When I first saw this one years ago, I thought it was too much of a farce…too over the top…too silly. But, re-watching it, I am able now to see it’s fine details as one of America’s great broad comedies. Cary Grant is at his wackiest here…as the nephew of two matronly ladies who have begun an unusual pastime…murdering lonely old men and having them buried in the basement. We’ve all seen (and loved) Grant do screwball…but this is pretty much as slapstick as comedy can get. He’s physical and very expressive…perfect for this role as the befuddled nephew of these two crazy killers. Directed by Frank Capra, I think one of the reasons this one took a while to sink in is because it’s almost TOO over the top. But, I guess as I’m getting older, I find the need for more and more comedy. And this one will sure satisfy that need!
Posts Tagged: Cary Grant
A sophisticated romantic comedy directed by George Cukor about a rich, spoiled socialite (Katharine Hepburn) who learns some things about who she is and what she really wants on the eve of her second marriage. Cary Grant co-stars as her former husband who cleaned up his act and hopes to make amends with his ex-bride. Jimmy Stewart (who won his only Best Actor for this role) also stars as a reporter who gets caught up in the whole mess. Definitely the perfect film cast, the three stars do some of their best comic work in his film, especially Hepburn, who rose back to the top of Hollywood after this starring role. Reconceived as the musical High Society in 1956 with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Grace Kelly, but this original film didn’t need music to be a fun, entertaining ride!
Irene Dunne, supposedly dead, returns after being gone for years to find husband Cary Grant remarried and on his honeymoon. When she goes to the hotel and Grant sees her, his new wife is forgotten about. But, the couple does have other problems, such as Grant finding out that while Dunne was stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere, she was not alone. Remade in 1963 as Move Over, Darling with Doris Day and James Garner, who can’t surpass the superb performances of the Grant/Dunne team. This is the second of three pairings with Dunne and Grant (the first being 1937’s social comedy The Awful Truth and the last was 1941’s tear-jerker Penny Serenade). Of all three films, this one, I feel, gives off the most laughs and chemistry between the two stars.
The quintessential Cary Grant comedy pegs him with Myrna Loy and what a team they make. Grant plays a frustrated NYC husband who according to the opening narration by Melvin Douglas (who plays Grant’s best friend and lawyer), “makes $15,000 a year” as an advertising executive. For 1948, that puts this family in the upper-middle class range, which, I guess, is why Grant yearns for more space than he, his wife and their two daughters have in their cramped Manhattan apartment. So, he gets the idea to move. And that is where the fun begins. Not the film to see if you are moving soon or especially having a new home built, but one to watch when you need something for a few easy laughs.
The teaming of the comedy team of Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and director George Cukor leads to comic mayhem as a bright rich girl steals her sister’s fiancée, a struggling young lawyer. Not the most famous of the Grant/Hepburn/Cukor pairings (The Philadelphia Story would have to take that prize) but I feel it’s the best. The comedy has a quirky, strange quality that makes it unconventional, which might be why it was not initially received as a classic, but it’s not too strange to miss this wonderful film.
Charade is one fun movie. It’s not the best story in the world and sometimes it seems a little trite. But, when Hepburn and Grant appear on-screen together right at the beginning, the chemistry those two actors exude reels you in and just will not let go. This is the only time they appeared together in a film and they seemed to make the most of it. Grant is never more debonair. Hepburn is never more charming. The screen just lights up when they are together. The plot isn’t that bad — it does have a good trick ending and enough twist and turns on the way to make even the most avid film fanatic woozy. Would this film be the classic it is without Grant and Hepburn? No, but it would still be a decent thriller, especially with director Stanley Donen at the helm. With the two stars, though, it becomes something more than just an ordinary movie. It becomes magic.
One of the most romantic films ever put on celluloid; this film has been copied, remade, emulated, talked about and cried over since its release. The story originated as Love Affair, a 1939 film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Then came this 1957 film, re-directed by McCarey. Then came Sleepless in Seattle, which was a pseudo-remake, followed by 1994’s Love Affair, which was back to being a traditional remake…just updated for the latter part of the 20th Century. Why all of these retellings? Well, it’s a good story and as close to a perfect romance as you can get. There’s everything here…comedy, tragedy, high drama, passion, sex appeal, tears, etc. Out of all of the versions, this one reigns supreme. Why? Two words: Cary Grant. Not to slight Deborah Kerr. She’s excellent here, but come on. It’s Cary Grant.
The magical combination of Cary Grant and Doris Day adds to this charming and quirky script about an unemployed woman (Day) whose life is never the same again after Grant’s limo accidentally splashes water on her, as she was waiting to cross the street. Gig Young co-stars as Grant’s assistant and his role adds the majority of laughs to the movie, whereas Grant and Day add the romance. This film sealed Day’s fate as the “perpetual virgin” of the 1960s, as she is afraid to even be in the same room alone with handsome Grant. She even breaks out in a rash when she believes he might try something!
A true, classic tearjerker that makes other melodramas look like cutesy comedies. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne star as young lovers who experience hardship after hardship, usually leaning on the other for support. First, shortly after their honeymoon, Dunne’s character miscarries and finds out she will not be able to get pregnant again. Then, they have a series of adoption disappointments, finally ending with them getting a child. During all of this, Grant’s newspaperman character has occupational/financial ups and downs (mostly downs). Just when the adoption seems to be going through, his career setbacks almost jeopardize the whole thing. And, it does not end there…yes, I know it’s hard to believe but there is even more heartache. Why, you might ask, would I recommend this film? Well, many people love tearjerkers and, like I said, weepers do not get any better than this. And also, it is a good story with two solid performances by Grant and Dunne (who usually work together in romantic comedies…such as My Favorite Wife and The Awful Truth) and directed by legendary filmmaker George Stevens. So, hunker down on the couch with a large box of tissues for this one.
Splendid comedy remake of Ben Hecht play The Front Page with Cary Grant as a conniving editor, Rosalind Russell as a star reporter (and Grant’s ex-wife), and Ralph Bellamy as the mama’s boy Russell is trying to marry amid a hot murder story. Terrific character actors and sharp, witty dialogue add sparkle to this must-see comedy. The frantic comic banter between Grant and Russell changed the face of comedy filmmaking. After this film, comedies became more biting and cynical, with characters not afraid to “pretend” they hate each other, even though they really are madly in love. This initial hatred allows for some great nasty dialogue, which has never been better than in this film, directed by Howard Hawks.