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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 ...