I Married a Witch (1942)

Article #885 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-17-2003
Posting Date: 1-14-2004
Directed by Rene Clair
Featuring Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward

A witch and her warlock father emerge from an oak tree where their souls were imprisoned after they were burned, and seek revenge on the descendant of the man who condemned them.

It’s interesting to combine the wild comedy of Thorne Smith (author of ‘Topper’), who started but did not finish the story on which this was based (it was completed by Norman Matson) and the light-as-air comic touch of Rene Clair. The result is somewhere in between; not quite as light as some of Clair’s other work and not quite as wild as some other Smith tales, but a bright cast and some interesting characters make for an enjoyable viewing experience. The always-enjoyable Robert Benchley is on hand to add his touch to the proceedings, but the movie is stolen by Cecil Kellaway as the witch’s father, who reveals he has an agenda of his own in a memorable scene involving a gun. However, the biggest laughs I found were during a funny election sequence, and an opening scene where the witch-burning undergoes a short intermission. The special effects and fantasy elements are quite effective, as they usually are in Rene Clair films.

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