Monday, November 27, 2023

Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)

  "...some of the elements of a fairy-tale.  But... ...terribly realistic. "

With Ginger Rogers.

Once Upon a Honeymoon - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"As the title indicates, Once Upon a Honeymoon has some of the elements of a fairy-tale.  But its background of human misery in a world going to pieces under the Nazis is terribly realistic.  The story is quite often gay and funny, but it is also quite often grim.  With deft touches, director-producer McCarey splashes laughter, suspense, romance and tragedy onto his canvas."

Scholastic Magazine

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 42 - Once Upon a Honeymoon (Lobby Card Style)

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Friday, November 24, 2023

Article Series No.1: Interview Magazine - January 1986.

Today I was really thrilled to receive, as a gift, Interview Magazine from January 1986. It will take pride if place amongst The Cary Grant Collection.

Interview Magazine January 1986 - Front Cover

Article appears on two pages - Page 44 Above and Page 45 Below

Below is the transcript of the now, famous last interview.

Postscript: Hollywood’s Leading Man

By Kent Schuelke

Cary Grant left the world in the same fashion as he lived—quietly. Within 48 hours of the 82-year-old actor’s death on November 29th from a massive stroke in Davenport, Iowa, his remains had been flown to California and cremated. No funeral, no memorial service. That’s how Grant wanted it. Outside of his illustrious movie career, spanning 72 films, Grant shunned the spotlight, seldom giving interviews.

Born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England in 1904, Grant came to the United States in his early teens as a performer in a traveling acrobatic troupe. His talents led him to the Broadway stage, where he performed in musicals. A movie contract with MGM soon followed. To many critics, the debonair Grant was the greatest comedian in the history of cinema. Along with Howard Hawks, George Cukor, and Frank Capra, he helped invent the “screwball comedy.” With his sweeping charm, clipped accent and impeccable timing, he lit up some of Hollywood’s greatest comedies, including Bringing Up Baby, Topper, The Awful Truth, and The Philadelphia Story. In those films, he costarred with many of Hollywood’s leading ladies: Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly. But probably Grant’s most important collaborator was Alfred Hitchcock, with whom he made North by Northwest, Notorious, and To Catch a Thief.

Retiring from cinema in 1966, Grant spent the rest of his days in business, on the board of directors in at MGM and Faberge Cosmetics. He enjoyed his privacy, but his marriages—to Virginia Cherrill, Barbara Hutton, Betsy Drake, Dyan Cannon, and Barbara Harris—and his four divorces, brought him unwanted and unflattering publicity. In spite of such controversies, the public always loved Cary Grant.

This interview with Mr. Grant was done four months before his death. He did the interview in connection with a film tribute in his honor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. This is one of the last public conversations with a legend.

KENT SCHUELKE: What was your earliest ambition?

CARY GRANT: My earliest? I don’t know, just to keep breathing in and out, I guess. I had no definite ambition. One has to go through one’s education before forming thoughts about what one wants to do. Unless you’ve got some mad ideas about being a fireman or a great boxer or a football player. But I had none of those.

SCHUELKE: What about acting?

GRANT: I had no ambition toward acting.

SCHUELKE: I understand that as a boy you dreamed of traveling the high seas. Did you want to be a sailor?

GRANT: Yes. I had ambition to travel. I was born in a city—Bristol—from which there was a great deal of travel. It was a very old city, and in those days the ships came and left all the time from the port. I was constantly interested in what was going on down there and in those ships that took people all over the world.

SCHUELKE: How did you get started in acting?

GRANT: Because of my wish to travel, I joined a small troupe of ground acrobats. I first came to New York with the troupe. When the troupe went back to England, I remained here. I liked this country very much, and gradually I got into musicals. In those days, a musical generally only lasted a year, so there weren’t very many. But I was in musicals before I came to film.

SCHUELKE: Young people who weren’t even born when you made your last film are now discovering you in your classics. What do you think about that?

