Sometimes we get so caught up in the pursuit of doing something good, we forget to do those things that are great. Such is the case in “The Bishop’s Wife,” a classic Christmas movie starring David Niven, Loretta Young, and Cary Grant.
Niven is Bishop Brougham, an earnest man who is deeply concerned about the fate of his church and congregation. He needs a large sum of money to complete his church, and the strain is eating away at him. By his side is his lovely wife, Julia (played by Young) who understands what he’s trying to do but also wishes he could pull himself away from his worries long enough to enjoy the Christmas season and perhaps even spend some time with her.
Angels can be wily sometimes, if need be. Grant stars as Dudley, a messenger sent from on high to remind the good bishop of his priorities. Dudley arrives under the guise of being sent to help the bishop with his office duties, but he really was sent by a Higher Power. As Dudley grows closer to the family, he especially grows close to Julia, causing some jealousy on the part of the bishop. Well, it was good for him! Sometimes men need to be reminded of what they’ve got. Okay, women too, but we’re not talking about women right now.
Dudley creates a few more Christmas miracles before he leaves, and everyone is benefited by his visit. The people get their church, the bishop and his wife fall even more in love, and we are reminded that people are always more important than things, even if those things seem to be very needful.
This is an unusual film in that Cary Grant doesn’t get the girl. I don’t know if I can think of another movie where this is the case—he’s usually the successful suitor. But he serves his purpose well; he never was there to steal the woman, just to create a little moment of realization.
This is a fun Christmas movie I’ve enjoyed time and again. The remake, “The Preacher’s Wife,” is also good, but you just can’t beat Cary Grant. Many have tried, many have failed …
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