The Bishop's Wife 1948 NR

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(940) IMDb 7.6/10
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A Christmas fantasy about a debonair angel who comes to Earth (Cary Grant) to help an Episcopalian bishop (David Niven) and his wife in their quest to raise money for the new church. Based on a novel by Robert Nathan.

Starring:
Cary Grant, Loretta Young
Runtime:
1 hour 50 minutes

The Bishop's Wife

Customer Reviews

Great acting and a wonderful story.
Holden Jeffries
This is one of my favorite Christmas movies, one we watch every year as a family.
David Spangler
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.
Janet Forrest

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Underwood VINE VOICE on October 3, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This genlte film, based on Robert Nathan's fine story, has the warmth of a cup of hot cider by the fireplace during a cold December day. There is something quiet and magical about it, like the hush of the world when it snows. Cary Grant and Loretta Young are a joy to watch together, their easy chemistry as welcome as popcorn balls and candy canes.

Directed by Henry Koster, with some nice photography from Gregg Toland, the screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood and Leonardo Bercovici captures perfectly the sentimental fantasy feel of all Robert Nathan's fine work. Cary Grant convinced producer Samuel Goldwyn to let him portray the role of Dudley rather than the bishop, and after seeing this film, it would be difficult to imagine it any other way.

Cary Grant always made everything look easy, but just how much work went into that illusion is exemplified by this film. Before shooting began, Grant could not ice skate, play the harp, or speak any French. By the time "The Bishop's Wife" was finished shooting, he could do all three. It was truly an accomplishment of heavenly preportions. The film itself was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture, and received another nomination for Best Director.

Henry Brogham (David Niven) is a newly appointed Episcopalian bishop trying to secure funds for a big cathedral he wants to build. He is selling out little by little to the demands of Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), who helped get him his appointment and has the money he needs to make his dream come true. But he has forgotten about his wife's happiness in his quest to build the massive church, and when he prays for direction from God, he gets more than he bargained for.

Cary Grant is the Angel, Dudley, who's been sent to help out.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By lorriedel@aol.com on November 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This film is one of the best of the Christmas Classics. The Bishop's Wife tells a story of an angel (Cary Grant) who comes down to earth in answer to a busy Bishop's (David Niven) prayer. The angel helps the Bishop learn to adjust his priorities and comes close to falling in love with Julia, the Bishop's wife (Loretta Young). The movie includes a lovely Skating/ Dance scene that defies description. Make this movie a tradition for your family this year.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By ehakus on July 20, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is really quite good - nice for the holidays or for any other day, for that matter. It is very sweet, and features wonderful performances from three classic stars.
Essentially, The Bishop's Wife is the story of a bishop (David Niven) who becomes overly obsessed with getting funds for a new cathedral and subsequently neglects his wife and the things that really count. After he prays for help with his project, an angel named Dudley (Cary Grant), arrives to make him see that really counts in his life and to entertain his wife (Loretta Young).
An interesting fact about this movie is that, after the initial script was found too dull, several expert writers were brought in (uncredited) to improve the movie. And it worked, because this movie has many good lines and scenes. Most importantly, however, this movie depends on the great performances of its stars. Cary Grant is really the only actor who could have made a role like Dudley seem realistic and interesting, and he pulls it off with his characteristic style, elegance, and charm. Like in all his roles, he plays this one effortlessly and just right. Niven is excellent as the stressed out bishop, and Loretta Young does a nice job as the neglected wife. All in all, a sweet movie!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on December 24, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It's fun to dig into the vaults occasionally and come up with a classic that perhaps you've never seen, or haven't seen for a long time; and it's especially satisfying when you come up with a gem like "The Bishop's Wife," directed by Henry Koster and starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. It's trying times for Bishop Henry Brougham (Niven), who's trying to raise enough funds for the construction of a cathedral for his church; he has a patron, the widow Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), who will donate handsomely, but only if she is allowed to "call the shots" as it were. Henry has become increasingly distracted by it all, as well as distant, a fact which hasn't gone unnoticed by his wife, Julia (Young). When Henry prays for help, his prayers are answered in the form of an angel named Dudley (Grant), who announces himself to Henry and quickly manages to ingratiate himself with Julia. And with Dudley's help, Henry ultimately discovers what is truly important in his life. Koster has crafted a pleasing and thoroughly entertaining movie that examines the good and bright side of human nature, and how refreshing it is in an era when so many films explore the dark side exclusively. It's an elegant film with performances to match, with the charismatic Grant giving a relaxed and polished turn as the angel. He fairly oozes charm, seemingly effortlessly, with a presence that is captivating to the other characters as well as to the audience; and he brings a sense of peace and serenity to the proceedings that gives total credibility to Dudley. Grant makes it easy to believe that he's the angel he claims to be. Young, as well, is simply outstanding as Julia, lending a dignity to the role while managing to remain down-to-earth and totally accessible.Read more ›
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