GRANT: I think they have a long life ahead of them. They will make their own choices. I hope for the very best for the coming generation, but it doesn’t seem to promise too much. But in every century people complain about how the world is going. I don’t know what the young people think or do; I only hear the emanation of their thoughts—rock groups and similar noises. But if that’s what makes them happy, fine—as long as they don’t do it next to me.

SCHUELKE: How do you see yourself?

GRANT: How can I see myself? We are what we are in the opinion of others. It’s up to them to make up their minds as to what we are. I can only see myself as a man of 82 who keeps on functioning. I do the best I can under the circumstances in which I’ve placed myself.

SCHUELKE: How would you like history to remember you?

GRANT: As… “a congenial fellow who didn’t rock the boat,” I suppose.

SCHUELKE: Is your life relatively quiet these days?

GRANT: I live pretty quietly—but what else does one expect a man my age to do?

SCHUELKE: Is that how you want to live out the rest of your life, quietly in Beverly Hills?

GRANT: I don’t know how long that’s going to be—”the rest of my life”—but I enjoy what I am doing and, of course, I shall live out my life here unless some extraordinary change suddenly occurs. If I didn’t enjoy living in Beverly Hills, then I would move—I can afford to do that.

SCHUELKE: What is the most difficult thing about being Cary Grant, the movie star?

GRANT: I don’t consider it difficult being me. The only thing I wish—that we all wish—is that our faces were no longer part of our appearance in public. There’s a constant repetition of people approaching me—either for those idiotic things known as autographs or for something else. That’s the only thing I deplore about this particular business.

SCHUELKE: Do fans still approach you today?

GRANT: It happens, but not as much as it might to a Robert Redford or some younger, more popular star today. It gets to be a bore.

SCHUELKE: Have there been many interesting encounters with your fans?

GRANT: The people I’d most like to meet are the least likely to come up to me.

SCHUELKE: Are you accessible to your fans? Do you interact with them?

GRANT: I do not care or like to talk to [my fans]. I’m not rude. I try to be as gracious as I can when someone next to me at dinner wants to know how I feel about a leading lady. But I don’t answer letters to fans. I don’t answer anyone’s letters. I couldn’t possibly answer everybody. I can’t even attend to my own legal matters. I must receive two sacks of mail every day. So you can’t answer the people. You feel rather sorry you can’t, especially where there are children concerned, but it can’t be done.

SCHUELKE: Is it true that President Kennedy once telephoned you from the White House just to hear the sound of your voice?

GRANT: We all knew each other, just as we know our current president, who is a very dear and very friendly man. We [Reagan and Grant] are old friends.

SCHUELKE: Film students break your films apart and analyze them. Do you think scholars place too much emphasis on films that were made strictly for entertainment?

GRANT: Oh, yes. A film’s a film. As Hitch would say when someone would get all upset on the set, “Come on, fellas, relax—it’s only a movie.” Now, if you want to dissect it and tri-sect it and cut it up into little pieces, well, that’s up to you. We made them. We didn’t know their intentions half the time, except to amuse and attract people to the box office.

SCHUELKE: What are your memories of working with Alfred Hitchcock?

GRANT: I have only happy ones. They’re all vivid because they’re all interesting. It was a great joy to work with Hitch. He was an extraordinary man. I deplore these idiotic books written about him when the man can’t defend himself. Even if you defend yourself against that kind of literature, it gets you nowhere.

SCHUELKE: You worked with some of the most beloved leading ladies in film history. Who was the best actress with whom you worked?

GRANT: I’ve worked with many fine actresses. But in my opinion, the best actress I ever worked with was Grace Kelly. Ingrid [Bergman], Audrey [Hepburn] and Deborah Kerr were splendid, splendid actresses, but Grace was utterly relaxed—the most extraordinary actress ever. Her mind was razor-keen, but she was relaxed while she was doing it. I appreciated that. It’s not an easy profession, despite what most people think.

SCHUELKE: What it disappointing to you that Kelly gave up acting to marry Prince Rainier?

