Tuesday December 17, 2 PM at Mary J Benson Branch The Bishop’s Wife (1947) 1 hr 49 min
A bishop, Henry Brougham (David Niven), has been working for months on plans for an elaborate new cathedral that he hopes will be paid for primarily by a wealthy, stubborn widow, Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper). He’s losing sight of his family and of why he became a clergyman in the first place. Enter Dudley (Cary Grant), an angel sent to help him. Dudley helps everyone he meets, but not necessarily in the way they would have preferred. As Christmas approaches, Henry begins to believe that Dudley is there to replace him, both at work and in his family’s affections.
Won an Oscar and was nominated for 4 more. Originally Cary Grant played the bishop and David Niven the angel, but when the first director was replaced, replacement Henry Koster realized the two were in the wrong roles. Grant wanted the title role of the Bishop, but eventually accepted the change, and his role as the angel was one of the most widely praised of his career. Over his protests, a skating double wearing a mask with his features was used in the long shots of the complex skating routine, with a skating double for Loretta Young’s character. In Britain the film was selected for a Royal Command Film Performance screening. According to David Niven, “The audience loved every second of it, and the Queen and Princess Margaret told me afterwards and at great length how much they had enjoyed it.”