The Bishop's Wife, 1947

Cary Grant stars in this Christmas film about Dudley, a messenger from God who appears to a family, makes them see things differently, and gives them hope.

The screenplay was adapted from a Robert Nathan novel and had uncredited rewrites, including work by Billy Wilder. This film is almost like the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life from 1946, except that nobody sees life as it would’ve been without them. In The Bishop’s Wife, the Bishop isn’t plucked out of his existence, but comes to the understanding that life is going on without him.

I could also compare this movie to Mary Poppins from 1964. Mary comes from the heavens, but not specifically from Heaven. She changes the perspective of the family members and gives them hope. The reality of all three of these movies is that nothing would’ve changed if the father didn’t apply the lessons he learned.

Cary Grant brings charm and controlled emotion to the story of Dudley. David Niven is the father who loves his family, but is distracted by the job of being Bishop Henry Brougham. He, like a lot of us, doesn’t know how to achieve success in every area of his life. So God sends Dudley.

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