For Reel

I Married a Witch (1942)
March 20, 2011, 6:54 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: René Clair

Present day, 1942. A bolt of lightning collides with an old oak tree, whose roots constrict the long-dead souls of a witch and her father burned at the stake three hundred years prior. Two clouds of smoke appear and begin talking to each other. “Twill be sweet to plague the human race again!”, says the daughter, to which the father responds, “First we will visit the corn field and ruin the crop. ‘Tis always a good way to limber up!” This largely undiscovered gem from René Clair is a masterpiece of oddball, fantastical comedy that one might speculate was a partial inspiration for Bewitched. Veronica Lake plays a witch who returns to carry out a curse on the ancestor of the man who had burned her at the stake. Naturally, she falls in love with him. A more charming picture you’re unlikely to find, and in it’s best moments the effort recalls the work of Preston Sturges through it’s quick succession of punch lines and the Code-evading sexual humor. Fredric March may be miscast, though his shortcomings are redeemed by the hilarious performances from Veronica Lake as the conniving witch and Cecil Kellaway as her drunkard father.

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