Screwball comedy and The Awful Truth (1937)
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A married couple divorces over mutual suspicion of infidelity—but the two can’t seem to leave each other alone, hilariously interfering with one another’s attempts to find someone else. This is the plot of The Awful Truth, a classic “comedy of remarriage” by Catholic director Leo McCarey (The Bells of St. Mary’s, Duck Soup), featuring brilliant improvisational performances by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne (also Catholic).
Thematically, the film shows (in a lighthearted way) the maturation of a marriage. It is also notable for its joyously frank yet appropriately veiled treatment of marital eros—an artistic triumph spurred by the salutary censorship of Hollywood’s Production Code.
The Awful Truth is an outstanding example of screwball comedy, a highly entertaining genre that flourished in Hollywood from the mid-1930s to the early 40s, usually featuring super-fast and witty dialogue, absurd scenarios, and a battle of the sexes.
Guest host and filmmaker Nathan Douglas joins to discuss the movie.
Essay about Leo McCarey https://www.sensesofcinema.com/2002/great-directors/mccarey/
Nathan Douglas https://nwdouglas.com/about
Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com/
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