Sunday, July 07, 2024

Tonight's Movie: Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

Two of my favorite actors, Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery, star in Alfred Hitchcock's "divorce comedy" MR. & MRS. SMITH (1941). MR. & MRS. SMITH was just released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive Collection.

I've seen this film many times over the years and reviewed it here back in 2008. I generally enjoy it quite well, although how significantly I'm exasperated by the warring couple seems to depend on my mood at the time of each viewing!

David and Ann Smith (Montgomery and Lombard) have been happily, if somewhat noisily, married for three years.

One day they learn that due to a technicality they aren't legally wed. Ann blissfully expects that after a romantic date David will take her to be remarried, while David seems to find the idea they're not truly married exciting and puts off saying anything.

Ann is shocked when David takes her home from dinner without a stop to see a justice of the peace and spends most of the movie try to make her remorseful sort-of husband pay, including dating David's law partner Jeff (Gene Raymond).

As I noted in my review of many years ago, Lombard is as good as expected, though she gets away with being overly petulant simply because she's zany, gorgeous Carole Lombard.

Montgomery is at least equally deserving of kudos in his role. His facial expressions are delightful, and there's an appealing steamy undercurrent to his portrayal as well.

This isn't Hitchcock's typical material, but he gets the most from the cast, especially the lead actors. Either Lombard or Montgomery is onscreen most of the film, and they certainly make it 95 minutes worth seeing.

Gene Raymond does a good job as the ostensibly clean-cut lawyer who's not as noble as he first appears. Amusing supporting cast members include Charles Halton, Lucile Watson, Philip Merivale, and Esther Dale.

The gorgeous Blu-ray print is a 1080p HD master from a 4K scan of the best available preservation elements. It looks and sounds terrific.

Extensive disc extras consist of the trailer; the 17-minute 2004 featurette "Mr. Hitchcock Meets the Smiths" with Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, Robert Osborne, Peter Bogdanovich, and more; the cartoons THE CAT'S TALE (1941) and SPORTS CHUMPIONS (1941); the Technicolor short CINDERELLA'S FELLER (1940); and two MR. & MRS. SMITH radio productions: A Lux Radio Theater (1941) broadcast w/Lombard and Bob Hope, and a Screen Guild Players (1942) broadcast starring Errol Flynn and Lana Turner.

This is an entertaining film which stands up to repeat viewings, presented in an excellent print with impressive extras. Recommended.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from Movie Zyng, Amazon, and other online retailers.


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