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I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Isn't Romantic Comedy redundant?

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phil noir
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I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby phil noir » June 4th, 2009, 10:28 am

Well, everybody's heard of this film, I'm sure, and knows that Cary Grant has to dress up in drag in it; but I'd never seen it, and taped it the other day off the television. I think it's one of the best comedies I've seen for a long time. Ann Sheridan and Cary Grant have the most perfect chemistry - that kind of relaxed, amused, amorous, irritated sparring that the romantic couples in Howard Hawks movies always seem to be able to tap into.

Has anyone else seen it? It's one of those films that after the first ten or fifteen minutes, you know from the easy-going tone of it that the people making it know what they're doing and you as a viewer are in for a treat.

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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby knitwit45 » June 4th, 2009, 10:43 am

This is one of my favorite Ann Sheridan movies. She really holds her own with CG, and instead of being a bit in awe of him, seems to love him in spite of his quirks. Most of his leading ladies always seemed a bit deferential or subdued by The Man Who Was Cary Grant, but not our Annie. As a result, she seemed to be able to pull more of the "real" fellow from him. Another one who comes to mind is Ingrid Bergman. She treated him like a lovable, itchy pest to endure. As a result, he would get really irritated and become, somehow, even more manly, macho, whatever.

I think the scenes on the motorcycle are some of the funniest ever. And the references to past escapades are hilarious. Once he gets into drag, the movie seems to pale a bit, but still a great movie.

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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby movieman1957 » June 4th, 2009, 10:56 am

I think it is a funny film as well. For the day I'm sure this came up a time or two and I think they handle it in a fun way. Grant and Sheridan are fun together. It's been awhile since I've seen it but it's fun.
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby jdb1 » June 4th, 2009, 11:04 am

You know, I've never really liked this one. I've always found something kind of dull and hollow about it, as though maybe it needs a laughtrack. The atmosphere is all postwar pseudo-docu, but I think the on-location filming doesn't quite fit the situations -- it just doesn't match the tone that appears to be aimed for. In some way I can't quite pinpoint, this one seems forced and heavy, and it misses the mark to me.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 4th, 2009, 2:31 pm

This is one I still have to watch. Cary Grant is another film star I adore but only in certain films. He's great in his screwball comedy heyday, so funny and sexy. In later films with some stars he looses that feeling of fun and that to me is what gave him his sexiness. He was always great to look at but only in certain films does that full charm come out. Ingrid Bergman did indeed bring it out of him, Notorious, phew.

Maybe I should give I Was A Male War Bride a go.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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phil noir
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby phil noir » June 5th, 2009, 5:26 am

Well, I'm not really a fan of Cary Grant as such. To me he has this kind of gleaming, slightly repellent quality that I find offputting. Which isn't to say that I don't recognize he's one of the all-time great comic actors, etc. I do - I'm just not sure that I ever really believe he connects with other people on the screen. Not generally, at least. But he does with Ann Sheridan.

I would say that I'm more a fan of the great Cary Grant films than Cary Grant himself.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 5th, 2009, 6:28 am

After you started this thread I just had to watch the film so I could contribute. I laughed out loud in several places, and there are so many funny moments I start to list them. It's just so funny and just what I needed. Cary Grant was made for comedy, probably because he has the qualities that Phil describes. He also needs the right sparring partner, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Jean Arthur, Katharine Hepburn and now Ann Sheridan. Ann Sheridan I've enjoyed when I've seen her in movies but I've never seen in a comedy before, she's better than I'd hoped.

And yes Cary was sexy in this one :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 5th, 2009, 6:31 am

Hi Phil, I'm a big Sheridan fan, but I also love Grant as well. I actually find similarities in their career approaches (although their careers certainly did not end up on the same level). Here's something I posted at TCM awhile back:

Sheridan is much like Cary Grant in the fact that she could pretty much do anything, but audiences expected a certain type from her and she delivered the goods. Some people might think her roles are similar, but they would be mistaking this for her ability to take widely different genres (comedy, drama, etc) and make them work within her style, just as Grant did. Another thing about many Sheridan movies is the fact that she brings out the best in her co-stars much like Myrna Loy, but unlike Loy, Sheridan is usually front and center. Whereas Myrna would give up a bit of spotlight to let other characters shine, Sheridan seems to motivate her surrounding players and get wonderful performances and interplay from them (she certainly got more from Reagan than Bette Davis did!).

