Thursday, October 21, 2021

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

On today's date back in 1937, Cary Grant's 29th full length feature film, The Awful Truth, was released. 


Before their divorce is finalised, Jerry and Lucy Warriner (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) both do their best to come up with strategies to ruin each other's plans for remarriage.


Irene Dunne...Lucy Warriner
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

Did You Know?

Much of the film was improvised by director Leo McCarey and the cast during filming each day.  

Cary Grant quickly became an accomplished improvisational actor during the shoot. He ad-libbed with such speed and composure that his co-stars often "broke character."

Irene Dunne later recalled the scene where she pretends to be Cary Grant's ill-bred nightclub performer sister, which was written over a weekend and handed to her on the morning she was scheduled to film it. She was supposed to do a burlesque bump in the middle of her musical number, a move she was never able to do. Leo McCarey told her to just say, "Never could do that" when she got to that moment. She did, it stayed in the film, and Dunne found it "a choice comic bit."

The dog playing Mr. Smith was named Skippy, and was most popular for its role in The Thin Man (1934) movie and its sequels, as Asta. During production, the human cast was forced to take several unscheduled days of vacation in late July 1937 because Skippy was booked on another film.

Irene Dunne had never met Cary Grant before, but she later recalled that they "just worked from the first moment" and called Grant a very generous actor. Grant, in turn, said, "we just clicked." Dunne so trusted his comedy judgment that she would often turn to him after a take and ask in a whisper, "Funny?"

At the party at the home of Cary Grant's fiance, Irene Dunne says they called him Jerry the Nipper because he liked to drink. In "Bringing Up Baby", which came out the next year, Katharine Hepburn refers to him as a mobster called Jerry the Nipper when talking to the constable.


'Dan' Leeson: Glad to know you.
Jerry Warriner: Well, how can you be glad to know me? I know how I'd feel if I was sitting with a girl and her husband walked in.
Lucy Warriner: I'll bet you do.

Jerry Warriner: In a half an hour, we'll no longer be Mr. and Mrs.... Funny, isn't it?
Lucy Warriner: Yes, it's funny that everything's the way it is on account of the way you feel.
Jerry Warriner: Huh?
Lucy Warriner: Well, what I mean is, if you didn't feel the way you do, things wouldn't be the way they are, would they? I mean, things could be the same if things were different.
Jerry Warriner: But things are the way you made them.
Lucy Warriner: Oh, no. No, things are the way you think I made them. I didn't make them that way at all. Things are just the same as they always were, only, you're the same as you were, too, so I guess things will never be the same again.

Jerry Warriner: What do we drink to?
Lucy Warriner: Well, let's drink to our future. Here's hoping you and Barbara will be very happy, which I doubt very much.
Jerry Warriner: No, let's drink to your happiness with Buffalo Bill, which doesn't even make sense.

Lucy Warriner: We call him Jerry the Nipper
[Lucy is attempting to embarrass Jerry as a habitual drinker in front of his new girlfriend and her upper-class family. Katherine Hepburn refers to Cary Grant with this epithet in 'Bringing Up Baby' whereupon Grant retorts 'Constable she's making all this up out of motion pictures she's seen']

Jerry Warriner: [to Barbara Vance on the phone] Naturally she's anxious to meet you, too, but...
Lucy Warriner: Yes, tell her I'd love to meet her. Tell her to wear boxing gloves.

Lucy's Attorney: [a late middle-aged man answers the telephone] Hello! Hello, Lucy. What's that? Divorce? You and Jerry? Now, now, Lucy. Don't do anything in haste that you might regret later. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and you...

Celeste: Why can't she call you back, after we've finished eating?
Lucy's Attorney: [Turns toward his wife] Please be quiet, will you?...
[Turns back toward the phone]
Lucy's Attorney: You seem agitated, Lucy. Try and calm yourself. I hate to see you take any hasty action in a matter like this. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and you...
Celeste: Why don't you finish your meal? Why can't they call you back later?
Lucy's Attorney: [Turns toward his wife] Will you shut your mouth?
[Turns back toward phone]
Lucy's Attorney: As I was saying, Lucy, marriage is a beautiful thing. And when you've been married as long as I have, you'll appreciate it too.
Celeste: Your food is getting ice cold. You're always complaining about your food. How do you expect me...
Lucy's Attorney: [Turn to his wife] Will you shut your big mouth? I'll eat when I get good and ready, and if you don't like it, you know what you can do. So shut up.
[Turns back toward phone]
Lucy's Attorney: Lucy, darling, marriage is a beautiful thing.

 Posters :

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

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

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