Happy Belated Birthday Cary!

This birthday message is coming a couple of days late but I am glad to send it out. In honor of Archie Leach’s birthday, I would like to spotlight some of my favorite performances featuring Bristol’s native son.

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The no-brainers:

  • The Philadelphia Story
  • North by Northwest
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • His Girl Friday
  • Notorious
  • Bringing Up Baby

A few favorites that I have covered on my website:

And a few that I have yet to cover (that you may not all be totally aware of) – stay tuned for that:

  • Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  • My Favorite Wife
  • The Awful Truth

 

What are some of your favorite Grant films?

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Holiday (1938)

One of the more celebrated screen duos (in my mind at least) is the onscreen duo of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. There are the those films that stand out – namely The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby. But one of the lesser-known films, Holiday, is the one I would like to feature as this week’s contribution to Todd Mason’s ongoing blogging meme.

SYNPOSIS: Based on a stage play by Philip Barry, an unhappy heiress (Hepburn) falls in love with her stodgy sister’s freethinking fiance (Grant).

This is a ‘holiday’ film but not a holiday-themed film (if that makes any sense). Regardless, whenever I see this film, I cannot help but be taken into the film. It is not a totally zany, screwball like Baby but it strikes just the right balance (kudos to Mr. George Cukor, among many others). Besides, I would watch Cary Grant read the telephone directory …

Check out a clip from the movie:

Lastly, a bit of trivia – character actor Edward Everett Horton featured in this film; eight years earlier, he portrayed the SAME role in the 1930 filmed version (co-starring Ann Harding and Mary Astor)!

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Penny Serenade (1941)

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I am back with the regular feature which is part of the Todd Mason’s ongoing series, Overlooked Films. Be sure to go visit his site to check out other titles.

I guess I am in a Cary Grant mood as of late. Last week I selected People Will Talk and this week, I am going back to the 1940’s to George Steven’s 1941 Penny Serenade starring Cary Grant (in an Oscar nominated role no less) and frequent co-star of the 1930’s, Irene Dunne. This title often gets overlooked when compared to the other screwball comedies the two participated in just years earlier. One reason for this oversight might just be the fact that this film was not a comedy. In fact it resides most decidedly in the realm of melodrama.

Click here for a plot synopsis.

The plot feels a bit like its sole intent is to pull at the audience’s emotional strings, I think this film is worth a look see if for no other reason that Mr. Grant eschews the urbane, light comedic role that he is often associated with in favor of a character whose emotions run the gambit.

Personally I feel that Cary Grant is often overlooked for his dramatic thesp skills. I guess he made it look so darn easy.

This film is easy enough to find as I believe it is available in the public domain.

Enjoy!

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: People Will Talk

This week’s selection as part of Todd Mason’s ongoing blog series is one that I have wanted to discuss for a while. I am referring to Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s People Will Talk from 1951. The film stars Cary Grant (Dr. Noah Praetorius) a doctor dedicated to a holistic, humanist approach to patient care and Jeanne Crain (as Deborah Higgins) a troubled young woman who finds herself in his care.

Among the supporting players we have Walter Slezak, Dr. Praetorius’ confidant and Hume Cronyn, a fellow physician who finds Praetorius’ methods and popularity among the students very distressing. And finally there is Shunderson (Finlay Currie), the doctor’s right hand man who has a very mysterious past.


What I always found strange about this film is that by all appearances, it posits itself as a romantic comedy (see poster below). However, you do not have to go that deep (just sit down and watch it actually) to see that the film is quite dark; in fact, it deals with a few ideas that I would imagine were taboo at the time – namely suicide and an unplanned pregnancy. Heavy stuff indeed.

As with any Mankiewicz piece, the writing (he is a credited co-writer as well as director) is clever and witty, despite the subject matter.

Have you seen this? Let me know what you think below …

 

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: The Grass is Greener (1960)

This week’s overlooked selection is the 1960 Stanley Donen comedy feature, The Grass is Greener. The film stars an all-star cast including Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons. The film is based on the play of the same name that found success on London’s West End.

Grant and Kerr’s characters, the Rhyalls, are lording it up on a stately English manor that is facing hard financial times. In an effort to raise the money needed to maintain the estate, they decide to open up the house for tourists.

Among the people to come in are the “stereotypically” newly minted American tycoon Charles Delacro (Mitchum) and the Earl Rhyall’s equally annoying ex-sweetheart, American heiress Hattie Durant (Simmons). What follows is a comedy of manners (of sorts) in which the four principal characters find themselves entangled in a ‘love square.’

The film received mixed reviews at the time of its release and was a domestic box office disappointment. While it is admittedly not the best work of any of the folks involved, for fans of any of the actors, it is definitely worth your time.

Check out the trailer here.


PLEASE BE SURE TO VISIT TODD MASON’S BLOG FOR OTHER OVERLOOKED SELECTIONS!

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

Every time I see Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, I am reminded by how entertained by it. The first ten minutes alone are well worth the price of admission. It cannot be mentioned enough the almost genius of the comedy of Cary Grant’s physical presence. For me this hearkens to some of the comedy of the silent era.

This film is also the second and final pairing of Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in a light comedy. One can only imagine how successful a duo they would have been if their screen partnership were allowed to flourish .
And let us not forget the supporting talents of Melvyn Douglas as the “voice of doom.”
One thing always leave me scratching my head – given present sensibilities if the story were to be retold nowadays, don’t you think that Bessy would have sued her (former) employer for ripping off her ad slogan?