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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 August 2017
A rarity from Alfred Hitchcock - a screwball comedy dating from 1941 starring Carole Lombard (only months before her tragically early death) and Robert Montgomery as the eponymous Mr and Mrs Smith. New York based Ann and David have been married for three years and are prone to fallings out that can last for days, and at the start of the film we see one of these in progress then being resolved. Ann is feisty, and that's where some of the comedy comes from as David tries to work around the latest spat.

After the issue is resolved Lawyer David can finally get back to work with legal partner Jeff. However an official calls to see David and explains that owing to a technicality David and Ann's marriage isn't legal, having taken place in Ann's home town in Idaho. He is a personal friend of Ann's, asking David to remember him to her. Giving David his $2 marriage fee back he states they ought to get married in a civil ceremony as soon as possible, which David finds amusing.

Taking his leave the man catches a taxi, but by chance passing David and Ann's street he diverts the taxi to catch up with Ann and impart the same news to her and her visiting mother. Ann arranges to meet David after work, squeezes herself into the same dress he popped the question in and suggests attending the same restaurant they got engaged in that evening. Expecting David to mention the issue all through the evening he does not, and when they finally reach home she faces him with the news and another row ensues.

Doesn't sound much like a comedy? At times it does struggle, but the comedy comes from the misfiring relationship between David and Ann, her enlisting David's partner Jeff as council for their separation, Ann deliberately beginning a relationship with teetotaller Jeff to spite David, with some lovely moments in a nightclub and stuck on a fairground ride; Ann convincing Jeff to down spirits and treat it like medicine (which became a recurring Hitchcock theme in several subsequent films); and lovely cameos from actors playing Ann's mother and Jeff's horrified parents.

It's a simple tale of David trying to win Ann back after getting banished to his club to sleep and the stubborn-headedness of Ann to make David pay for his sins. Lombard plays her role well, indeed for this period it's a treat to see a strong female portrayed. Cummings igs less satisfactory and indeed was only employed a week before filming commenced after Hitchcock failed to attract Cary Grant to the role. His Girl Friday this isn't, not all the jokes work, though it's a worthy attempt. A minor Hitchcock, but a curiosity worth seeking out.
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on 7 January 2016
Must be Hitchcock's worst film, not even Lombard could save it.
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on 16 January 2016
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on 2 October 2017
Great chemistry between Lombard, Montgomery & Raymond and frankly, I don't see what's not to like! Of course! The fact it's directed by Hitchcock and core fans only want one thing. Speaking as a film buff myself, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and only wish he'd made more light comedies.
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on 29 March 2016
good value for money.
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on 2 October 2015
A lilm drawn in 1941; the story of husband and wife in love and hardies (for nothing), whose marriage in the west is made void by a strange clause just arrived by a little man from that place; the ex wife then refuses to live with her ex husband and flirts with a suitable friend. With a final, positive good sense and love ending in the mountains.
I knew about this movie when, still very young boy, I saw it down there in 1944 just liberated by our anglo-americans, and desired to see it again. Essentially, a pleasant simple story of the love between two people who very often bicker together for days about nothing and never leave their bedroom till they reconcile.
I never saw the more recent version.
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on 26 January 2006
This film is a master class in how not to make a romantic comedy.
The screenplay is mediocre, the characters cardboard cut outs, never a single laugh. Or had nobody told Hitchcock this was supposed to be a screwball comedy.
It is incredible that Carole Lombard talked Hitchcock into directing this film. If this film makes you think she cannot play comedy check out “My man Godfrey”. Tragically Lombard was killed in an air crash before the film was released.
Best avoided except for Hitchcock completists.
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on 26 February 2005
There is something quite disconcerting about watching a Hitchcock film, the man who has the reputation, rightly, as the best maker of suspense films ever; a man whose work has irrevocably changed how the world sees filmmaking as a whole through the suspense medium, and knowing also that one is watching a comedy.
Watching 'The Trouble With Harry' one gets a similar feeling and that film too, accompanying the comedy, however dated some of it can be at times, has a real sense of the macabre, a quite horrible darkness to the overall feeling of the film. The way in which the couple, (having spilt up, Mr. wants to get back together with his uninterested wife), and particularly him, treat each other, the constant dogging, spying and overalll attempt at malicious sabotage is quite disconcerting if also fairly funny.
There's no getting away from the fact that the film isn't a great. Though there are echoes in some of the symbolism, though some images bring others from greater films to mind, Vertigo, Psycho, still, like HItchcock's films as a whole from that era, we aren't treated to a wonderful cinemtaic experience but a good one, and, far more interestingly, we are shown, like most of Hitchcock's earlier and less successful film, the seeds of the future, those reminders, fleeting though they may be, of what comes out of this work and one can hardly fail to wonder at it.
Working with, shall we say, not the best screenplay ever made, the actors performances are all strong, as macabre as they needed to be, when they needed to be and likewise for the comedy. That is perhaps what gets the film through, the very decent balance between the seriousnees of the film and the comedy.
It is well worth the watching and, as with virtually all of his work, essential for any true Hitchcockians.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 November 2016
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 film, essentially a screwball comedy, has (rightly, I would say) been considered very much an anomaly in the man’s oeuvre. Of course, Hitch has 'done’ comedy (and more effectively than here, it has to be said) many times, from the Charters and Caldicott pairing in The Lady Vanishes to the likes of Thelma Ritter’s sardonic nurse in Rear Window and Jessie Royce Landis’ 'doting’ mother in North By North West. But, rather than such comedic cameos in 'greater’ dramas, with this gentle parody of that great institution (marriage), the film-maker tries his hand at a 'full’ 90 minutes of comedy on a subject that had (arguably) already been done to death – remember that Howard Hawks’ masterpiece His Girl Friday had been made just the previous year. The results? For me, hit and miss certainly, but with enough merits to (just about) raise the film above mediocrity.

