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The Awful Truth

1937 motion picture starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne

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Classic screwball!

  • Jun 11, 2011
  • by
Both Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant) and his wife Lucy (Irene Dunn) are convinced that their spouse is cheating on them. And with very good reason. Looks like their marriage is on the rocks and the couple files for divorce. The decree will become official in 90 short days.  In the meantime both Jerry and Lucy get engaged to other people.   Jerry gets hooked up with heiress Barbara Vance (Molly Lamont) while Lucy manages to get mixed up with a mama's boy oil man from Oklahoma named Dan Leeson (Ralph Bellamy).  Yet despite these goings on something is gnawing at both Jerry and Lucy.  Seems that the prospect of a divorce has made each of them realize that they just can't live without the other after all.  But neither will come out and admit it.  Instead they go about trying to sabotage each others relationship with positively hilarious results.  For me the highlight of this film is when Lucy crashes a party at the home of Jerry's new fiancee posing as his sister.  The interaction between Grant and Dunne in this scene is positively priceless.  

Many consider "The Awful Truth" to be the best of the so-called "screwball" comedies that Cary Grant appeared in.  Personally, I prefer both "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "My Favorite Wife" to this one but "The Awful Truth" is a highly enjoyable flick as well.  Leo McCarey won the Academy Award for Best Director in 1937 for this film.  Definitely worth seeing!     Highly recommended!
Classic screwball! Classic screwball! Classic screwball! Classic screwball!

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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this movie


The Awful Truth is a 1937 screwball comedy film starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The plot concerns the machinations of a soon-to-be-divorced couple, played by Dunne and Grant, who go to great lengths to try to ruin each other's romantic escapades. The movie was directed by Leo McCarey, who won the Academy Award for Best Director. It was written by Sidney Buchman (uncredited) and Viña Delmar from the play by Arthur Richman.

The Awful Truth marked the first appearance of the uniquely effective light comedy persona used by Cary Grant in almost all his subsequent films, catapulting Grant's career. Writer/director Peter Bogdanovich has noted that after this movie, when it came to light comedy, "there was Cary Grant and everyone else was an also-ran." McCarey is largely credited with concocting this persona, and the two men even shared an eerie physical resemblance.

Ironically, Grant fought hard to get out of the film during its shooting, since McCarey seemed to be improvising as he went along, and initially even wanted to switch roles with co-star Ralph Bellamy. Although this led to hard feelings, it didn't prevent another McCarey-Grant collaboration, An Affair to Remember, from being produced decades later.

The film is one of a series of what the philosopher Stanley Cavell calls "comedies of remarriage", where couples who have once been married, or are on the verge of divorce, etc., rediscover that they are in love with each other, and recommit to ...

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"Classic screwball!"
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