TAT Title

Director: Leo McCarey
Actors: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy

The Awful Truth stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as the Warriner's, a couple who loves to hate each other. After it is apparent that neither trusts the other, they attempt to divorce in dramatic fashion. Lucy Warriner is the rich socialite who quickly replaces Jerry Warriner with a well intentioned but dull oil tycoon, Dan Leeson (Ralph Bellamy). Jerry's jealousy is continually kindled by his visitation visits to Mr. Smith, the pet terrier that Lucy won custody of in the separation. Just when she thinks that she has Jerry completely devoted to stopping her wedding, he becomes engaged to first a ditzy showgirl and then to a young heiress. In the end, each is engaged to marry their rebound love interests before the divorce is even finalized. In a seemingly bizarre set of circumstances, Lucy plays herself off as Jerry's drunk sister at a dinner party at his future in-laws house in a hilarious attempt to ruin the "family" name. In a seemingly impossible twist of fate, they end up at her parent's house, unable to get back to their fiancÚs. It takes the illusion of losing each other for both to realize that they love each other.
"The Awful Truth" is awfully good at testing and poking fun at the supposed restrictions of Hollywood's Production Code. Adultery is handled and expressed through small details that do all the work. For instance, at the start we see a worried Jerry in attempts to get a tan, lying under lights at a health club. He supposedly as been in Florida for two weeks, but his pale skin seems to say otherwise (Clip One). When he comes home, with an elaborate fruit basket "straight from Florida", the camera zooms in on a quizzical Lucy examining the oranges, which have "Made in California" stickers on them. She of course similarly comes in that day with her lover bemoaning that they were stuck at a motor lodge so far outside of the city for the night. Neither Jerry nor Lucy believe the other and agree to get divorced. There are many other borderline close calls to the violation of the code. For example, Jerry's showgirl girlfriend gives a scandalous performance, a throwback to the picture of Marilyn Monroe's skirt flying up over a sidewalk duct. The movie also explores some of the more subliminal class distinctions. It makes a distinction between the rich and the classy. Though Lucy's fiancÚ is a rich oil tycoon, her choice makes her vulnerable to Jerry's teasing that she will become a country bumpkin, "And if you get bored in Oklahoma City, you can always go over to Tulsa for the weekend!" Typical of many screwball heroines, it seems Lucy enjoys being with him only because she can easily control him when his mother, who is of the meddling sort, is not controlling him.

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Reviews and Publicity

The New York Times review had mixed feelings on this film. See the review...

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