Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: I Married A Witch (1942)

Last night I was planning to watch a horror film to review this Halloween weekend, but then I found this movie online, and since I've wanted to see it for a few years, I couldn't pass it up.

It's 1690 and Daniel and Jennifer are branded witches, burnt at the stake they curse their persecutors, the Wooley family. The curse being that no male member of the family will ever know happiness in love. We then see a number of sequences throughout history where various male Wooley's are beset with misfortune. On to 1942 and the latest Wooley is a fella named Wallace, he is a pompous politician soon to marry the snobbish Estelle and running for governor of the state backed by his fiancée's wealthy father. A storm breaks and lightning strikes the old tree that the accused witches Daniel and Jennifer were buried under years and years ago, this releases the duo first as smoke, then with the help of fire, Daniel as a booze loving man and Jennifer as a smoldering blonde sexual siren. Jennifer sets about wooing Wallace with every trick in the book, while Daniel is less than impressed and does all he can to overcook it.

I Married A Witch is now rightly acknowledged as the inspiration for the hit running series Bewitched, and as good as I find that particular show, it could never replace this delightfully breezy picture. Though the rest of the cast might not agree (I read Lake and March hated each other) I found Veronica Lake simply wonderful as Jennifer, seductive yet vulnerable, Lake shows a real impacting comedy streak, and as memorable as she was in the Noir genre, it's real to see her having fun for a change.The very dignified March made a great politician, as the character in this film is - but he comes off as too old to be marrying Hayward or getting involved with Lake, overall though he gave a fine performance. Bonus here is the turn from Cecil Kellaway as Jennifer's father Daniel, he's an engaging character given maximum gusto from Kellaway. Susan Hayward is Wallace's snob fiancée Estelle, the role doesn't call for a great deal, but the marker was set here and Hayward would go on to be a true great in the acting circle. René Clair directs with very accomplished comedic hands, what is, a lovely jovial film with neat special effects.

1 comment:

  1. While I think the chemistry could have been better between March and Lake, I do enjoy this film. I agree wholeheartedly that Cecil Kellaway almost steals the film. I enjoyed your write-up.