GRANT: As far as we were concerned, she was a lady, number one, which is rare in our business. Mostly we have manufactured ladies—with the exception of Ingrid, Deborah, and Audrey. Grace was of that ilk. She was incredibly good, a remarkable woman in every way. And when she quit, she quit because she wanted to.

SCHUELKE: How was it working with Katharine Hepburn?

GRANT: Marvelous. I worked with her about five times. One doesn’t do a thing more than once—unless you’re an idiot—that one doesn’t like.

SCHUELKE: In the 1950s, you announced that you were retiring from films. The retirement was short-lived, but what made you want to give up films at the height of your career?

GRANT: I was tired of making them.

SCHUELKE: How did your friends and colleagues react to your decision?

GRANT: People say all sorts of things. I gave it up because I got tired of doing it at that point in my life; I had no idea then whether I would resume my career or not. The last time I left, I knew I wouldn’t return to it. I enjoyed the profession very much. But I don’t miss it a bit.

SCHUELKE: Has anyone in the movie industry ever told you your work has influenced the films they’ve done?

GRANT: Everybody copies everybody else, if they think you’re doing something better than they. Athletes do that; that’s evident in the baseball scores and the improvement of the hitter today.

SCHUELKE: How do you respond to criticism that you never portrayed anyone but yourself in your films?

GRANT: Well, who else could I portray? I can’t portray Bing Crosby; I’m Cary Grant. I’m myself in a role. The most difficult thing is to be yourself—especially when you know it’s going to be seen immediately by 300 million people.

SCHUELKE: What about the people who say you should have expanded your repertoire to include more “character” roles?

GRANT: I don’t care what people say. I don’t take into consideration anything anyone says, including the critics. There’s no point. You’ve made the film, it’s done and if they want to criticize it, that’s up to them. I don’t pay attention to what anybody says —except perhaps the director, the producer and my fellow actors. But I’m not making films; I haven’t made a film in 20 years.

SCHUELKE: Do you think these people misinterpret what you were trying to do?

GRANT: I have no concern with what anyone else is thinking—I can’t affect it—or with what anybody else is saying anywhere in the world at any dinner table tonight. They may be discussing me or somebody else; I don’t care. I’ve nothing to do with it, and I can’t control it, so it doesn’t matter what people say.

SCHUELKE: Do you have a favorite film?

GRANT: Not really. I did them all for a purpose. Sometimes I hoped for better results; sometimes I was surprised at the results.

SCHUELKE: Why did you leave acting for the business world in the ’60s?

GRANT: Acting became tiresome for me. I had done it. I don’t know how much further I might have gone in it. I have no knowledge of that, of course. But I enjoyed going from where I started on to a different world, equally interesting—perhaps more so.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Houseboat (1958)

  "Grant’s performance is just about flawless."

With Sophia Loren.

Houseboat - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

“Grant’s performance is just about flawless.  With sure artistry, he seems unconscious of the farcical nature of the ridiculous events that overwhelm him.  Everything he does is made poignant by the worries of a man wounded by the repudiation of his children.  Slowly he learns to love them and his hurt grows deeper.  There is one beautiful scene of muted tenderness when he encourages his elder son to teach him to fish.  By so doing, he finds out the boy’s tendencies toward being a Peeping Tom, a thief and a sneak are all traceable to his worries over his mother’s death.  With well-concealed parental anxiety and complete absence of theatrical sentimentality.  Grant consoles the lonesome child with a quiet and moving discussion of immortality.”

- Jack Moffitt, Hollywood Reporter

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Number 65 - Houseboat (Lobby Card Style)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Suspicion (1941)

  "...the film is the equivalent of the book you can't put down."

With Joan Fontaine.

