Los Angeles Times - 08/29/2004
"[A] funny 1941 romantic farce that stars two of the greatest comic performers of the time..."
Although Alfred Hitchcock had some lighter moments in early English productions such as RICH AND STRANGE, MR. AND MRS. SMITH was Hitchcock's only American comedy and may have come about through Hitchcock's friendship with star Carole Lombard. The film opens with Lombard and Robert Montgomery as a happily married though bickering couple. In one spat Lombard challenges Montgomery with the age-old question, "If you had it to do it all over again, would you marry me'" To which Montgomery replies with an off-handed "No!" Unfortunately for Montgomery, he is given a chance to stand by his hasty words when the couple learns that due to a legal technicality, their marriage isn't valid. Thrown out of the house by Lombard, Montgomery must find someway to prove his love is indeed sincere--but not before Lombard gets a chance to make him suffer a little. Hitchcock shows an unusual charm for the genre, making a wildly enjoyable and thoroughly appealing romantic comedy.
In a rare departure from tales of spies, murderers, and mysteries, Alfred Hitchcock turns to the charms of marital bickering in this lighthearted screwball comedy. Lawyer David Smith discovers that, due to a technicality, he is not legally married to his wife, Ann. When she hears the news and throws him out, he must use all his wiles and cleverness to win her back. Drawing on a tradition of slapstick humor, MR. AND MRS. SMITH also anticipates the acerbic wit of later romantic comedies such as ADAM'S RIB.
Romantic Comedy |
Although there are many comedic moments in numerous Hitchcock films, this is the only American comedy that he directed
Hitchcock cameo: about halfway through the film, when Ann's two suitors walk out of her apartment building, the director strolls by smoking a cigarette.
Hitchcock's first choice for the role of Mr. Smith was Cary Grant.
The film was shown in December 1995 at New York City's Film Forum as part of the theater's Simply Screwball retrospective series on Hollywood screwball comedies.