Monday, December 23, 2013

The Bishop's Wife

A newly appointed bishop (David Niven) has been pounding the pavement to raise funds for a new cathedral, both to little avail and at the cost of his relationship to his wife (Loretta Young). Praying for guidance, it arrives in the form of an angel (Cary Grant) who strolls into town and seduces all the women before teaching the clergyman a valuable lesson of love and seasonal cheer. Henry Kosters' The Bishop's Wife, based on a book by Robert Nathan which featured uncredited screenplay work done by Billy Wilder and Charles Bracket, is a much beloved holiday movie which I found to be alternately sappy and disturbing. With an intercessory celestial being at its center, this seems like an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success of It's a Wonderful Life from the previous year and even the child actors who portrayed Zuzu and young George Bailey are on hand as if the producers weren't even trying to disguise the fact.