Suspicion - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Two thirds of Hitchcock's Suspicion is very good, and that is enough to make a thriller.  During that time Hitchcock used all his smoothness and his sharp eye for detail to build up a situation in which a loving wife (Joan Fontaine) is in danger of being poisoned by an equally loving but less trustworthy husband (Cary Grant).  A best friend (Nigel Bruce, as a chubby ass) has already, mysteriously, fallen by the way.  The fact that Hitchcock throws in a happy end during the last five minutes, like a conjurer explaining his tricks, seems to me a pity; but it spoils the film only in retrospect, and we have already had our thrills.  A steep cliff, a letter from an insurance company, a glass of milk at the bedside - on such details and on the equivocal looks that foreshadow murder, Hitchcock fixes a fascinated gaze.  So long as the magic lasts (there's a slow beginning, by the way) the film is the equivalent of the book you can't put down.

William Whitebait, The New Statesman and Nation

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 40 - Suspicion (Lobby Card Style)

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Monday, November 13, 2023

The Bishop's Wife (1947)

 " is Cary Grant’s playing that rescues the role of the angel named Dudley from the ultimate peril..."

With Loretta Young.

The Bishop's Wife - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Robert Nathan’s early novel (1928), The Bishop’s Wife, has been revived by Samuel Goldwyn (with help on the script from Robert Sherwood and Leonardo Bercovici) to honor the current boom in cinema angels.  Unlike the majority of his predecessors, however, Mr. Nathan’s angel is not beyond descending to diabolical methods to achieve his heavenly purposes, and the gleam in his eye is scarcely seraphic. 

If the angel is considerably less tedious than most, it is, first of all, because the miracles he is called upon to perform are onerous neither to him nor to his audience.  A flick of the hand and a bottle of brandy refills perpetually; a smile and every woman within its range feels divinely beautiful.  Certain other of his feats, conceived with a heavier hand, are retrieved from disaster by the direction of Henry Koster who wisely refrains from bearing down full weight on the script.  But it is Cary Grant’s playing that rescues the role of the angel named Dudley from the ultimate peril of coyness.  With nothing more than a beaming countenance and an air of relaxation that is certainly not of this world, he achieves a celestial manner without so much of a hint of wings on his dark blue suit.  An expert cast is on hand to show by reflection what Cary Grant has refrained from making irksomely explicit.  David Niven’s prelate is a wistful and absent-minded character who is scarcely a match for Dudley.  As the Bishops’ wife, Loretta Young is sufficiently lovely to make even an angel fall; and in lesser roles Monty Woolley, James Gleason and Elsa Lanchester react to Dudley’s miraculous passage with characteristic gaiety.

The Bishop had prayed to God for guidance in how to separate Mrs. Hamilton, a rich parishioner, from sufficient money to build a cathedral.  God sent him Dudley and Dudley had soon resolved his dilemma by threatening Mrs. Hamilton with the name of her long-lost lover.  Now, Dudley convinces both her and the Bishop that God could better be served by abandoning the cathedral project in favor of helping the needy.  This is a refreshingly practical notion and comes with the lure of novelty from a screen which has heretofore thrown its weight – in the manner of The Bells of St. Mary’s – in favor of building churches.  For this reason alone The Bishop’s Wife should commend itself to the public." 

Hermine Rich Isaacs, Theatre Arts Magazine

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 51 - The Bishop's Wife (Lobby Card Style)

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Saturday, October 28, 2023

Hot Saturday (1932)

 "...describes the evolution of an idle bit of gossip in an average American community with considerable freshness and candor..."

With Nancy Carroll and Edward Woods.

Hot Saturday - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Small-town tongues are wagging and small-town eyes are watching that Brock girl from behind the drawn shades.  Hot Saturday, which is from Harvey Ferguson's novel, describes the evolution of an idle bit of gossip in an average American community with considerable freshness and candor, and in the main manages to survive a meandering script and some uneventful writing.  Nancy Carroll, as the girl caught in the net of malicious gossip, gives a lifelike portrayal; and she is acutely touching in the final episodes as she searches frantically for someone who will understand and believe her.  The denouement is unintentionally ambiguous, and a rather startling conclusion at that; for the girl runs of with the notorious libertine to a marriage in New York which, if one is to believe all the things people say about Romer Sheffield, will be merely theoretical.   

