October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

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Daveismyhero
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October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Daveismyhero » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:12 pm

Hello all,

I’m kicking off a new series to discuss a new star every month. As per suggestions, I’ll alternate between male and female stars and also switch between talkie and silent stars. (And of course some stars will straddle the silent/talkie line, so that will be extra fun!) So in November I’ll be selecting a Silent Star of the Month (male), and then a Talkie Star of the Month (female) in December, and on and on.

I chose Cary Grant for this inaugural post because I actually just “discovered” him within the past handful of months. I actually saw him in North by Northwest (1959) way back in 2013, but for some reason he didn’t click with me. He was fine and all, and I enjoyed the film, but something seemed to be missing for me.

And then I saw him in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) and his charm and wit flipped the switch for me. I have since seen Bringing up Baby (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), and Mr. Blandings Build His Dream House (1948). Apparently I need my Grant with a side of comedy. :)

Now I really need to revisit North by Northwest, so I can see the film with a different perspective. An Affair to Remember has been sitting on the ol’ DVR for far longer than I would care to admit, and I’m looking forward to checking out Notorious and any other films you fine folks recommend.

Favorite Cary Grant film (so far): The Philadelphia Story (1940).

What are your thoughts and memories of Cary Grant? Please share and have fun! It can be memorabilia, favorite films or quotes, fun facts, etc. Thanks for playing along!

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Donald Binks » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:45 pm

Did Cary Grant ever say "Judy, Judy, Judy"? That's what I want to know. Impressionists seem to always think he did.

Well I've seen Mr. Grant in a whole series of pictures all the way from his first teaming with Mae West until he ended up with "Walk, Don't Run" in the mid '60's. I'd have to say that he was a good romantic lead probably more interesting to women than he was men, but, in his favour, he did have a flair for comedy, demonstrated in some of the screwball comedies he appeared in.

Apparently he wasn't someone who was trained to become an actor, but Archie Leach - a poor English immigrant to the United States who simply fell into the profession in search of some employment. That he made a go of it is to his credit. He managed to get through having the basic ability to remember lines and not trip over the furniture. He also had looks that weren't on the ugly side which helped considerably. What made him stand out from many who were similar was a good sense of timing, an understanding of the material and a certain cheekiness which was just below the surface.

A bit like John Wayne, Mr. Grant always played a similar role in each of his film performances. He was always the well-mannered gent who had an eye for the ladies. That chivalrous fellow with a twinkle in his eye. He never over-played and most probably became a fixture because of a certain familiarity. That is not to say that he didn't have talent - he did of course for he had the ability to sustain that familiarity, honing it and perfecting it with every subsequent picture.

The main thing was, and what kept him to the forefront, was that he was likable.
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm

If you want Cary in a comedy, you can't go wrong with His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell.

I related somewhere that I saw him in his last years. He was touring with a documentary of his life. He came out afterwards, sat/leaned on a stool and made a little speech, perhaps answered questions, I don't quite remember, but as they say:



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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by MaryGH » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:04 pm

Cary Grant was a favorite of my mother's and he was in his prime when he was in his late 50's/early 60's, I think something very rare for a male actor back then, at least from what I hear. Plus he made his first movie when he was 28, "This is the Night" in 1932.

So to list some Cary Grant favorites:

Father Goose (1964)
Houseboat (1958)
Talk of the Town (1942)
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:17 am

Grant's early career as an acrobat definitely gave him the gift of timing, as well as the effortless way he carried himself onscreen, especially in the 1930s and '40s, but you can still see it in effect later on in NXNW and Charade.

Got a glimpse into his early days in NYC in the William Haines biography Wisecracker, never got around to reading a more indepth Grant biography, but I feel I should seek one out. He is the epitome of the classic movie star, if only he'd made a western.
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by maliejandra » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:39 am

When I first became interested in old movies, Cary Grant was a name that came up a lot (probably only equaled by Clark Gable). I wasn't terribly impressed with him at the time. He wasn't my type-- I usually go for the more baby-faced jokester types. But with each subsequent film he grew on me. I learned that he had a jovial streak and an aristocratic air that really appealed to me. I wouldn't call him my favorite but if he shows up in a movie, you at least know he's going to be good which can bring up the caliber of a mediocre film. I especially love Penny Serenade, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, & Arsenic and Old Lace.

