Contact me at because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Classic Film Review: I Married a Witch (1942)

I Married a Witch tells the story of a politician whose family is plagued by a curse from a sorcerer and his daughter they burned at the stake centuries earlier. Wallace Wooley (Fredric March) is the latest member of the family to suffer by the curse but with an added twist - thanks to a lightning strike, the tree where the ashes of the sorcerer and the witch were housed has been shattered, setting them free. Daniel (Cecil Kellaway) and Jennifer (Veronica Lake) aim to make Wallace suffer further on the eve of both his wedding to Estelle Masterson (Susan Hayward) and the election for state governor. They create a love potion but, when it backfires, Daniel and Jennifer find themselves on opposite sides of the argument.

I loved this whimsical fantasy. It doesn't take itself too seriously and includes some laugh out loud moments along with brilliant performances from the cast (even if - or perhaps especially because - March and Lake didn't exactly get on). This was my first experience of Lake and, I have to say, I was impressed. Her sultry performance is stunning and she fits the part perfectly, even in the scenes where just her voice is heard. I'm struggling to think of an actress who could've played this part quite so well. March, too, is well-cast but it's definitely Lake's film. The smaller parts are taken by accomplished actors, including the ever-reliable Robert Benchley as Dr Dudley White and the equally-excellent Robert Warwick as Mr Masterson. Watch out too for Helen St. Rayner in a brief, comedic appearance as a wedding singer. It was her only credited role so IMDB tells me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At 77 minutes it's fairly short but that means it doesn't have too much slack to become boring. The fire scenes near the beginning are amusing but I much preferred the quiet interplay between March/Lake and Lake/Kellaway. The special effects, too, are good enough for 1942, especially the taxi ride and the broom activity. I thought the resolution was pretty neat and the little epilogue was cute, if only to see Veronica Lake as a matronly housewife for a few short moments.

This is a lovely little comedy that deserves a little more attention. I'll definitely be delving into more of Veronica Lake's filmography.

No comments: