The Bishop's Wife (1947)

Genres - Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Heavenly Comedy, Romantic Fantasy  |   Release Date - Dec 9, 1947 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Brendon Hanley

One of the most beloved of all Christmas films, The Bishop's Wife is a delightful combination of witty dialogue and charming performances. The polished finished product is all the more remarkable considering its troubled production history. William Seiter originally directed the film, with Cary Grant in the part of the bishop and David Niven as the angel (amazingly, they would swap roles for the final product). The film's notoriously short-tempered producer Samuel Goldwyn was furious with Seiter's finished product, fired the director and started from scratch. He hired Henry Koster to re-direct, but initial audience previews went poorly, and several new scenes were written (some from an uncredited Billy Wilder). The end product shows none of the seams, and the film was rewarded with five Academy Award nominations, including one for Koster (Best Director) and one for Goldwyn (Best Picture). The Bishop's Wife became of the most cherished Christmas movies ever -- strangely enough, it would be released within two years of the other perennial favorites It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Remade, dreadfully, by director Penny Marshall in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife.