Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel

THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937). By Leo McCarey. Arguably his best film, or at least his best comedy. Definitely one of the all-ti best screwball pictures as well as a gem in the sub-genre of remarriage movies, where a couple divorces or is about to, but gets back together.

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, wrongly suspecting each other of infidelity, must wait 90 days before their divorce becomes final, but they are continually drawn together. Grant gets involved with old flame Joyce Compton, a dim, low-class, vivacious nightclub warbler,while Dunne becomes engaged to a Texas oil millionaire, hayseed Ralph Bellamy. The divorce (or reconciliation) date grows near, and while Grant is winning back his wife he also gets engaged to New York socialite Molly Lamont, which sets Dunne on a "reconquista." The principals are perfect in their battle of the sexes, their ploys to undo one another's temporary attachments, their embarrassments.

The film has an extremely well calculated succession of details, outrageous situations that happen or are created, gags, repartees, double-entendres, snide remarks, quips, three-way dialogues, barbs, etc.etc.Great pacing, an excellent marriage of script, dialogue, acting and filming. Bellamy, an overgrown Mama's boy ("Oh, Maw!') who falls for Dunne, is snobbishly, cruelly yet most funnily put down along with his mater. Other supporting roles are also cleverly satirized and only the couple's dog (the ironical correlative of a baby in custody fights) comes out unscathed. The movie received six Oscar nominations and won for McCarey as Best Director.

It also advanced enormously the careers of Grant and Dunne. Dunne was known mostly for her "serious" and dramatic roles. She had her first truly comic role the year before in "Theodora Goes Wild," (she was Oscar-nominated) but it is the even better "The Awful Truth" that clinched things and made her a star and a top comedienne. (Edwin Jahiel)