The title suggests the social activities of the young people on their day off, the dancing, cheap liquor and furtive amour with which they escape once a week from their routine labors.  Some may raise the criticism that the behavior in Hot Saturday is more typical of the years the novel appeared - than of the present.  

Ruth Brock, on this particular "hot Saturday", accompanies the crowd to Sheffield's place in the country.  Her young man, resenting Sheffield's attentions to the girl, quarrels with her.  When she is left alone in the millionaire's house for a few hours and arrives home in his car, the gossip-mongers go to work with a relish.  The accumulation of outraged virtues results in Ruth's dismissal from the bank and a violent scene at home.  Even her gentle, understanding sweetheart of school days turns against her.  

Edward Woods, as the malicious and resentful escort, gives the most satisfactory performance in support of Miss Carroll.  Cary Grant is a nonchalant young libertine as Sheffield, and Randolph Scott is solidly virtuous as the boyhood sweetheart.

 Mordaunt Hall, The New York Times

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 6 - Hot Saturday (Lobby Card Style)

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Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Awful Truth (1937)

 "A great many funny things happen... maneuvered, to some extent, by Mr. Smith."

With Ralph Bellamy and Irene Dunne.

The Awful Truth - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"The Awful Truth is one of those mile-a-minute comedies which never makes sense but which makes you giggle outrageously.  At the beginning Irene Dunne and Cary Grant are a young married couple on the verge of divorce; but they soon prove to be a couple of cut-ups who delight in bedeviling each other.  A great many funny things happen, most of which are maneuvered, to some extent, by Mr. Smith.  He is the biggest bone of contention.  Mr. Smith is a Scottish terrier.  

The dialogue is snappy, the action fast, and often furious, and Irene Dunne proves herself better as a comedienne than as the beautiful-but-dignified star she once was.

Scholastic Magazine

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 29 - The Awful Truth (Lobby Card Style)

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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Last Outpost (1935)

 "...a curious mixture.  Half of it is remarkably good and half of it quite abysmally bad."

With Gertrude Michael.

The Last Outpost - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"The Last Outpost, which will be shown shortly at the Plaza, is a curious mixture.  Half of it is remarkably good and half of it quite abysmally bad.  One can even put one's finger on the joins, and it will be well worth a visit if only because it indicates what might be made of the short story form on the screen.  It consists of two stories unrelated except for the coincidence of characters. The first, which lasts for about half-an-hour, is a very well-directed and well-acted War story of a British secret service agent and his success in warning a defenseless tribe against a Kurd attack and inducing them to move with their flocks over a flooded river and across a snow-bound range of mountains to safe pastures.  It is one of those stories of dogged physical endeavor that the film does so well.  It belongs in the order of Grass and The Covered Wagon.  Mr. Claude Rains as the secret service agent in Turkish uniform and  Mr. Cary Grant as the incurably light-minded and rather stupid British officer whom he rescues from the Kurds both act extremely well.  Mr. Rains's low husky voice, his power of investing even commonplace dialogue with smouldering conviction, is remarkable.  He never rants, but one is always aware of what a superb ranter he could be in a part which did not call for modern restraint but only for superb diction.  I should like to see him as Almanzor or Aurengzebe, for he could catch, as no one else could, the bitter distrust of the world, religious in its intensity, which lies behind the heroic drama.  

The Last Outpost, if it had stopped on the mountain pass above the pastures with the officer on the way down to hospital and the comforts of Cairo and the secret agent turning back towards the enemy, would have been a memorable short film.  Mr. Charles Barton, the director, has obviously used old documentaries: the crossing of the flooded river is not a California reconstruction, and all through this first section the camera is used with fine vigor to present a subject which could not have been presented on the stage.  

I cannot see why we should not have serious films of this length as well as farces, short stories as well as novels on the screen.  The essential speed and concision would be an admirable discipline for most directors, who are still, after seven years of talkies, tied to stage methods, and we might be saved from seeing such a good film as this padded out to full length by the addition of a more than usually stupid triangular melodrama of jealousy and last-minute rescue in the Sahara where needless to say Mr. Rains sacrifices his life at the end, for his wife's love, so that it all may end in the fixed, almost Oriental, short-hand of military melodrama, "It is better so," clasped fingers and topees off and fading bugle calls."  

