The movie shown at the second Royal Film Performance, like the first, had a religious tone to it. It was the now Christmas classic, The Bishop's Wife (1947) starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. It was held at the Odeon Theatre on November 25, 1947, just five days after the Royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. They understandably did not attend.
While the newlyweds were not in attendance, the audience WAS treated to a 30 minute color film of the wedding. An Australian newspaper described the scene:
The King and Queen, with Princess Margaret, made a tortuous progress to the theatre while milling crowds choked the approaches and pressed against the steel crush barriers.
Mounted police had to force a route for cars bearing the Royal parties and film celebrities.
Several people fainted an had to be extricated by ambulance men.
~ The Mercury, November 27, 1947
Another newspaper, The Daily News (November 26, 1947), shared this interesting tidbit:
The Film, The Bishop's Wife, is American. It comes under the new British tax and will not be generally distributed.
Up to £A32/10/ were paid for seats near the Royal box. The show raised more than £A31,500 for the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund.
Among their fellow passangers [on the Queen Mary] was Noel Coward, of whom an anxious Loretta asked, "When I curtsey to the queen how low shall I bow?" To which Coward replied, "To the floor, ducky"(260).
Loretta was not disappointed upon meeting the royal family. She later recalled, "As the big moment approached, I kept running around trying to find out whether I should wear my long white gloves. Everybody was so excited, and I was no exception. Although we had been well rehearsed for the event, we all just plain forgot. I was frantic, for suddenly the line began to move and my turn was coming. At the last minute I got a peek at the others and saw they had their gloves on. I never got gloves on so fast in my life"(261).
David Niven, according to the authorized biography Niv by Graham Lord, reported to producer Sam Goldwyn, "The audience loved every second of it and the Queen and Princess Margaret told me afterwards and at great length how much they enjoyed it" (148).
Plot, essentially, deals with Grant’s assignment to make people act like human beings. In great need of his help is Niven, a young bishop who has lost the common touch and marital happiness because of his dream of erecting a massive cathedral.
And the NEW YORK TIMES:
Next up in the Royal Film Performance Series: Scott of the Antarctic (1948).
Previous Film: A Matter of Life and Death (1946).
Lord, Graham. Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven. St. Martin's Press. 2003.
Morella, Joe & Epstein, Edward Z. Loretta Young: An Extraordinary Life. Landmark Books. 1986.