Sunday, 23 January 2011

Old Movie Madness: I Married a Witch (1942)

I've spent the entire weekend in the flat watching films and knitting.  I'm having a reclusive weekend and I have thoroughly loved it, despite the side effect being that time seems to have raced by.  I cannot believe it is Monday again tomorrow. 

One of the movies I watched today as the early 40's comedy, I Married a Witch, starring Veronica Lake and Frederic March.  I must admit to never having seen a Veronika Lake film before and I'm not sure if this was the one to make me like her.

The film starts in Salem where Jennifer (Lake) and her father are burned at the stake and buried under and oak tree after being convicted of witchcraft by the Puritan Wooley.  Jennifer curses Wooley and his descendants to marry unhappily for eternity.

270 years later the tree is struck by lightning and the pair escape as white vapours and float around the modern day looking for trouble.  Coming across the young Wallace Wooley, an aspiring politician and soon to be married descendant of their captor, Jennifer decides to wreak further revenge upon him by making him fall in love with her.

She needs a fire to regain her body and so the witches set fire to the Pilgrim Hotel. The hotel clerk tells the fire brigade that all guests are safe and accounted for, however when Wooley passes by he hears a female voice and runs into the building heroically.  Inside Jennifer has transformed into the ridiculously glamorous shape of Veronika Lake, with full peekaboo hair.  She is naked, sadly wreathed in smoke, and Wooley gives her his coat and carries her from the fire.

Unfortunately Wooley fails to fall for her charms and after stalking him quite determinedly she finally decides to give magic a try, concocting a love potion by singing badly at a cauldron.  Unfortunately Jennifer drinks the potion by mistake and falls head over heels for Wooley, crashing his wedding and finally persuading him to elope with her.

Wooley's political career seems to be in tatters, but Jennifer proves her supernatural powers by giving him a 100% win at the election.  In disgust at his daughter's show of love for the descendant of their sworn enemy her father removes her powers and attempts to trap her back in the tree which held them.  Love is stronger that witchcraft however and Jennifer returns to her husband, trapping her father forever in a bottle of liquor, where he seems quite happy.

All in all it is a daft little film, an average script and little attempt at acting from Miss Lake, however simply being so aesthetically pleasing seems to be enough to carry this lightweight yarn.  Famously March and Lake disliked each other intensely and this does come across, with the two main characters showing little on-screen chemistry.

It is all very predictable but as such is a perfect film to while away just over an hour on when you don't want something you have to concentrate on.  As mentioned earlier Veronica Lake's hair is utterly perfect throughout and it is easy to see why so any women of the time wanted to emulate her.

Worth watching as a bit of fun on a rainy day but nothing special.

So, could Miss Lake act?  Recommend me some of her other movies so I can see for myself.


  1. I do love watching 'pretty' movies whilst I sew, the acting doesn't have to be up to much as long as the clothes and sets are good!

    I love the posted for that movie.

    One of my favourites movies for this pastime is The Girl Can't Help It. Other favourites are all The Thin Man series, although the acting is good, and the stories are good, the clothes and the sets are beautiful!

  2. I love this film veronica lake looks great in it.

  3. I love Veronica Lake's hair (it's my vintage 'do' of choice) and watch her movies for the look more than the acting. But the 'look' is worth it!

    BTW I've given you a blog award so pop over to my blog to check it out!

  4. Your weekend sounds like my idea of heaven! Reminds me that I need to watch more light hearted movies :)

    Also - you are doubly stylish. A slight blogging faux par on my part - but I have nomintated you for the same blog award thingy-ma-jig as Perdita (red cheeks a go go) - feel free to accept or decline :)

  5. Great hair, but what sort of daft witch drinks her own potions?!

  6. I saw this movie a lot on a cable oldies channel when I was a kid, I really liked it then, and thought it held up well as a cute little movie. It's a shame it's not out on DVD (as far as I know). I really love Veronica Lake, mainly based on her performance in "Sullivan's Travels". She's also good in "The Blue Dahlia", "The Glass Key", and "This Gun For Hire", all with Alan Ladd. Can't think of any other movies of hers that are of note. Give "Sullivan's Travels" a chance and see if she strikes you as any better. Would love to hear what you think!

  7. I agree with Lisa - 'Sullivan's Travels' was quite enjoyable, absolutely give that one a go. And watch out for the scene by the pool: her shoes are just fabulous!!

  8. i'm 66,i saw this film on t.v. when i was 13.that night i creamed the bed

  9. Well, Anonymous, that is a very lovely thing for you to share with us. Next time, put a sock on (in) it please.

  10. well,lisa,it IS me again.this film was so refreshing in the desert of black and white films made under the strict guidelines of those days.this had been the case for nearly 40 years previous to my watching in about '58.films could have been so much better.there was nothing wrong with the actors,directors,or producers and was just the dead hand of was the so-charming way the censor was defeated that raises this movie to a height which has still not been properly appraised.
    veronica lake.i will love you until the day i die!your "delivery" in your comment,marks you out as part of the problem cabal.