Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mad for Cary Grant

Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story trailer
 Grant in The Philadelphia Story trailer
Cary Grant
Cary Grant may be known as a suave and impossibly handsome hearthrob, but he was also one of the greatest comic actors Hollywood ever saw, conjuring up effervescent glee even after repeated viewings in films like Arsenic and Old Lace, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, The Awful Truth, and His Girl Friday. As most classic film fans know, the impeccable looks, manners, and perfect diction that made up the persona known as Cary Grant were all a creation that the man christened Archibald Alexander Leach freely admitted he could never live up to ("Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.") The myriad photos in the pictorial biography Cary Grant: Dark Angel show the artistic and personal evolution of an ever-debonair actor who successfully shielded his deepest self throughout his spectacular career.
The hilarious Bringing Up Baby actually lost money—despite Hepburn's surprising flair for screwball comedy.

With Ros Russell in His Girl Friday, which just might be my favorite comedy of all time. Aware that Grant had the funniest lines, Russell hired an ad man to help her improve her dialogue. Both stars ad libbed like crazy and reveled in the pell-mell pace. They became great friends (he was best man at her wedding).


Suspicion was the first of a series of Hitchcock thrillers in which Grant appeared. The ending was left ambiguous when RKO refused to have their leading man play a murderer. An ending in which his wife leaves a letter for him to post naming him as her murderer was nixed, much to Hitch's disappointment. In filming Notorious, Grant met another person very dear to him: Ingrid Bergman. They both got around the Hayes code limit of 3 seconds per kiss by interrupting it with business and then resuming so the censors couldn't cut it.
"I've often been accused of being myself on the screen," Grant once remarked. "But being oneself on the screen is much more difficult than you would suppose." Perhaps his career evolved in such a way  that he didn't care to play a character audiences wouldn't feel comfortable with?
We'd love to hear about your favorite Cary Grant films (or movie moments)!

10 comments:

  1. The ending of Suspicion has always bothered me--it left an impression of being unfinished. Thanks for telling me it was the studio's idea.
    (Producer interference also caused the ambiguity in Rebecca. Hitchcock wanted to show the end of Rebecca's life, but David Selznick wanted to stay faithful to the book.)
    Grant had such a terrible childhood, it was survived more than lived. Maybe that explains his perceived dark side.
    The statue erected in his honor looks like a petrified commuter rushing to work. A strange homage to a truly glamorous movie star.
    Remember him best waiting for a bus in North by Northwest.

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    1. He was considered for the role of James Bond, but he couldn't commit to a franchise. Can you imagine a better fit?
      If only they had a clone they could use today!

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    2. I did not know that! His air of bemusement and reserve would have doubtless suited...

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  2. Please help! I cannot access the comments page for your Monday blog on vampires. The two posts overlap. To what Googlemeister do I appeal to straighten this out? This is the 2nd time this has happened.

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    1. Are you using your computer or another device?

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    2. My trusty laptop--with Windows 7, if that means anything.

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    3. Oh boy, the vampire blog gets 14 comments and Cary Grant gets 2 and PC workshop! To be fair to a great cinema star--I loved him in Philadelphia Story.

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  3. I'm having the same issue as Anonymous.

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    1. Is it overlapping with the Cary Grant blog?

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  4. Yes. And I am on the work computer at Daedalus.

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