“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1937 / Universal, suitable for all / Director: Leo McCarey / Actors: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D'Arcy, Cecil Cunningham ... / DVD released 2003-03-24 at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Black & White, Full Screen, PAL „
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OK, I am biased. This is my favourite film of all time. It's so good, I own it twice, in case one copy gets scratched! So where do I start?
I always shied away from black and white movies. How stupid! I thought they were old and dated, but this movie is as fresh as a morning daisy. Superbly acted with impeccable comic timing it gets better on every viewing.
Irene Dunne plays Lucy Warriner and Cary Grant plays Jerry Warriner. An affluent high society couple, they soon become suspicious of each other and get divorced. Custody of the dog, Mr. Smith, has to be settled in court, and plays a vital role in the movie - the one who doesn't get custody gets access rights and has to visit the other's home to see the dog. The plot of the film follows the two characters as they start to get on with their own lives, but always crossing paths with each other.
The dialogue is superb. Cary Grant improvised a lot on this movie and there are a lot of phrases uttered which are not directed at anyone, more thoughts spoken out loud and they are superbly delivered. The chemistry between the main two characters is a delight to watch.
Many of the lines from the film appear in Friends, the US hit sitcom of the 1990's. There are definite elements of this film throughout Friends, and I'm sure the directors and writers are acutely aware of this film. So if you like that, you'll love this.
It is an intelligent movie, some of the jokes are subtle and rely on us to work them out. Irene Dunne is delightful, pretty, funny and a joy to watch. At one point she is singing in a recital and Jerry bursts in thinking she is in the arms of a lover - her laughter at Jerry's face when he realises what an idiot he is is just pure joy.
Both characters become engaged to new people, and each cleverly undermines the other's new relationship. The film ends on the stroke of midnight on the day the couple become officially divorced with some fantastic dialogue from Dunne. Throughout the film we never find out if either couple's suspiscionswere founded... equally, the ending is open to interpretation.
I love this movie and highly recommend it for a romantic evening in. To me it is the original rom-com and absolutely unmissable.