In The Awful Truth, the characters played by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are very much dog people. They have a dog called Mr Smith, played by a Wire Fox Terrier called Skippy, who also played Asta in The Thin Man (1934) and its sequels.
Mr Smith is the subject of a custody dispute between Grant and Dunne, who after a series of misunderstandings are going through a divorce, even though it’s clear they are still mad about each other. Skippy accordingly gets lots of screen time and cute dog reaction shots. But is the dog instrumental in getting the couple back together?
No. That’s why films need cats.
SPOILERS after the picture. (But hey, it’s a classic screwball “Comedy of Remarriage” so how unexpected could it possibly be?)
As the hour of their impending divorce approaches, Dunne and Grant end up having to spend the night in adjoining rooms at her Aunt Patsy’s cabin in the middle of nowhere. The door between the rooms keeps rattling, preventing them from falling asleep. At first, they (and we) think the rattling is due to to a draught coming through Grant’s open window.
But no, it’s a cat pushing at the door, deciding in that inimitable way cats have that it would rather be on the other side. So instead of falling asleep in their separate beds, Cary and Irene get back together.
And that’s why movies have cats in them!
And here, because I love you, is the funniest scene from the film. No dogs or cats, just Irene Dunne dancing with Ralph Bellamy, and Cary Grant’s reaction shots. Sublime.
- National Dog Show Crowns Wire Fox Terrier Best in Show – Again (peoplepets.com)
- SPOTTED: Cary Grant’s Old Plane Needs Serious Work (businessinsider.com)