The Awful Truth (1937)


The Awful Truth Storyline

Although they still seem to love each other, New York sophisticates Lucy and Jerry Warriner don’t feel they can trust the other any more based on what appears on the surface of their marriage, despite each vowing that what they state, contrary to appearance, is the truth. As such, they decide to get a divorce, they, however, still needing to see each other based on visitation rights for Mr. Smith, aka Smitty, their pet terrier. With two months to go before the divorce becomes final, Lucy doesn’t seem too anxious to replace Jerry with any other man, until she meets Dan Leeson, an Oklahoma oil baron, who she agrees to marry, largely as he represents the antithesis of Jerry. And based on that mistrust in their marriage, Jerry gets engaged to snobbish socialite Barbara Vance. However, each eventually comes to the conclusion that they still love each other and try, without directly saying so and without the other knowing, to get back together. The questions become whether they will come to this conclusion at the same time, and if so if it will happen before they are no longer man and wife in sixty days.

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The Awful Truth Movie Reviews

Just great

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne play an unhappily married couple who divorce only to discover they were happier married. Naturally they won’t admit it…

You can probably guess the rest (the story is ages old), but this movie is fantastic! The acting is great–Dunne and Grant are in top form and work beautifully together. The script is hilarious with many great lines and moves VERY quickly. Director Leo McCarey won a well-deserved Oscar for this–a rare occasion for a director winning for a comedy. He keeps it moving and large chunks of the plot are explained by images and not clumsy exposition. Also Cecil Cunningham adds strong support as Aunt Patsy–her expressions are priceless and she nails her lines. Mr. Smith played by Asta is a dog who steals every scenes he’s in. Ralph Bellamy is stuck with the impossible “good guy” role. He’s fine but given nothing to do.

I’ve seen it at least seven times and I still laugh out loud each and every time. A definite must-see. There are many great lines but my favorite is–“Here’s your diploma”

I absolutely love it from beginning to end

This is a favorite film, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne at their absolute goofy best as a divorced couple who can’t admit they still love one another. The comedy is flawless, the dialogue witty, the chemistry great between the two stars.

Cary Grant is handsome, sophisticated, but not above the occasional pratfall. And Dunne is fantastic as his wife. Her ultimate comedy scene comes in the home of Grant’s high-class fiancée. Dunne enters, pretending to be his sister. She’s total trash. She performs “Gone With the Wind” a tawdry nightclub act shown earlier in the film, where the gimmick is that the “wind” blows up the woman’s dress Then she screams, “DON’T ANYBODY LEAVE THE ROOM. I CAN’T FIND MY PURSE.” She’s hilarious.

One of the top films of the ’30s. I think it’s a riot.

This masterpiece is brilliant anarchy

Nothing in this movie makes sense, and it really doesn’t matter. It succeeds with its self-assured anarchy and the charm of its stars.

Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy and especially Irene Dunne are in top form. Dunne has been often overlooked for her comic talents. The contrast of her well-bred demeanor and inner wickedness is a delight — such as when she does a burlesque dance for a parlor of society snobs. She always appears to be on the edge of laughter at the antics of Grant and the buffoonery of Bellamy. A wonderful nonsensical scene is of the musically skilled Dunne at the piano trying to sing “Home on the Range” with the hopelessly off-key Bellamy.

Grant is in the period of his career where he’s not afraid of self-parody. He’s at his best when he takes nobody and nothing seriously, and he’s especially funny at tormenting the slow-witted Bellamy. And Bellamy is so good at playing dumb, you have to wonder if perhaps he’s not really in on the joke. (Grant and Bellamy basically repeat their roles, with the same success, in “His Girl Friday,” another first-rate comedy).

“The Awful Truth” is the masterpiece of Leo McCarey. There’s really nothing else quite like it.