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Irene Dunne in "The Awful Truth"


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I think The Awful Truth is a perfect movie -- the structure, the script, the acting, the design. It amazes me everytime I see it.

 

Dunne did many comedies -- The Awful Truth, The Joy of Living, Theodora Goes Wild, Roberta (comic up to a point), Life with Father, etc. But I think her performance in the non-comic I Remember Mama is among her best -- so beautifully subtle. She plays that Norwegian American woman to perfection. If they ever remake that film (and they don't need to), Meryl Streep would be a natural.

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I think The Awful Truth is a perfect movie

 

Did you?

 

So the break at the cabin didn't bother you? No more Bellamy, no more Duvalle, no more Auntie, no more fiancee, all suddenly and conveniently dispatched without another word?

 

Who was watching poor Mr. Smith (was that Asta?) whom they were so fond of?

 

And what DID Grant and his friends do for a living? Man, those were some fancy digs.

 

 

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She surely did far more drama than comedy. I've seen "My Favorite Wife", which on paper should satisfy an "Awful Truth" fan, but I don't really care for it....

 

Speaking of the plot line of "Awful Truth".... so was Cary Grant in Florida or not? And if not, what was he doing? My wife thinks that he was in Florida, it was raining, so he wanted to get a tan so people wouldn't think he wasn't in Florida. I think he was fooling around, since he says, "what wives don't know won't hurt them"....

And yes, Mr Smith was played by Skippy, who also played Asta....

 

 

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This is Irene Dunne's movie, notwithstanding Cary Grant's fine effort. If there were an award for best performance in a comedy scene in any movie anywhere, it would go to her for the scene where she plays Cary Grant's sister to the room of stuffed shirts and skirts:

 

"I don't want to be rude, but could I trouble you for a drink?"

"Certainly."

"I had three or four before I got here, but they're beginning to wear off, and you know how that is."

 

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I watched this again yesterday and laughed all over again, it's such a fun movie! I agree, Irene Dunne really shines in this movie, I like it better than "My Favorite Wife."

 

I read online that the director of this movie is sort of credited with creating the famous Cary Grant "persona", the witty, sophisticated, funny, charming Cary we all know so well. And I think I read that this was Cary Grant's first role in a comedy? Is that true? He has such natural comedic timing, that scene where he falls out of the chair at the music concert is classic! :)

 

 

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AMC, huh? They couldn't write a review of Family Guy these days.

 

I guess AMC answered my question no one here knew the answer to - they exited out of the rich lifestyle, with no repurcussions whatsover. Neat trick if it were true, in reality lawyers would have been down their throats in a second and a half.

 

Oh well, that's why it's called a screwball comedy.

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> {quote:title=willbefree25 wrote:}{quote}

> So the break at the cabin didn't bother you? No more Bellamy, no more Duvalle, no more Auntie, no more fiancee, all suddenly and conveniently dispatched without another word?

 

It bothered me greatly. It was not so much that the others were absent as it was that this was a marvelous drawing-room comedy and the characters seemed truly out-of-place when dumped into that rustic setting.

 

It was wonderful for me up to that point. I can find no flaw in the ending and yet it is not satisfying and it seems as if it belongs in a different movie

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It bothered me greatly.

 

Thank you, SansFin. I asked about it on two threads with no response.

 

I can see your dislike, and although not the same as mine, it brought us to the same point - it seemed like it was a different movie. It was truly jarring and brought me right out of the story.

 

After reading the review on AMC, it also bothers me that Grant was intimated to have been an adulterer - wink, wink, what wives don't know won't hurt them - when a great deal had to be made of the fact that Dunne was not - the car DID break down, it really really DID break down. The more I think of this movie, the less I like it.

 

At least with My Favorite Wife, she was on a desert island, and she only had Randolph Scott, give the girl some pity. There was no insuation, smarmy wink wink or otherwise, of what Grant did for those seven years.

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Adultery in older movies and plays frequently portrayed the unfair fact that it was ok for a man but not a women. One of the few exceptions to that "rule" is Dietrich in Blonde Venus. Her husband -- Herbert Marshall -- can't forgive her for sleeping with Cary Grant until the end of the movie, after her many travails. And she only sleeps with Grant to get money for Marshall's medical treatment! Blonde Venus is a unique film in many ways.

 

I'm going to look at The Awful Truth again -- I didn't watch the whole think when it was on last week. It doesn't bother me that there is no visible source of income-earning. That, too, was a fact of the times. Many plays and films were simply about rich people and aristocrats. This was of course way before John Osborne!

 

 

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Due to the code, the adultery was left up in the air for the audience to decide. Dunne's music teacher was such a baffoon, I doubt many came to that conclusion. Grant was more iffy.........The basic premise was lack of trust, not the adultery............

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>At least with My Favorite Wife, she was on a desert island, and she only had Randolph Scott, give the girl some pity. There was no insuation, smarmy wink wink or otherwise, of what Grant did for those seven years.

