The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

bishops wife poster 1947 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice story, acted nicely

Doesn't take any chances

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Bishop’s Wife

Studio: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Genre(s): Comedy/Drama/Romance/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): December 9, 1947

MPAA Rating: Not Rated


Have you always wanted an angel to watch over you? Maybe not.

Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) feels his life is slipping away.  He and his wife Julia (Loretta Young) are growing more distant as he struggles to raise money for a new cathedral.  When he seeks guidance it comes in the form of an angel named Dudley (Cary Grant).  Now Dudley is taking over Bishop Brougham’s life and Brougham is having to judge his priorities.  As Dudley’s interaction begins to change lives, Dudley wonders if he wants to return to serving his boss upstairs.

Directed by Henry Koster, The Bishop’s Wife was adapted from Robert Nathan’s novel but had some production problems.  William A. Seiter was originally started the picture as director and Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett were called in for rewrites when Seiter was replaced.  It was nominated for a number of Oscars including Best Picture (but lost to A Gentlemen’s Agreement).


Honey, if we were in a horror movie, it would be called Single, White, Angel

The Christmas movie is fun and quite different than originally proposed by the first director Seiter.  Originally Niven was playing the angel, and Carey was the cynical bishop.  Teresa Wright was the first “Bishop’s Wife” before being replaced by Loretta Young.  This seems crazy because the final product seems perfectly cast.  Grant is a great “perfect” man that seems to woo everyone he encounters from Brougham’s servants, to his atheist friend Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley), and stingy Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper) with his charm and skill.  Niven likewise is perfect as an the uptight bishop who can’t see his own real problems.  I suppose I could see Niven as the angel, but I really can’t see Grant as the bishop.


Let me just step out of the way while my stunt double takes over

The movie is pretty standard directing…nothing daring and very little special effects.  It is kind of a joke when Grant and Young go ice skating and Grant’s body double is half his size and has different hair.  There are other little errors like this through the whole movie and sometimes it is a bit distracting.

The Bishop’s Wife is a nice holiday film and should not be forgotten.  Compared to other films, it doesn’t get as much play in during the season.  The movie was remade in 1996 by Penny Marshall as The Preacher’s Wife starring Denzel Washington as the angel Dudley, Whitney Houston as Julia, and Courtney B. Vance playing her husband.

Related Links:

The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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