I Married a Witch Blu-ray Review - Mania.com



Blu-ray Review

Mania Grade: B+

3 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Rated: Approved (all audiences)
  • Starring: Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward, Cecil Kellaway
  • Written By: Robert Pirosh (screen play), Marc Connelly (screen play)
  • Directed By: Rene Clair
  • Studio: Paramount
  • Distributor: Criterion Collection (Spine #676)
  • Original Year of Release: 1942
  • Run Time: 77 Miinutes
  • Special Feaures: Trailer, uncompressed monaural soundtrack, Interviews with Rene Clair, Essay
  • Series:

I Married a Witch Blu-ray Review

Criterion Collection Release

By Robert T. Trate     October 31, 2013
Source: Mania.com


I Married a Witch (1942)
© Criterion Collection

Long, long ago, when people still believed in witches...

An ominous beginning for a film which was followed by a witch being burned at the stake. Yes, burned at the stake (watch the opening below), but do not think that this is a dark thriller from the golden age of Hollywood. In fact, this is a comedic love story between a witch and a politician. The prelude to how the witch and politician meet is quickly turned from the dark tale of witches being burned at the stake to a family curse. The men of the Wooley clan are cursed throughout time to be unhappy in love. You see two witches have cursed Jonathan Wooley and all his descendants to be doomed in love. The tone of the film quickly changes as we see the Wooley men from 1770 to Present (1942) try and break the curse, unsuccessfully. This brings us to the most recent Wooley, Jonathan (Fredric March) on the eve of his wedding. Jonathan is also running for governor and has both the headaches of getting married and being elected. Enter Jennifer, Veronica Lake, who wants Jonathan to not fall in love with anyone but her. Why? After 270 years, she is tired of being stuck in a tree and wants to ruin this Wooley’s life on her own. 

I Married Witch is an interesting film with its now classic and simple approach to magic, witches, and love. The magic that is done by Jennifer and her father, Daniel (Cecil Kellaway), is nothing more than simple camera tricks. It amazed me how I both smiled and applauded these simple gags. Today the film would all be CGI. Here, it was clever and fun. The comedic approach to the witches and their happenings was fun as well. Lake, an obvious sex symbol of the era, was not so when she was cast in the part. Here, she was still a relative unknown. In I Married a Witch, she is both sexy and funny. It helps that she is a 270+ year old witch and appears in the body of 20 year old Lake. That little extra bit of backstory helps the audience get over the fact that March is 23 years her senior. March sells you on their love story and the hilarity which ensues as he tries to fight off her advances and save his already doomed engagement. Wooley’s doomed engagement to Estelle (Susan Hayward) is the one thing that hasn’t changed in Hollywood. She is a cold hearted woman and not very appealing to the audience. Obviously, this is done to win us over to Lake’s Jennifer. However, with a run time of only 77 minutes, couldn’t her character have been better developed?

This is a fun and, now, not forgotten movie from Hollywood’s golden era. The majority of films from this time were about the war and keeping hope alive. Here, we have a magical love story that teeters on the age of absurdity. Yet, in any era, whether it be one of war time or not, a good fun comedy is always appreciated.  

The Blu-ray Experience:

The special features, even for Criterion, are a tad light. There are only two archival interviews with director Rene Clair and a trailer from 1942. The 2K digital transfer is the true gem and reason to pick of this Criterion Blu-ray. It delivers a breath taking look at classic Hollywood cinema.  
Follow Mania on Facebook and Twitter. If work has you blocked out, download our app on iTunes for your iPhone and iPad.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 3 of 3
1 
monkeyfoot 11/1/2013 7:15:25 AM

I saw this awhile ago but can't really remember all the details. I know I liked it though. It has that light hearted innocent whimiscal charm that movies of that era have. If ever I make a movie I think I would be strongly inclined to do it in the Hollywood style of the 30s and 40s. Whatever the subject matter or writng I would execute it for the screen with this type of feel.

If it was a horror movie it would be like the first Lugosi Dracula or Karloff Frankenstein movies. I might end up being the only one who finds this style of moviemaking fun though.  

fenngibbon 11/1/2013 9:38:10 PM

 I've seen this movie several times on TCM, and it's always entertaining.  Cecil Kellaway is quite funny as Lake's whimsically evil warlock father, and the great writer and wit Robert Benchley is a perfect fit as March's buddy.  Interestingly, until I saw it mentioned in this review, the rather acute age difference between March and Lake never really occurred to me; the interplay of the characters just doesn't make one think of it.

RobertTrate 11/3/2013 4:48:34 PM

 fenngibbon, I only looked it up because I realized that March was the same actor from Jeykl and Hyde and thought he had been around a while... 

1 

ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS