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I Married a Witch

I Married a Witch (1942)

What She said:

She

I often enjoy catching an old movie on TCM.  It’s amazing how different films were back in the day—the cinematography, costumes, and even the acting.  Watching an old movie is like a portal to another era, seeing what the culture was like way back when.

So the other night I caught a movie called I Married a Witch, which apparently was the inspiration for the wildly successful TV show, Bewitched.  It stars Veronica Lake and Frederic March, who were both pretty well known in their day.  In the movie Lake plays Jennifer, who was a Salem witch burned (along with her father) at the stake by Jonathan Wooley.  Jennifer curses all male descendants of Wooley to fall into doomed marriages.  We then head to the present day, where Wallace Wooley is about to marry his pain-in-the-butt fiancé.  So this is where things get twisted.  The spirit of Jennifer decides to torment Wallace, and manifests itself in this beautiful human form.  Her powers of seduction aren’t quite enough, though, and so she creates a love potion, but accidentally drinks it herself.  That’s when things really get wild.  She is pursuing him, he doesn’t know what to do about it but kind of likes her, and her father is absolutely outraged.  Eventually, Jennifer’s father is able to get her back to spirit form and strips her of her powers.  But Jennifer uses love to conquer all.

In classic 1940s form, this movie is all over the place.  Things are happening left and right, a lot is unexplained, and you’ll feel like you have to take notes to keep up.  Comedic movies of this era often play with this idea that “it was all just a goofy mistake.”  I think it’s a way to make things zany without blaming anyone for causing havoc.  To today’s viewer I Married a Witch may not play out logically.  It also might not be very believable.  Yes, a movie about witches is going to be fictional, but it’s hard to believe that Wallace has any feelings whatsoever for Jennifer.  There’s just no chemistry there.  I think that’s what bothered me most.  Perhaps it’s not well depicted because Frederic March actually hated Veronica Lake.  Apparently a lot of people did.  She had a darndist time finding a co-star who would work with her. 

Anyway, the humor in this movie is pretty funny at times, and so that makes it enjoyable.  But the plot can be a bit much to keep up with.

Thumbs half up.