I've seen him in: Merrily We Go to Hell, Blonde Venus, She Done Him Wrong, I'm No Angel, Alice in Wonderland, Thirty Day Princess, Kiss and Make Up, Wings in the Dark, Sylvia Scarlett, Big Brown Eyes, Suzy, Wedding Present, Topper, Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, Gunga Din, Only Angels Have Wings, His Girl Friday, My Favorite Wife, The Philadelphia Story, Penny Serenade, Suspicion, The Talk of the Town, Arsenic and Old Lace, Night and Day, Notorious, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, The Bishop's Wife, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Every Girl Should be Married, I Was a Male War Bride, People Will Talk, Monkey Business, An Affair to Remember, North by Northwest, Operation Petticoat, & Charade.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by MaryGH » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:21 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:17 am
Grant's early career as an acrobat definitely gave him the gift of timing, as well as the effortless way he carried himself onscreen, especially in the 1930s and '40s, but you can still see it in effect later on in NXNW and Charade.

Got a glimpse into his early days in NYC in the William Haines biography Wisecracker, never got around to reading a more indepth Grant biography, but I feel I should seek one out. He is the epitome of the classic movie star, if only he'd made a western.
Had Cary Grant gotten into the film industry earlier, I think he would have been fantastic as a silent film leading man. He had the looks, the talent for comedy-romance for that time period. He was a year younger than Tom Tyler who also appeared in "The Talk of the Town."
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by oldposterho » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:45 am

Did Cary actually admit to using LSD or is that an urban legend? (NB: it was legal until the mid-'60s so Cary probably wasn't some law-breaking beatnik if he did, although I prefer to think of him as a law-breaking beatnik).

He's got to be one of the most reliable actors in film history. Had a great taste in film roles, never really picked a clunker. Highlight for me was being surprised with To Catch a Thief on the teeveeola during a visit to Monaco and Operation Petticoat is a guilty pleasure that I'll watch whenever it's on.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by maliejandra » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:38 am

I read about his association with LSD from Esther Williams' autobiography. She says he recommended it to her to help her through some issues and that in a controlled environment it helped her work through a lot.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:10 am

Image
Vintage colorized still of Cary Grant and Rosiland Russell in His Girl Friday (1940)

Image
Donald MacBride, unknown, Gail Patrick and Cary Grant in My Favorite Wife (1940)

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Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Walter Catlett in Bringing Up Baby (1938) -- 1955 re-release lobby card

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Brooksie » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:35 pm

Back when I studied Bringing Up Baby at university, plenty of the folks who had seen it at the movies upon its original release were still around. The woman who spoke to our class recalled that the overwhelming feeling at the time was that it was a big misfire.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by OLM » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:13 pm

Gary Grant may not have been a "trained actor" but watch The Awful Truth and tell me why we would want him to be?

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Zool » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:45 pm

He was a handsome guy. And his accent. Something a friend of mine described as a mix of New Yorker and English. I liked him in the early roles of None but the Lonely Heart and She Done Him Wrong. But, perhaps the only movie of his I'll watch again and again is The Bishops Wife. Dudley was such a sweetheart.
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by drednm » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:12 am

From what I've read, he was always a little pissy as being a leading man to the likes of Mae West, Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, etc. He was, apparently, appalled at being offered the role of washed-up Norman Maine opposite Judy Garland. Maybe more than a tad insecure, but he's a joy to watch in many films.
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:58 am

During the lecture tour that I mentioned above, Cary surprised the audience by saying that he didn't like doing a farce such as his Arsenic and Old Lace. He didn't think it was his style of comedy. It's very funny regardless of that.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Connoisseur » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:50 am

