Wednesday, June 13, 2012
(30) Stars of Summer - Day 13: Cary Grant
We're over a week into this, but if you're just joining us here are the rules. Check out this list of all the month's actors with links to what's available on Netflix Instant. If you're not a Netflix subscriber, maybe this will help.
Day 1: Jimmy Stewart
Day 2: Catherine Deneuve
Day 3: Christopher Lee
Day 4: Bette Davis
Day 5: Nicolas Cage
Day 6: Diane Keaton
Day 7: Orson Welles
Day 8: Catherine Keener
Day 9: Kurt Russell
Day 10: Pam Grier
Day 11: Clint Eastwood
Day 12: Susan Sarandon
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I Was a Male War Bride(1949)ReplyDelete
Cary Grant plays a post-WWII French soldier(who doesn't eve try to have any semblance of an French accent) who runs into a line of bureaucratic red tape to be able to go to the United States with his American soldier wife, Ann Sheridan. Grant is great and has pretty good chemistry with Sheridan(the movie spends a good third establishing their relationship) and I chuckle a few times. Not one of Grant's best comedies but still worth a recommend.
I really liked Male War Bride. Very specific to the times though, at least I found it to be so.Delete
She Done Him Wrong (1933)ReplyDelete
This is a showcase for Mae West, who balances the desires and demands of 5 (count em!) different men over the course of a very brisk 64 minutes. Grant plays the one straight-arrow of the bunch, but such is the force of West's personality that I ended up hoping she would corrupt him. This film is the source of the famous misquotation attributed to West, "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" The actual line: "Why don't you come up sometime, and see me?" Of course, what really matters is the way West says it - that woman could make the tax code sound dirty.
LULU DIAMONDS! "Why don't you come upstairs and see me up there sometime" http://lockerz.com/d/12343480Delete
She Done Him WrongReplyDelete
Very much a product of its time, this one features Mae West (Steve K. is right on the money, she could make anything sound dirty) as a cabaret singer juggling several men. Grant is charming as ever in a small supporting role, but this is West's show all the way. The musical numbers left me somewhat cold (the way she stands completely still while singing is a bit eerie), but it's worth a look if only to see what all the fuss was about West.
Cary Grant shines in the cast-against-type role of a government agent that falls in love (though he can't show it) with an American woman (Ingrid Bergman) he sends to penetrate a nest of NAZI spies in Brazil led by devious Alexander (Claude Raines). Thing is, Cary is the lesser of a trio of leads in which the stars of "Casablanca" steal every scene they're in (though Grant's charm allows Hitchcock to make Devlin a more sadistic bastard than he has any right to be). Like watching a master clock maker putting all the seemingly-disparate gears into precise formation (implausible McGuffin, characters saying/doing/hearing things to move the plot along, thumbing the nose at the censors, a plot that has to reach its crescendo just before the end credits, etc.) "Notorious" is like a Hitchcock film school class rolled into 100 minutes of pure Hollywood fun.
Same for me, too. There are a lot of Hitchcock movies I still haven't seen, so it was good to check this one off. I tend to like his more twisted movies, but totally agree with J.M. that the movie is like school (in a good way). The whole thing is so classy and sophisticated, and every actor is great.
I also never realized how much Robert Towne's script for Mission: Impossible II ripped this off.
Who knew...the best thing about Notorious? NO THANDIE NEWTON!Delete
I've seen "Notorious" before but this was my first time on Blu-ray (an excuse to upgrade!) and, the more times I watch it, the more I realize that the movie is as much about Sebastian as it is about Devlin and Alicia. The ending crystalizes this, especially when you realize you've spent more time with Bergman and Raines together than the former with Grant. I'm not trying to sell Cary's character short (when he and Ingrid are kissing is classy Hollywood star power at work) but for my money Claude Raines almost steals the movie by making Sebastian as strong an abuser/repressed lover of Alicia as Devlin and still retaining audience sympathy even though he's a Nazi (with WWII fresh in people's minds when this was released). Cary just showed up to be appealing, but Claude had to work overtime to get us to like his baddie.Delete
Incidentally, I told an old co-worker when I first saw "Notorious" that I really liked it and he replied if I liked the soundtrack. It took me a few seconds to realize he thought I had watched the Notorious B.I.G' bio movie that came in 2009. I swear I wanted to be Nick Nolte at that moment so I could melt my hand into the nearest desk and pummel him over the head with it. :-(
Notorious is one of my all-time favorite films.Delete
My favorite moment centers not on Devlin, Alicia, or Sebastian, but rathr Sebastian's mother. When Sebastian tells her "I am married to an American agent," mom pauses, looks over to her side table, retrieves a cigarette, puts it in her mouth, and instantly transforms herself into a gun moll from a 30s gangster movie.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)ReplyDelete
George Cukor wrangles Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Katharine Hepburn as they turn Phillip Barry's stage play into one of the finest romantic comedies of all time. Exceptional supporting turns from Roland Young and Virginia Weidler help make this one infinitely replayable.
The Bishop's Wife (1947)
A charming story with a somber undertone, finds Grant playing an angel who envies humanity, falling for the eternally lovely Loretta Young while assisting her desperately misguided husband played with masterful subtlety by David Niven. Heartfelt performances by Monty Woolley, Elsa Lanchester, and James Gleason help make this one a perennial Christmas classic.
Charade (1963): Hitchcock-lite, with plenty of screwball elements. Some interesting twists, but too much rests on how much we LURVE Grant and Audrey Hepburn's chemistry, which, honestly, is a bit creepy. I need to listen to Mark's favorite movies podcast to figure out what the big deal is! http://fthismovie.blogspot.com/2011/12/f-this-movie-mark-ahns-favorite-movies.htmlReplyDelete
I'll never stop LURVing you, Doug. Or Charade.ReplyDelete
Mark, did you ever get a chance to see Gambit, the Charade-like movie with Michael Caine & Shirley MacLaine I recommended to you a while back?Delete
JP - I did watch part of it on Netflix, with the intention of going back to it, but then Netfix jettisoned it into the ether. However, the part I did see, I really enjoyed (especially Shirley MacLaine disguised as an Asian foxy-lady), so I want to go track it down. Thanks very much for the rec.ReplyDelete
I watched it right before it disappeared from Netflix. Really fun, and a definite Charade vibe. I want a movie starring Shirley MacLaine from Gambit and Cary Grant from Charade. THAT'S A BINGO.Delete
Alice in Wonderland (1933)ReplyDelete
Trip-py version of the classic fairy tale is loaded with numerous Paramount stars lending their voices to bit players wearing costumes.
Cary Grant is The Mock Turtle, very early in his career, but he doesn't really make any impact. W.C Fields stands out, mostly because he just does his own schtick.
Interesting at times, but slow-paced and the costumes are inhibiting to the performances, which make it seem more like a stage play than a film.
Sorry to post this late, my computer has been in the shop the last few days.