The Bishop's Wife DVD


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Product Details

Actors: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Woolley, James Gleason
Directors: Henry Koster
Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles: Spanish, French
Number of discs: 1
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
DVD Release Date: March 6, 2001
Run Time: 109 minutes

Product Description

Heavenly bells are ringing, jubilant choirs are singing and Christmas joy is blanketing the world like freshly fallen snow. But the Yuletide spirit has yet to warm Bishop Henry Brougham's Victorian home. Struggling to raise funds for a new cathedral, the preoccupied young clergyman has neglected his loving wife Julia, and now only divine intervention can save their marriage! But the powerful and handsome angel sent from above has a mind of his own and teaching mortal Henry an immortal lesson inromance isn't all he's got planned! Starring Oscar(r) winners* Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven, and featuring "a stellar supporting cast" (The Hollywood Reporter) that includes James Gleason and Monty Woolley, this delightful romantic comedy is wondrous, witty andtruly divine!

Comments

Movie Review - Bishop's Wife (1947)

BISHOP'S WIFE turned out to be the opposite of everything that I thought the title implied.

Honestly, I thought this would be a movie in which Cary Grant character would be falling in love with a "bishop's wife" and creating untold complications along the way. Not quite.

In this very romantic "Christmas film" directed by Henry Koster, Cary Grant actually plays Dudley, an angel on earth and a creature far removed from carnal desires and preoccupations. He materializes as a response to the deepest prayers of the episcopal Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) who begs for some divine guidance to solve his vexing problem and perhaps he gets more guidance than he ever wished for.

Bishop Brougham's problem is a self-created one -- and isn't that the case for most of our problems anyway? The Bishop is determined to build a cathedral but he is far short of the money required to start and finish the imposing edifice.

One wealthy widow who could help him is Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), a super rich matron living in a marble mansion as opulent as a national museum. However, the hard-as-nails Mrs. Hamilton would give the money if and only if her late husband is immortalized by a gilded and oversized inscription at the cathedral and a portrayal of his likeness on a glass window, him posing as St. George.

Descending to earth just before Christmas, on a snowy night filled with good cheer and Christmas carols, angel Dudley helps a blind man cross the street by stopping the oncoming cars mysteriously within inches of hitting them.

He helps everyone he meets in unexpected ways. After Dudley shares the amazing story of an ancient Roman coin with a non-believer professor who gave it to the Bishop as a worthless piece, the aging academic starts writing the history book of his life.

Dudley helps Bishop's wife Julia (Loretta Young) lighten up and start enjoying life without pretense. He even teaches the taxi cab driver Sylvester how to pick up ice skating and welcome such unexpected moment of recreation.

Soon Dudley becomes friends with and a source of inspiration for everyone in Bishop's household, including the maids, Bishop's assistant and his little girl - except, that is, Bishop himself.

Bishop has initially even doubts believing that Dudley is a real angel. But after a visually arresting scene at the library, a scene that involves opening and closing of the entrance door, Bishop is stunned by the unequivocal realization that, yes, Dudley is indeed an angel.

Yet the sour and somber Bishop still cares more about his grandiose plans to build a cathedral than opening his heart to the love and adoration of his wife and others around him. He is scared that the angel is there not to help but to steal his wife and perhaps his job as well. That is, although a pure man of God, Bishop is the last one to enjoy the fruits of this miraculous response to his own prayers.

In a climatic scene, Dudley manages to thaw the ice sheath around Mrs. Hamilton's heart and transform her from a cold woman who cares only about the pride of her family legacy to a genuinely warm and repentant woman who decides to donate her wealth not to build a cathedral but to feed the poor and tend to their needs.

Christmas night arrives and the Bishop wants Dudley to get out of his life for good. Film ends with Bishop delivering not the sermon he had prepared for the occasion but the one Dudley had the typewriter wrote automatically after sending Bishop's assistant to her home early on Christmas Eve.

As the Christmas night sermon at the church envelopes the parishioners (including the non-believer Professor) with its magic, Dudley walks away in the snow, leaving behind a world in which a lot of people have realized the love that they were missing in their lives and appreciated the value of immaterial things like courage, joy and compassion.

A very delightful film with a few tear-jerker scenes where you'd better have your handkerchief or box of Kleenexes somewhere close by. The ever-handsome Grant proves that he can be as captivating playing an angel as when he is playing a cat burglar (To Catch a Thief), a CIA agent (Notorious) or a submarine captain (Operation Petticoat).

An 8 out of 10.

OTHER NOTES:

> The genius "non-trailer trailer" that comes with the DVD is a smart delightful surprise you should not miss.

> Written by Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood

> Originally David Niven was going to play the angel and Grant the Bishop. Upon Grant's suggestion, the two male leads switched roles before the shooting began.

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