Mr & Mrs Smith (1941)

Mr & Mrs Smith (1941), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

In a familiar comedy of remarriage setup, lawyer Robert Montgomery discovers he is not legally married to wife Carole Lombard. In a more unusual variant, he finds this strangely exciting and decides not to tell her, at least for a while. We venture into sex comedy as he relishes the prospect of nights of passion with an unmarried woman -- still Carole Lombard -- while she, discovering the ploy, is much less happy about it.

After a big bust up both try dating and sabotaging each other's love life, all with disastrous results until the inevitable reunion at the country lodge that the formula requires. They are still not married at the final fade-out...

It's not bad, but not an outstanding example of the genre like The Awful Truth (1937) or The Philadelphia Story (1940). Hitchcock could use comedy and romance but the screwball romantic comedy was just not his type of film. He did it as a favor to his pal Lombard: "In a weak moment I accepted".

I understand that. Could you refuse Carole Lombard anything?

He said he simply shot it as written, but I suspect he added the little sexual innuendos: Montgomery fondling the tip of the champagne bottle, Lombard in willing bondage to her skis.

The leads are obviously very strong. I never noticed Gene Raymond before but he does a funny routine as a gentlemanly drunk on a big date.

The story does give us points to ponder: the differences between romance and marriage, how time changes things, and how it doesn't.

Photographed by Harry Stradling Sr. Very light score.

Available on DVD.