AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Awful Truth
Director: Leo McCarey (Dir)
Release Date:   21 Oct 1937
Production Date:   21 Jun-17 Aug 1937
Duration (in mins):   89-90
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Cast:   Irene Dunne (Lucy Warriner)  
    Cary Grant (Jerry Warriner)  
    Ralph Bellamy (Daniel Leeson)  
    Alexander D'Arcy (Armand Duvalle)  
    Cecil Cunningham (Aunt Patsy)  
    Molly Lamont (Barbara Vance)  
    Esther Dale (Mrs. Leeson)  
    Joyce Compton (Dixie Belle Lee)  
    Robert Allen (Frank Randall)  
    Robert Warwick (Mr. Vance)  
    Mary Forbes (Mrs. Vance)  
    Claud Allister (Lord Fabian)  
    Zita Moulton (Lady Fabian)  
    Scott Colton (Mr. Barnsley)  
    Wyn Cahoon (Mrs. Barnsley)  
    Paul Stanton (Judge)  
    Leonard Carey (Butler)  
    Byron Foulger (Secretary)  
    Bess Flowers (Viola Heath)  
    Edgar Dearing (Motor cop)  
    Mitchell Harris (Jerry's attorney)  
    Miki Morita (Japanese servant)  
    George C. Pearce (Caretaker)  
    Frank Wilson (Master of ceremonies)  
    Vernon Dent (Police sergeant)  
    Bobby Watson (Hotel clerk)  
    Kathryn Curry (Celeste)  
    Edward Peil Sr. (Bailiff)  
    John Tyrell (Hank)  
    Edmund Mortimer (Lucy's attorney)  
    Lee Willard    
    Arthur Stuart Hall    
    Bruce Sidney    
    Frances Raymond    
    Ruth Cherrington    
    Dora Clement    

Summary: Sophisticated New Yorkers Jerry and Lucy Warriner both have cause to suspect the other of having an affair, so they decide to divorce. Although Lucy wins custody of their dog, "Mr. Smith," the lack of a suitable male escort keeps her at home every night. Happily, Lucy's Aunt Patsy meets their neighbor, Oklahoma oil man Daniel Leeson, who is presentable and eligible, and introduces him to Lucy. While they are all getting acquainted, Jerry arrives for his custody visit with Mr. Smith, and his rowdy antics with the dog drive the others out of the apartment. By the end of the evening, Lucy and Daniel are infatuated. During the next few months, Jerry does everything he can to break up their engagement, but when Daniel's mother, who is adamantly against the engagement, spreads gossip about Lucy, Jerry leaps to her defense. Finally, because of a comedy of errors, Lucy and Daniel do separate, but in the meantime, Jerry has gotten involved with madcap heiress Barbara Vance. On the night before the final divorce decree, Lucy, posing as Jerry's sister, visits the Vance home, pretends to get drunk, parodies the ridiculous cabarat act of one of Jerry's former girlfriends, and behaves so obnoxiously that Jerry is forced to drive her home. Determined not to lose Jerry, Lucy tricks him up to Patsy's cabin, where they are reconciled just before the clock strikes midnight. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.  
Production Text: A Leo McCarey Production
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.  
Director: Leo McCarey (Dir)
  William Mull (Asst dir)
Producer: Everett Riskin (Assoc prod)
Writer: Viña Delmar (Scr)
  Dwight Taylor (Contr to scr const)
Photography: Joseph Walker (Photog)
Art Direction: Stephen Goosson (Art dir)
  Lionel Banks (Art dir)
Film Editor: Al Clark (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Babs Johnstone (Int dec)
Costumes: Kalloch (Gowns)
Music: Morris Stoloff (Mus dir)
  Ben Oakland (Mus comp)
Sound: Ed Bernds (Sd eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "My Dreams Are Gone with the Wind," words and music by Ben Oakland and Milton Drake.
Composer: Milton Drake
  Ben Oakland
Source Text: Based on the play The Awful Truth by Arthur Richman, (New York, 18 Sep 1922).
Authors: Arthur Richman

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California 15/10/1937 dd/mm/yyyy LP7497

PCA NO: 3602
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Comedy
Subjects (Major): Divorce
Subjects (Minor): Aunts
  False accusations
  Impersonation and imposture

Note: "Mr. Smith," the dog, is played by "Skippy," who also starred as Asta in M-G-M's The Thin Man series. Leo McCarey won an Academy Award for direction and the film also received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Actress (Dunne), Supporting Actor (Bellamy), and Screenplay. FD named the film one of 1937's best. MPH credits Marguerite Churchill with the role of "Barbara Vance," but Molly Lamont is listed onscreen. According to modern sources, much of the film was improvised by McCarey and the actors. Modern sources list Alan Bridge as a "Motor cop." Arthur Richman's play was also the basis for a silent film in 1925, directed by Paul Powell and starring Agnes Ayers and Warner Baxter. It was filmed again in 1929 as a talkie, directed by Marshall Neilan and starring Ina Claire, who also headed the Broadway cast (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1929-30 ; F2.2010 and F2.2011). In 1953 it was remade by Columbia under the title Let's Do It Again , directed by Alexander Hall and starring Jane Wyman and Ray Milland. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   6 Oct 37   p. 3.
Film Daily   11 Oct 37   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Oct 37   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   7 Oct 37   p.2.
Motion Picture Herald   17 Jul 37   p. 67.
Motion Picture Herald   9 Oct 37   p. 44.
New York Times   5 Nov 37   p. 19.
Variety   20 Oct 37   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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