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Friday, March 10, 2006




An Awful Ending To The Awful Truth


Finally got around to checking some of these Cary Grant features in the new Sony DVD box, and the first one I watched was The Awful Truth. If you like screwball comedies, this is as good as any of them. Some people don’t like screwball comedies, however. They get on some people’s nerves. They used to get on mine too, but somehow I’ve grown to like them better as I approach my dotage. But it’s true they can be awfully frantic. Characters run around and shout a lot in them. I’ve sat with audiences during these things when I can feel the movie starting to wear on them. The problem with most screwballs is that they go on too long. It suits me best when they’re on and off in less than ninety minutes. The Awful Truth is right at ninety minutes, and that’s good, because five more and I would have feeling around in the dark for that remote. Now admittedly, I’m no scholar of these pics, but just what is that ending about? I mean the stuff with the clock and the door swinging open and all that…. okay, after Cary Grant jams the chair under the doorknob, aren’t we to assume that he’s going to sleep with Irene Dunne? Not that I’d be in any hurry to do that after the way Irene’s been treating him (and that's even more of an issue for me in My Favorite Wife), but since she’s letting him prop the chair on her side of the door, common sense would dictate the woman’s ready to yield, right? Then why in hell does she laughingly say "Goodnight" to him just as he’s getting ready to approach the bed? It really killed the moment for me. Despite the cutaway to the figures retreating into the clock together, I smelled a Code intervention here. It’s like they were trying to hint at a consummation on the one hand, while providing reassurance that nothing’s actually going to happen on the other. What a cheat! I don’t blame the movie. I blame the Code. Leo McCarey and those actors must have hated having to shoot that. Still a good picture though, and maybe your read on that ending will be different from mine.

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