Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Married a Witch

I briefly mentioned the movie I Married a Witch last October when Fredric March was TCM Star of the Month. It's airing again tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM ET on TCM.

Veronica Lake and Cecil Kellaway play a pair of witches in colonial Salem who get prosecuted by Fredric March and are executed for it. Fast forward 250 years. The witches' souls have been spending all these years inhabiting a tree, which gets hit be a bolt of lightning. This kills the tree and frees the souls, which need something a little more corporeal. Lake finds that one of prosecutor March's descendants is still around (conveniently, also played by Fredric March), and decides to take the form of somebody who needs rescuing from a fire -- and only March can pull her out of that fire.

March does, but there are all sorts of problems for him. The latter-day March is running for political office, as well as preparing for his upcoming nuptials (to Susan Hayward). (You'd think a smart politician would schedule his wedding around election season, but no). The presence of this witch could not only derail his campaign, but also the marriage. This being a comedy, all will eventually work out, although as is often the case with Hollywood movies, the journey is more rewarding than the destination.

On the face of it, you'd think I Married a Witch is little more than B-movie material that happens to have an A-list cast, and in some ways, that's true. And yet, the movie is a hell of a lot of fun. March is one of those actors who isn't exactly gifted at comedy, but is more than capable enough to be the foil for everybody else around him to be funny. Cecil Kellaway is good at striking the jovial note and being the more conscientious warlock, while Veronica Lake is the real star of the proceedings as the witch.

Sadly, I Married a Witch doesn't seem to be available on DVD.

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