Whether or not Mr & Mrs Smith really was made by Hitch simply as a 'favour’ to his star, Carole Lombard, is perhaps a moot point – however, award-winning screenwriter Norman Krasner’s script does have its moments as the central wife and husband pairing of Lombard’s Ann Smith and Robert Montgomery’s staid, conservative lawyer, David, argue and bicker, then deceive and separate (a technicality having determined that their marriage 'never was’ in the first place). For me, Lombard is certainly the (acting) star here, exuding charm and transitioning engagingly between feelings of spite and remorse, whilst Montgomery is solid (he is quite good at the subtler comedy which predominates here), but surely would have been outdone by Hitch’s original first choice, Cary Grant. Elsewhere, Gene Raymond is (I guess) suitably automaton-like as David’s rival in love, Jefferson Custer, who Ann amusingly discovers is (if anything) even more ‘boring’ than David. There are also nice cameos for the likes of Charles Halton and the pairing of Philip Merivale and Lucile Watson as the doubting parents of Custer.

Visually, the film is slick enough – sometimes spectacular – without really pointing directly to Hitch’s best (earlier or later) work. Harry Stradling Sr.’s cinematography is intermittently memorable – there are nice set sequences at the snow-bound ski resort and (particularly) during Ann and Custer’s 'dangling mishap’ at the fair, plus one or two inventive zooms and close-ups. In the end, for me, the film is certainly not a great screwball comedy (you need to look at the likes of Hawks, Sturges, etc. for those), but also not an abject failure (due, in large part, to Lombard’s presence).
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on 19 August 2015
I really liked this charming comedy! I know, I know. The master of suspense directing a comedy. But I guess you'd know it before watching the movie right? I know that Hitch disregarded this movie, he didn't like the project I guess, and in fact he didn't have anything to do with it, except coming to the set and say where to put the cameras. I guess that's why there isn't any Hitchcock touch in the movie (beside being a comedy) in any way. And so, I think you should watch it not for being the only comedy that Hitchcock ever directed, but simply for being a comedy with Carole Lombard and Bob Montgomery. It's really a fun comedy, I really enjoyed it. The screenwriter, who was the one most responsible for the movie, is Norman Krasna, almost forgotten nowadays I guess, but he wrote some really charming and fun comedies, and some are among my favorites. He always made original and bright stories and very engaging. Of course, it still depends on taste. Well, Carole Lombard, such a great actress and comedienne! Bob Montgomery - sadly, almost forgotten him too. Maybe more remembered for being Elizabeth M.'s father than being a talented actor, especially for comedies. So, if you like screwball comedies, or you're a fan of Carole Lombard, you'll like this one too!
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