Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mr Mrs Smith|
Actors: Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson, Philip Merivale
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
SOPHISTICATED NEW YORK COUPLE DAVID AND ANNIE SMITH HAVE AN UNUSUAL MARRIAGE WITH AN INORDINATE NUMBER OF RULES AND REGULATIONS
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An Overlooked Gem
Stephen Reginald | Chicago, IL United States | 08/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alfred Hitchcock directed Mr. and Mrs. Smith as a favor to Carole Lombard (he was renting her home after she married Clark Gable) in this sophisticated comedy. Ann (Lombard) and David Smith (Robert Montgomery) star as a wealthy Manhattan couple who engage in some prolonged marital squabbles because they have agreed to keep themselves locked up in their bedroom until the matters are resolved. Some battles have kept them holed up for over a week at a time. After making up from one of these fights, Ann asks David if given the chance to go back in time would he marry her again. He answers that he wouldn't even though he loves her very much. David thinks that married life is too complicated. Before you know it, a man enters David's law office to inform him that due to a technicality, he and Ann are not married. David wants to keep this news a secret from Ann for a while, but she finds out anyway. Ann thinks that David is planning to propose all over again, waiting for the perfect romantic moment, but he doesn't. This causes Ann to kick David out of their beautiful New York City apartment declaring that she's not sure she loves him anymore. When Ann starts dating, David begins in earnest to win her back. But not after he spends some hilarious days at his club where he meets an old business associate, played by Jack Carson, who encourages David to go out on a double date with him. Montgomery's scenes at the supper club are pure comic genius. In these scenes alone, he proves his status as one of the greatest comic performers in film. All hell breaks lose when Ann starts dating David's partner, played by Gene Raymond. When David finds out that his partner and old college buddy is squiring his wife, he redoubles his efforts at getting Ann back. This is probably one of the oddest films in the Hitchcock canon because it is completely lacking in what we have come to expect from his movies. There is no violence, no real suspense, no mystery, no crazy mothers ruining their sons' lives, and so on. But taken on its own merits, it is a completely enjoyable film, which reminds us what wonderful comic talents Lombard and Montgomery were and how the likes of which we are unlikely to see again. With witty dialogue, great pacing and acting, including terrific character bits by Carson and Lucile Watson as Lombard's mother. Produced in 1940 and released in 1941, this film has some footage of New York during the time of the 1939 World's Fair. In fact Lombard and Raymond go to the Fair after a dinner date. This really isn't minor Hitchcock, but it isn't what you've come to expect from the master of suspense. Perhaps he was trying to prove (early on too) that he was also the master of any film project he decided to take on. If you love the screwball comedies of the 1930s and early 1940s, give this one a look."
The Queen of Screwball Comedy in Fine Hitchcock Film...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 05/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a very different kind of film compared to Alfred Hitchcock's other films. The first obvious difference that strikes the audience is the absence of murder or other wicked elements. Instead Hitchcock created a comedy with Carole Lombard whom he held in high esteem. Lombard made several great films during the 1930s among these My Man Godfrey (1936), unfortunately she passed away in a plane crash at the age 33. Nonetheless, she left the world with a number of wonderful performances one of which can be seen in Mr. & Mrs. Smith while leaving the legacy of being the queen of screwball comedy for people to reminiscence.
The camera captures a hotel room with several dirty plates with half eaten deserts and meals in the beginning of the film while slowly panning towards an rough looking David Smith (Robert Montgomery) who is playing solitaire. It is obvious that David tries to silently squander some time while waiting for his wife Ann (Carole Lombard) to get up from the bed. David studies Ann who has cocooned herself with the blanket, as he knows that she is pretending to sleep. Simultaneously, room service knocks on the door with breakfast. Ann peaks out from under the blanket when David receives the breakfast, but rolls over to overtly express her silent contempt for some unknown reason. Her husband, on the other hand, seems to be used to this, as he merely picks up his breakfast and silently moves away from her in order to let her calm down.
The opening set up displays Hitchcock's ingenious story telling technique, as he creates intrigue and a clear beginning of the film. In addition, the framing and mise-en-scene are exceptional throughout the film, which helps enhance the messages in the film. Several different notions can be deduced from this scene such as that they are married, there is tension between them, and both expect one another to be able to do the right thing without communication. Yet, Ann and David find a way to fix the quarrel between them, which has gone on for three days. This suggests that they took the ceremony when they said, "until death do us part", very seriously, as they work things out.
