Film Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
*ranked #6 on Top 10 Disc Releases of 2018
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List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Show Boat (1936) – Irene Dunne
Wedding Present (1936) – Cary Grant – Bringing Up Baby (1938)