Friday, February 9, 2007

I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE (20th Century Fox 1949) Fox Home Video

Howard Hawks' I Was A Male War Bride (1949) has since become a benchmark in screwball comedy. Cary Grant plays French officer, Capt. Henri Rochard, stationed in post-war Germany where he falls for stubborn, wisecracking American WAC operator, Catharine Gates (Ann Sheridan). After a secret mission goes happily awry, Gates and Rochard discover that they are in love. They marry, only to discover that U.S. immigration laws have no provision for admitting foreign husbands into the country.

To alleviate the confusion – though ultimately more results – Rochard files for his landed immigrant papers under the status of a ‘war bride.’ This gets him past the paper work but not beyond security, who at first do not believe their eyes, then assume that the marriage license is a forgery.

Rochard is detained from leaving France, forced to live in a youth hostile and then herded into a hotel with a bunch of illegitimate war brides who, of course, do not accept him to sleep in the same area. This is one of those great comedy-of-errors, in which two people, destined to be together by the final reel have to jump through the rarest of hoops in order to achieve that blissful conclusion.

Fox Home Video’s DVD is quite solid and satisfying. A stunning B&W picture with an exceptionally balanced gray scale is pleasant and easy on the eyes. There are rare occasions where film grain appears and some age related artifacts but nothing that will distract one from immersing themselves in this classic screwball. There are NO DIGITAL ANOMALIES for a smooth visual presentation throughout. The audio is mono and well balanced. There are no extras.

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



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