Graham Greene, The Spectator

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Number 20 - The Last Outpost (Lobby Card Style)

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Monday, October 9, 2023

Wedding Present (1936)

 "...a new high in factual distortion."

With Joan Bennett.

Wedding Present - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Newspaper work has taken it on the nose from the cinema on more than one occasion this season, but Wedding Present reaches a new high in factual distortion.  We do not wish to destroy the 'movie' myth about journalism, but we suggest that the situations of this photo-play are implausible, dissociated, undramatic, preposterous and dreary.  The film is not fortunate in its principals.  Cary Grant plays the crazy reporter turned editor in a lackadaisical manner, mouthing most of his lines and acting more like a dramatic caricature than a character.  If he is not walking through his lines in this production, we never saw that feat accomplished.  Joan Bennett, for her part, does little to stay the complete demoralization of the plot."

Howard Barnes, New York Herald Tribune

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Number 24 - Wedding Present (Lobby Card Style)

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Friday, October 6, 2023

I'm No Angel (1933)

 "The casting of Cary Grant... was again another brilliant piece of dramatic awareness."

With Mae West.

I'm No Angel - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Ingenious casting had much to do with the success of I'm No Angel.  Although her control over her vehicles at Paramount was almost absolute, unlike Chaplin in a similarly favored position, Mae West did not depend on a weak supporting cast to magnify her own personality or call attention to her humor.  A strong cast, each one capable and playing his or her role with uncommon passion, lent a credibility to the film, a quality of balance and proportion which only the finest motion pictures attain.

The casting of Cary Grant in the role of the man who finally wins Tira's love was again another brilliant piece of dramatic awareness.  Cary as Jack Clayton has none of the characteristics about him that had previously attracted Tira to men.  When she meets Nat Pendleton (playing the trapeze artist) on her way to the hotel at the very start of the picture, she feels his muscles, and comments on them.  She makes a similar overt gesture with Davidson (playing the Chump) while the two are dancing in her hotel room.  But with Clayton all such pretension is dropped.  Supposedly not interested just in his money, as she had been with Kirk Lawrence, seemingly in love, she feels his muscles at the end of the picture just before the fade.  But in 1933 Cary Grant was narrow of line and thin of physique, not at all the Nat Pendleton image.  Tira, a lion tamer, is unaccountably drawn to him, but there is something slightly incredible about their union, incredible enough for the viewer to have the same impression as one has at the conclusion of She Done Him Wrong, Tira cannot stay with him forever; she is insatiable and immortal.  From this very subtle and almost unconscious impression, the viewer comes away with that same sense of awe before magnitude, talent and vibrance, which Chaplin managed only by weak casting as a crutch.  

No scene in I'm No Angel is extraneous.  It is interesting, compelling, and enjoyable throughout.  Some scenes are played with rare distinction, as that of Cary Grant's initial visit to Tira's apartment, when she decides to let Kent Taylor go, but wants Cary instead.  The camera takes a three-quarters shot as this conversation straggles to its conclusion, with both their minds on something other than what's being said.  Cary has placed a small photograph of Mae in his coat pocket, and with his hands plunged nervously into his trouser pockets, the suit coat jutting out towards Mae, their bodies swaying ever closer together as they talk, Mae mumbling, "You'll hear from me," much more is implied that could ever be shown."

John Tuska, Views and Reviews

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Number 12 - I'm No Angel (Lobby Card Style)

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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

 "...a superb blend of horror and comedy..."

With Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre.

Arsenic and Old Lace - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"My favorite scene is the one from the picture Arsenic and Old Lace which begins with Cary Grant making the spine-chilling discovery that his two dear old maiden aunts are poisoners who have murdered some dozen men.  

The old ladies' sweetly matter-of-fact attitude toward their gruesome hobby is a superb blend of horror and comedy, and the scene develops uproariously.  

