- by ZoŽ
Dudley is an angel
who comes to help a bishop, in answer to the Bishop's prayer for help in
getting funds for his new cathedral. The bishop is beginning to lose faith
and believes his marriage is failing. Dudley restores his faith, and brings
happiness back to the marriage, but the new church remains unbuilt.
- by Donna Moore
Cary Grant is an angel - it's official! He plays Dudley
who's "not one of the more important angels" and who comes in answer to the
Bishop's prayer. Henry, the Bishop, needs to raise money to build a cathedral but "in
dreaming of his cathedral, he's moved away from the people he loved" and is kowtowing
to those who only wish to use their money to glorify themselves. In the process, he
neglects his wife, Julia and his daughter, Debbie.
Cue Dudley, who charms the socks off the whole household
including the dog. The Bishop, however, is jealous of Dudley because he sees his wife
having fun with Dudley - something which Henry and Julia no longer have. Dudley makes
everyone's lives just that bit better. The only problem is that Dudley enjoys himself more
than he has done in centuries and falling in love with Julia was not part of the job
This is one of my very favourite films and I feel so sorry
for everyone once Dudley has left because they no longer remember that he's been there,
but nonetheless his transforming effect remains.
My favourite scenes - ice skating with Sylvester the taxi
driver, Henry getting stuck in the chair. One of my favourite lines - when Dudley is
looking through the Bishop's mail, Henry asks "Are you expecting a letter?"
Dudley's response - "No, but if I do get one the stamp will be worth saving"!
A great film for Christmas (oh, and New Year, Easter,
birthdays, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and every day with a "y" in it!!).
Film Review - November
- by "Brog"
- submitted by Barry Martin
This is a
picture calculated to make an audience leave the theatre with a
good feeling. It has a
warmth and charm that makes believable the fantasy and has been
put together with complete understanding by all involved.
Samuel Goldwyn's marshalling of cast, director, writers and
physical values stamps it with a class touch, assuring "The
Bishop's Wife" a strong draw in all situations and plenty of
fantasy, there are no fantastic heavenly manifestations.
There's a humanness about the characters, even the angel,
that beguiles full attention.
Henry Koster's sympathetic direction deftly gets over the
warm humor supplied by the Robert E. Sherwood-Leonardo Bercovici
script, taken from Robert Nathan's novel of the same title.
is the angel of the piece and has never appeared to greater
advantage. Role, with
the exception of a minor miracle or two, is potently pointed to
indicate character could have been a flesh-and-blood person, a
factor that embellishes sense of reality as the angel sets about
answering the troubled prayers of Episcopalian bishop, David Niven.
Script and Koster's direction develop a strong sense of
anticipation as story unfolds, greatly adding to picture's charm.
essentially, deals with Grant's assignment to make people act like
human beings. In great
need of his help is Niven, a young bishop who has lost the common
touch and marital happiness because of his dream of erecting a
massive cathedral. The
wife, Loretta Young, seemingly draws much of the angel's attention
to the bishop's discomfort but before it's all over, Grant has
laid his heavenly touch on problems distressing the story's
characters and has straightened them out.
gives a moving performance as the wife whose life is touched by an
angel without her knowledge of his heavenly origin
Niven's cleric character is played straight but his
anxieties and jealously loosen much of the warm humor gracing the
plot. Featured and
supporting players contribute strong performances to back sock
work of principals. Monty
Wooley, James Gleason, Gladys Cooper, Elsa Lanchester, Sara Haden,
Karolyn Grimes, Tito Vuolo, Regis Toomey, Isabell Jewell are among
those who impress.
Toland's camera work and the music score by Hugo Friedhoffer,
directed by Emil Newman, are ace credits among the many expert
Boy choir stands out with vocals on a religious piece.
Score contains a harp solo, "Lost April,"
composed by Newman, and effect of Grant playing the string
instrument has been cleverly inserted by special effects.
Art direction by George Jenkins and Perry Ferguson, and the
set decorations by Julia Heron lend authenticity to Victorian
rectory and other settings.
- by Kathy Fox
Cary Grant and
Loretta Young starred in two films: BORN TO BE BAD in 1934
and thirteen years later, THE BISHOP'S WIFE. This picture
was nominated for Best Picture in 1947, but lost to GENTLEMAN'S
AGREEMENT. This is Cary Grant's 51st film and his second in
1947. THE BISHOP'S WIFE was remade into THE PREACHER'S WIFE
in 1996, starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. THE
BISHOP'S WIFE is the story of Julia Brougham and Henry Brougham,
played by Loretta Young and David Niven, respectfully.
