I Was A Male War Bride

I Was A Male War Bride

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Cary Grant can only be Cary Grant, so when he plays Capt Henri Rochard of the French army, he makes no attempt at an accent and it takes a leap of imagination to realise that he's not called Henry and comes from Bognor Regis.

Following the tradition of the mixmatched couple who hate/tolerate/like/love each other, Howard Hawks's classic 1949 rom-com has Ann Sheridan playing the spunky Hepburn role with considerable verve.

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She is Catherine Gates, an American WAC in Europe just after the war, who has to accompany Rochard on a mission to find a man called Schindler - no, not that one - and, of course, they bicker wittily all the way. The journey itself is hilarious, as Gates rides a motorcycle with Rochard in the sidecar, ending up inside a haystack - why not? It could have been the village pond.

Essentially, this is a comedy about red tape, hardly the stuff of dreams, which works beautifully because of Hawks's eye for detail, a rattling good script and comic timing of the most relaxed kind.

At first, Sheridan seems too tomboyish and Grant too Cary, but as Gates and Rochard break through the wall of animosity dividing them, they fit more comfortably into their uniforms, or, more like it, out of them.

When film buffs wax lyrical about the style and quality of Hollywood films of the Forties, I Was A Male War Bride comes high on their A-list.

Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2004
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I Was A Male War Bride packshot
World War II mission played for comic romance.
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Director: Howard Hawks

Writer: Charles Lederer, Leonard Spigelgass, Hagar Wilde

Starring: Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan, Marion Marshall, Randy Stuart, William Neff, Kenneth Tobey

Year: 1949

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

Festivals:

Glasgow 2010

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