The Bishop's Wife
|The Bishop's Wife|
Movie soundtrack CD cover
|Directed by||Henry Koster|
|Produced by||Samuel Goldwyn|
Robert E. Sherwood
|Music by||Hugo Friedhofer|
|Editing by||Monica Collingwood|
|Studio||Samuel Goldwyn Productions|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Release dates||December 9, 1947|
|Running time||109 minutes|
The Bishop's Wife (1947) is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic comedy feature film starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven in a story about an angel who helps a bishop with his problems. The film was adapted by Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood from the 1928 novel of the same name by Robert Nathan, and was directed by Henry Koster.
Bishop Henry Brougham (Niven), troubled with funding the building of a new cathedral, prays for divine guidance. His plea is seemingly answered by a suave angel named Dudley (Grant), who reveals his identity only to the clergyman.
However, Dudley's mission is not to help with the construction of the cathedral. He is there to guide Henry and the people around him. Henry has become obsessed with the building, to the detriment of familial duties. His marriage to an unhappy wife, Julia (Young), and relationship with his young daughter are leading to disaster. Everyone, except for Henry, is charmed by the newcomer, even the non-religious Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley persuades the wealthy parishioners, particularly widowed Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), to contribute needed funds, but not to build the cathedral. He helps Mrs. Hamilton decide to donate her money to feed and clothe the needy — much to Henry's chagrin. To save some time, Dudley also redecorates the Broghams' Christmas tree in a few seconds, saves an old church by restoring interest in the boys' choir, and dictates to a typewriter to magically produce Henry's new sermon — without Henry's knowledge.
But when Dudley spends time cheering up Julia, there is an unexpected development: Dudley finds himself strongly attracted to her. Sensing this, Henry becomes jealous and anxious for his unwelcome guest to finish and depart. Frustrated, he stands up to the angel, asking why his building plans were derailed. Dudley reminds him he prayed for guidance, not a building, and with his mission completed and knowing that Julia loves her husband, Dudley leaves, promising never to return. All memory of him is erased, and later that Christmas Eve at midnight, Henry delivers the sermon that he believes he has written. Even Professor Wutheridge feels compelled to attend the service.
- Cary Grant as Dudley
- Loretta Young as Julia Brougham
- David Niven as Bishop Henry Brougham
- Monty Woolley as Professor Wutheridge
- James Gleason as Sylvester, a sympathetic taxi driver
- Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Hamilton
- Elsa Lanchester as Matilda, the Brougham's housekeeper
- Sara Haden as Mildred Cassaway, the Bishop's secretary
- Karolyn Grimes as Debby Brougham, a young daughter
- Tito Vuolo as Maggenti
- Regis Toomey as Mr. Miller
- Sarah Edwards as Mrs. Duffy
- Margaret McWade as Miss Trumbull
- Anne O'Neal as Mrs. Ward
- Ben Erway as Mr. Perry
- Eugene Turner, ice skating double for Cary Grant
Niven was originally cast as the angel, Dana Andrews as the bishop, and Teresa Wright as his wife. However, Wright had to bow out due to pregnancy. According to Robert Osborne, Andrews was lent to RKO in order to obtain Loretta Young. Koster then brought in Cary Grant, but he wanted to play the angel, so the role of the bishop was given to Niven.
Production was not without troubles. Producer Samuel Goldwyn replaced director William A. Seiter with Henry Koster to create a completely new film. In early previews, audiences disliked the film, so Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett made uncredited rewrites.
Although no denomination is mentioned in the film, the characters are clearly members of the Episcopal Church. The city where the film takes place is apparently New York City, as street signs marked "Madison Avenue" are seen in the opening scene. Location filming was done in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Robert Mitchell Boys Choir appeared in the film, singing O Sing to God by Charles Gounod. The "Lost April" song that features in the film had lyrics written for it with the song being recorded by Nat King Cole.
Adaptations to other media
The Bishop's Wife was dramatized as a half-hour radio play on the March 1, 1948 broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven in their original film roles. It was also presented on Lux Radio Theater three times as an hour-long broadcast: first on December 19, 1949, with Tyrone Power and David Niven, second on May 11, 1953 with Cary Grant and Phyllis Thaxter and third on March 1, 1955, again with Grant and Thaxter.
- Filming locations for The Bishop's Wife at the Internet Movie Database
- "The 20th Academy Awards (1948) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- "The Bishop's Wife (1947)". SoundtrackInfo. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Bishop's Wife (film).|
- The Bishop's Wife at allmovie
- The Bishop's Wife at the TCM Movie Database
- The Bishop's Wife at the Internet Movie Database
- The Bishop's Wife on Screen Guild Theater: March 1, 1948
- The Bishop's Wife on Lux Radio Theater: May 11, 1953