Bishop's Wife [1947]

Perhaps if The Bishop's Wife had lapsed on its copyright and fallen into the public domain like It's a Wonderful Life, it would be as much a Christmas staple as that classic. It certainly deserves to be. Dudley (Cary Grant) is an angel sent down by the prayers of a new bishop (David Niven). The bishop is trying to build a new cathedral, and he's so entrenched in his fundraising that he's watching his own marriage crumble around him. Loretta Young is devoted, moist-eyed, and basically a great date for the tempted Dudley. They drink in the afternoon, go skating at night, and make impulse buys. The skating sequence beats mightily on one's suspension of disbelief, but the rest of the film is an absolute joy. Grant is suave, worldly, and enchanting. A wonderful present for anyone who has not seen it. --Keith Simanton

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