Mr. and Mrs. Smith

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No, this is not the film starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Sadly, that film is actually better than this one, a rather obscure romantic comedy directed by the great master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Despite the talent involved, the film is not really that funny or enlightening.

David Smith (Robert Montgomery) has just ended his latest feud with his wife Ann (Carole Lombard), when a lawyer comes to office, telling him that due to a technicality, their marriage was never really valid. While David thinks the couple will just get married again, Ann has other ideas. She starts dating David’s law partner Jeff (Gene Raymond) and David despairs at ever getting her back again. Hilarity is supposed to ensue as David and Ann dance around each other with poor Jeff in the way.

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The first drawback of this film is that it’s directed by Hitchcock. While there are some clever shots, including one that shows Jeff getting in between Ann and David, it’s not going to be what people expect when they go looking for a Hitchcock film. There’s hardly a single morbid thought in the whole picture. Though it has Hitchcock’s name on it, it hardly seems to be his movie. Despite some of the more interesting visuals, the film is far from dazzling on the directorial front.

The acting isn’t very spectacular either, but then again, these actors don’t have great material to work with. The film is just not funny, but even in some places I could sense that it was supposed to be funny, but the gags just fell flat. Most of the blame lays on Montgomery, who is stiff and wooden for almost the entire film. Lombard does quite a bit better than her costar, but has also done better elsewhere. The film is not entirely devoid of laughs, but pretty darn close. The scene in the restaurant where David tries to act as if he’s dating a classy woman instead of the trashy one he is actually with is hilarious, but that’s really about it.

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This is probably the shortest review I have ever written, because when all is said and done, there really isn’t a lot to say about this film. The film is rarely inspired, mostly mediocre, and occasionally awful. It’s too long; the thin comedy can’t be sustain for 3/4 of the picture’s running time let alone its entirety. I feel as if I’m coming down quite hard on this film, but I can’t help it. Hitchcock has had way more interesting failures than this one.

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“If you had it all to do over again, would you still have married me?”

Long story short: 2/4 stars

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2 responses to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith

  1. Considering the talent involved this really is a minor miss although the film was financially successful on its release. Lombard had personally requested Hitchcock and did the picture when he agreed to direct turning down in the process the far more interesting sounding project Smiler With a Knife that was based on a Cecil Day-Lewis (Daniel’s father) story to be directed by Orson Welles who dropped the idea when she chose Mr. & Mrs. Smith. All that is far more interesting than this film but Hitchcock moved on to far better things and Carole bounced back with To Be or Not To Be which unfortunately she didn’t get to enjoy perishing in that plane crash right after its completion.

    • I had actually read conflicting info on whether it was Lombard’s idea to get Hitchcock or if Hitch was already attached and wanted Lombard. The first seems more likely to me because this doesn’t quite match up with basically any of the other things Hitchcock’s done.
      I do love To Be or Not to Be though, that is quite an enjoyable film! The project with Orson Welles probably would have been more interesting than this tho.

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