Friday, November 13, 2020

On This Day...The Bishop's Wife(1947)

On this day, in 1947, The Bishop's Wife was released, and was Cary Grant's 51st full length feature film.


An Episcopal Bishop, Henry Brougham (David Niven), has been working for months on the plans for an elaborate new cathedral which he hopes will be paid for primarily by a wealthy, stubborn widow. He is losing sight of his family and of why he became a churchman in the first place.

 Enter Dudley (Cary Grant), an angel sent to help him. Dudley does help everyone he meets, but not necessarily in the way they would have preferred. With the exception of Henry, everyone loves him, but Henry begins to believe that Dudley is there to replace him, both at work and in his family's affections, as Christmas approaches.

Official Trailer Non-Trailer!!!!

With David Niven.

"But it is Cary Grant's playing that rescues the role of the angel named Dudley from the ultimate peril of coyness.  With nothing more than a beaming countenance and an air of relaxation that is certainly not of this world, he achieves a celestial manner without so much as a hint of wings on his dark blue suit.  An expert cast is on hand to show by reflection what Cary Grant has refrained from making irksomely explicit.  David Niven's prelate is a wistful and absent-minded character who is scarcely a match for Dudley.  As the Bishop's wife, Loretta Young is sufficiently lovely to make even an angel fall; and in lesser roles Monty Woolley, James Gleason and Elsa Lanchester react to Dudley's miraculous passage with characteristic gaiety." - Hermine Rich Isaacs, Theatre Arts Magazine.

With Monty Woolley.

"After a talky start, Director Henry Koster weaves a picture that is at times quite lovely; and in the skating scene it gets as close to poetry as movies ever do.  The argument bogs down occasionally and can hardly be considered orthodox.  But as a sophisticated Christmas carol, The Bishop's Wife comes through nicely and should please adults who like their movies off the beaten track." - Philip T Hartung, Commonweal.

With David Niven and Loretta Young.

Did You Know?

Over Cary Grant's protests, a skating double wearing a mask with Grant's features was used in the long shots of the complex skating routine. A skating double was also used for Loretta Young on all long shots.

In Britain the film was selected for that year's Royal Command Film Performance screening. Princess Margaret and her sister, Queen Elizabeth, both attended the screening of 'The Bishop's Wife' on November 25 at the Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square. According to David Niven, "The audience loved every second of it, and the Queen and Princess Margaret told me afterwards and at great length how much they had enjoyed it." Although most of the critics at the time sneered when it was released in time for Christmas 1947, the public audiences loved it as well.

One scene shows Cary Grant and Loretta Young in a conversation. Director Henry Koster staged this with the two facing each other, but both complained that this showed the "wrong" side of their faces. In order to show the "right" side, they both had to be looking screen left, which made a face-to-face talk impossible to film. Koster had a window set piece brought in, and he filmed it from outside, with both looking out in the same direction, Grant behind Young. The next day, producer Samuel Goldwyn visited the set after seeing dailies and berated Koster for shooting the scene in that manner. Koster replied by asking Young and Grant to explain why the scene was shot that way. After both told Goldwyn about the "right" and "wrong" sides of their faces, Goldwyn said "Look, if I'm only getting half a face, you're only getting half a salary!" and stormed off the set. The subject of "right" and "wrong" sides never came up again.

With Loretta Young.


 Cary Grant ... Dudley
 Loretta Young ... Julia Brougham
 David Niven ... Henry Brougham
 Monty Woolley ... Professor Wutheridge
 James Gleason ... Sylvester
 Gladys Cooper ... Mrs. Hamilton
 Elsa Lanchester ... Matilda
 Sara Haden ... Mildred Cassaway
 Karolyn Grimes ... Debby Brougham
 Tito Vuolo ... Maggenti
 Regis Toomey ... Mr. Miller
 Sarah Edwards ... Mrs. Duffy
 Margaret McWade ... Miss Trumbull
 Anne O'Neal ... Mrs. Ward (as Ann O'Neal)
 Ben Erway ... Mr. Perry

Lobby Cards:

International Artwork:

"Hate Whoever Thinks Badly About It" - Translation.

Directed by Henry Koster.
Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Productions.
Running time: 105 minutes.

With Loretta Young and David Niven.

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