MovieChat Forums > Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) Discussion > No, it doesn't really work.

No, it doesn't really work.

My mother and I sat down to watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith, thinking, "What? A Hitchcock comedy? No way! This should be interesting!" But no, it wasn't terribly interesting at all. Actually, we were a bit confused. My mother said, "It's not a suspense movie, and it's not a funny movie--it's just" As we watched it, we couldn't really figure out what kind of a movie it was. I didn't really catch too many parts that were even supposed to be funny, let alone actually funny. So yeah, it's not really worth watching, I think.


You went into the film all wrong. Unfortunately, Hitchcock has been stereotyped as just "suspense" and people tend to forget that he was just as great with comedy and romance, especially romance, which he generally always had a great romance in all of his films and under estimated english sense of humour.


Hitchcock was certainly great with comedy and romance, but anyone expecting to find much of him in this film is going into it all wrong - this is one of the few films he directed without being involved in the script from the start. It was in a genre (American screwball comedy) that he wasn't familiar with. He simply turned up and did the directing. Carole Lombard had insisted that he direct it. So he was doing her favour, or perhaps given his difficult financial situation at that time, she was doing him one.


Anyone who has seen To Catch a Thief and North By Northwest knows that he could direct double entendres and as much sex as the Hays Code would allow better than anyone, save Lubitsch and Sturges. However, he was still young in his career. If he'd made this movie about 10 years later, maybe cast Cary Grant in the role, this could've been a little better. Instead, there's this hesitancy in the direction that is missing from his other films, which boast so much determination and control.

Hitchcock was a suspense director. While that shouldn't make him typecast, he had a different sixth sense; he knew what was suspensful. Comedy directors such as Howard Hawks know what's not funny and know how to correct it. Hitchcock wasn't a multi-genre director and he didn't have that sense of comedy that early on in his career, save The Lady Vanishes, though that was made for a British audience with the dark humor normally associated with the country.

However, there's one good reason to see this movie: Carole Lombard, the Queen of Screwball Comedy, the funniest lady of all time (sorry, Gilda Radner). She makes the most of the movie, and she shines even if the movie doesn't. It's so tragic that she died so young, right at the height of her career--it would make you wonder if Hitchcock would've used her in an against-type role as an icy blonde in a suspense movie. Sadly, we'll never know.

Did he train you? Did he rehearse you? Did he tell you exactly what to do, what to say?!


Carole Lombard's terrific in the movie, but so is Robert Montgomery, an underrated actor, in my opinion.

I saw this movie last night at MoMA here in NYC, and the scene that drew the loudest laughs by far was the nightclub scene, and that's all Montgomery. My fiance had never seen the movie, and she laughed out loud throughout that scene (and she was not alone).

As with most comedies (most movies, really, but especially comedies), this picture is best seen in a theatre with a live audience. Sophisticated home theatre setups are great, but there's nothing like the communal moviegoing experience.


I thought it was a pretty good film. Not a milestone screwball comedy, but Hitchcock did very well considering he had never ventured into the genre. I thought Lombard and Montgomery and wonderful chemistry, and really helped the movie to work.

"I know you're in there, Fagerstrom!"-Conan O'Brien


I really loved it. I felt it was "Hitchcock" because most American screwball comedies are just that--screwy. When comparing this to other comedies of remarriage such as The Awful Truth and Love Crazy, Mr and Mrs Smith had a measured dose of sophistication and drollery not seen in the typical screwball comedy. Plus, since Hitch wasn't involved in the screwball craze, Mr and Mrs Smith didn't come across as "another screwball"--meaning, it didn't borrow things from popular screwballs the way lesser ones did.


There's no real plot to it. They start out with one, with the marriage issue, and it could have gone somewhere interesting, but then it just peters out. At the end it seems like they just run out of movie.

It's too bad, because it could have been a great film. All the ingredients are there, except for a strong script.

reply screwball comedy ever had a "real" plot. What carried the movies were the witty lines, the great actors and the underlying theme of it all. I agree that the movie did peter out toward the end (I wish the scene where Carole takes a drunk Gene Raymond home--it stopped being funny after a minute), but it was all about putting crazy obstacles in the way of Carole and Bob getting back together.


I love this movie - I think it's great!

Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard are both so smart and so funny in this. They were both masterful at work.

I can't understand how anyone wouldn't find this movie to be hysterically funny.

I will say that the ending seems as though it was tacked on and that the narrative had run out of steam. But, I think that it was so much more intelligent and witty than the vast majority of other comedies I've seen.

reply screwball comedy ever had a "real" plot.

I highly disagree. Plot is made up of events in a narrative. That is precisely what screwball is, a series of insane events or moments (that comedically should make the most of each moment) that tend to build up to a chaotic (and hilarious) climax.

That's the genius of Screwball Comedies. It's a genre that's far more perceptive and intelligent than it's given credit. On top of that, it gave audiences the kind of joy and escapism that depression era and war-swept audiences craved at the time, while still being just as relevant and entertaining today (to ones with good taste anyway).

At least, that's what I observe in the best and most "classic" screwball comedies:

-The scene in jail with everyone trying to get away from the leopard in Bringing Up Baby
-Everyone trying desperately to find Earl Williams until he is finally discovered inside the desk in His Girl Friday
-The confrontation scene with both couples in Libeled Lady
-The train scene in The Lady Eve

I wish I could remember others, but it has been a while since I have seen the other screwball comedies. There wasn't much cohesion, deliberate planning, or even a point to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. That's why it peters out at the end. Shame, it could've been a great movie if written right. Everything else was there. Great direction, timing, dialogue, actors, performances; it was just missing good plot writing.


Forlorn_Rage says > There wasn't much cohesion, deliberate planning, or even a point to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. That's why it peters out at the end.
Others have said the same kind of thing but I disagree. I love this movie and I don't think it peters out in the end. This kind of movie is just not for everyone; especially those who watch it expecting a typical Hitchcock type movie.

Lombard and Montgomery are excellent; as they usually are. I love watching them do what they do best; subtle humor. This is exactly the kind of movie that appeals to me. Those looking for a lot of obvious laughs probably would not like or be able to appreciate this movie.

Woman, man! That's the way it should be Tarzan. [Tarzan and his mate]


This kind of movie is just not for everyone; especially those who watch it expecting a typical Hitchcock type movie.

... Where in my post did I talk about other Hitchcock movies? My entire post about screwball comedies if you bothered to take the time to read my post properly.

If you're going to quote and contradict someone, make sure you at least correctly surmise what they're talking about. 😒