Classic Movie Impressions. Spring of Cary: The Awful Truth

“What wives don’t know won’t hurt them.” That’s what Cary Grant as Jerry Warriner says in the beginning of The Awful Truth, the second movie that Erin of Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I are watching for our Spring of Cary.

Now, last week I was a bit of a downer when I shared some of Cary’s personal life and the tension while filming Houseboat because of his affair with Sofia Loren. I will do my best this week to not be a downer! Ha!

This is a fun, silly movie so I will be able to keep things pretty light in this post. Lucky for all of you. *wink*

So, back to the storyline of the movie, which was released in 1937.

Here is a description on IMBd: Before their divorce becomes final, Jerry and Lucy Warriner both do their best to ruin each other’s plans for remarriage, Jerry to haughty socialite Barbara Vance, she to oil-rich bumpkin Daniel Leeson. Among their strategies: Jerry’s court-decreed visitation rights with Mr. Smith, their pet fox terrier, and Lucy doing her most flamboyant Dixie Belle Lee impersonation as Jerry’s brassy “sister” before his prospective bride’s scandalized family.

We start the movie out with Jerry trying to find a way to look tan so Lucy believes he was really in Florida. Not sure where he was for two weeks, but it apparently was not in Florida. We never really find the truth about that particular story.

Jerry goes home to his wife and finds out she isn’t home either. So, where has she been?

Jerry’s wife, portrayed by Irene Dunn, has secrets of her own, though they may not be quite as nefarious as Jerry’s – or are they? It’s never completely clear who is sneaking around on who in the beginning of the movie.

Eventually, it is clear that both of them are somewhat running around on their spouses, though maybe not full-blown affairs. They are, however, hanging around the opposite sex who are not their spouse.

In fact, both spouses are trying to pull the wool over each other’s eyes.

They’ve grown apart in a way and maybe have grown bored with each other so they are both living their own lives in a way and just when they decide they should officially live their lives apart by filing for divorce, they find there is still something between them they’re not ready to let go of just yet.

All it takes is a bit of jealousy to be stirred up when Lucy starts seeing another man, even before the divorce is final (gasp). From there the misunderstandings, mix-ups, and silliness kicks off and never slows down.

There are so many laugh-out-loud moments. One that stands out for me is Lucy’s call with her lawyer who is trying to talk to her about the beauty of marriage while his wife nags him in the background and he says to her, “Please shut your mouth” and then progresses to, “You shut your mouth! I’ll eat dinner when I want to!”

Irene and Cary are great together – tossing barbs back and forth fast and furious like the ball in a tennis match at Wimbleton.

They made three movies together: this one, Penny Serenade, and My Favorite Wife.

I have My Favorite Wife on our list to watch next week.

According to articles online, there were many parts of the movie that were adlibbed, which added even more to the charm of the movie for me.

The film was directed by Leo McCarey and you can read more about him HERE

According to an article on (McCarey’s) claims to greatness, reaching far back into silent film, include Laurel and Hardy two-reelers; the Marx Brothers comedy Duck Soup (1933); a beloved melodrama that, astonishingly, he wrote and directed twice—as Love Affair in 1939 and, in 1957, as An Affair to Remember; and two surprise blockbusters, Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), gentle Catholic comedies starring Bing Crosby that reflect McCarey’s own devout Catholicism and feeling for the workings of divine providence.”

I have An Affair to Remember on our list for April 27th and I just added The Bells of St. Mary’s to my personal list to watch.

According to Wikipedia, the movie is based on a play of the same name written by Arthur Richman. It was also made into a radio theater program with Lux Radio Theater with Cary and Claudette Colbert in 1939. I’ve listened to the Lux Radio productions before and really enjoyed them. There was one of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House with Cary and Myrna Lloyd, who were the leads in the movie version as well and that one was superb.

The same article details that the actors at first struggled immensely with McCarey’s freestyle method of directing. They were not provided with a script or much direction, which infuriated Cary who was used to having set scripts and assembly-line type movies with Paramount. He tried to get out of the movie several times, which irked McCarey and he allegedly held a grudge against the actor for decades over that move.

Despite the rocky start, though, the actors eventually determined that McCarey was a comic genius and looked back on the experience fondly, remembering how hard they laughed each day.

The whole article, which details the process of filming and the improvisation on the set is very interesting. If you want to read more of it, you can do so here:

To read Erin’s impressions of The Awful Truth, well…she doesn’t have one this week so check out her blog next week. *ahahaaaaha* She told me she didn’t have one after I put mine up.

Our remaining schedule for the Spring of Cary:

My Favorite Wife (April 20th)

An Affair To Remember (April 27)

Holiday (May 4)

Operation Petticoat (May 11)

Suspicion (May 18)

Notorious (May 25)

5 thoughts on “Classic Movie Impressions. Spring of Cary: The Awful Truth

  1. Pingback: Sunday Bookends: Slogging through a couple of books, warmer weather, and old TV shows | Boondock Ramblings

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