Shortly after the opening, Hitchcock displays an interesting scene where Ann shaves David. It displays tremendous trust that David has for Ann, as she carefully shaves him with a sharp blade. Maybe this could draw some suggestive thoughts to the shower scene in Psycho of what could happen, if she still was angry with him. However, this is a comedy and it will not happen, yet the idea still lingers in the mind for those who have seen other Hitchcock films. Instead, Ann talks about faithfulness, honesty, and other decent concepts that generate a healthy marriage. In the following scene Ann warms her feet against David's legs. Those who have a significant other might recognize themselves in this amusing scene when Ann asks David if he would marry her, if they would do the whole thing over again. David responds that he would not, as he wants to be honest with Ann. Consequently, Ann removes her feet from David's warm legs.
As the story unfolds, David and Ann find out that their marriage is invalid by human error. This leads the film into an interesting journey with role reversal in regards to David's previous comment at the breakfast table. Shrewdly, Hitchcock depicts his comic tale in the light of the current, 1940s that is, society's perceptive of a proper marriage and decent living. The film also illustrates how unbalanced women's rights were at the time, as Ann tries to make a living by herself. This is interesting, as Carole Lombard was very progressive and active for her own right, as she was aware of the male dominating film industry. She even managed to get herself top salaries, which at the time paid her as much as $35,000 per week. Consequently, Hitchcock's attempt to make a comedy received mixed opinions, but the film itself offers a solid cinematic experience with both humor and social concepts that should be pondered."
Carole Lombard In Alfred Hitchcock's Rare Marital Comedy
Simon Davis | 11/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Long dubbed "The Master of Suspense", it is a surprise to learn that Alfred Hitchcock is responsible for the directing efforts in this light comic effort from 1941 which he made very soon after possibly one of his greatest suspense dramas in the classic "Rebecca",in 1940. At first glance you may think that Alfred Hitchcock directing Hollywood's screwball comedy Queen Carole Lombard might not work however the two meshed well together here in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", and produced a funny if not hilarious comedy. It certainly showcased the beautiful Mrs Clark Gable at the peak of her beauty and matured talents just prior to her tragic death in a plane crash while on a war bond selling tour . In her second last film Lombard combined for the only time with MGM leading man Robert Montgomery and the pair make a pleasing team here in this tale of a marriage that turns out not to be legal and where both parties get a unique chance to test the loyalty and commitment of their "former" spouses. While not the crazy type of comedy one comes to expect from Carole Lombard it is an enjoyable farce and the second half in particular when it picks up speed contains many enjoyable comic highjinks that are sure to raise a laugh.
Based on a story by Norman Krasna "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", concerns the story of David and Ann Smith (Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard), a affluent couple who have an agreement that they will never part from each other in the middle of a disagreement. The beginning sees the Smiths holed up in their bedroom for three days until the dispute is resolved much to the annoyance of the staff who have to pass meals and mail etc through a crack in the door. Reconciliation of course follows and when at the breakfast table Ann innocently asks David if he had his time over again whether he would marry her he unthinkingly replies that no he wouldn't. Later that day David is visited by a gentleman who informs him that because of a legal technicality based on the boundaries of two of the states, he is not legally married. Unbeknown to David this man knows Ann's family from where they were married and he later visits the apartment and informs Ann and her mother Mrs. Krausheimer (Esther Dale), of the turn of events concerning their marriage. Trying to remain calm Ann hopes David will suggest a second marriage right away until she remembers his words at breakfast. She decides to test him and plans a romantic evening where she hopes David will propose to her. The evening however does not go well and David fails to even raise the issue making Ann feel that David does mean that he would never marry her again. Locking him out of the apartment Ann resumes her maiden name and takes up a job as a Sales Clerk. Suddenly single Ann begins to see David's business partner in the law firm Jeff Custer (Gene Raymond), much to David's annoyance and the former husband and wife begin a long game of one upmanship designed to get the other jealous. Jeff is reliable but very dull and secretly Ann misses David just as David misses Ann after a terrible night out with two very unpolished women at a night club. Following Jeff and Ann up to a mountain resort the fire works really begin as David attempts to break the pair up. Ann works out what his plan is after he tries to paint Ann as a loose woman in front of Jeff's conservative Southern parents (Philip Merivale and Lucile Watson), and she decides to play him at his own game however the pair eventually do realise that they are meant for each other and both really do want to become "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", again. The couple then make up and enjoy an embrace in between a pair of snow skis.
