Retro Review: The Awful Truth

By: Emily Kellas

Rating: 8 out of 10

To me, Cary Grant will forever remain one of the classiest gentlemen ever to stride across the silver screen. The Awful Truth is a fantastic little romantic comedy that once again showcases Grant’s witty charisma, alongside sharp-tongued Irene Dunne. Released in 1937 The Awful Truth was a major hit despite Grant’s insistence that it wasn’t working. Audience’s fell in love with the stubborn lovers, modern storyline, and time-tested comedy.

Jerry Warriner (Grant) and Lucy Warriner (Dunne) have decided, after a heated exchange and mistrust on both sides, that they need a divorce. During the divorce preceding’s, which takes quite a few months, each sets out to foil the others plans for new romance.

The onscreen chemistry between Dunne and Grant is electric. With each bringing to the table their own brand of smart, sarcastic, and sharp comedy, interactions between the two felt like a championship game at Wimbleton. Grant’s playboy handsomeness and flippant demeanor played along nicely with Dunne’s equally as stunning looks and Katherine Hepburn-esque delivery to create one of the best romantic comedies in history.

As mentioned this is a romantic comedy, therefore the comedy is as prevalent as it is funny. Even the verbal sparring matches still remain as relevant and hysterical today as they did back in 1937. Physical comedy is also a trademark of the film; from Grant’s tussle with a chair to the pairs interesting encounter with a couple of cops. Even the couple’s dog, Mr. Smith, gets in on the action. A close companion to both Warriner’s Mr. Smith is a cuddly, fun addition to an already talented cast of humans that also includes Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D’Arcy, Cecil Cunningham, and Molly Lamont.

Each of the potential new romantic partners for the feuding pair brings with them a different set of characteristics that only adds richness to the film. Ralph Bellamy as the Oklahoma cowboy Dan Leeson, Alexander D’Arcy as Lucy’s persistently handsome French vocal teacher Armand Duvalle, and Molly Lamont as Barbara Vance the high society debutante, unknowingly help the couple to see whom they truly love.

The Awful Truth is the first in a series of three films that starred the Grant/Dunne coupling, and remains a fan favorite. With classic humor, and modern style The Awful Truth continues to make audiences scream with laughter. So at your next movie night saddle on up next to your sweetheart and remember, as the film shows, true love isn’t always perfect, but it’s the imperfections that make it strong.


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