13 December 2008

The Bishop's Wife (starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven)

I'm not entirely sure how we came to have 'The Bishop's Wife' on our DVD shelves. Perhaps it was recommended online somewhere as a special offer, or perhaps we picked it up inexpensively at a charity shop. The blurb on the back suggested that it might be a light Christmas film, so we decided to watch it during December.

It's a classic 1940s black and white film which stars a young David Niven as a Bishop in the Anglican Church. He is so busy that he hardly ever has time to be with his wife and daughter, who miss him. The surreal part of the film is due to Cary Grant who stars as a slightly unlikely angel dressed in a suit, sent from heaven to give some assistance.

The Bishop wants to build a magnificent cathedral, but unfortunately the only person who may be able to fund this project wants a huge memorial to her husband. The Bishop is not happy about this, and angry words ensue. Meanwhile the Bishop’s wife Julia (Loretta Young), worries that their marriage is falling apart because her husband is so constantly busy and stressed.

There are lots of amusing incidents in this film, and some parts that are quite moving. We thought it was very well done, in an era without computer graphics or simple special effects, and the story itself is good with a thought-provoking message.

Recommended if you like a bit of sentimental nostalgia and a feel-good story. Suitable for all ages, although probably not of much interest to young children. UK rating is U (Universal), not rated in the USA.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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