I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

I Was a Male War Bride (1949), directed by Howard Hawks.

In post-war Germany a French officer and American WAC Lt have a mission to deal with a black market problem, and we have much war of the sexes screwball comedy on their road-trip. When they fall in love and get married they must struggle with Army bureaucracy coping with the War Brides Act, which anticipates that new spouses will all be female.

Adapted from the biography of the real Henri Rochard, who went through something like this. Large parts are filmed in and around Heidelberg, Germany so we get good use of the real locations and a look at the post-war rubble.

Our first obstacle is believing Cary Grant as a Frenchman who can speak perfect Cary Grant English. He and Ann Sheridan have relaxed, friendly chemistry, but I'm not detecting a lot of fire. It was a difficult production because it seems everyone was very sick at one time or another.

As comedy it is a series of gags, some only mildly amusing. The leads seem to be doing many of their own stunts. The most pointed humor is the always popular "newlyweds can't get their wedding night" routine, which goes on for a long time. You may now have legal sex, but you can't. Grant: "They wouldn't do this in the French army!"

Some of the early service comedy banter resembles the director's later The Thing from Another World (1951). In fact, Kenneth Tobey, the lead in that film, shows up as a tough sailor here.

Available on DVD.