This film closes at the IFI on Friday, December 23rd.
Cary Grant is perfectly cast as a smooth-talking angel in this 1947 classic, made during a golden decade for Christmas films. Stressed bishop Henry (David Niven) is fixated on securing funds to achieve a career highlight, neglecting to notice he has left those dearest to him, including his downhearted wife Julia (Loretta Young), out in the cold. After Henry prays for guidance, suave rascal Dudley (Grant) answers his call, ice-skating straight into the hearts of everyone around him, including Julia.
While The Bishop’s Wife appears to share much with another deserving festive favourite It’s A Wonderful Life (including some actors), it possesses its own special charm as this angel appears to face a very human struggle. Combining a talented cast, delightful comic timing from both Niven and Grant, and a sprinkling of magical special effects, it provides a vital dose of Christmas spirit.
Notes by Saidhbh Ní Dhúlaing