Rent The Awful Truth (1937)

3.9 of 5 from 138 ratings
1h 27min
Rent The Awful Truth Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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In this Oscar-winning farce, Cary Grant (in the role that first defined the Cary Grant persona) and Irene Dunne exude charm, cunning, and artless affection as an urbane couple who, fed up with each others infidelities, resolve to file for divorce. But try as they might to move on, the mischievous Jerry can't help meddling in Lucy's ill-matched engagement to a corn-fed Oklahoma businessman (Ralph Bellamy), and a mortified Lucy begins to realize that she may be saying goodbye to the only dance partner capable of following her lead.
Directed by the versatile Leo McCarey, a master of improvisation and slapstick as well as a keen and sympathetic observer of human folly, 'The Awful Truth' is a warm but unsparing comedy about two people whose flaws only make them more irresistible.
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Leo McCarey
Viña Delmar, Arthur Richman, Sidney Buchman
Viña Delmar, Al Clark
Columbia Tristar
Classics, Comedy, Romance
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1938 Oscar Best Director

Release Date:
Run Time:
87 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, German Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
Release Date:
Run Time:
91 minutes
English LPCM Mono
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • New interview with critic Gary Giddins about director Leo McCarey
  • New video essay by film critic David Cairns on Cary Grant's performance
  • Illustrated 1978 audio interview with actor Irene Dunne
  • Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1939, starring Grant and Claudette Colbert
  • An essay by film critic Molly Haskell

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Reviews (2) of The Awful Truth

One of the all time great comedies. - The Awful Truth review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

Cary Grant is the greatest male comedy actor in pictures for my money and The Awful Truth represented a breakthrough in Hollywood. This is a comic showreel for him. His co-star Irene Dunne established herself as a star of screwball in this film.. Together they are dynamite as a couple who divorce and seek new partners but never find elsewhere that elusive chemistry, and inevitably drift back together, at first over the custody of the dog, but really for the elegance and wit, and finally for the sex.

 Director Leo McCarey keeps the tone light and sparkling, but generates dramatic interest even though this is a very superficial story. Some of the situations and plot complications are inspired. Apparently he wrote most of the final script and got wonderful performances from his stars, largely through improvisation. The interactions are glorious.

 This is a very risqué film and it is amazing that it got past the Hays Office. Maybe because it was so good! Grant and Dunne dominate the film and are prominent among the great sparring screwball couples, but Ralph Bellamy as Irene's suitor, an unsophisticated oil tycoon with a ranch in Oklahoma is outstanding too. It's perhaps surprising that this was such a big hit because the divorcing Warriners are so aloof that they look down on anyone who isn't a New York sophisticate. But they get away with it because of the charm of the leads.

 Grant rousting the blundering Bellamy to the mortification his ex wife is hilarious, and Dunne matches his artful élan in a scene where she pretends to be his dipso sister to discredit him before his new prospective wealthy in-laws. The film never falters. Often a comedy which offers little other than humour can become tiresome, but thanks mainly to the great triangle of leads, this confection remains a consistent and compelling joy.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

“I told him the truth and strange enough, he believed me.” - The Awful Truth review by LJ

Spoiler Alert

Considering that all the blame lies with the husband not trusting his wife, it is an unbalanced comedy as he continues to torment her and she only gets a tiny bit of revenge; the later film My Favorite Wife covers a similar plot with the same stars in a much pleasanter and more satisfying way.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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