"Arsenic and Old Lace" has, other than a lot of Grant movies, a noticeable layer of dust on it.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:21 am

"Arsenic and Old Lace" was actually filmed in 1941. It sat on the shelf for three years before being released. I watched Grant on television a year or so before he died doing a one man show, and he said he thought the film was the worst performance he ever gave. He said he was embarrassed watching it, that it was far too over-the-top. I'm not sure if Capra or Grant was the reason for the shelving for three years.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:26 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:21 am
"Arsenic and Old Lace" was actually filmed in 1941. It sat on the shelf for three years before being released. I watched Grant on television a year or so before he died doing a one man show, and he said he thought the film was the worst performance he ever gave. He said he was embarrassed watching it, that it was far too over-the-top. I'm not sure if Capra or Grant was the reason for the shelving for three years.
It could not be released until the original Broadway run ended, which meant after June 17, 1944. THe movie was released on Sept. 23 of that year.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:40 am

boblipton wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:26 am
R Michael Pyle wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:21 am
"Arsenic and Old Lace" was actually filmed in 1941. It sat on the shelf for three years before being released. I watched Grant on television a year or so before he died doing a one man show, and he said he thought the film was the worst performance he ever gave. He said he was embarrassed watching it, that it was far too over-the-top. I'm not sure if Capra or Grant was the reason for the shelving for three years.
It could not be released until the original Broadway run ended, which meant after June 17, 1944. THe movie was released on Sept. 23 of that year.

Bob
Thanks for the info! Didn't realize that, although I knew that the play was running at the time. Should have put 2 and 2 together - but I've only had a couple of hours of sleep...

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by greta de groat » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:04 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:21 am
"Arsenic and Old Lace" was actually filmed in 1941. It sat on the shelf for three years before being released. I watched Grant on television a year or so before he died doing a one man show, and he said he thought the film was the worst performance he ever gave. He said he was embarrassed watching it, that it was far too over-the-top. I'm not sure if Capra or Grant was the reason for the shelving for three years.
I agree with Grant, for me it's way too much. He can overdo it in comedy--usually in comedies there there is a lot of stuff getting overdone, like Bringing up Baby, My Favorite Wife too, if i remember correctly. But in most films he is superb--a real original. It was a real gift to us all that he had such a long and distinguished career. I don't think he'll ever go out of style.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by aldiboronti » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:57 pm

I highly recommend the 2017 documentary Becoming Cary Grant which shows exactly how Archibald Leach transformed himself into Cary Grant. It's a fascinating story.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Harlowgold » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:08 pm

drednm wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:12 am
From what I've read, he was always a little pissy as being a leading man to the likes of Mae West, Irene Dunne, Katharine Hepburn, etc. He was, apparently, appalled at being offered the role of washed-up Norman Maine opposite Judy Garland. Maybe more than a tad insecure, but he's a joy to watch in many films.
His comments toward Mae West ranged the gamut, sometimes he was quite complimentary in the press but other times (especially after her death, and in private) he could be condescending toward her. He was apparently pissed by the legend (fostered by Mae) that she "discovered" him when he'd been in a number of films before his first with her but as West historians have noted it was surely true in Mae's eyes - she was not one to watch other star's movies and spotted him on the Paramount lot and had no clue who he was but still wanted him for her leading man. He was truly a minor player at the time despite an occasional sizable role so the success of SHE DONE HIM WRONG and I'M NO ANGEL absolutely were the movies that first brought him wide attention (even then he was still several years away from true stardom on his own).

