Friday, December 20, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Films: The Bishop's Wife {7}

Next up on my list is The Bishop's Wife, a 1947 film starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. This is a film that always ends up being better than I remember it being. Does that make sense? I don't exactly get super-excited about watching The Bishop's Wife every year, but I still watch it, and I enjoy it more than I expect to. :)'s Cary Grant playing an angel in a Christmas movie! What more could you want?

Here's the story: David Niven's character, a bishop, is struggling to get funding for a fancy new cathedral. He prays for guidance, and that's when an angel (Cary Grant) appears. But the bishop soon realizes that the angel isn't there specifically to help him get the cathedral built. Instead, he's spending time with the bishop's family and friends, who have been neglected during the cathedral campaign. Especially his wife (Loretta Young). There's a bit more to the story, but I don't want to spoil things. :)

This really is a sweet movie. It's supposedly a romantic comedy, but I don't really know if it that's the case. It does have funny moments, in a quiet sort of way, but it's not particularly hilarious. Anyway, I have to say that this is probably the most religious Christmas movie I've seen. I know I shouldn't be surprised that a Christmas movie is "religious," but most of them aren't. It reminds me of It's a Wonderful Life in little ways...maybe because they both include angels (angels with very un-elegant names: Dudley and Clarence) and mysterious miracles.

The cast is fine. There are some familiar faces among the supporting characters: the cab driver, the bishop's secretary, and the maid. But for me, none of the cast really stands out except Cary Grant (he usually does :). David Niven is fine, but his character isn't exactly the most likable for most of the story. And to be honest, I can never watch Loretta Young in anything without constantly thinking about the whole scandal about the child she had with Clark Gable (it's all so ridiculous and deceiving- though apparently most people weren't deceived when it happened- that it seems more like something out of a book than real life).

By the way, probably another reason why this film sometimes reminds me of It's a Wonderful Life is because there are two child actors who are have roles in both of them. Young George Bailey and Zuzu are both in The Bishop's Wife.

I don't really have favorite scenes in this movie. But I do love how charismatic Dudley the angel is and how everyone loves him. It makes me smile how all of the ladies in the house are drawn to him and how a couple of them start wearing flowers in their hair. :)

But if I had to pick a favorite scene, it would probably be the ice skating scene. The Bishop's Wife is worth watching solely for the ice skating scene, and not because it's wonderful or magical or sweet or sad or because the acting is great. It's because it is so hilariously awful. Supposedly Cary Grant and Loretta Young's characters are skating together, and then he breaks loose and does all of these crazy ice skating stunts and such. But the best part is that the stunt double (who was apparently a champion ice skater) looks nothing at all like Cary Grant. He's practically a foot or two shorter, and he has these exceptionally thick, dark eyebrows that you can see even from a distance (the camera doesn't get very close, but it's still obvious that it's a stunt double). They've tried to make his hair look like Cary Grant's, but he so clearly not Cary Grant that it's hilarious.

As with Miracle on 34th Street, The Bishop's Wife is not my favorite Christmas movie by any means. But it's cute and I still like it enough to watch it every year. :) To be honest, my favorite thing about this movie is Cary Grant. Of course.

Have you seen The Bishop's Wife? Did you also find the ice skating scene hilarious and distracting?

1 comment:

  1. That makes perfect sense, since it's exactly how I feel about this film. I don't super excited and really look forward to watching it, but when I do watch it, I love it! :)


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