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Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Screening on Film
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond.
US, 1941, 35mm, black & white, 90 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

On loan to RKO early in his Hollywood career, Hitchcock tried his hand at a “comedy of remarriage” starring Carol Lombard and Robert Montgomery as a quarrelsome Park Avenue couple who discover that, because of a bureaucratic mix-up, they are not legally married. Hitchcock would later claim that he didn’t understand the screwball characters, but he seems right at home with the genre’s reliance on duplicity, role-playing, and violent turns of phrase (“Someday when your back is turned I’ll stab you!”). Indeed, the director tips his hand as the Master of Suspense throughout the film, perhaps never more than when an indignant Lombard holds back Montgomery’s head for a worrisome shave.

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