I don't recall any particular comments about working with Hepburn anywhere although it apparently was a good enough relationship (and he usually credited the flop SYLVIA SCARLETT as a breakthrough for him as an actor). On the other hand, he apparently adored Irene Dunne even if he never worked with her again after 1941 (I think all of his leading ladies after that point were younger women). I think you are right though about him having a touch of a "pissy" personality off-screen, his frugality was legendary and he was known for being a mildly crabby at times even as he was determined to make the screen image Charming Cary Grant his public image all the while insisting "nobody" was really Cary Grant.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Harlowgold » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:17 pm

I'm kind of indifferent to him - he's terrific in a number of films but he frequently has a smug, unctuous quality that grates in several movies. The Philadephia Story is a strong example, I felt he was so aggressive and nasty toward Hepburn's character I hated to see the predictable conclusion. Bringing Up Baby is his best work imo in which he is cast against type as a nerdy intellectual and this time is Hepburn's turn to grate although he should have picked up lessons from her on how to do and still keep your character appealing. I like his work in the two comedies with Irene Dunne (especially The Awful Truth, his true breakthrough), and I really enjoy him in Monkey Business which is somewhat of a reprise of the Baby role (again working with director Howard Hawks).

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by AlonzoChurch » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:50 am

Some things of interest with Mr. Grant.

1. He was somewhat mishandled during his years as a contract player at Paramount. Beyond the Mae West movies, nobody really mentions his pre-1936 work. Sylvia Scarlett is the movie that most all the big stars have in their career -- that critical success, box office failure that shows the actor that he has a big range.

2. "Cary Grant" is more a creation of the Screwball Comedy than anything else. Grant was an independent at that point, so he's at least got a big part in selecting those roles. This man was shrewd about his star image, and probably shrewder than the moguls.

3. Grant the actor seems to get shunted aside, maybe even by Grant himself. But see Notorious, a fine and subtle performance that really is out of his usual comfort zone. (Hitchcock, in the other movies he did with him, seems to be fine with Grant playing a variant of "Cary Grant". Notorious is like nothing else in the guy's resume.

4. Are there any Grant obscurities? Something worthwhile that doesn't get shown, or hasn't been talked to death? I recall a public domain 30s one shot in the UK that's mediocre. And I don't feel like I have seen all of the Paramounts. (The ones I have seen -- he is second fiddle to Mae West or Dietrich, or just not memorable)

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Daveismyhero » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:17 am

I just blind bought The Awful Truth, so I now have another one to watch. :lol:
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by drednm » Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:46 pm

Grant bristled at being "teamed" with a dominant female star in the Astaire-Rogers kind of way. He may have liked Dunne and Hepburn but as noted he avoided working with them at a certain point and the leading ladies got younger. Other male stars of the day also tried NOT to be teamed. W.C. Fields and Wallace Beery come to mind.

Grant in Suspicion. Wasn't Grant among the powers who fought against his character's being a killer as originally scripted? It was said that at a certain point, Grant stopped acting and really only played Cary Grant. He wasn't interested in doing anything other than Cary Grant.
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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:05 am

I've always enjoyed this Mel Brooks appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he discusses his unlikely friendship with Cary Grant.

EDIT: Unfortunately, that appearance has been taken off YouTube (although there are a couple of great MB Tonight appearances still on there). But here he is telling the story at TCM Fest.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by Robert W » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:27 pm

I was at that TCM appearance with Mel Brooks ( interestingly, in almost the same exact position as whoever shot the video) and heard the story about Cary Grant.

Carol Burnett tells exactly the same story (with the same punchline) as happening to Tim Conway, in her book 'This Time Together' which I had read before Mr. Brooks' appearance.

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Re: October Star of the Month – Cary Grant

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:11 am

Robert W wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:27 pm
I was at that TCM appearance with Mel Brooks ( interestingly, in almost the same exact position as whoever shot the video) and heard the story about Cary Grant.

Carol Burnett tells exactly the same story (with the same punchline) as happening to Tim Conway, in her book 'This Time Together' which I had read before Mr. Brooks' appearance.
I wish the Tonight Show appearance where he tells the story was still online, Brooks does it with a lot more energy, as you might expect.

But there is an entire Tonight Show with Brooks on YT, from around the time of Young Frankenstein, and I think he's on there for over 30 minutes, which is unheard of on most talk shows today.
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