- by Zoë
Clemson believes a wife's
place is in the home. He splits up with Effie, a state official, because she
is too engrossed in her work. He proposes to Tarji, a princess he met on a
trip to Bukistan, because she has been schooled all her life in the art of
pleasing men. When Tarji comes to the U.S. she meets Effie and discovers
that there is more to life than pleasing men. Clemson makes up with Effie.
- by Debbie
Clemson Reade, a business tycoon with marriage on his mind,
and Effie, a U.S. diplomat, are a modern couple. Unfortunately there seems to be too much
business and not enough pleasure on the part of Effie. When Clemson meets
princess trained in all the arts of pleasing men, he decides he wants an old fashioned
girl. Princess Tarji's father is king of oil-rich Bukistan. Because of the oil situation
and to maintain good political relations during the courtship between Clemson &
the State Department assigns a diplomat to maintain protocol until the wedding. Effie!
Under Effie's influence, Tarji becomes not quite the girl of his dreams! Under Tarji's
influence, Effie becomes more the girl of his dreams!
Film Review - March 11, 1953
- by "Brog"
- submitted by Barry Martin
A battle-of-the-sexes theme is used for this fairly entertaining,
highly contrived piece of screen nonsense. Name of Cary Grant and
the M-G label afford it its best booking opportunities and can get
some coin. Also, there is an exploitation angle in the reuniting
of Grant, Dore Schary and Sidney Sheldon, all connected with the successful
"The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer," a 1947 RKO release.
However, "Wife" is no entertainment match for
Grant, a man who wants a wife in
the home, not in business, breaks with Deborah Kerr, State Dept.
official who is too busy with an oil crisis to have time for
matrimony. Walter Pidgeon, co-starring as Miss Kerr's State
Department boss, doesn't have much to do. Remembering a comely
princess, Betta St. John, whom he had met on a trip to Bukistan in
the Middle East and the fact that she had been raised from birth
in the art of pleasing man, Grant proposes via cable.
Because of the oil situation, the
State Dept. steps in and assigns Miss Kerr to see that her ex-fiancé
sticks to protocol in his new courtship. The princess comes to the
states, but the feminine craft of Miss Kerr soon has Miss St. John
figuring that emancipation is more fun than being a dream wife.
It's no problem to foresee from the time of the Grant-Kerr break
that they will be back together for the finale.
Sheldon, who collaborated on the
screenplay with Herbert Baker and Alfred Lewis Levitt, also tries
his hand at directing the farce comedy, but without too much
success. Able performers help to carry the script's silliness
through the frenetics, but Sheldon lets the action slop over into
very broad slapstick too often, when more subtle farcing would
have seemed in order. This loose handling reflects occasionally in
the performances, most notably in Grant's. Dialog and situations
have their chuckles, however.
Miss Kerr, smartly gowned, comes
off attractively, and Miss St. John impresses as the princess with
a yen for Grant until she learns about the freedom taken by
American women. She dances; sings "Tarji's Song" and
"Ghi-li, Ghi-li, Ghi-li," both by Charles Wolcott and
Jamshid Sheibani; speaks in a heavily-accented, delightful
dialect, and treats the eye with her Oriental costumes. Eduard
Franz, Khan of Bukistan; Buddy Baer, a native guard, and smaller
spots occupied by Les Tremayne, Donald Randolph, Bruce Bennett and
Richard Anderson, come off acceptably.
Schary's production supervision
guides the picture towards making the most of the most of the
sophisticated nonsense in the story and the physical aspects of
the production are well cared for by such expert technical credits
as Milton Krasner's lensing, special effects and art direction.
Conrad Salinger's music score hits an appropriate Oriental flavor.