I was helpless with laughter as I watched Cary change from a normal young man to a decidedly dizzy one, talking to himself, staring into the window seat from which bodies mysteriously appeared and disappeared, and making various wild attempts to cope with the situation."

- Ida Lupino, Saturday Evening Post

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Number 47 - Arsenic and Old Lace (Lobby Card Style)

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Friday, September 22, 2023

None But The Lonely Heart (1944)

   "...plays its ...hero so attentively and sympathetically..."

With Konstantin Shayne.

None But The Lonely Heart - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"None But The Lonely Heart, a story about the education of a young man in London's pre-war slums, is an unusually sincere, almost-good film and was made under unusually unexpected auspices.  Its star, Cary Grant, asked that it be made, and plays its far from Cary Grantish hero so attentively and sympathetically that I all but overlooked the fact that he is not well constituted for the role.  Its most notable player, Ethel Barrymore, seemed miscast too, but I was so soft as to be far more than satisfied by her beauty and authority.  Its director, Clifford Odets, who also turned Richard Llewellyn's novel into the screen play, is still liable to write - or preserve from the book - excessive lines like "dreaming the better man"; he suggests his stage background as well as his talent by packaging his bits too neatly; and his feeling for light, shade, sound, perspective, and business is too luscious for my taste.  But I believe that even if he doesn't get rid of such faults he will become a good director.  I base my confidence in him chiefly on  the genuine things about his faith in and love for people, which are as urgent and evident here as his sentimentalities; on two very pretty moments in the film, one of two drunken men playing with their echoes under an arch, the other of two little girls all but suffocated by their shy adoration of the hero; and on the curiously rich, pitiful, fascinating person, blended of Cockney and the Bronx, whom he makes of a London girl, with the sensitive help of June Duprez.  I suppose I should be equally impressed by the fact that the picture all but comes right out and says that it is a bad world which can permit poor people to be poor; but I was impressed rather because Odets was more interested in filling his people with life and grace than in explaining them, arguing over them, or using them as boxing gloves." 

- James Agee, The Nation

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 46 - None But The Lonely Heart (Lobby Card Style)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Howards of Virginia (1940)

 "...Grant meets the exigencies of a difficult role with more gusto than persuasion."

With Paul Kelly.

The Howards of Virginia - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Elizabeth Page's best seller of last year, The Tree of Liberty, comes to the screen as The Howards of Virginia.  Although using only a portion of the 985-page novel, Columbia still seems to have tackled a larger canvas than it could paint effectively, with the result that this cavalcade of Colonial and Revolutionary America, while ambitious, expensive, and generally interesting, comes to life all to infrequently. 

Adapted by Sidney Buchman  and directed by Frank Lloyd, the Howard saga is most effective in the sequences that recreate frontier life and manners as seen through the eyes of the woman who loves her husband while rebelling against his democratic ideas.  These sequences are impressive in their homely humor and realism, though much footage otherwise wasted inevitably pulls the emotional punches in the story of Matt's relationship with his wife and children.  

Obviously miscast, Cary Grant meets the exigencies of a difficult role with more gusto than persuasion.  Martha Scott follows her impressive screen debut in Our Town with a sincere if more conventional characterization.  That this history has been staged with exceptional fidelity, is due in part to the fact that its Williamsburg sequences were filmed on location in the historic city which was reconstructed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. as a $20,000,000 project to perpetuate America's past."


New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 37 - The Howards of Virginia (Lobby Card Style)

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Friday, September 15, 2023

Blonde Venus (1932)

   "...Grant is worthy of a much better role..."

With Marlene Dietrich.

Blonde Venus - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Marlene Dietrich's latest film, Blonde Venus, over which B. P. Schulberg, until recently head of Paramount's Hollywood studio, and Josef von Sternberg, the director, clashed last spring, is a muddled, unimaginative and generally hapless piece of work, relieved somewhat by the talent and charm of the German actress and Herbert Marshall's valiant work in a thankless role.

