With "the holiday in his eye," Stanley Cavell quotes Emerson on Carey Grant's performance in the Awful Truth: "he is fit to stand the gaze of millions."
A high class married couple (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) break up after a dispute on marital fidelity. After each tries their luck with a different lover the two come to terms with the "awful truth."
The comedy carries the basic plot structure of the romantic comedy. Boy meets Girl. Breakup. Hijinks. Come back together. Transformed. The End. But in certain movies from the 1930s, just after the advent of talkies, several films made during or just after the Great Depression dealt with a slight twist on the romantic comedy: the remarriage plot. The difference is both stars are already married and through a break up and coming back together (after they realize they're "just the same, but different") both boy and girl learn to grow up together, as Cavell has pointed out in his deft review of 1930s comedies of remarriage, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage.
The Awful Truth (1937) Directed by Leo McCarey. Written by Viña Delmar, Arthur Richman. Starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy, Cecil Cunnigham, Esther Dale.
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