Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Monday, November 19, 2007

What Was On TV Last Night


This is a brief synopsis of the ending of a film that I saw on TV last night, "The Awful Truth", with Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Ralph Bellamy.

At the rustic cabin where Lucy has set up their final rendezvous [to get back together and reconcile], she feigns surprise that her Aunt isn't there: "She isn't here?" They retire to adjoining, but separate bedrooms on the last evening of their ninety-day waiting period before their divorce is final at midnight. In her room, she tightens up the silky, sexy, loose-fitting nightgown borrowed from her Aunt Patty's drawer. The door between their rooms has a weakened and faulty latch, and it blows open - exposing Jerry in his oversized night-shirt. She laughs at his "air-conditioned" garment. The door latch "isn't very practical," although Lucy prophetically guesses "it will serve its purpose." The door is seemingly blown open by the power of their mutual attraction.

Jerry surreptitiously finds excuses to keep opening the door, coming and going through it in a cat-and-mouse game. After shutting the door, Jerry reopens it and says goodnight for the second time. A gigantic cuckoo clock above Lucy's door, reading 11:15 pm, has a mechanical, male and female Alpine character (with lederhosen and a mountain maid's dress) that emerge in separate doors to signal the quarter, half hour, and hour. Unable to sleep in their respective beds and longing to be reunited, both lie awake and listen, each hearing the wind rattling the door. At 11:30 pm, the door opens and both are startled to see each other rising and sitting up in bed. Jerry gets up and approaches the door, and they discuss his initial feelings of suspicion - all in his mind:

Jerry: I told you we'd have trouble with this...In a half an hour, we'll no longer be 'Mr. and Mrs.' Funny, isn't it?
Lucy: Yes, it's funny that everything's the way it is on account of the way you feel.
Jerry: Huh?
Lucy: Well, I mean if you didn't feel the way you do, things wouldn't be the way they are, would they? Well, I mean things could be the same if things were different.
Jerry: But things are the way you made them.
Lucy: Oh no. No, things are the way you think I made them. I didn't make them that way at all. Things are just the same as they always were, only you're the same as you were, too, so I guess things will never be the same again. (seductively) Good night.

At eleven forty-five, Jerry opens his cabin window to coax in a gale, but the restless black cat in Lucy's room lies across the door and holds it shut. When Lucy notices the cat blocking the doorway, she shoos it away, finding Jerry kneeling on his hands and knees outside her door and inspecting the problem. She languishes provocatively on her bed as he enters her room and admits to being a suspicious fool:

Lucy: You're all confused, aren't you?
Jerry: Uh-huh. Aren't you?
Lucy: No.
Jerry: Well, you should be, because you're wrong about things being different because they're not the same. Things are different, except in a different way. You're still the same, only I've been a fool. Well, I'm not now. So, as long as I'm different, don't you think that, well, maybe things could be the same again? Only a little different, huh?
Lucy: Do you mean that, Jerry? Are you sure?
Jerry: Hmm, hmm.
Lucy: No more doubts?...No more being...?
Jerry: Except, uh...
Lucy: Except what?
Jerry: Well, there's only one thing that bothers me.
Lucy: What?
Jerry: (The door opens) This darn lock.
Lucy: Oh, is that all?

She has gestured at a chair in her room, and he wedges the door shut with it - on her side of the room. After locking himself in his wife's room, she settles back on the bed and laughs at her perplexed husband, as the clock strikes midnight. They learn "the awful truth," decide they are irresistible to each other, and reconcile their differences to make things the same again at the last-second. The divorced couple are reunited minutes before their marriage is legally supposed to end. [The Production Code forbade their final consummation, however, since midnight made them officially divorced.] Their reunion at midnight is thereby enacted by the cuckoo clock's two tiny figures, symbolic stand-ins for Jerry and Lucy, that both enter the same opening (instead of separate entrances) at the film's suggestive, concluding fade-out.


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At Mon Nov 19, 05:31:00 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

I've always said it's only different because it's all the same.

I do Love Lucy...

At Mon Nov 19, 11:13:00 PM, Anonymous Dee Loralei said...

Cary Grant is still my all time favorite actor. And he's damned funny. And Bringing Up Baby is the most brilliant comedy ever.

Oh, and Dr Z., congrats on your C&L front page photoshop of Dana and the incredible shrinking WhiteHouse.

And a happy, loving, full-bellied holiday to all. I'm off to the heart of redstate darkness.... Boomer Sooner! So, drive safely,eat well, and ignore the idiots you are related too. This too shall pass.

(At least that's what I keep telling myself, I've gotten a wee bit more strident in the last year)

At Tue Nov 20, 12:39:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

MichaelBains: That's exactly why I posted this! The goofy dialog!

Dee Loralei: "Bringing Up Baby" was sheer genius, but my favorite Cary Grant film was "Arsenic and Old Lace". If only Boris Karloff had been available for the screen version! He was in the Broadway version. Watch yourself in those Red States... I am in one now!


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