Saturday, November 13, 2021

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

Released today back in 1947, The Bishop's Wife was Cary Grant's 51st full length feature film.


Newly appointed Bishop, Henry Brougham (David Niven) is having a difficult time raising funds for a new cathedral. His wife, Julia (Loretta Young), misses their old neighborhood in a poor part of town, while he is stressed and preoccupied with his new duties.

 His prayers are answered when an angel, Dudley (Cary Grant), suddenly appears in his study and tells him that he's there as his assistant until no longer needed. Dudley keeps Julia company while Henry attends to church business and becomes increasingly stressed at having to compromise his principles in order to please a prospective benefactor.  Dudley has his own way of getting her cooperation. As Christmas arrives, Dudley spins his charms ensuring a happy Christmas for everyone, particularly Julia and Henry.


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
Erville Alderson...Stevens
Robert J. Anderson...Defense Captain (as Bobby Anderson)
Teddy Infuhr...Attack Captain
Eugene Borden...Michel
Almira Sessions...First Lady in Michel's
Claire Du Brey...Second Lady (as Claire DuBrey)
Florence Auer...Third Lady
Margaret Wells...Hat Shop proprietress
Kitty O'Neil...Hat Shop customer (as Kitty O'Neill)
Isabel Jewell...Hysterical Mother
David Leonard...Blind Man
Dorothy Vaughan...Delia
Edgar Dearing...Policeman
The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir...Vocal Ensemble (as The Mitchell Boychoir)

Did You Know?

After two weeks of shooting Sam Goldwyn hated the early rushes, fired the original director, William A. Seiter, hired Henry Koster, scrapped the script, ordered all the sets to be completely altered and started all over again at a cost said to be $900,000.  

Originally Cary Grant played the bishop and David Niven the angel. When Henry Koster replaced William A. Seiter and viewed what had been shot so far, he realized that the two were in the wrong roles. It took some convincing because Grant wanted the title role of the Bishop. He eventually accepted the change and his role as the angel was one of the most widely praised of his career.  Teresa Wright was playing the bishop's wife in the William A. Seiter version but she was not recast as she was then pregnant. 


Dudley: Well, if you had sent me to represent you with Mrs. Hamilton, I would've gone. You didn't. So I represented you with your wife.
Henry Brougham: Is that part of the normal duties of a... of an angel?
Dudley: Sometimes, Henry, angels must rush in where fools fear to tread.
Henry Brougham: I haven't the faintest idea what that means. I don't want it explained to me.

Henry Brougham: I was praying for a cathedral.
Dudley: No, Henry. You were praying for guidance.

Dudley: Supposing I told you I came from another planet. Would you believe me?
Prof. Wutheridge: I don't know.
Julia Brougham: I'd believe you, Dudley.
Dudley: And you'd be right, Julia, as always. We all come from our own little planets. That's why we're all different. That's what makes life interesting.

Dudley: The world changes, but two things remain constant... Youth and Beauty. They're really one in the same thing.
Julia Brougham: Yes. The trouble is, people grow old.
Dudley: Not everybody. The only people who grow old were born old to begin with.

Henry Brougham: Are you expecting a letter?
Dudley: Oh, one never knows. But if I should get one, the stamp will be worth saving.

Julia Brougham: Oh Dudley, I never know when you are joking or serious.
Dudley: I'm at my most serious when I'm joking.

Henry Brougham: Dudley, if we should need you again, will you come back?
Dudley: Not I. I shall ask to be assigned to the other end of the Universe.
Henry Brougham: Is that because I was so difficult?
Dudley: Oh, no. This difficulty was in me. When an Immortal finds himself envying the Mortal he is entrusted to his care, it's a danger signal. Take her in your arms and hold her tight.
Dudley: Kiss her for me, you lucky Henry!

Lobby Cards and Posters:

Directed by Henry Koster.
Based on the novel by Robert Nathan.
Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Productions.
Running time: 105 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

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