The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

If there is one particular theme I like in movies, it is the theme of Christmas. Films with such a theme instill a sense of belief and give a lot of people some hope. Hope to lead life.

If it wasn’t through life, it was through movies that people found hope, and even today, films are widely considered a medium where people find hope.

After a long gap, Loretta Young (The Bishop’s Wife) shares the screen space with Cary Grant (Dudley). To be precise, their last movie together was Born to be Bad, released in 1934.

David Niven plays a bishop’s role, whose role is mainly limited to the ambiguity between the new cathedral’s funds, family, and principles.

Why is this movie special? Is it because it has Cary Grant playing one of the most refreshing roles of his life?

Cary Grant, in his role as Dudley, plays the character of an angel. An angel who sometimes resembles our inner voice. In this chaotic world, one hardly listens to our inner voice; since it’s an opinion or a thought restricted to ourselves.

But when a feel-good thought comes from others’ suggestions, we usually pick it up and apply them on a higher percentage scale.

In short, people who are optimistic about their lives listen to such suggestions and go about leading their lives catalysed by such thoughts or ideas.

Even if it is for a short time, it is the jump start one needs to refresh and get out of crossroads. Professor, The Bishop’s wife, Mrs. Hamilton, and few others are the ones who had lost hopes in their respective lives, and an angel restored the same.

Dudley says, “Angel can be anyone on the street. Someone you don’t know but can bring in a lot of change in the way we would like to lead our lives.”

The other side of the coin, cynicism, exists as displayed by the Bishop, who refuses to believe in miracles, though being the almighty’s mortal messenger. He was adamant about building the cathedral; he even went to the extent of compromising his principles to raise funds.

His real prayers (raising funds) were finally answered, though not in a way he wanted. But who would question the method of an angel? The Bishop certainly did but didn’t succeed in overpowering the methods.

Dudley, the angel, spends most of his time with Julia, the Bishop’s wife, and their kid Debby, yet manages to answer the Bishop’s prayers. Strange method indeed.

The problem of funds was never looked at, and this movie epitomises true human nature emphasising the importance of winning over someone’s heart to get what we truly want.

Dudley won the heart of Mrs. Hamilton, who finally relented to the angel’s advice and decided to shed her ego. Donating her money, she helps the Bishop build his dream, the cathedral, which would provide shelter to the needy.

Dudley had to leave once the prayers were answered, but it was tough as he was attached to Bishop’s wife, cursed himself for being an angel; as he realised being an immortal, it was impossible to beat a mortal to win over a mortal’s heart.

Directed by Henry Koster, this 1947 movie was nominated in five different categories, including Best Picture, and it did manage to win one for the Best Sound Recording.

Born to be Bad (1934)

A young woman has got a raw deal from her youth, decides to leave her job at a book store searching for money, and becomes a night club dancer, more of a seductress.

She has a seven-year-old kid Mickey, whose father is unknown. She teaches Mickey to lie, steal, and all the things that would make him street smart. Apt to the title of the movie – Born to be Bad

Mickey has an accident when a truck driven by Malcolm Trevor, played by Cary Grant, knocks him down, not severely injured. Knowing Malcolm is rich, Letty, played by Loretta Young, schemes to make money by issuing a lawsuit against Malcolm. She is proven guilty for lying and accused of being a bad mother who taught her son to lie in court and fake his injury.

Mickey is taken away from her. Malcolm and his wife Alice happily accept to raise Mickey as they cannot conceive their child. With time, Mickey is attached to both of them, and this fact makes Letty jealous. She wants Mickey back and also some fortune of Malcolm’s.

She pretends to be sick and seeks refuge at Malcolm’s house when her plan of running away with Mickey fails. She seduces Malcolm and records the conversation to blackmail him. Her dreams turn sour when Malcolm tells Alice about him being in love with Letty, and she accepted it.

Letty learns a lesson in seeing Alice’s selfless love and decides Alice and Malcolm to have Mickey so that he becomes a good man. She returns to her old job at the book shop, and the movie ends there.

However, this movie had other claims to fame. It ran into censorship problems from the start because of skimpy outfits worn by Loretta Young. It was rejected twice by the censor board (Hays office). After several cuts and retakes, this movie was eventually passed and given an approval certificate.

Released in 1934, Born to be Bad was directed by Lowell Sherman.