Awful Truth

Awful Truth

4.5 7
Director: Leo McCarey

Cast: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy

     
 

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Leo McCarey directed this classic screwball comedy in which Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a couple whose marriage is starting to fall apart. Jerry informs Lucy that his doctor has ordered him to go to Florida to get some rest; instead, he holes up with his buddies and plays poker for a week (while sitting under a sun lamp so he'll have an… See more details below

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Overview

Leo McCarey directed this classic screwball comedy in which Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a couple whose marriage is starting to fall apart. Jerry informs Lucy that his doctor has ordered him to go to Florida to get some rest; instead, he holes up with his buddies and plays poker for a week (while sitting under a sun lamp so he'll have an appropriate tan). Lucy finds out that Jerry was never in Florida just as Jerry discovers that Lucy was spending her time with Armand Duvalle (Alex D'Arcy), a handsome voice teacher. Both Jerry and Lucy believe the other was unfaithful, so they agree to a trial divorce, with a bitter battle fought over custody of Mr. Smith, the dog (Lucy gets the dog, but Jerry has visitation rights). Determined to make Jerry jealous, Lucy continues keeping company with Armand while also dating Daniel Leeson (Ralph Bellamy), a wealthy oil man from Texas. Convinced that turnabout is fair play, Jerry starts going out with Dixie Belle Lee (Joyce Compton), a brassy nightclub singer, as well as socialite Barbara Vance (Molly Lamont). However, Lucy has belatedly decided that she wants Jerry back, and she hatches a plan to win him back by making a spectacle of herself at a party. The Awful Truth was based on a play which had been filmed twice before, but McCarey gave his superb comic cast free reign to improvise and add new business, and the results were splendid; you haven't lived until you've heard Irene Dunne attempt to sing "Home on the Range."

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
One of the greatest screwball comedies of the thirties, The Awful Truth is arguably the archetypal example of this influential genre. The plot -- in which a gorgeous, sophisticated couple (played by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) divorce, dabble with various Mr. and Miss Wrongs, and get back together again -- is the screwball formula distilled to its essence. Also exemplary are the film's opulent sets and costumes, and Grant's and Dunne's fabulously witty dialogue. Like the featured couple in most screwball comedies, Jerry and Lucy Warriner are made for each other, a fact reinforced mostly by their sublime bickering (and the supporting characters' futile attempts to keep up with them). Based on a stage play by Arthur Richman that had been filmed twice before, Vina Delmar's script ably supplies the two stars with choice barbs, and Leo McCarey's confident direction keeps the action moving from set piece to hilarious set piece. Grant and Dunne are, unsurprisingly, brilliant as the warring Warriners, though special mention must also be made of some of the actors playing their hapless suitors: Ralph Bellamy as the hayseed Dan Leeson (Bellamy would later play nearly the same role in Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday); Alexander d'Arcy as the hilariously insipid Armand Duvalle; and Joyce Compton as the incomparable Dixie Belle Lee. Nominated for six Oscars in 1938, the film walked away with only one, for McCarey. Mark Pittillo
All Movie Guide
One of the greatest screwball comedies of the thirties, The Awful Truth is arguably the archetypal example of this influential genre. The plot -- in which a gorgeous, sophisticated couple (played by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) divorce, dabble with various Mr. and Miss Wrongs, and get back together again -- is the screwball formula distilled to its essence. Also exemplary are the film's opulent sets and costumes, and Grant's and Dunne's fabulously witty dialogue. Like the featured couple in most screwball comedies, Jerry and Lucy Warriner are made for each other, a fact reinforced mostly by their sublime bickering (and the supporting characters' futile attempts to keep up with them). Based on a stage play by Arthur Richman that had been filmed twice before, Vina Delmar's script ably supplies the two stars with choice barbs, and Leo McCarey's confident direction keeps the action moving from set piece to hilarious set piece. Grant and Dunne are, unsurprisingly, brilliant as the warring Warriners, though special mention must also be made of some of the actors playing their hapless suitors: Ralph Bellamy as the hayseed Dan Leeson (Bellamy would later play nearly the same role in Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday); Alexander d'Arcy as the hilariously insipid Armand Duvalle; and Joyce Compton as the incomparable Dixie Belle Lee. Nominated for six Oscars in 1938, the film walked away with only one, for McCarey.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/11/2003
UPC:
0043396077638
Original Release:
1937
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
10,053

Special Features

Closed Caption; Digitally mastered audio & video; Full screen presentation; Remastered in high definition; Audio: English; Subtitles: English, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish; Bonus trailers; Interactive menus; Scene selections

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant Jerry Warriner
Irene Dunne Lucy Warriner
Ralph Bellamy Daniel Leeson
Robert Allen Frank Randall
Cecil Cunningham Aunt Patsy
Mary Forbes Mrs. Vance
Alex D'Arcy Armand Duvalle
Molly Lamont Barbara Vance
Esther Dale Mrs. Leeson
Joyce Compton Dixie Belle Lee
Claud Allister Lord Fabian
Zita Moulton Lady Fabian
Marguerite Churchill Barbara Vance
Bess Flowers Viola Heath
Ed Mortimer Lucy's Attorney
Edward Peil Bailiff
John Tyrrell Hank
Miki Morita Japanese Servant
Robert Warwick Mr. Vance
Edgar Dearing Motor Cop
Scott Colton Mr. Barnsley
Wyn Cahoon Mrs. Barnsley
Paul Stanton Judge
Al Bridge Motor Cop
Leonard Carey Butler
Byron Foulger Secretary
Bobby Watson Hotel Clerk
Frank Wilson M.C.
Mitchell Harris Jerry's Attorney
Vernon Dent Police Sergeant
George Pearce Caretaker

Technical Credits
Leo McCarey Director,Producer
Lionel Banks Art Director
Al Clark Editor
Vina Delmar Screenwriter
Milton Drake Songwriter
Stephen Goosson Art Director
Babs Johnstone Set Decoration/Design
Robert Kalloch Costumes/Costume Designer
Ben Oakland Score Composer,Songwriter
Everett J. Riskin Associate Producer
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Joseph Walker Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [:59]
2. A Deep Florida Fan [1:26]
3. Yesterday's Mail [2:23]
4. "Armand's Car Broke Down" [4:40]
5. Great Offense Is A Great Defense [2:14]
6. Lucy's Divorce Lawyer [1:02]
7. Chancery Court [5:03]
8. Daniel Lesson, Stranger in Town [2:26]
9. Visiting Day [3:31]
10. Silly About Each Other [2:33]
11. Pardon His Intrusion [2:22]
12. Oklahoma Envy [1:41]
13. "My Dreams Are Gone With the Wind" [2:51]
14. Oklahoma Stomp [2:01]
15. "Home on the Range" [1:21]
16. A Little Business Proposition [1:34]
17. A Silly Story [2:44]
18. Jerry's Swell Reference [3:49]
19. A Poem for Lucy [3:21]
20. Crashing Lucy's Recital [1:55]
21. Daniel's Diploma [3:19]
22. Mr. Smith's Hat Trick [4:13]
23. Armand Hammered [2:14]
24. Barbara Vance, Madcap Heiress [5:19]
25. Crossed Wires [3:52]
26. Miss Lola Warriner [9:06]
27. "What Else Can Happen to Us?" [4:19]
28. An Innocent Night in the Country [8:05]

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