“MR. & MRS. SMITH” 1941.
After a long hiatus of writing reviews for Monty’s website, we are up to the second installment of “Star Of The Month”. This month it is Desiree’s pick and she has chosen Robert Montgomery, so for my contribution I’m reviewing “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” one of my favorite movies which teams one of my favorite actresses Carole Lombard alongside Robert Montgomery in Alfred Hitchcock’s comedy debut.
Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery light up the screen with laughs in this rare Alfred Hitchcock perennial comedy classic. Ann Krausheimer Smith and David Smith ( Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery ) are contentedly married New York sophisticates. As all married couples do, the Smith’s quite often have altercations but after a few days they felicitously reconcile. When Ann asks David if he had to do it over again, would he marry her? David replies that he would not. Ann miscomprehends David’s answer and the whole thing develops into a slight dissension and David has to explain to Ann that he loves her and he wouldn’t want to marry anyone else. Later that day when David is busy in his office he receives a visit from Harry Deever, an Idaho county official who informs David that due to a jurisdictional issue they are not legally married and their three year marriage license is not valid. Therefor David does get the opportunity to do it all over again, but will he? On his way back Harry Deever stops by their apartment and elucidates the whole situation to Ann and her mother. Ann decides not to mention it to David, but when David calls her and invites her to dine at their old favorite restaurant for a romantic dinner where they ate before they were married, Ann believes that David will propose to her that night, so Ann adorns herself in her best attire only to discover that the restaurant has transformed from an elaborate diner to an dilapidated begrimed eating place. After a long wait and no marriage proposal from David, Ann confronts David and accuses him of not wanting to marry her and the whole thing results in a series of fights and comedic situations where sparks fly.
As usual Carole Lombard steals the picture for me. I’ve never been a fan of Robert Montgomery, even though I respect him as an actor, I always find his acting rather wooden, and it’s the same in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”. This is also Alfred Hitchcock’s foray into comedy and it goes to show that Hitchcock was just as adept at comedy as he was suspense. “Mr. & Mr. Smith” is a wonderfully crafted production with a witty script that will get audiences enchanted in this timeless movie.
Alfred Hitchcock decided to direct this film, because of Carole Lombard’s request. This was one of the few films where Hitchcock wasn’t involved in the scripting process. Since he really didn’t understand the type of people who were portrayed in the film, all he did was basically photograph the scenes as written.
Carole Lombard directed Alfred Hitchcock’s cameo, making him do repeated retakes.
Alfred Hitchcock’s only screwball comedy. He was talked into directing it by Carole Lombard.
This was the last film released before Carole Lombard’s untimely death. However it is not her last film. “To Be Or Not To Be” was her last film which was released after her death.
Quotes from film:
Ann: “If you had it all to do over again, would you still have married me?”
David: “Honestly, no.”
Mr. Harry Deever: “I guess she’s changed some huh?”
[refering to David’s wife]
David: “Well, she’s… changed a little.”
Mr. Harry Deever: “She once chased a dogcatcher half a mile with a baseball bat.”
David: “Well, she hasn’t changed as much as you think.”
Carole Lombard: Born Jane Alice Peters on October 6th, 1908 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Died: January 16th, 1942, at the age of 33. Mount Potosi ( Table Rock Mountain ) Nevada. ( Airplane crash. )
Robert Montgomery: Born Henry Montgomery, Jr. on May 21st, 1904 in Fishkill Landing, New York (now Beacon, New York). Died: September 27th, 1981 in New York.
Alfred Hitchcock: Born Alfred Joseph Hitchcock on August 13th, 1899 in Leytonstone, Essex, England. Died: April 29th, 1980 in Bel Air, California.