Happy birthday Cary Grant. In honor of the birthday month of this wonderful actor, lets take a moment to talk about two of his classic films, My Favorite Wife (1940) and The Awful Truth (1937). Both of these two films star Cary Grant as well as Irene Dunne because their chemistry was amazing to behold on screen during this golden age of cinema.
My Favorite Wife stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. This romantic comedy takes place in the 1940s where people were arrested for polygamy. In this film, Cary Grant is remarrying after seven years of his wife being presumed dead from a ship wreck. Everything is going as planned until the wife, played by Irene Dunne, resurfaces and comes home. She finds her children don’t recognize her and Grant has taken another wife that morning. Irene, still much in love with Grant, goes to Yosemite where Grant has taken his new wife for their honeymoon. At first sight, Grant realizes how much he still loves Irene. It is downhill from there as Grant tries to find the right words to tell his new bride that his wife is back from the dead and he wants to be with her. Things are complicated when Grant finds out that Irene was stuck on an island with a handsome man for seven years.
Through the befuddlement mixed with drama and laughable situations, Cary Grant gave a magnificent performance. Grant as the man stuck between two women, gave a convincing portrayal of a man at a cross roads. Through comedic phrases and facial expressions, you came to feel bad for his situation and learn to love his character. Dunne gave a warm and sentimental feel to the movie as she tried to tell her children several times that she was their mother. She also gives a comedic performance as she toys with Grant’s emotions, knowing what makes him jealous and knowing how he really feels about her. The two of them together were a joy to watch on screen. It’s no wonder they ended up doing three films together during their careers. My Favorite Wife is a great story with a great cast. Never losing the audience’s attention, the film is one of great quality. Sentiment and comedy are blended together in a perfect manner. The audience leaves the film loving Grant even more.
Then there is The Awful Truth. The film is a romantic comedy as well. This film takes place within the realm of high society and in a time when divorce was taboo. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are a couple trying to settle with the terms of their divorce that will become final in 90 days. Dunne moves in with her aunt who introduces her to a new man to escort her around town. Their relationship escalates rather quickly and an engagement is decided on as soon as the divorce between Grant and Dunne is finalized. After Grant sees his wife and her new escort together at a club, he does his best to help Dunne see that she doesn’t belong with this “Oklahoma man”. After a scandal of sorts, Grant’s character becomes engaged to a young lady as well. Dunne does her best to foil his relationship because she deems the woman unfit for Grant. Both are in relationships while each attempts to sabotage the other.
Grant gives a strong performance in this film as well. Charming and witty, his character portrays a real couple in a real disarray. Grant shows that being in love is about trust, faith, and the enjoyment of each others company. The comedic timing is flawless and does not take away from the real essence of the film. The chemistry Grant has with Dunne is inspiring to watch. With the combination of brilliant acting and a strong script, its no wonder that this film was nominated for an Academy Award. The script aided in the memorable plots and schemes that took place. For example, the scene with Grant and Dunne staying in adjoining rooms with a single, rickety door between them was flawless. Grant was comedy attached to sentiment. He is a star and he shined brightly in this film. The Awful Truth is a recommended classic as well. It is a film that showcases the soft, comedic character of Carey Grant that would launch his persona of films to follow.
Thank you Cary Grant for the truly entertaining films you have made throughout the years. Should readers want more after watching My Favorite Wife and The Awful Truth, give His Girl Friday (1940), North by Northwest (1959), and Bringing Up Baby (1938) a try. They are brilliant as well.