The Bishop s Wife

  • Directors: Henry Koster
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Writers: Novel, Robert Nathan, Screenplay, Leonardo Bercovici, Robert E Sherwood, Uncredited, Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven

Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance with the troubled building of a new cathedral. His plea is seemingly answered by a suave angel named Dudley (Cary Grant), who reveals his identity initially only to the clergyman.

However, Dudley’s mission isn’t to help with the construction of the cathedral. He is there as a guide to Henry and the people around him. Henry has become obsessed with the building to the detriment of his duties and marriage to his neglected, unhappy wife, Julia (Loretta Young). Everyone, except for Henry, is charmed by the newcomer, even the non-religious Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley finally and easily persuades the wealthy parishioners, particularly Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), to contribute the needed funds, but not to build the cathedral. He helps Mrs. Hamilton decide to give her money to feed and clothe the needy—much to Henry’s chagrin. He also redecorates the Broghams’ Christmas tree in two seconds, saves an old church by restoring interest in the boys’ choir, and arranges for the typewriter to automatically type Henry’s new sermon – which Dudley dictates without Henry’s knowledge.

When Dudley spends time cheering up Julia, there is an unexpected development: Dudley finds himself strongly attracted to her. Sensing this, Henry becomes jealous and anxious for his unwelcome guest to finish and depart. Eventually, he stands up to the angel. With his mission completed and knowing that Julia loves her husband, Dudley leaves, promising never to return. All memory of him is erased, and on Christmas Eve at midnight, Henry delivers the sermon which he now believes he alone has written.

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