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The Bishop's Wife

The Bishop's Wife title card

Year - 1947
Studio - Samuel Goldwyn
Stars -Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Wooley, James Gleason, Gladys Cooper, Elsa Lanchester
Director - Henry Koster
Writing Credits - Robert E. Sherwood, Leonardo Bercovici (screenplay), Robert Nathan (novel)
Music - Hugo Friedhofer


Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) is a troubled man. His church's plans to build a new cathedral are being driven by its most wealthy benefactor, the domineering Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper) who has her own selfish motives. His inner conflicts are causing him to neglect his wife Julia (Loretta Young) and daughter Debby (Karolyn Grimes).

After he prays for guidance, a debonair man walks into his office, Dudley (Cary Grant). He tells Henry that he is an Angel, sent to help him with his problems. Dudley offers to attend the cathedral planning meetings as his representative but Henry is understandably skeptical and, nonetheless, believes the meetings too important to send an assistant.

The Bishop's Wife poster

Knowing that Julia and Debby are starved for attention and fulfillment, Dudley goes to the park with them where he enchants them with his wisdom and insights, and later he takes Julia to lunch at her favorite restaurant.

Meanwhile, Henry meets with Mrs. Hamilton and meekly gives in to all her demands for the cathedral design, being more a monument to her late husband than a design suitable to the needs of all its parishioners.

Returning home, Dudley and Julia instruct the taxi driver, Sylvester (James Gleason), to take them to the ice skating park, where, to their amazement, Julia and Sylvester are able to skate with magical skill.

Dudley pays a visit to Mrs. Hamilton's mansion and, as he waits for her to appear, plays on her piano a composition that had been written for her by the only man she ever loved. She is overtaken with emotion, and confesses to him that she married for her husband's money, and her cathedral plans were driven by her guilt. When the Bishop and Julia arrive, she tells them, to their amazement, that she plans to give her money to the needy instead. Henry is relieved and resolves to give his wife and daughter the love and attention they desperately need. Dudley leaves as instantly as he arrived, on to his next assignment.

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