I Was a Male War Bride

I Was a Male War Bride

3.5 4
Director: Howard Hawks

Cast: Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan, Randy Stuart

     
 

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Howard Hawks' I Was a Male War Bride (1949) never made it onto laserdisc, despite being one of the director's best postwar comedies. It has been released on DVD, however, in a handsome, mid-priced edition that comes with a decent helping of visual extras -- not just the original trailer (and those of a handful of additional Cary Grant movies), but also raw,See more details below

Overview

Howard Hawks' I Was a Male War Bride (1949) never made it onto laserdisc, despite being one of the director's best postwar comedies. It has been released on DVD, however, in a handsome, mid-priced edition that comes with a decent helping of visual extras -- not just the original trailer (and those of a handful of additional Cary Grant movies), but also raw, unused, behind-the-scenes newsreel-type footage of the shoot and Hawks at work with Ann Sheridan, et al., and film of the movie's premiere in Heidelberg. The movie itself was a very improbable success for a comedy, set against the bleak, chaotic background of Allied-occupied, postwar Germany. (George Seaton did The Big Lift in the same setting a year later and it was a more natural fit as a multi-layered drama.) Yet Hawks and company managed to pull it off, mostly because of the interplay between Grant and Sheridan and the sheer ridiculousness of the plot (anticipating Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot), with Grant spending much of his screen time disguised as a woman in uniform. The verisimilitude of the location shooting also helps, giving the movie an edgy immediacy that makes the comedy more bracing and effective. (Ironically, Hawks' shooting of this film on location caused him to leave the final cutting of his prior movie, the Western Red River (1948), in the hands of editor Christian Nyby, which compromised the integrity of that film for decades.) The full-frame (1.33:1) transfer of the black-and-white War Brideis beautiful, the source apparently in stone-mint condition, and the audio is crystal clear and mastered at a decent volume level. The movie is good enough and important enough in Hawks' and Grant's outputs that it should have been included in Fox's "Studio Classics" series, complete with audio commentary, but this release will suffice for most viewers. The 105-minute movie has been encoded with an extremely generous and well-chosen 32 chapters, and opens on a simple two-layer menu that is very easy to maneuver.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
I Was a Male War Bride doesn't reach the zany heights of earlier Cary Grant-Howard Hawks entries such as His Girl Friday, but that's hardly cause for complaint -- hardly anything is quite as good as the classic Friday. Bride is a thoroughly enjoyable, sometimes hilarious romantic comedy; it's just that the laughs don't come non-stop as they do in the very best of Hawks' work. Bride is a bit gentler -- and, it must be admitted, in the first half ever so slightly dull, as the film concentrates a bit too much on the on-location scenery and not on shifting the comedy into high gear. Once Bride gets going, though, the earlier bumps are easily forgiven. For his part, Grant is in top form, demonstrating once again what an invaluable farceur he was, and how irreplaceable he is in so many of his films. His co-star, Ann Sheridan, doesn't quite rise to his level, but she does do much more than adequately and in a number of moments truly shines. One does wish that there was a tiny bit more chemistry between the stars; it's definitely there, but it just falls a little short of being as natural and unforced as one desires. It's also a bit of a drawback that Hawks and his writers didn't set some of Sheridan's material up in a more sympathetic light, as Gates comes across as slightly mean toward Rochard at times -- and unnecessarily so. Still, these are small complaints and they don't keep Bride from being breezy, enjoyable and appealing.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2004
UPC:
0024543102625
Original Release:
1949
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:45:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Theatrical trailer; Silent, behind-the-scenes documentary

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant Capt. Henri Rochard
Ann Sheridan Lt. Catherine Gates
Randy Stuart Mae
William Neff Capt. Jack Rumsey
Eugene Gericke Tony Jewitt
Kenneth Tobey Seaman
Ruben Wendorf Innkeeper's Assistant
Lester Sharpe Waiter
John Whitney Trumble
Robert Stevenson Lieutenant
Alfred Linder Bartender
David McMahon Chaplain
Joe Haworth Shore Patrol
André Charlot French Minister
Russ Conway Cmdr. Willis
Alex Gerry Waiter
Paul Hardtmuth Burgomeister
Gil Herman Naval Officer
Arthur Hill Actor
Carl Jaffe Jail Officer
Lily Kann Innkeeper's Wife
Harry Lauter Lieutenant
Mike Mahoney Sailor
William McLean Expectant GI
Martin Miller Schindler
William Murphy Sergeant
Barbara Perry Tall WAC
William Pullen Sergeant
Otto Reichow Actor
Bill Self Sergeant
John Serret French Notary
William Yetter German Policeman
John Zilly Shore Patrol
Kay Young Maj. Prendergast

Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director
Osmond H. Borradaile Cinematographer
Norbert F. Brodin Cinematographer
James B. Clark Editor
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Albert Hogsett Art Director
Charles Lederer Screenwriter
George Leverett Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Cyril Mockridge Score Composer
Lionel Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Sol C. Siegel Producer
Leonard Spigelgass Screenwriter
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Hagar Wilde Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [1:56]
2. The Way to Heidelberg [3:05]
3. Goodbye, Lt. Gates [1:34]
4. Gates Help Out [2:10]
5. She's Your Man [6:05]
6. Motorbike Buddies [1:42]
7. Henri Gets High [1:33]
8. Stright Down the River [1:15]
9. Trying to Be Friendly [3:47]
10. Lost [2:42]
11. Liquor & Liniment [3:16]
12. Roommates [3:04]
13. Henri's Disguise [1:06]
14. The Floor Show [7:33]
15. Meet Mr. Schindler [1:39]
16. Saying Something Nice [2:28]
17. Love in a Haystack [:16]
18. Red Tape [2:51]
19. Getting Anxious [3:14]
20. Three Ceremonies [4:16]
21. A Lot Married [2:28]
22. Back to Heidelberg [1:17]
23. No Place to Stay [3:01]
24. Section 271 [2:29]
25. Female Trouble [1:44]
26. The War Bride [1:57]
27. No Bed for the Bride [1:04]
28. Out in the Night [1:18]
29. Taking on the Navy [:43]
30. Meet Mrs. Rochard [:42]
31. Goodbye, Florence [5:11]
32. Honeymoon in the Brig [1:09]

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