The Bishop's Wife

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The Bishop's Wife (1947) is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic comedy feature film starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven in a story about an angel who helps a bishop with his problems. It was released by RKO. The film was adapted by Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood from the novel of the same name by Robert Nathan, and was directed by Henry Koster.

The film won the Academy Award for Sound, and was nominated for Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Picture.

It was remade in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Courtney B. Vance.



Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance with the troubled building of a new cathedral. His plea is seemingly answered by a suave angel named Dudley (Cary Grant), who reveals his identity initially only to the clergyman.

However, Dudley's mission is not to help with the construction of the cathedral. He is there to guide Henry and the people around him. Henry has become obsessed with the building to the detriment of his duties and marriage to his neglected, unhappy wife, Julia (Loretta Young). Everyone, except for Henry, is charmed by the newcomer, even the non-religious Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Dudley persuades the wealthy parishioners, particularly Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), to contribute the needed funds, but not to build the cathedral. He helps Mrs. Hamilton decide to give her money to feed and clothe the needy—much to Henry's chagrin. He also redecorates the Broghams' Christmas tree in two seconds, saves an old church by restoring interest in the boys' choir, and arranges for the typewriter to automatically type Henry's new sermon - which Dudley dictates without Henry's knowledge.

When Dudley spends time cheering up Julia, there is an unexpected development: Dudley finds himself strongly attracted to her. Sensing this, Henry becomes jealous and anxious for his unwelcome guest to finish and depart. Eventually, he stands up to the angel. With his mission completed and knowing that Julia loves her husband, Dudley leaves, promising never to return. All memory of him is erased, and on Christmas Eve at midnight, Henry delivers the sermon which he believes he has written.

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