Friday, February 19, 2010

111. The Awful Truth (1937)

Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed By: Leo McCarey
Written By: Vina Delmar, from play by Arthur Richman
Main Cast: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D'Arcy, Cecil Cunningham

Sidenote: I watched "The Crowd" last night (1928 - King Vidor), one that I previously skipped and aired last night on TCM. The review has been posted and can be found here


I'll have to agree with Leo McCarey's sentiments when he accepted his Best Director Oscar for "The Awful Truth", as he said: "Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture", referring to his previous film "Make Way for Tomorrow". This is one of the few films that I've watched thus far in the book, where my high hopes for their greatness fell flat on their face.

When Jerry Warriner (Grant) returns home from, what was supposed to be a trip to Florida, he finds, to his surprise, that his wife is out. In actuality, Jerry never went to Florida and we never find out for sure what he did do or where he did go. When his wife, Lucy (Dunne) returns home, moments after he does, he finds her followed by her music teacher, Armand Duvalle and he immediately smells affair. Their excuse is that they went out the previous night and the car broke down, and they were forced to spend the night at an inn. This is an excuse which Jerry doesn't believe for a minute. However, Lucy soon uncovers that Jerry never went to Florida and the two think the worst of the other one, and accusations of affairs and hidden truths are soon thrown out. The couple decide to divorce, seeing as how their trust in one another has been shattered.

From here, the movie takes a series of pointless turns, as Lucy finds herself being courted by southern boy, Dan (Bellamy, in one of the few great things about this movie). Jerry follows them around and always seems to pop up and be a smart ass toward the couple. At about the halfway mark of the film, Lucy gets sick of Dan and realizes that she still holds a flame for Jerry, who is now courting a gal of his own, a snobby heiress type named Barbara Vance. The tables are now turned with Lucy showing up when she's not wanted and spoiling the plans of Jerry and Barbara. It all winds down to the final thirty minutes, before the couples divorce is to be finalized and they find themselves in a car together, being chased by the police, for a loud radio that won't turn off, due to a broken knob.

This movie has a massive amount of potential and had a great cast all lined up and ready to deliver a fantastic comedy, with Leo McCarey at the helm. It starts out pretty basic, a divorce, one that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, in a scene that plays out as though it was jotted down on a napkin over lunch, but a divorce nonetheless. Then it all begins to go downhill, as nothing happens. I was literally waiting for the proverbial shoe to fall and for the movie to continue it's at an average pacing, but absolutely nothing happens. Dan is introduced, and Bellamy plays him so well, but he's really not needed and the character really feels out of place, like a third wheel, so to speak. It's just a big jumbled mess in my opinion, that didn't come off as particularly funny at all and seemed to be all thrown together on the fly. I was HIGHLY disappointed in this film, as I really thought it'd deliver the goods, but all that it delivered to me was a big mess of a film.

RATING: 4/10 I gave it a few notches for the performances, which were good and seemed to be lost in a bad movie.

NEXT UP: Pepe Le Moko...Number 101 has finally arrived and when this is watched we'll be 1/10 of the way finished with our journey. Review to come tomorrow.

February 19, 2010 5:58pm


  1. I have to say I completely disagree with your review. This is one of my favorite comedies and I think it definitely deserves it's acclaim. It's meant to be ridiculous. It's about two characters who divorce on a lark (because of issues of trust) but they realize the real truth (through all their schemes to ruin the other's romance) how much they really love each other.

    As for nothing's a comedy it's filled with funny scene after funny scene. Each scene only further proves the point that Jerry & Lucy are perfect for one another.

  2. Well that's what makes movie watchers so diverse, the fact that one person can recognize greatness, while the other just doesn't see it. I respect your opinion and I'm glad you made them clear here in comment form. I hope my review of "The Awful Truth" doesn't turn you off to my reviews entirely, as I'm always looking for fresh opinions and I love hearing from people who are kind enough to take some time out and read what I wrote.

    I just didn't find the movie funny at all. I mean, sure there are some funny moments, if there weren't then it probably wouldn't have gotten a '4', but I certainly don't get all the hype that surrounds it and to me is was just a big jumbled mess. That's just one man's opinion though. I've seen better films in the book, better comedies and even better movies from Leo McCarey.

    But, again, I do thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. Well they say comedy is very subjective but for me there is barely a scene in this film that doesn't make me laugh.

    But of course I am not going to hold it against you or your blog for not liking the film. Everyone has different opinions. I just had to come in and defend the film in case someone else is reading who hasn't seen it yet. :)

    On another note I would probably comment more if you fix your RSS feed. Right now it links to Twitter so I can't add your blog to my RSS reader.

  4. Hmm I didn't even remember that I had it linked to Twitter. I went into settings and deleted the Twitter URL, so hopefully that helps. Sorry, but I'm not the most knowledgeable person about the RSS Reader.

  5. Yes it worked! Thank You :)

    It's just easier to follow blogs through RSS because it reminds you when a new post comes up and you don't have to keep checking.

  6. Awesome. Glad that worked, and I'll look forward to further comments. Thank you.

  7. I'm not a big fan of this either(& I love Cary Grant & screwball comedies - Dunne & Grant are much better in My Favorite Wife)

  8. My Favorite Wife is on TCM tomorrow

  9. Maybe I'll record it or something, or catch it when it airs, if I'm around. Thanks for the suggestion!


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