The Bishop's Wife Reviews

  • 4d ago

    Something in me doesn't understand the appeal of Cary Grant as while he was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1940s and continues to be referenced as the greatest romantic comedy leading man of all time I am slightly disgusted by him. His face is close to being handsome but is oddly deformed and comes out appearing hideous with his strange chin and smug expression and I just don't find him funny as he is often cast as the quick witted slightly acerbic love interest but doesn't have the same touch as Clark Gable. It was this that ruined this film for me as it relies almost entirely on the idea that Grant is handsome and funny, a concept which I wholeheartedly reject. Bishop Henry Brougham, David Niven, neglects his loving and supportive wife Julia, Loretta Young, and their child Debby, Karolyn Grimes, to attempt to gain funding to build a cathedral from wealthy but controlling patrons. One of these patrons is the overbearing Agnes Hamilton, Gladys Cooper, who wants the Cathedral to serve only as a monument to her late husband, a sentiment which Brougham fiercely disagrees with. He loses her financial support because of this and prays for divine guidance. This guidance comes in the form of the angel Dudley, Cary Grant, who quickly begins courting the neglected Julia and charming her friends including Classical studies Professor Wutheridge, Monty Woolley, much to the annoyance of Brougham. Dudley does succeed in connecting with the emotionally cold Hamilton as he knows of her difficult past relationships and encourages her to donate to charity to make up for her past selfish actions. As time passes Dudley begins to genuinely fall in love with Julia but she remains devoted to her husband and Dudley eventually leaves. The shenanigans in the film are reminiscent of several other fantasy infused family comedies from the 1940s including Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and most famously It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Sadly the sequences of Dudley being able to magically refill wine glasses and decorate a Christmas tree with just a point of his finger aren't quite as charming and entertaining as they were in 1947. Variations on the jokes told in this film still appear in modern films but I would argue that they are not pulled off very well in this film and while there were moments where I could tell that I was meant to chuckle I was left cold. The ice skating scenes were probably the funniest in the film as there is one ridiculous shot in which a professional ice skater does about six spins before becoming a creepily grinning Grant as a result of some dodgy special effects. Unfortunately this was a case of humor unintended by the film and all of the written jokes delivered by Woolley and sometimes even Grant do not land. Some of the relationships between the characters felt darn creepy by today's standards as I was surprised that the suggestion of infidelity and a man attempting to break up a marriage got past the censors in 1947. Grant and Young do not have great chemistry and their relationship is hampered in part by the fact that they are both one note characters as Young plays her character with a perennial stiff upper lip and Grant is meant to be charming and suave throughout. Neither of them feel like real human beings and all of their cute, romantic meetings feature lines that could only have been written by cynical screenwriters looking to pump out another overly manufactured hit without any real effort. We see so little of Niven and Young together that it is hard to care about their marriage as we have never seen their shared happiness so have no reference point for what they should be together. Part of the problem rests with Young's character as she is clearly the fantasy of a male screenwriter with her incredible beauty, enjoyment of her life as a closeted housewife and total devotion to her husband who treats her terribly. At least one of these characters should have had some depth to them but alas even un-credited work on the screenplay from Billy Wilder could not make this film humorous or sweet.