Henry, plays an Episcopalian bishop, who is all caught up with
building a new cathedral for his church and has forgotten about
his wife, Julia. Henry wishes that he could have some help
with the financing his project and prays to God for assistance.
In comes Dudley, Cary Grant, an angel, who has been sent to honor
his wishes. Dudley then decides he will work for Henry as
his assistant, but in reality decides to spend a lot of time with
Julia to make her happy, which infuriates Henry. However, in
the end, Dudley disappears forever from their lives after
accomplishing all he came to do. It turns out that an old
rare coin given to Julia by Professor Wutheridge, Monty Woolley,
is worth a fortune and the new cathedral can be built after all.
Julia and Henry get back together and are much happier because
Dudley has shown them the way. Cary Grant has an awful lot
of talent in this movie. With his acrobatic ability, he
relearned how to ice skate; his musical ability lead him to play
the harp, and this of course was not one of his funny films.
This was a serious role for Cary and it turned out very well.
Variety review of November 19, 1947, states, "Cary
Grant is the angel of the piece and has never appeared to greater
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - December
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
Emissaries from heaven are not conspicuously exceptional on the
screen, the movies having coyly incarnated any number of these
supernatural types, ordained by their fanciful creators to right
the wrongs of this world (not to mention the bookkeeping errors
that seem to occur up above). And certainly communion with angels
is traditional at Christmastime, which is the season when most of
us mortals need angelic reassurance anyhow. So there is nothing
especially surprising about the miracle that occurs in Samuel
Goldwyn's "The Bishop's Wife," which opened last night
at the Astor - except that it is superb.
And that is very surprising, in
view of the realistic fact that it is a sentimental whimsy of the
most delicate and dangerous sort. All of us know that angels don't
walk the earth like natural men - and definitely not in the image
of that debonair rascal, Cary Grant. And most of us have some dark
misgivings about the tact of the makers of films when they barge
into the private area of a man's communication with his God.
But you need have no anxieties in
the case of "The Bishop's Wife." It is as cheerful and
respectful an invasion of the realm of conscience that we have
seen. And it comes very close to being the most enchanting picture
of the year - a judgment to which its many merits will shortly
make a strong bid. That is because its incursion is on a
comparatively simple and humble plane and its whimsy is
sensitively siphoned from the more human and humorous frailties of
We are not going to make an
analysis of the many subtle comments in this tale of a full-bodied
guardian angel who answers a young bishop's prayer for guidance
and spiritual comfort in the midst of a crisis in his life. We are
not going to state any morals which this charmingly casual angel
proves in drawing the bishop's wrought attention from a new
cathedral to the richer services of life - and, particularly, to a
fresh fulfillment of his family responsibilities. We are not going
to mouth about these matters, because the picture itself refrains
- and that is one of the most endearing of its many endearing
In shaping this yarn and winning
fable from a Robert Nathan book, Robert Sherwood and Leonardo
Bercovici have written with beautiful belief that a point clearly
made in performance doesn't have to be hit a dozen times nor a
moral quietly manifested put into a hundred solemn words. And so
there is no heavy pounding of the lesson of humanity, of the
futility of ostentation, of the special possessiveness of a man's
love. Nor is there any such pounding in Henry Koster's directorial
Smoothly and with artful invention
he has induced Mr. Grant to give one of his most fluent and
beguiling performances as the angel, "Dudley," who fixes
things. And he has go out of David Niven a deliciously dexterous
and droll characterization of a sorely pressed young bishop who
can't quite cotton to this messenger from on high. Elsa Lanchester,
too, is encouraged in an exquisitely faceted role of a twitterly
little housemaid who flirts with this angelic gent, and Monty
Woolley is actually human as an old dodo who is morally
re-inspired. James Gleason, Sara Haden and Gladys Cooper are rich
in smaller parts. Weakness is only evident in Loretta Young's
unctuousness as the bishop's wife. She is the one artificial,
inconsistent and discordant note.
Of course, there are probably some
people who are going to say that this film encourages a futile
illusion with its hope of miraculous aid. But they - if they do -
will be missing its most warmly inspiring point which is - but
wait a minute: That's for you to recognize and enjoy. We cannot
recommend you to a more delightful and appropriate Christmas show.
Click here to read
Susanna's review of "The
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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