The Awful Truth

From 1937 (available to rent on Prime Video), this screwball comedy stars Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as a rich New York married couple who suspect each other of infidelity. The awful truth is that they really do love each other, find it difficult to let go and do happily reunite just before the divorce is finalized at the stroke of midnight (final scene). We stumbled upon this early Cary Grant film while reading the “Movie Palace Mysteries” series.  As fans of Grant, we thought we had seen most of his films; however, this one clearly escaped us.  Nominated for six Academy Awards, the film showcases Grant’s comedic skills in his early days as an emerging box office star. A quite attractive Dunne (and some critics would say under-recognized for never having won an Oscar) matches Grant’s comedic skill scene for scene. The plot revolves around Jerry Warriner (Grant) and Lucy Warriner (Dunn) and their mutual suspicion that they are having affairs – Jerry with Barbara Vance (Molly Lamont) and Lucy with Armand Duvalle (Alex D’Arcy).  This leads to divorce proceedings in which the judge rules the divorce will be final in 90 days (and, also rules Lucy will have custody of their dog; nice twist because it gives Jerry visitation rights and the opportunity to meddle in Lucy’s supposed affair!).  The lion’s share of the film focuses on each other’s attempts (some quite comedic) to undermine their respective love affairs only to find, in the end, that they still love each other and reunite.  This 90-minute film moves along quickly, is quite amusing and does provide a look back into the type of escapism from social and economic depression that Hollywood studios pitched to its audiences.  Grant, Dunne, and other players turn in solid performances; and the adaptation of the 1923 play (same title, by Arthur Richman) is another reason for its Academy recognition.  We give it a Worth the Search rating.

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