The Awful Truth (1937) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Awful Truth (1937)




Critic Consensus: Great comic direction by Leo McCarrey and memorable onscreen chemistry from stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne make this screwball comedy a charmer.

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Movie Info

The screwiest of the screwball comedies of the '30s, The Awful Truth is filled with merry mix-ups and romantic misadventures that lead a previously happy couple Jerry and Lucy Warriner (marvelously played by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) to divorce. The trouble begins when Jerry supposedly goes to Florida for some rest. At least that's what he tells Lucy; actually, he is planning to spend the vacation with his buddies playing endless rounds of poker. When it is time to come home, he toasts himself brown under a handy sun lamp. Unfortunately, when he gets home, Lucy is gone. When Jerry sees her with handsome voice teacher Armand Duvalle, he assumes the worst. He doesn't realize that she is only out with him because she assumed that Jerry was trysting with a mistress. All of this leads to a divorce, made ugly by their bitter fight for custody of Mr. Smith, their dog. When not wrestling in court, both Jerry and Lucy make big shows of seeing other people. Matters come to a head when Jerry falls in love with a stuffy socialite, whom he wants to wed. To break them up, clever Lucy dresses up as a tacky fan dancer and shows up at the socialite's hoity-toity party. From there it is only a matter of time before true love prevails and marital bliss is restored. The Awful Truth was originally a popular stage play and came to the screen twice before, in 1925 and in 1929. This version was nominated for several Oscars and won one for "Best Direction."more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Arthur Richman, Viņa Delmar
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 11, 2003


Cary Grant
as Jerry Warriner
Irene Dunne
as Lucy Warriner
Ralph Bellamy
as Daniel Leeson
Alex D'Arcy
as Armand Duvalle
Cecil Cunningham
as Aunt Patsy
Molly Lamont
as Barbara Vance
Esther Dale
as Mrs. Leeson
Joyce Compton
as Dixie Belle Lee
Robert (Tex) Allen
as Frank Randall
Robert Warwick
as Mr. Vance
Mary Forbes
as Mrs. Vance
Claud Allister
as Lord Fabian
Zita Moulton
as Lady Fabian
Marguerite Churchill
as Barbara Vance
Colton Scott
as Mr. Barnsley
Wyn Cahoon
as Mrs. Barnsley
Mitchell Harris
as Jerry's Attorney
Alan Bridge
as Motor Cop
Edgar Dearing
as Motor Cop
Miki Morita
as Japanese Servant
Vernon Dent
as Police Sergeant
Al Bridge
as Motor Cop
Bobby Watson
as Hotel Clerk
Byron Foulger
as Secretary
Bess Flowers
as Viola Heath
Ed Mortimer
as Lucy's Attorney
Robert Allen
as Frank Randall
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Awful Truth

Critic Reviews for The Awful Truth

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3)

Leo McCarey's largely improvised 1937 film is one of the funniest of the screwball comedies, and also one of the most serious at heart.

Full Review… | May 27, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Zappy, sophisticated screwball comedy with Grant and Dunne displaying perfect timing.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

To be frank, The Awful Truth is awfully unimportant, but it is also one of the more laughable screen comedies of 1937, a fairly good vintage year.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A joy.

Full Review… | May 27, 2008

...has earned its reputation as one of the most effective screwball comedies from the 1930s.

Full Review… | April 10, 2007
Reel Film Reviews

One of the best screwball comedies (of remarriage) ever made, based on the astute mise-en-scene of director Leo McCarey (who won an Oscar) and superb turns from Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as the sparrying partners.

Full Review… | November 9, 2006

Audience Reviews for The Awful Truth

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne get tired of being married and so opt for a divorce, only ... guess what? Yeah, you guessed it, they're still in love. Doh! The fun is in watching them convince each other then about what we already know from the jump. Asta shines throughout, too.
By many judges one of the best of this genre. It does stand the test of time, so that says something, doesn't it?
And Ralph Bellamy was a master at playing cold leftovers to Grant, practically blending into the wallpaper.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

I enjoyed this movie, great cast, good story, and it's funny.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Cary Grant and Irene Dunn play a couple who rather impulsively decide to divorce and then spend the rest of the movie trying to undo their mistake while simultaneously undoing each other's new relationships. I'm not sure how taboo divorce was in their time, but the whole thing is played for laughs, with the two arguing over who gets custody of "mr. smith", their dog (who led to their first meeting). Actually, the dog is alot of fun, probably the best movie dog outside of Asta (the Thin Man's dog). What makes this film good is the chemistry Grant has with his leading lady (which he tends to have with every leading lady, which is a big part of what makes him so great). He not only plays a straight man to her hijinks, he also gets in some slapstick of his own.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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