A wonderful old movie that I have watched twice and will gladly watch a third time is called ” The Bishop’s Wife”. The movie stars Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. Cary Grant’s character is “Dudley” an angel. David Niven is the Bishop, and Loretta Young is, of course, the Bishop’s Wife.
This movie contains many examples of whimsy, humor, magic and as I watch it I feel like Cary Grant is going to look right into the camera and wink at me.
Interestingly, David Niven was originally cast to play the part of the angel but Cary Grant felt the casting was wrong and insisted on playing the angel character instead of the bishop. David Niven played the Bishop character which was originally cast for Cary Grant.
Cary Grant was clearly correct because the movie was a huge success, winning an Academy Award. The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound (Gordon Sawyer), and was nominated for Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Picture.
Plot for The Bishop’s Wife
Bishop Henry Brougham (Niven) prays for divine guidance with the troubled building of a new cathedral. His plea is seemingly answered by a suave angel named Dudley (Grant), who reveals his identity initially only to the clergyman.
However, Dudley’s mission is not to help with the construction of the cathedral. He is there to guide Henry and the people around him. Henry has become obsessed with the building to the detriment of his duties and marriage to his neglected, unhappy wife, Julia (Young). Everyone, except for Henry, is charmed by the newcomer, even the non-religious Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley persuades the wealthy parishioners, particularly Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), to contribute the needed funds, but not to build the cathedral. He helps Mrs. Hamilton decide to give her money to feed and clothe the needy—much to Henry’s chagrin. He also redecorates the Broghams’ Christmas tree in two seconds, saves an old church by restoring interest in the boys’ choir, and arranges for the typewriter to automatically type Henry’s new sermon – which Dudley dictates without Henry’s knowledge.
When Dudley spends time cheering up Julia, there is an unexpected development: Dudley finds himself strongly attracted to her. Sensing this, Henry becomes jealous and anxious for his unwelcome guest to finish and depart. Eventually, he stands up to the angel. With his mission completed and knowing that Julia loves her husband, Dudley leaves, promising never to return. All memory of him is erased, and on Christmas Eve at midnight, Henry delivers the sermon that he believes he has written.
Here are a few wonderful quotes from the movie:
Dudley: The only people who grow old were born old to begin with.
If you want to watch the entire movie – click here. but first a teaser OR TWO (grin).
This little clip (BELOW) can’t show the whole series of little jokes that Dudley keeps having, at the expense of the professor. The professor can’t empty his wine glass because Dudley keeps filling it, and the professor fills everyone’s wine glasses but the bottle is magically still full (thanks to Dudley aka Cary Grant). Very cute and biblical!