falderal : a moving images blog
The Awful Truth ; 1937  ·  Posted by Tallulah

Director: Leo McCarey
Actors: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D’Arcy, Cecil Cunningham
Country: U.S.A.

The Awful Truth… my God! What CAN I say about this film? There are just too many things that I love about it that I wouldn’t be able to list them all. It is definitely on my list of favourite comedies and each actor’s performance was top notch. I never found Irene Dunne to be that attractive nor was I ever interested in her, but after I watched this film, I fell in love with her and wanted to learn more about her and watch her other films. The cinematography, the dialogue, the scenes, ALL ARE PERFECT. I love how the way a certain scene is shot reflects the situation, such as when Lucy (Dunne), Jerry (Grant), Dan (Bellamy), and Dixie Bell (Joyce Compton) are all sitting together (ref. Picture 1) and then the camera focuses on Lucy and Jerry even though they are no longer a couple. Anyway, this film is truly a delightful one that I think anyone would enjoy it. How could anyone not enjoy the great lines and moments that this film has? Sure, the portrayal of the Asian man may be a bit racist, but as long as people are aware of the stereotypes and how Asians were portrayed in those times, it is a bit more understandable. I wasn’t offended at all (I had to pause the film and laugh/cry for over a minute), but I can see why people might be. If you are easily offended, at least you are aware of the implications, which I congratulate you for. Although usually I get riled up about it, just the way the scene played out was hilarious, especially the well Cary Grant fell and then got back at the Asian… assistant? Secretary? Receptionist? And the closing scene! The line that Lucy says about things being the same if they were different is so well-spoken and well-worded that I love it.

Ah, and Irene Dunne’s “come hither” look! My eyes turned into hearts and I had to fan myself because her face expression was too seductive. Really, who needs sex scenes when a woman can look at a man the way Dunne did in this movie? It’s so much sexier than anything I have seen in ANY film. I wish I was able to imitate the way Dunne acted in the whole end scene because I’m sure that I’ll be able to seduce anyone! Well, maybe not, but I wouldn’t mind looking like Irene Dunne or be able to act and sing like her. Anyway, this screencapture does not do her come hither look justice! On top of Dunne’s face expressions, the way the whole scene plays out is flawless. Every move by the actors, every shot, every… oh I don’t know!, but trust me, it wraps up the film really well.

In my film class, we discussed Dunne’s extravagant hats and how they all pointed up. My professor mentioned how these hats pretty much served no purpose outside of being a decoration on people’s heads and if people were wealthy enough, why not buy these hats? Then it reminded me of Ernst Lubitsch’s Ninotchka and how the hat Ninotchka is wearing in the screencapture was a symbol of decadence. As Ninotchka says in the film

How can such a civilization survive which permits women to put things like that on their heads. It won’t be long now, comrades.

As the Envoy Extraordinary of the U.S.S.R., Ninotchka does not understand capitalistic ideals, but when she buys the hat, it is her succumbing to the way people in Paris live rather than in Moscow. While Dunne’s hats in this film look silly to the modern viewer, they were most likely in vogue during those days and probably rather pricey at that! So who can afford those hats? Definitely Lucy Warriner! The shape of Lucy’s hat definitely reminded me of Ninotchka’s silly hat, especially because of the shape of it. It’s funny how both of them point up, sort of like crowns.

Anyway, I didn’t really go into any scenes because there are so many great scenes that all fit together. I can’t imagine this film with a scene missing because each one has such great moments and every character at least has one great line. And Ralph Bellamy! Once again, his character has his lady taken away by Cary Grant (ref. His Girl Friday); poor guy… But really, I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this film is. It is definitely one of the best screwball comedies!

IMDb Link: The Awful Truth
Where to buy: Amazon.com

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