Here is yet another film on the hilarity that ensues with an impending divorce. Still a controversial subject at the time but that did not stop this film from being a classic rom-com. Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth is when a couple decides to divorce because they both accuse each other of infidelity but they learn that separating from your spouse is easier said than done.
I will admit that this film is personally not one of my favorites. Probably because I feel like it ends the way it begins. Actually, when you think about it, the ending reminds me of It Happened One Night when symbolism tells you whether or not they are sleeping together all because of The Production Code. It was just your ordinary screwball comedy. But I would also say that this is a good film to see if you want a laugh and something fun to see. We see a couple that is very untrustworthy of each other that they decide to divorce but for a mutual separation, it seems like they spend more time ruining each other’s hope for moving on than actually moving on. Custody of the dog, ruining new romances. It’s a funny situation when you think about it. For those of you who have been through a separation or a divorce, did you ever feel like taking revenge on your spouse? If so, remember why you wanted separation from that person in the first place!
Believe it or not, a big portion of this film is improvised! Director Leo McCarey would tell the actors to just say the first thing that popped into their head after a certain action. Like when Irene Dunne’s character opens the door, Grant replies “The judge says this is my day to see the dog.” Totally improvised! Some scenes were also written in at last minute such as when Irene Dunne is doing her cabaret act as she pretends to be Cary Grant‘s sister. It’s very rare that we see films from the 1930s that have a lot of improvisation to them. Cary Grant apparently did not want to be a part of this film so badly that he was willing to opt out for $5,000. All of the stress that McCarey put on Grant helped him with his character’s nervous persona. Well, for someone who did not want to be in the film, his fan mail after reached 200 to 1400 fan letters a week. The Awful Truth was nominated for six Academy Awards and won for Best Director. I would recommend this film if you want to see something fun and carefree that takes light of something as serious as divorce. Oh, and if you want to see this comedy duo again, you can see them again in My Favorite Wife (1940) and Penny Serenade (1941).
Unfortunately, I could not find the film online but you can rent it on Amazon for $3.99. Here is the trailer and please comment what you think: