DREAM WIFE (1953) 

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Cary Grant
Deborah Kerr
Walter Pidgeon
Betta St. John
Eduard Franz
Buddy Baer
Les Tremayne
Donald Randolph
Bruce Bennett
Richard Anderson
Dan Tobin

Sidney Sheldon



Time: 100 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design.

SYNOPSIS: Grant is frustrated that his fiancée Kerr, a US State Department official, is always putting the affairs of the country before him and so he breaks the engagement off when she asks to postpone their wedding. Seeking the dream wife - one that serves her man and knows her own place - he proposes to the princess of the Arab country of Bukistan, with whom Kerr is trying to negotiate an oil deal.

BOTTOM LINE: The chemistry between Grant and Kerr is wasted in this split personality romantic comedy. The film's both forward thinking – Kerr plays a feminist who's career runs her life – and old-fashioned – Grant plays a businessman who wants a wife who's main priority is his well-being. They begin the film engaged, but their ideas of marriage soon tear them apart. So, Grant decides to propose to Tarji (St. John), a princess he met on a business trip trained in the arts of pleasing a man. Unfortunately, his wish for a simple ceremony is thwarted by politics. The United States and her country, Bukistan, are in heavy negotiations over an oil trade agreement. Protocol must be followed to the letter in order to keep the discussions moving forward.

Kerr is roped in to make sure Grant doesn't screw up the deal with his overzealous antics to spend time alone with his intended. She also teaches Tarji about the freedom American woman get to enjoy, which doesn't go over well with either Grant or Tarji's father. The best parts of the film have Grant and Kerr sparing with each other over sexual politics. The engagement to Tarji is merely a ploy to get them to see the value in the other's point of view. Unfortunately for us, it's one that's more annoying and obvious than amusing. Their chemistry and star power is wasted in arguing instead of flirting. It's great to see a strong woman onscreen, but the story holds her back. Plus, the story handcuffs Grant by forcing him to restrain his charm. This is mildly entertaining, but not a must-see even for Grant fans.

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