 

Dunne was safer than Grant would have been on a deserted island with Randolph Scott! Makes you wonder if there was some kind of inside joke going on there. (or wasn't Hollywood aware of Scott's homosexuality?)

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I may have just been in a bad mood. I love and adore Grant, so I can't account for my nitpicking.

 

I wish I could pinpoint where the dialogue sounded straight out of a Marx Brothers movie, so listen for that, Swithin, it was fun.

 

You're right, of course. I loved George and Marion Kirby and their drop dead gorgeous Cord, and what did they do for a living? But how did Aunt Pattie afford that apartment? I want one!!! :D

 

I'll be curious to get your take on the break in mood towards the end. I should have been enjoying the heck out of it - the clock was a nice touch - rather than worrying about Dunne ruining a perfectly good car and who was babysitting Asta, um, Mr. Smith. I always tell Mr. willbefree that if he has peanut butter in his pocket, my dog will suddenly be his dog in a court of law!

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*So the break at the cabin didn't bother you? No more Bellamy, no more Duvalle, no more Auntie, no more fiancee, all suddenly and conveniently dispatched without another word?*

 

*Who was watching poor Mr. Smith (was that Asta?) whom they were so fond of?*

 

*And what DID Grant and his friends do for a living? Man, those were some fancy digs.*

 

Many late 30s comedies seemed to end in a rustic setting, for whatever reason.

 

It's implied that at the fiancée's family home, Dunne has wrecked Grant's chances there. Same with Bellamy and Duvalle inside/outside of Aunt Patty's apartment, when she give's Bellamy his diploma. Aunt Patty CAN"T be present at her cabin, otherwise the sexual tension will not play out.

 

Obviously, these are the idle rich that Depression era audiences fantasized about; everything about them and their surroundings was shorthand for same-no more explanation needed. Mr. Smith was with Aunt Patty at her home in the city, which is where Dunne lived. The non-working rich are still with us-Ask Mitt Romney sometime.

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*She surely did far more drama than comedy.*

 

Actually, once she got praise for her comedy playing, she did more of these than she did dramas.

 

*Speaking of the plot line of "Awful Truth".... so was Cary Grant in Florida or not? And if not, what was he doing? My wife thinks that he was in Florida, it was raining, so he wanted to get a tan so people wouldn't think he wasn't in Florida. I think he was fooling around, since he says, "what wives don't know won't hurt them"....*

 

Of course he wasn't in Florida. Remember, the fruit basket he supposedly brought back from there had an orange stamped "California". EVen he knew he was caught.

 

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> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}. Dunne's music teacher was such a baffoon,

FYI: He was played by Alex D'Arcy, who years later would play Gary in Horrors of Spider Island! (You are a mstie, aren't you?)

 

As a perfect example of how The Academy gets things stunningly wrong, someone should show a series of clips of Garbo in Camille, Stanwyck in Stella Dallas, then show Dunne's wonderful version of Gone With the Wind ( "woooo-oooo-ooooo, get it?") from The Awful Truth and then show the ultimate winner, Luise Rainer in any of her stilted, maudlin, heavily Viennese-accented scenes in The Good Earth- especially the one where she teaches her children how the beg in an *extra*-pathetic manner. "Oh puh-leese, *Kind Suh*, Alms! Alms! " to show what a bunch of dopes those guys who hand out the fancy doorstops have always been.

 

 

Dunne gave ther best performance by an actress that year, period.

 

 

(I know she's still alive and has a devoted legion of fans who worship her with Shirley Booth-like adoration, but to me Luise Rainer always looks like she's just been hit in the face with a frozen fish.)

 

 

ps- I've sadly never seen Valiant is the Word for Carrie, but j'adore Gladys George.

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JG, I agree with some of what you say, but not about Luise Rainer. I like her performances, particularly in Ziegfeld. I haven't seen The Good Earth, apart from clips.

 

There have been many arguments on this board about Oscar booboos. I love Irene Dunne in I Remember Mama and wondered why she didn't win for that film. Then I looked at the nominees: What a year! -- Jane Wyman, Irene Dunne, Ingrid Bergman, Barbara Stanwyck, and Olivia De Havilland, all for great performances. (Wyman won).

 

I have to admit -- don't throw stones at me -- that, although I love many of Barbara Stanwyck's films/performances, I don't think of her among, say, the top ten, or as Andrew Sarris might say, "The Pantheon." I know she's beloved here, and I like her jes' fine, but not as much as some. And I'm not a big Garbo fan, though I like a few of her films well enough.

 

But Gladys George! I think of her sitting at the bar in The Roaring Twenties, singing to Cagney, and at the end of that film. She gives one of the great, iconic performances. Is there any more memorable ending? She has one of the greatest final lines of all time: "He used to be a big shot."

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qshH9x1H2I

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