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On Feb. 20, 1941, Alfred Hitchcock took a detour from mystery films and opened his comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith is not the most brilliant comedy to hit the screen, nor is it the best directed, acted or produced. It may be disappointing to many of the followers of Norman Krasna, Alfred Hitchcock and Carole Lombard who expected extreme brilliance from that trio, but there’s enough fun in it to send you home happy with your entertainment.
The main trouble with this RKO show, in the eyes of this reviewer, is that it’s a situation comedy with not enough comedy situations to spread over the picture. There are great spots here and there, but not enough spots. And, too, the Hitchcock fans, and there must be hundreds of thousands as a result of his Hollywood work the past two years, will vote to keep comedy away from their idol and continue him in the groove in which he excels — the mystery plots and the beautiful romantic yarns.
Carole Lombard was perfectly cast as Mrs. Smith and looks beautiful. Robert Montgomery seemed bored with the whole thing and appeared just to walk through his part. Gene Raymond is capable of doing better things than the part dished out to him here. He was miscast. The rest of the roles were just bits.
Early in the picture, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, who have never left their bedroom not speaking in their three years of married life, which at times kept them cooped in for days and days, found that, through a fluke of a county boundary line, they were not married, and when Mr. Smith does not insist on remarrying Mrs. Smith the same day he gets the news, Mrs. Smith ups and leaves him. But you know they will be back together and you expect some very funny situations in the effort. They did get back at the tag of the picture, but there was too little fun in their doing it.
The photography was not up to the standard, being too dark in places and entirely too light in others.
Certainly Lombard, Hitchcock and Krasna have enough box office to give the picture a good start. While there may not be raves, ticket buyers will be satisfied, so you can chalk up another good attraction for RKO to follow Kitty Foyle. — originally published on Feb. 16, 1941
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