Alphabetical Movie – I was a Male War Bride
I was a Male War Bride stars Cary Grant as a WWII French espionage agent who marries an American and has trouble emigrating to the United States. It is pretty much an opportunity for Grant to look really annoyed and/or resigned to his fate. He was really good at that.
Basically, the movie is Father Goose without Leslie Caron and a gaggle of French school girls.
For the entire film, though, I was distracted by one niggling detail. A name.
Grant plays a character named Henri Rochard and he, as I said, is French. While he does not adopt a terrible French accent a la Maurice Chevalier (thank goodness), he does go to great pains to point out his last name is French and is pronounced “Ro-shar.”
So why, then, does everyone on the film call him “Hen-ree” instead of the traditional French pronunciation “Ahn-ree?” He even refers to himself that way.
I watch the entire film wondering why it never occurred to someone that while his name was spelled correctly (Henri vs. Henry), it was never actually spoken correctly.
Given how flustered Grant was for the entire movie, you would think that it would be a great idea to have him constantly annoyed by how the stupid Americans were pronouncing his name. It’d be like Harvey Korman saying “That’s Headley” except he’d be shouting “That’s Ahn-ree!”
Side note: Blazing Saddles would have been funnier if Korman’s Army had shouted “that’s Ahn-ree!”
I would think that American Audiences would have eaten that stuff up. Look at the funny Frenchman! Those French people have strange names! Thank goodness we Americans managed to save their country from the Germans! Maybe now they will stop having such weird names!
Were the screenwriters unaware of the correct pronunciation? Did they assume (probably correctly) that nobody would know? Was Cary Grant afflicted with some strange speech impediment that prevented him from pronouncing “Ahn-ree” correctly?
There is no answer to this quandary. No answer!
The trivia page on the IMDB is conspicuously silent. It only tells me that Eleanor Audley played some of Disney’s greatest villains. Hell, I knew that. I even knew which ones (Maleficent and Lady Tremane – bam)!
But why can’t anyone pronounce the main characters’ name correctly?
What is a trivia page for if not to explain the really important stuff?
I’m on the case on this one, though. I will figure this out even if I have to do more than one Google search to solve the mystery.
Wish me luck!