It’s almost Christmas and I’m always on the lookout for Christmas movies to add to my festive viewing. This one happens to be from the nineties and a film I’d never seen prior to this review. On the plus side it stars Denzel Washington whom I’m a fan of. The story will be a familiar one to many as The Preacher’s Wife is a remake of a true festive classic The Bishop’s Wife (1947). The newer version also stars another big name in Whitney Houston. It’s not a film that is typically shown on UK television although I’m sure it’s popped up on some channel over recent years. With two high profile names attached it may be a Christmas classic I’ve somehow missed over the years. Well it’s time to find out so without further ado here’s my The Preacher’s Wife blu-ray review.
- The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
- Blu-ray Import
- Genre: Comedy, Drama
- Directed by Penny Marshall
- UK Rating N/A
- Discs: 1
- Released By Walt Disney
Reverend Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance) runs a Baptist church unfortunately its struggling badly for money. To make matters worse a real estate developer plans to purchase it and redevelop it into luxury condominiums. Henry doesn’t know what to do and decides to ask God to help, enter Dudley (Denzel Washington) a man claiming to be an angel sent to answer his prayers.
Style / Direction
The film is directed by Penny Marshall whilst the cinematography is handled by Miroslav Ondrícek. As I mentioned above this is a remake of a 1947 film but changes the name and makes it a gospel church with the appropriate gospel music. It’s a good idea and gives the film a completely different feel from the original. Sadly the direction seems to somehow fail to create that magical feeling the story deserves.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is composed by Hans Zimmer however this film is really just a vehicle for Whitney Houston as she sings throughout. I’ll be honest for me it kind of ruins the film.
Acting / Characters
Denzel Washington does a reasonable job of portraying Dudley the Angel sent to help Reverend Henry Biggs. However his scenes with Whitney Houston which are at the heart of the films story don’t seem to work very well. You see unlike in the original telling of this story (The Bishop’s Wife) in which Cary Grant and Loretta Young have an electric connection that really brings the film to life this version falls flat.
Courtney B. Vance as Reverend Henry Biggs does an ok job but that’s the problem too many so, so performances and it results in a very average movie and not the great Christmas viewing experience. I’d hoped for.
- Denzel Washington as Dudley
- Whitney Houston as Julia Biggs
- Courtney B. Vance as Reverend Henry Biggs
- Gregory Hines as Joe Hamilton
- Jenifer Lewis as Margueritte Coleman
- Loretta Devine as Beverly
- Justin Pierre Edmund as Jeremiah Biggs
- Lionel Richie as Britsloe
- Paul Bates as Saul Jefferys
- Lex Monson as Osbert
- Darvel Davis, Jr. as Hakim
- William James Stiggers, Jr. as Billy Eldridge
- Marcella Lowery as Anna Eldridge
- Cissy Houston as Mrs. Havergal
Conclusion: The Preacher’s Wife (1996) Film Review
First things first as I have already mentioned several times the film is a remake of The Bishop’s Wife (1947) starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. That is a classic Christmas film and one I highly recommend. With that out of the way let me turn my attention to the remake.
I’m a fan of Denzel Washington but I’m not sure he really nails the role of Dudley. I mean he’s not terrible and maybe my preference to the original movie and Cary Grant’s performance is slightly clouding my judgement but it doesn’t seem to work all that well. In the end it comes down to the direction and casting which I think really let the film down.
Either Whitney Houston or Washington are miscast as their characters are after all meant to be at the heart of the films story yet they don’t seem to have that essential chemistry. In fact the whole film feels more like a vehicle for Whitney Houston singing career. She can break into song every few minutes rather than getting on telling this magical story of hope and family. I guess if you like her singing then maybe the film should be seen as a musical for her rather than a Christmas movie.
Final Thought – The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
I’m able to enjoy several different versions of A Christmas Carol and thought that a Denzel Washington version of this film would deliver a highly enjoyable time but I’d have to conclude by saying it’s no more that watchable if you are struggling for something to watch.
If you enjoyed my The Preacher’s Wife blu-ray review so far you may want to check out the following films:
- The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
- Scrooge (1951)
- The Holly and the Ivy (1952)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Planes Trains And Automobiles (1987)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
- The Family Man (2000)
Conclusion: The Preacher’s Wife Blu-ray Review
It’s a film from the nineties but thankfully there are no issues to report on the audio or picture quality front. The image is clean and sharp whilst I didn’t see a single mark throughout the 2 hours. However this is an imported version as nobody has deemed it worthy so far of a UK Blu-ray release. You can however pick the film up on DVD links to which I will add below.
- Featurette (4 mins)
- Theatrical Trailer
On to my movie rating for The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
- Movie Rating: WATCHABLE
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: BASIC
Amazon UK Links
The Preacher’s Wife (1996) is available now on blu-ray/DVD.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the blu-ray version
Note: The Amazon links on this page are affiliate / associate links. By buying through the links we may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price you pay.
Summary: The Preacher's Wife (1996) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: The Preacher's Wife (1996)
Duration: 124 mins
Director(s): Penny Marshall
Actor(s): Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance, Gregory Hine, Jenifer Lewis, Loretta Devine, Lionel Richie
Genre: Comedy, Drama
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
An average at best remake that seems more interesting in being a vehicle for Whitney Houston’s singing performances.
- Good Story
- Film Good Film
- Denzel Washington
- Poor Remake
- Whitney Houston
- Direction Not the Best
- Not Available on Blu-ray in the UK