    Something in me doesn't understand the appeal of Cary Grant as while he was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1940s and continues to be referenced as the greatest romantic comedy leading man of all time I am slightly disgusted by him. His face is close to being handsome but is oddly deformed and comes out appearing hideous with his strange chin and smug expression and I just don't find him funny as he is often cast as the quick witted slightly acerbic love interest but doesn't have the same touch as Clark Gable. It was this that ruined this film for me as it relies almost entirely on the idea that Grant is handsome and funny, a concept which I wholeheartedly reject. Bishop Henry Brougham, David Niven, neglects his loving and supportive wife Julia, Loretta Young, and their child Debby, Karolyn Grimes, to attempt to gain funding to build a cathedral from wealthy but controlling patrons. One of these patrons is the overbearing Agnes Hamilton, Gladys Cooper, who wants the Cathedral to serve only as a monument to her late husband, a sentiment which Brougham fiercely disagrees with. He loses her financial support because of this and prays for divine guidance. This guidance comes in the form of the angel Dudley, Cary Grant, who quickly begins courting the neglected Julia and charming her friends including Classical studies Professor Wutheridge, Monty Woolley, much to the annoyance of Brougham. Dudley does succeed in connecting with the emotionally cold Hamilton as he knows of her difficult past relationships and encourages her to donate to charity to make up for her past selfish actions. As time passes Dudley begins to genuinely fall in love with Julia but she remains devoted to her husband and Dudley eventually leaves. The shenanigans in the film are reminiscent of several other fantasy infused family comedies from the 1940s including Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and most famously It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Sadly the sequences of Dudley being able to magically refill wine glasses and decorate a Christmas tree with just a point of his finger aren't quite as charming and entertaining as they were in 1947. Variations on the jokes told in this film still appear in modern films but I would argue that they are not pulled off very well in this film and while there were moments where I could tell that I was meant to chuckle I was left cold. The ice skating scenes were probably the funniest in the film as there is one ridiculous shot in which a professional ice skater does about six spins before becoming a creepily grinning Grant as a result of some dodgy special effects. Unfortunately this was a case of humor unintended by the film and all of the written jokes delivered by Woolley and sometimes even Grant do not land. Some of the relationships between the characters felt darn creepy by today's standards as I was surprised that the suggestion of infidelity and a man attempting to break up a marriage got past the censors in 1947. Grant and Young do not have great chemistry and their relationship is hampered in part by the fact that they are both one note characters as Young plays her character with a perennial stiff upper lip and Grant is meant to be charming and suave throughout. Neither of them feel like real human beings and all of their cute, romantic meetings feature lines that could only have been written by cynical screenwriters looking to pump out another overly manufactured hit without any real effort. We see so little of Niven and Young together that it is hard to care about their marriage as we have never seen their shared happiness so have no reference point for what they should be together. Part of the problem rests with Young's character as she is clearly the fantasy of a male screenwriter with her incredible beauty, enjoyment of her life as a closeted housewife and total devotion to her husband who treats her terribly. At least one of these characters should have had some depth to them but alas even un-credited work on the screenplay from Billy Wilder could not make this film humorous or sweet.

  • Nov 21, 2019

    Naif, perfecta para esta temporada

    Naif, perfecta para esta temporada

  • May 15, 2019

    i thought this was pretty good

    i thought this was pretty good

  • Apr 16, 2019

    There's nothing special about this Christmas tale, but nevertheless the cast and charm do their work to sustain the holiday mood. Cary Grant is surprisingly good in the role of an angel, but still in the overall, there's nothing memorable about the picture.

    There's nothing special about this Christmas tale, but nevertheless the cast and charm do their work to sustain the holiday mood. Cary Grant is surprisingly good in the role of an angel, but still in the overall, there's nothing memorable about the picture.

  • Feb 05, 2019

    On TCM, the two suited white men were talking about how the two suited white men leads in this movie originally wanted to have each otherâ(TM)s roles. I think this wouldâ(TM)ve been much more effective casting. Nonetheless, this is a totally adequate mix of unabashed sentimentality and charming magical realism.

    On TCM, the two suited white men were talking about how the two suited white men leads in this movie originally wanted to have each otherâ(TM)s roles. I think this wouldâ(TM)ve been much more effective casting. Nonetheless, this is a totally adequate mix of unabashed sentimentality and charming magical realism.

  • Jan 27, 2019

    The best inspiring romance movie ever made!

    The best inspiring romance movie ever made!

  • Jan 01, 2019

    Cary Grant is an amazing angel who shows how valuable every day is to ourselves. By filling in for areas that the minister should be apart of; grant is able to demonstrate how important today is for all.

    Cary Grant is an amazing angel who shows how valuable every day is to ourselves. By filling in for areas that the minister should be apart of; grant is able to demonstrate how important today is for all.

  • Dec 21, 2018

    A perfect and I mean perfect movie. The performances were stellar and the pacing of the movie was great. The miracles were always settled and were really thought out. Watched it recently using boxxy software app and loved this movie.

    A perfect and I mean perfect movie. The performances were stellar and the pacing of the movie was great. The miracles were always settled and were really thought out. Watched it recently using boxxy software app and loved this movie.

  • Dec 16, 2018

    Take 'It's A Wonderful Life' and sprinkle in a bit of Rom Com, and you essentially get this. But hey it's Christmas, and the skating scene is hilarious.

    Take 'It's A Wonderful Life' and sprinkle in a bit of Rom Com, and you essentially get this. But hey it's Christmas, and the skating scene is hilarious.

  • Sep 17, 2018

    A very uplifting and fun movie. Some fantasy that is very enjoyable. Great acting and great story.

    A very uplifting and fun movie. Some fantasy that is very enjoyable. Great acting and great story.