Showing posts with label Articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Articles. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Article Series No.2: What it Means to be a Star by Cary Grant (Films and Filming - July 1961)

Another magazine that makes up part of my collection - Films and Filming - July 1961.

What it Means to be a Star

He is offered first choice of the best scripts.
He can name his director. And he takes a 
slice of the profits of the films he makes.
The real meaning of being a top star is told 


FIRST YEAR: Cary Grant became a leading man in
his first year in Hollywood, 1932, ans one of his films in
that year was Madame Butterfly.

I've been called the longest lasting young man about town. It's ridiculous for a man in his 'fifties: but then until thirty-five a man is often a self-centered idiot. After 35, he should try to begin to make more sense. I know I was impossible before 35; I'm hardly possible now. Those who say it, mostly women, should know. At least I'm little less self-centered. I may be a boor but I feel I'm less of a boor. Sufficient kick in the rear over the years do make a difference and I think I learned from experience at least a little bit.

I who have enjoyed the sunlight of international acceptance for so long, might be tempted to pick up the chips and call it quits while I am still ahead. I did quit once for 18 months. I can't say I was bored, never have been. But I just wasn't as interest in life. 

During my retirement I had the time to indulge in some long, long thoughts about myself, my work, my marriages. Did I find any answers? I don't know. My life is very important to me. I want every moment to be as happy as possible. I've learned not to believe any longer in either high emotions or deep depressions. I would like to live below or above the line. I do whatever is the indication at the moment that doesn't offend someone else.

Living With Himself

I'm not a Peer-Gynt-like searcher but think if a man picks up knowledge, if he improves his tolerance, if he reduces his own impatience and irritability, if he can spare a listening ear to the other fellow - well, he can't help but find himself easier to live with. One's own creative springs could be replenished.

I really don't like to speak about myself to tell about the many many pictures I have done, the many wonderful people I had the honor to appear with and neither do I want to bother with the many ridiculous rumors that have been told by columnists, placing me into close relations, even matrimony with the world's most beautiful women. You have seen me with Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn and wild stories are written in the fan magazines. I refuse to discuss my private life and my friendships and my family, present, past and future.

I'm no longer just the nice young man who knew how to put his hands in his pockets and smiles broadly. I know the entertainment industry requires hard work, studies, determination and the drive for perfection, which one never achieves. I have learned in all these years the story of humility if necessary and I have learned some of the devastating facts of life.

I was born as Archibald Alexander Leach in Bristol , England . I was sent to Fairfield Academy in Somerset and ran away from school to join the Bob Pender Acrobats. But my father, a clothing manufacturer, was not influenced by the fact that his own dad played Shakespearean roles with Forbes Robertson, and caught up with me within four weeks. So, I continued my education for another two years and at the age of 15, I ran away again. This time I stuck with the Pender group and for five years lived the hard life of an acrobatic comic trouper in training. I served as stilt walker, knockdown comic, clown eccentric dancer and carnival barker before I graduated to Broadway, Hollywood , London and Paris .

With the Pender Troupe I went to new York in 1921 to do an act in the Fred Stone show. Pender Acrobats then moved over to the Hippodrome Theatre and from there went back to England . I stayed. There were times I wished I hadn't. I played in honky­tonks, walked stilts in carnival shows on Coney Island and at one time I even painted neckties with Orry Kelly. After two years of not much better than this I returned to England , where without very much trouble I landed small parts in musical comedies.

One day an Arthur Hammerstein scout saw me perform and signed me to sing the juvenile lead in New York in Golden Dawn. After this came other parts and roles, in Polly, Boom Boom, the lead in Wonderful Night and a romantic role opposite Queenie Smith in Street Singer. I spent the summer of 1931 in St. Louis playing the lead in 12 operettas and in the fall I was back on Broadway. Then I set out for Hollywood in a second hand car, lived in cheap hotels and found myself a job in motion pictures and the name of Cary Grant.

Advice and Horror

Soon papers carried the news in their theatrical sections and I was besieged with congratulations, admonitions, advice and horror stories about Hollywood . Some of my colleagues were envious and many were justly skeptical. I was amazed at the number of people who suddenly came up with well ­meaning advice, oracled warnings and predicted catastrophic outcomes in Hollywood . But I knew only too well that I was not an actor who could last permanently on Broadway, I knew my limitations, I was not a singer capable of competing with notable former Metropolitan opera stars, hired for musicals and operettas.

Hollywood is confusing for a newcomer and an old timer. Much that is written about the Glamour City is correct, the eccentricities, the high pressure production, the endless parade of actors, directors, producers, cameramen, musicians, electricians, scenic designers, lighting experts, make-up men with the kids of magic, prop men. Each person seems to prate, in a haze of high dreams. I have never seen so many women. There were the tall thin models, cleverly sparkling entertainers; the big-eyed extras, protégés, wistful hat-check girls, scantily clothed cigarette girls, chorus girls, dance and a bounty of ambitious man hunters. 

