The Bishop's Wife

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The Bishop's Wife

Movie soundtrack CD cover
Directed byHenry Koster
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn
Written byNovel:
Robert Nathan
Screenplay:
Leonardo Bercovici
Robert E. Sherwood
Uncredited:
Billy Wilder
Charles Brackett
StarringCary Grant
Loretta Young
David Niven
Music byHugo Friedhofer
CinematographyGregg Toland
Editing byMonica Collingwood
StudioSamuel Goldwyn Productions
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s)December 9, 1947
Running time109 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
 
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The Bishop's Wife

Movie soundtrack CD cover
Directed byHenry Koster
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn
Written byNovel:
Robert Nathan
Screenplay:
Leonardo Bercovici
Robert E. Sherwood
Uncredited:
Billy Wilder
Charles Brackett
StarringCary Grant
Loretta Young
David Niven
Music byHugo Friedhofer
CinematographyGregg Toland
Editing byMonica Collingwood
StudioSamuel Goldwyn Productions
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s)December 9, 1947
Running time109 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The Bishop's Wife (1947) is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic comedy feature film starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven in a story about an angel who helps a bishop with his problems. The film was adapted by Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood from the 1928 novel of the same name by Robert Nathan, and was directed by Henry Koster.

It was remade in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Courtney B. Vance.

Contents

Plot

Bishop Henry Brougham (Niven) prays for divine guidance with the troubled building of a new cathedral. His plea is seemingly answered by a suave angel named Dudley (Grant), who reveals his identity initially only to the clergyman.

However, Dudley's mission is not to help with the construction of the cathedral. He is there to guide Henry and the people around him. Henry has become obsessed with the building to the detriment of his duties and marriage to his neglected, unhappy wife, Julia (Young). Everyone, except for Henry, is charmed by the newcomer, even the non-religious Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley persuades the wealthy parishioners, particularly Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), to contribute the needed funds, but not to build the cathedral. He helps Mrs. Hamilton decide to give her money to feed and clothe the needy—much to Henry's chagrin. He also redecorates the Broghams' Christmas tree in two seconds, saves an old church by restoring interest in the boys' choir, and arranges for the typewriter to automatically type Henry's new sermon - which Dudley dictates without Henry's knowledge.

When Dudley spends time cheering up Julia, there is an unexpected development: Dudley finds himself strongly attracted to her. Sensing this, Henry becomes jealous and anxious for his unwelcome guest to finish and depart. Eventually, he stands up to the angel. With his mission completed and knowing that Julia loves her husband, Dudley leaves, promising never to return. All memory of him is erased, and on Christmas Eve at midnight, Henry delivers the sermon that he believes he has written.

Cast

Niven was originally cast as the angel, Dana Andrews as the bishop, and Teresa Wright as his wife. However, Wright had to bow out due to pregnancy. According to Robert Osborne, Andrews was lent to RKO in order to obtain Loretta Young. Koster then brought in Cary Grant, but he wanted to play the angel, so the role of the bishop was given to Niven.

Production

Production was not without troubles. Producer Samuel Goldwyn replaced director William A. Seiter with Henry Koster to create a completely new film. In early previews, audiences disliked the film, so Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett made uncredited rewrites.

Although no denomination is mentioned in the film, the characters are clearly members of the Episcopal Church. The city where the film takes place is apparently New York City, as street signs marked "Madison Avenue" are seen in the opening scene. Location filming was done in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1] The Robert Mitchell Boys Choir appeared in the film, singing O Sing to God by Charles Gounod. The "Lost April" song that features in the film had lyrics written for it with the song being recorded by Nat King Cole.

Awards

The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound (Gordon Sawyer), and was nominated for Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Picture.[2]

Adaptations to other media

The Bishop's Wife was dramatized as a half-hour radio play on the March 1, 1948 broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven in their original film roles. It was also presented on Lux Radio Theater three times as an hour-long broadcast: first on December 19, 1949, with Tyrone Power and David Niven, second on May 11, 1953 with Cary Grant and Phyllis Thaxter and third on March 1, 1955, again with Grant and Thaxter.

The soundtrack has been released on compact disc.[3]

References

External links

Streaming audio