Entertainment » Movies

I Married A Witch

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Monday Oct 14, 2013
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The 1942 film, "I Married a Witch" is now available on Blu-ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection. Starring Fredric March and Veronica Lake, the Rene Clair movie was ahead of its time with its early use of special effects, and its supernatural plot surrounding two witches, a father and his daughter, who have come to wreck romantic revenge on the descendent of the puritan who sentenced the daughter to burning at the stake two centuries previous.

Leading man March is Jonathan Wooley, the soon-to-be husband, but to whom he will marry is the primary plot point of the story, loosely based on the Thorne Smith (the "Topper" series) novel, "The Passionate Witch." Under Clair’s direction, March is comically torn between his bitchy, human fiancée (Susan Hayward) and the extravagant blonde witch whose vengeful plan to win March’s affection backfires when she accidentally takes her own love potion and falls in love with him instead.

The sultry Lake was certainly kind on the eyes as the young witch. The petite, yet frequently troubled, stunner would go on to play opposite Alan Ladd in two films, before fading into the sunset in a haze of alcohol and mental instability. Though she and March displayed a playful chemistry in the movie, there were allegedly bitter feelings between the co-stars, as Lake spurned the significantly older March’s advances. But the offstage tension is invisible as the two play cat and mouse in pursuit of the marriage altar.

The packaging includes a lengthy booklet, containing a thoroughly composed essay by filmmaker Guy Maddin about the cast, and a transcript of a 1971 interview with Clair. A collector’s item for fans of either March or Lake.

"I Married a Witch"
Fredric March / Veronica Lake
Blu-ray and DVD formats
The Criterion Collection

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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