It wanders from Germany to many places in America, over to France and then back to New York, but nary a whit of drama is there in it.  There is good photography, and for those who are partial to scenes in a theatre, there are some over which                Mr. von Sternberg has taken no little care.  But the pain of it is the dismal and suspenseless tale of a woman who sinks to selling her favors and finally ends by returning to her husband.  

There is scarcely any simpathy evoked for the characters, except for a little boy.  Most of the scenes are unedifying, without possessing any strength or a common sense idea of  psychology.  It is regrettable that Miss Dietrich, Mr. Marshall and others should have been called on to appear in such a vehicle.  

When there is any attempt at levity it is silly, and one lengthy episode might better have been left to the imagination, for it never for a moment is anything but dreary and dull.  

There are good portraits of Miss Dietrich, who sings two or three songs.  Mr. Marshall does as well as his lines and the situations permit.  Cary Grant is worthy of a much better role than that of Townsend, and little Dickie Moore gives a suggestion of brightness to the unhealthy scenes in which he is sometimes beheld."

Mordaunt Hall, The NewYork Times

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 5 - Blonde Venus (Lobby Card Style)

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Monkey Business (1952)

    "Grant has never been better..."

With Marilyn Monroe.

Monkey Business - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

" Grant has never been better than in his part as the absent-minded professor in search of the elixir of youth.
His extraordinary agile and amusing performance is matched to the hilt by that of Ginger Rogers as his long-suffering wife. And those who recall that Miss Rogers was once a famous dancing star, will find that she excels in that department. She obviously delights in her part, which is a demanding one.
Throughout, director Hawks has seen to it that Monkey Business doesn't become static. Grant's wild car ride with Marilyn Monroe is pure farce in the great tradition of the screen and some other climactic sequences come across with the same explosive effect."

Motion Picture Herald

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Number 58 - Monkey Business (Lobby Card Style)

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Saturday, September 2, 2023

People Will Talk (1951)

   "...turns in one of the most intelligent performances of his nineteen-year Hollywood career."

With Walter Slezak.

People Will Talk - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"And once again, Hollywood's ranking "genius" - the only man to win four Academy Awards in two years - has something to say and says it frankly and funnily.  

The film, which has a three-way plot, concentrates on one of the strangest and most adult love affairs ever to emerge from Hollywood.   The wedding between                  Dr. Praetorius and Deborah Higgins takes place when the doctor knows she is more than a month pregnant, although he is not responsible - a situation handled in perfect taste, and resulting in an exceptionally happy union.  

These heterogeneous plot strands are welded together by Grant, who turns in one of the most intelligent performances of his nineteen-year Hollywood career.  And       Miss Crain proves, as she did in Pinky, that she is ready to graduate from her usual pigtail roles.  Much of the credit for an impressive film goes to the very adult and literate writing of Mankiewicz."


New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 56 - People Will Talk (Lobby Card Style)

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I Was A Male War-Bride (1949)

   "...a past master at playing the handsome      he-man thrown for a loss by a difficult dame..."

I Was A Male War-Bride - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"A temperamental French army captain and a strong-minded WAC lieutenant stationed in Occupied Germany spend the first half of this comedy hating each other and the second half trying to find a way for the captain to emigrate to the United States.  There is a short intermission between halves in which the two sparring partners get married.  

The film is poorly paced.  By the time Captain Rochard and Lieutenant Gates get to the altar, it seems as if we've had our money's worth.  But, no - complications are barely beginning.  It appears that the only provision under which Rochard may accompany his wife back to the States is the law regulating the immigration of war brides.  It is with this embarrassing predicament that the film finally gets down to the business announced in the title.  

The comedy has its share of bright and breezy moments.  Cary Grant is a past master at playing the handsome he-man thrown for a loss by a difficult dame or an undignified situation.  But none of the boy-girl situations in this opus is original enough to stand being spun out for two hours."   

Scholastic Magazine

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 54 - I Was A Male War-Bride (1949) (Lobby Card Style)

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