Unfaithfully Yours (1948)

PRESTON STURGES

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1948.  .  Screenplay by Preston Sturges.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Preston Sturges wrote and directed this hilarious comedy of marital jealousy. World-renowned conductor Rex Harrison is reunited with his lovely wife after months spent on tour, and is distraught to discover that his brother-in-law had her followed by detectives in his absence. Insistent on not being thought of as a suspicious husband, Harrison tries to ignore the findings of the private eye until the fact of her having possibly had an affair captures his attention and sets his mind towards dark purposes:  she did, after all, spend an unexplained 38 minutes in his assistant’s hotel room before returning to their abode, so she most definitely has been cheating. The plots and plans for revenge that he invents while contemplating his relationship with Darnell are hilarious partly because of Sturges’ genius with comedy, and because of his ability to make cinematic gold out of familiar experiences of the insanity of love. Harrison is a right sly dog in the lead (gotta love the way a line like “plumes on the hips” just drips from his mouth), and Darnell delights as his exasperated spouse who has no idea why her husband has suddenly gotten so churlish with her. The photography and musical score are gorgeous, and Sturges shows himself to still be at the top of his game despite the fact that making the movie at Fox (after leaving Paramount) meant a lot more creative interference from the suits than he was used to.

The Criterion Collection:  #292

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