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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby stuart.uk » June 5th, 2009, 9:23 am

It was one of those films where Cary Grant IMO played a feminine hero and Anne gets a chance, while still looking attractive, to show her masculine side. I remember the scene over the waterfall where Cary's and Anne's rowing boat is drifting. He panics with funny facial expressions while Anne keeps her head and with the help of a man that throws them a line and saves the day.

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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 5th, 2009, 2:45 pm

I didn't really know anything about this movie apart from the obvious cross dressing, I found it hilarious, partly because as Stuart says in the beginning Ann adopts the masculine role, the best example is the motorbike, Cary in a sidecar, some actors wouldn't have pulled that off so well. It does start to change when they room over night, Cary does get more of an upper hand and become more romantic. It's definetly a film to lift the spirits.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby srowley75 » June 6th, 2009, 8:30 pm

Here's a short review that I posted on my (now defunct) blog ages ago. As it happens, I didn't seem to have been as impressed by Sheridan as many of you are. Maybe I just haven't seen the right films. Her awkward performance in The Man Who Came to Dinner (a film adaptation I've always hated having to dislike) has always stood out in my mind.

Summary
French Army Captain Henri Rochard (Cary Grant) and American WAC Lt. Catherine Gates (Ann Sheridan) have been assigned to several secret missions together, and through it all have come away with a mutual hatred for one another. Their next assignment together requires them to hunt down a German scientist. Along the way, despite multiple mishaps and miscalcuations, they come away realizing that they’re actually quite fond of one another. They end up getting married, but almost immediately thereafter, Catherine is called back to the United States. Henri finds himself unable to get into the States through conventional means, until an officer suggests that he take advantage of public law 271, which makes provision for foreign war brides of American military personnel. Catherine convinces him to file for status as a war bride, and this leads Henri into a series of awkward misadventures.

Remarks
Amusing comedy has achieved fame for being the movie in which Cary Grant dresses in drag (he makes an appallingly ugly woman) - even though the scene lasts maybe ten minutes, promotion for the film might lead you to believe that it’s a significant portion of the movie. The script is quite good in that it allows the viewer ample opportunity to become familiar with the characters, rather than simply beginning with their marriage and leading into what would’ve ended up a one-joke premise. By the end, you’ll be able to repeat Grant’s oft-repeated line verbatim: ”I am an alien spouse of female military personnel en route to the United States under public law 271 of the Congress.” Grant’s slow-burn performance throughout his character's ordeal is very funny - what a versatile comedian he was! - and I was left impressed by the normally-uninteresting-though-attractive Sheridan as well. Picture was filmed on location in Europe and was infamous for being beset with problems, including illnesses suffered by both Grant and Sheridan.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby charliechaplinfan » June 7th, 2009, 5:11 am

I was glad that Cary was only in drag for 10 minutes, when I see a Cary movie I like to gaze on how handsome he is :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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ken123
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby ken123 » February 19th, 2010, 3:09 am

Ived never cared for the film. :cry:

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby Rita Hayworth » February 9th, 2011, 9:17 pm

This is one my favorites as well. I loved the chemistry of Sheridan and Grant so much - their romantic overtures and escapes are so downright silly and I would classify this movie as a screwball - because of its unique zaniness. The drag scene of where Ann Sheridan using the horse's hair to make a makeshift wig and donning a spare WAC uniform is got to be ranked one of the all time silliest comedic scenes ever made - I would put it in the top 50 all time.

Basically its a series of screw-ups and pitfalls of Sheridan and Grant trying to get married and I love the fast pace action and the scene of them running around the open fields and running through the haystack was good.

This movie is a classic - and I love it so much that I often watch this on a very rainy day.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 10th, 2011, 2:35 pm

We have a competition going about screwball comedy and I haven't included it. I agree with you, it's a really good movie and who else but Cary Grant kept making so many classic comedies for so many years.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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