I Married a Witch (1942) starring Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward, Cecil Kellaway, Elizabeth Patterson directed by René Clair Movie Review

I Married a Witch (1942)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch (1942)

Smoke on the Lake

Centuries earlier Jennifer (Veronica Lake) and her father Daniel (Cecil Kellaway - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) are burned at the stake after being accused by Puritans of practicing witch craft. But before they do Jennifer places a curse on the Wooley family who made the accusation, that all the men in the Wooley family will marry troublesome women. As the 1940s roll around the curse has plagued the men with the present Wallace Wooley (Fredric March - A Star Is Born) finding himself on the verge of marrying the annoying Estelle (Susan Hayward - The Conqueror) because socially the union would be good for his career. But a lightning bolt strikes the tree placed over the ashes of Jennifer and her father releasing their spirits and now Jennifer plans her ultimate revenge by having Wallace fall for her, easier said than done leading to Jennifer creating a love potion but even that backfires.

"I Married a Witch" is a bit of a slow starter with some nice comedic touches such as the Puritans having an intermission during the burning when a local man sells snacks from a basket. It also has some nice special effects especially when we see Daniel and Jennifer's spirit in the form of smoke shoot out of a bottle and bend through a window. But the opening doesn't really grab you and you wonder whether this romantic comedy is going to spark into life.

Fredric March in I Married a Witch (1942)

But "I Married a Witch" does the minute the smoke clears and Jennifer takes on a human form and we have Veronica Lake as Jennifer. Not only is Lake seriously attractive but she brings such a wonderful playfulness to the movie which brings it to life. From the coyingly cute tone in her voice to the way she playfully flirts it is simply brilliant. And when things backfire on her she takes to a whole other level.

Now the thing is that of course in this movie things don't go to plan for Jennifer as she finds Wallace extremely straight laced but because of Lake's playfulness it just keeps on making you smile. It also keeps on making you smile because there are so many wonderful visual elements from the comically subtle such as Wallace's cat to moving brooms, magical smoke and the spectacular scenes involving a burning building with falling beams which appear to narrowly miss the actors.

What is kind of amusing is that when Jennifer is toying with Wallace you get a real sense that Lake is loving every minute of it whilst Fredric March who plays Wallace is genuinely frustrated by her mischievous and then you learn that they didn't get on making the movie you realise it certainly comes across. Aside from that well to be honest the performances other than Lake and March's are pretty much a much of a much ness.

What this all boils down to is that "I Married a Witch" is a wonderfully playful romantic comedy which thanks to Veronica Lake's cute performance makes it as much fun now as it ever was.