- by Kathy Fox
Cary Grant starred with
Deborah Kerr three times in a period of seven years, and this is their first
film together, the others being AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER and THE GRASS IS
GREENER. After making a string of not-so-successful movies, from
1950-1953, Cary thought his career was over and decided to take a trip
around the world with his wife, Betsy. These films now are part of the
Cary mystique, and, of course, we are so glad to have on the list of 72
films he made over a period of 34 years, etched on the silver screen, VHS
tapes or CDs forever. DREAM WIFE, a story written especially for Grant
and Kerr, is the story of Clemson Reade (Grant), who is engaged to
Priscilla Effington (Kerr), but they can't seem to set a date for their
wedding, because Effie is so involved with the state department and the oil
crisis in Bukistan. Reade has been to Bukistan trying to sell the
country hydraulic equipment and has met Tarji (Beta St. John) who has been
reared to be the "Dream Wife." Reade is attracted to her and
sends her a wire from New York, offering marriage. Her father accepts
the proposal and then the fun begins. Tarji comes to America to marry
Clem, but her country has strict rules. Tarji who has been under her
father's thumb all her life, finds freedom in America, and Effie who wanted
freedom decides that she, yes, in love with Clem after all. "Make
an earthquake for me, Clem," Effie shouts as the movie ends. It
is a cute film, with Cary doing his thing very well, but DREAM WIFE, did
less than was expected at the box office. Cary is very slim and
attractive in this movie, which adds to his Caryesqueness, if you know what
Film Review - July 30, 1953
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
In an amiable way of speaking, the eternal struggle between American men and
American women is the passionately controversial theme of Metro's new
comedy, "Dream Wife," which came to the Rivoli yesterday.
But in an equally amiable way of speaking, it must be said that the theme is
pursued with less passion than sportive affection, and less controversy than
Here, in as gay a movie mix-up as
the summer is likely to bring, and, indeed, in as cheerful a
trifle as we're likely to see this year, Cary Grant, who has often
fought the battle and now bravely wears his obvious scars, goes
down in inevitable surrender to an irresistibly feminine Deborah
Kerr. But he does have his momentary triumph; for the better part
of the film he is left to appear as the lordly idol of a
deliciously exotic Betta St. John.
It is a brightly conceived little
notion that Sidney Sheldon and a couple of other scribes have
whipped up for this frothy amusement. And it is nicely
escorted to the screen, with just the right amount of unmistakable
winking, under Mr. Sheldon's directorial command.
Briefly, it is the story of an
urbane, but plain, American male who thinks that a wife should
serve her husband before she devotes herself to a career.
Indeed, he feels rather strongly that women are allowed to
get away with a great deal more arrogance and authority in our
society than are rightly deserved.
And so, when he finds that his fiancée
is more concerned with business than with him, he minds himself a
young princess whom he met on a trip to the Near East. He
minds himself that her powerful father has offered him her hand,
and that she has been trained in the tradition of her people to
think of nothing but the happiness of her man. He minds
these things rather strongly, and a proposal of marriage is
Next thing you know, the princess
is arriving in New York, accompanied by a retinue of servants and
preceded by a shipment of dowry goats. And from here on it
is a gleeful matter of juxtaposing the baffling customs of the
East and the equally baffling customs of American society and
commercial intrigue, stubbornly maintained by big oil interests,
which are represented by the fiancée.
In such a helpless situation, you
can imagine the stew of Mr. Grant - that is, if you've seen him
cornered by tireless females in other films. Rebellion rises
in his spirit and tart sarcasm drips from his tongue, but defeat
is measured in his glances. He is very amusing in this
film. And so, too, in contrary fashion, is the cool and
elegant Miss Kerr. She is most amusing as the by-passed fiancée
when she serves as interpreter for the princess and Mr.
Less comical but no less charming
is the newly recruited Miss St. John, who was wooed from the stage
and "South Pacific," in which she played the original
"Younger than Springtime" girl. And Walter Pidgeon,
as a straight-faced oil executive; Eduard Franz, as the father of
the intended bride, and Buddy Baer, as the latter's ruthless
guardian, contribute much to the fun.
On the large screen at the Rivoli,
the light conceits may loom fearsomely at times and the pace may
drag slightly in some places. But, for the most part,
"Dream Wife" is a doll.
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Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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