Wednesday, October 21, 2020

On This Day...The Awful Truth (1937)

 Today back in 1937 saw the release of Cary Grant's 29th full length feature film, The Awful Truth.


Jerry (Cary Grant) and Lucy (Irene Dunne) are a married couple who doubt each other's fidelity: Jerry suspects Lucy and her music teacher (Alexander D'Arcy) of spending an evening together, and Lucy is convinced Jerry lied about a business trip. 

When the jealous pair file for divorce, both rush into new relationships, but quickly realize their love never died. The soon-to-be-divorced husband and wife then both scramble to spoil each other's chances for newfound romance.

With Ralph Bellamy and Irene Dunne.

"The season's smartest drawing-room comedy arrives unheralded, to run faster, funnier and finer than any of the all too many widely ballyhooed farces immediately proceeding. Every contributor to this film stands high in accomplishment, from the ideally executed performances of Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy and Alexander Darcy, to Leo McCarey's direction, second to none in the rare field of good comedy, and to the screen writing of Vina Delmar, whio brings Arthur Richman's play of fifteen years ago to the screen without loss of verve and with gain of freshness". - James P. Cunningham, The Commonweal

In court with Irene Dunne and Mr. Smith.

Did You Know:

Adapted from a Broadway play. The original stage production of "The Awful Truth" opened on Monday, September 18th, 1922, at Henry Miller's Theatre in New York and ran for 144 performances.

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on Tuesday, January 18th, 1955, with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne reprising their roles from the film.

The dog playing Mr. Smith was named Skippy, and was most popular for its role in The Thin Man (1934) movie & its sequel, as Asta. On those movies, he was notorious for trying to bite the actors. Even in this film, there's a scene where Cary Grant is trying to play with the dog, and the dog very obviously snaps and growls at him.

Cary Grant was so convinced this film was not working, he begged to be released during production. The film turned out to be a big hit.

While Cary Grant was initially working with Leo McCarey, he was unaware that McCarey was deliberately creating nervous tension in the actor, in order to enhance his performance. By keeping the cast slightly off balance, the director was building scenes from spontaneous moments between his actors. Giving the barest outlines of a scene, he would have his actors try something on their feet. For instance, in one rehearsal, he told 
Irene Dunne to simply open the door of her apartment and say, "Well, if it isn't my ex." He told Grant to answer with whatever came into his head. Grant replied, "The judge says this is my day to see the dog." McCarey then built the scene around that moment. The line, and the subsequent scene, stayed in the picture.


Irene Dunne...LucyWarriner
Cary Grant...Jerry Warriner
Ralph Bellamy...Daniel Leeson
Alexander D'Arcy...Armand Duvalle
Cecil Cunningham...Aunt Patsy
Molly Lamont...Barbara Vance
Esther Dale...Mrs. Leeson
Joyce Compton...Dixie Belle Lee
Robert Allen...Frank Randall
Robert Warwick...Mr. Vance
Mary Forbes...Mrs. Vance

Lobby Cards:

International Posters:

Directed by Leo McCarey.
Distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Running time: 89 minutes.

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