Mr. and Mrs. Smith [Import]
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July 27 1999
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Parcel Dimensions : 18.6 x 10.64 x 2.85 cm; 173.88 Grams
- Director : Alfred Hitchcock
- Media Format : NTSC, Import
- Run time : 1 hour and 35 minutes
- Release date : July 27 1999
- Actors : Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson, Philip Merivale
- Studio : Warner
- Producers : Harry E. Edington
- ASIN : 0780626699
- Writers : Norman Krasna
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Before Hollywood had entirely typecast Alfred Hitchcock as the master of suspense, with Mr. & Mrs. Smith he was allowed to fashion an elegant romantic trifle starring Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard. It probably won't replace Rear Window or Psycho in your affections, but the film is more than a curious footnote to the director's career. The two leads play David and Ann Smith, a devoted but endlessly squabbling couple who discover their three-year marriage isn't legal. When he unexpectedly hesitates to arrange a second wedding, she storms out in a huff and soon begins dating his solid, dependable business partner Jeff (Gene Raymond). The rest follows the formula laid down by such previous screwball comedies as The Awful Truth (1937) and Bringing Up Baby (1938): David employs fair means or foul to win back Ann's heart, causes all sorts of complicated mischief, then... well, three guesses what happens in the end.
The intriguing thing about the movie is how Hitchcock takes Norman Krasna's paper-thin script and adds sly undercurrents of menace. Violence seems about to erupt in the recurring scenes where Ann shaves her husband (suggestively holding a razor up to his throat)--and there's a touch of Vertigo in one scary moment when a jammed amusement park ride leaves two characters dangling helplessly high above the ground. Montgomery and Lombard keep the mood acceptably frivolous, while indicating the flawed nature of the marital relationship. From the evidence of this one-off, Hitchcock might have been among the best comedy directors in the business, had he so wished. --Peter Matthews
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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.
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.