It is said that Alfred Hitchcock agreed to direct "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", as a favour to Carole Lombard, an actress he greatly admired. Whether that is correct or not Hitchcock in his rare foray into the comedy genre proves to have a nice light touch in his staging of the marital mishaps of the Smith's in this story. There is an amusing story that Carole Lombard in her usual wacky style learnt that Hitchcock supposedly "treated his casts like cattle", so early one morning as a prank she actually set up a farm yard on the set complete with cows wearing nameplates for Hitchcock, Robert Montgomery and herself! Having just completed three fine dramas in a row for RKO with "In Name Only", "Vigil in the Night", and "They Knew What They Wanted", this effort was a much welcome return to the comic genre that Lombard was so renowned for. In her portrayal of the suddenly single "Miss Krausheimer", after three years of a non legal marriage Lombard displays her finely tuned comic abilities in a pleasing manner. She makes a great foil for Robert Montgomery who is actually very amusing in his role as the husband David who finds himself without his wife and having to face the fact that she seemingly doesn't seem to want him back after he foolishly said he wouldn't marry again if he had his time over. Gene Raymond as Jeff Custer the stuffy friend and business partner of David who pursues the suddenly single Ann also displays just the right bland sort of delivery and he is especially good in his drunk scene where he is offered some strong spirits by Ann after they are caught in the rain while on the parachute ride at the fun park. The second half of the story does pick up the screwball element and the best comic interludes include the very funny scene where David attempts to discredit Ann in front of Jeff's parents making her out as a "loose woman", which is very memorable as are the attempts by Ann in the chalet to make David jealous of Jeff by screaming out and dropping books on the floor which can be heard clearly through the fine walls into David's room in the hope David will come to her rescue. In this final stage of her highly successful career Carole Lombard could ask for and get the best in all facets of a production and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith",was no exception. Not only does this film boast a first class director like Alfred Hitchcock, but also outstanding photography by Harry Stradling that makes Carole Lombard look probably her most glamourous on screen ever. The art direction by Van Nest Polglase is also top rate in particular for the Smith's apartment and the scenes at the ski lodge. Famed Hollywood designer Irene also goes all out in the glamour stakes here and provides Carole Lombard with some of her most beautiful clothes ever on screen. If ever the image of Lombard as one of Hollywood's best dressed women started with one film it would certainly be because of her outfits in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith".
For an enjoyable if not terribly memorable comic outing "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", makes an enjoyable way to pass the time. This type of marital comedy based on misunderstandings almost entirely disappeared once the Second World War really got underway with America's involvement. Indeed the film has a very 1930's feel to it which does add to its charm with the passage of time. I appreciate "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", first and foremost for the comic playing on a much less frantic level than in previous efforts to be sure, by the legendary Carole Lombard. It is almost haunting to see her here so beautiful and full of life knowing that she would be dead within a year and a half. Enjoy the marital mishaps of the "Smiths", when a marriage which was "forever", becomes a battle royale between two parties out to test the loyalty of each other in Alfred Hitchcock's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"."
"Look at that cat. He won't even touch it."
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 04/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This breezy and sophisticated marital romp from the pen of Norman Krasna has a stunningly beautiful Carole Lombard in her prime and a funny performance from Robert Montgomery to make it topflight entertainment. Montgmery, who starred in many sophisticated comedies during the 1930's and discovered a new career when noir came along in the 1940's is marvelous here, matched only by the wonderful Lombard.
Alfred Hitchcock took this film because it was a chance to work with her, and the results are fabulous. This film ranks right up there with "The Awful Truth" but is not mentioned nearly as often, perhaps because Hitchcock was involved. That is a real shame indeed. As marital farces on film go, this one is as enjoyable as any.
Lombard simply glows as the adoring but volatile wife of lawyer Robert Montgomery, who spends more time follwing her rules for a perfect marriage than he does at the office. When it is discovered that their union in Idaho actually crossed a county line into Nevada and is not legal, Montgomery thinks it will be fun to have a mistress for one evening before telling her, but soon discovers differently when it backfires in his face! While Lombard gets a job and starts dating her husband's business partner, Montgomery gets some advice from a funny Jack Carson on how to get her back and spends the rest of the film trying to make her his Valentine-- or else!
There are some hilarious scenes in Krasna's script played perfectly by Lombard and Montgomery. Montgomery's obsession with a bowl of soup even the cat won't eat will have you laughing out oud, as will Lombard's pretending his old buddy is with her in the cabin in Lake Placid next to Montgomery; who has, of course, followed her there, faking injury to keep an eye on her. Perhaps the funniest moment here, however, comes when Montgomery tries to give himself a bloody nose so he can squirm out of a date. It will have you rolling on the floor!
This is another great RKO classic and one of the director's best. While it perhaps runs out of steam a bit late in the film, a terrific ending reminiscent of Gregory La Cava's "Fifth Avenue Girl" with Ginger Rogers makes it all worthwhile. Montgomery is absolutely superb and Lombard, dressed in gowns by Irene, is as beautiful as she is funny. Lombard and Montgomery are a match made in Hollywood heaven and you don't want to miss this one."