A superbly lighthearted production, and the epitome of 1930s screwball comedies. Grant tells wife Dunne that he is going on a short Florida vacation, but then spends his time playing poker with the boys, establishing an alibi by burning himself under a sunlamp. When he returns home he finds
his wife absent; then she appears with D'Arcy, a dashing voice teacher. Both Grant and Dunne assume that the other has been unfaithful and, after a rousing round of accusations, they decide to accept a 90-day interlocutory divorce. Their main courtroom battle focuses on their pet dog, Mr. Smith
(Asta of the "Thin Man" series). As the legal wrangling moves into full swing, Dunne not only continues to see D'Arcy, but befriends Oklahoman oil baron Bellamy. Meanwhile, Grant looks up an old flame, Compton, a sexy nightclub singer. Dunne and Grant go their separate ways, but are still drawn to
each other. When Grant begins to fall for socialite Lamont, Dunne invades a party at her mansion, pretending to be drunk and carrying on wildly until Grant escorts her home. She convinces him to drive her to their mountain retreat, where they play a cat-and-mouse game, finally acknowledging that
they still love each other.
This classic comedy began life as a 1922 stage hit and had been filmed twice previously--in 1925 as a silent with Agnes Ayres and Warner Baxter, and again in 1929 with Henry Daniell and Ina Claire. Director Leo McCarey maintained the basic premise of the play but improved it greatly, adding
sophisticated dialogue and encouraging his actors to improvise around anything they thought funny. THE AWFUL TRUTH was in the can in six weeks, and was such a success that Grant and Dunne were teamed again in another splendid comedy, MY FAVORITE WIFE, and in a touching tearjerker, PENNY SERENADE.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and disappointingly remade in 1953 as LET'S DO IT AGAIN with Jane Wyman and Ray Milland.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A superbly lighthearted production, and the epitome of 1930s screwball comedies. Grant tells wife Dunne that he is going on a short Florida vacation, but then spends his time playing poker with the boys, establishing an alibi by burning himself under a sun… (more)