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Holiday Movie Marathon 2021 - The Bishop's Wife (1947)

Christmas movies are a pretty big blind spot for me, so here’s to a whole month of getting smothered with the Christmas spirit with some of the best in the genre.

My first exposure to this story was the Penny Marshall directed The Preacher’s Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. The fact that I had to look up what I thought about that movie tells me that I didn’t find this story particularly interesting in the first place. The best thing about this movie is Cary Grant, who brings his natural star quality and light, comic touch to his role as the angel Dudley. I guess if you were to see a movie star in real life for the first time, it might be similar to how you would feel around a divine entity. I think Cary Grant is best when he is playing the beneficial interloper gently pushing people towards realizations about the mundanity of their lives and what to really focus on to give life meaning. I didn’t really buy Grant when he had to show conflict about his immortal status and mission when he starts to fall in love with Loretta Young’s character, the titular Bishop’s wife. The movie could have relied just on David Niven realizing that he was neglecting his wife and family in the service of his calling and the church he wants to rebuild. For angels reconsidering their mortality, I would stick to Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire.

Holiday Spirit Quotient: 6 out of 10 frankincense(s?). It definitely has the themes of a holiday movie, but not as much holiday cheer as I would have liked.


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