Friday, January 27, 2012

30 Days of Oscar Day 3: The Bishop's Wife

Movie: The Bishop's Wife
Year: 1948
Nominations: Best Picture, Director (Henry Koster - went on to direct Harvey and My Man Godfrey), Sound, Recording, Editing and Score
Wins/Snubs: This film won Sound, Recording.  It lost Best Picture to Gentleman's Agreement, which I'd never heard of and now really want to see based on this win and the fact that it's directed by Elia Kazan who took the directing prize.  While Loretta Young was NOT nominated for her performance in The Bishop's Wife, she did win the Best Actress Oscar in 1948 for The Farmer's Daughter. Also nominated for Best Picture that year was Miracle on 34th Street.  

I had never seen The Bishop's Wife before now, though I had seen the remake The Preacher's Wife from 1995 starring Whitney Houston in Loretta Young's titular role and Denzel Washington in the role Cary Grant plays in The Bishop's Wife.  While not a horrible film, the original outshines the remake on all fronts.   I noted above that Miracle on 34th Street was also nominated for Best Picture in 1948.  That makes two Christmas movies nominated for Best Picture in the same year.  I'm not sure I can name a third Christmas movie after It's a Wonderful Life that would get nominated for an Oscar.  

This is a wonderfully sweet movie that follows an angel's intervention in a Bishop's marriage at Christmas.  Dudley (Cary Grant) arrives to help Henry (David Nevin), the bishop, who has been ignoring his wife and daughter in the effort to get the funding to get a cathedral built.  Dudley makes Henry's wife, Julia (Loretta Young), remember why she should be happy about being the Bishop's wife.  Meanwhile Dudley has told Henry that he is an angel coming to help him out during the holidays.  We see Dudley manipulate different situations with a bit of magic to help open people's eyes.  He does have to deal with some ruffled feathers when people think he's having an affair with Julia, which he does particularly well.  I loved watching Cary Grant in this role - he often plays the man in charge, who knows more than the viewer, and more than the leading lady at least. But this time, he knows more than everyone in the film - he's totally in charge of directing the story.  He plays it really well.  There are some funny/cute dated moments when you can really obviously seen stunt doubles ice skating.  It's incredibly heart warming, and if you're looking for a new Christmas movie next season, definitely check this one out.  

1 comment:

Dave Enkosky said...

I haven't seen this movie since I was a kid, but I remember finding it absolutely charming. Gentleman's Agreement is good but I don't think Kazan really hit his stride until the fifties.