The 25 Must-See Titles at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

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Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth. Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The Awful Truth (1937)

Through a series of misunderstandings a couple (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) divorce, only to be flung back into each other’s lives when one finds a new beau.

A great source of comedy, even in the cinema of today, is the marriage plot. It’s a tale as old as time (albeit with less Stockholm syndrome). No one knew marriage better than director Leo McCarey. He could find both the humor and the tragedy of holy matrimony. The Awful Truth pairs the effervescent Irene Dunne with the debonair Cary Grant for comedic gold and hijinks. The screwball comedy sees the two as rich socialites with little more to do in life than meddle with each other – and audiences ate it up. On top of their verbal sparring there are cases of mistaken identity and a lovable Southern rube played by Ralph Bellamy.

After watching this be sure to check out Dunne and Grant’s other pairing, in 1940’s My Favorite Wife. You’d also do well to watch Leo McCarey’s other feature released the same year as this, Make Way for Tomorrow. If The Awful Truth leaves you laughing, Make Way for Tomorrow will destroy you while compelling you to believe in the power of love.

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