I Married a Witch (1942)
What She said:
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
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
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.