My Hollywood debut was in This is The Night in 1932; other parts followed. One of these days I might make my hundredth picture. It is not easy to remember all the pictures I have made, but among my very first, and now forgotten were: Hot Saturday, Merrily We go to Hell, Blonde Venus with Marlene Dietrich, and She Done Him Wrong with Mae West. I learned everything from Mae West - well not quite everything, but almost everything. She knew so much. Her instinct was so true, her timing was perfect, her grasp of situations so right. 

They had many leading men at Paramount , good men with a set of teeth like mine and they couldn't be buying stories for each of us!It took time to be accepted, it almost took twenty years until I got to be like a well-advertised brand of tea. Housewives bought that kind rather than take a chance on a brand they are not familiar with. The cinema goer is the same way. He'll see one of our pictures because he's pretty sure of getting a certain quality, while he might not take a chance on a new fellow across the street. 

I wonder if audiences realize what is the hardest thing in the world - it is for every actor to be what you call "natural." Whenever I hear people say that Crosby or Gary Cooper just play themselves in pictures, I have to laugh. There is no such thing. Remember how self-conscious most people become when they have their picture taken or some one breaks out an amateur movie camera.

Love At Nine O'Clock

Try to make love to someone you can hardly stand to say hello to and at nine o'clock in the morning in full dress with a crowd of about one hundred hard-boiled men of the crew watching. If anyone is ever foolish enough to try this, I'll wager he will give the "natural" actors more credit. 

My first great chance came in 1936, when I was borrowed by RKO for Sylvia Scarlett playing opposite Katharine Hepburn. This picture did nothing to endear its female lead to the public, but it helped me to success. For once, the audiences and the critics did not see me as a nice young man, with regular features and a heart of gold. After this picture I made one after another, probably too many.

Years ago actors were not held in high repute. We were considered a sort of a band of troubadours or "odd Boheme." Then along came the successful movies which was a mechanical thing, something that reached the masses. Suddenly stage actors moved up the social ladder. They were suddenly considered artists. Suddenly it was Mister Laughton and Miss Fontane and Miss Loren, Madame Magnani, Miss Bergman and Miss Bardot. Up until that time mothers had to be warned "Don't put your daughter on the stage." Now they almost fight to put them there. It has practically become a social must. 

The pitfall of most young actors is that they never really listen to a scene. Instead, they worry about how they look listening to a scene. The pitfall of most young men is that they rarely listen to a conversation. Instead, they worry about what other people think of them listening to a conversation.

I learned that you appreciate work most while you're at leisure, and leisure while you're at work. It's like being married or single. You can't be both at the same time. 

What makes for success or failure in living? Many people think luck is the decisive factor. I don't think so. Everybody puts himself exactly where he finds himself in this world. Everyone has constant choices to make all day long. We put ourselves where we are by the choices we make. 

I know I'm sticking my neck out in saying this, and the ill-fortuned won't agree with me. But I do believe people can do practically anything they set out to do if they apply themselves diligently, and learn. Few people recognize opportunity because it comes disguised as hard work and application.

 SOPHISTICATED:  In George Cukor's sophisticated
comedy Philadelphia Story (1940), Grant was partnered
by another fast rising star, James Stewart.

Happy Man

The fan magazines say I am a happy man. Columnists published that I received 125,000 dollars for The Philadelphia Story. They print a lot of things about me - even that Hollywood had given me a guarantee of 500,000 dollars in addition to a ten per cent share of the world-wide gross of the picture Guns of the Navarone. The columnists predicted I would marry Sophia Loren, after they had guessed on Ingrid Bergman first. Every reporter claims I'm happy. To all of this I say: Learn how to be unhappy. If you have never been unhappy, you cannot possibly know what happiness is. 

Happiness is a matter of degree. The greatest unhappiness in the world belongs to the rich boy who receives a yacht for Christmas when he expected a private airplane. The greatest happiness belongs to the poor man who learns that he does not have cancer after being told that cancer was suspected. 

I have my problems, too, and not only in personal matters. When I visited England , reporters asked me what I thought of my visit to Moscow , a very Edwardian place. So I said. "I don't care what kind of government they have, I never felt so free in my life . . ." I meant about not being recognized, but by the time the crack got out, people were saying I should have stayed there.

Questioned On Age

I'm sick and tired of being questioned about why I look young for my age and how I keep trim. I'm not at all sure I look young for my age, but even if I did why should the idiots make so much of it? Why don't they emulate it rather than gasp about it? Everyone wants to be fit; so what do they do? They poison themselves with wrong foods; they poison their lungs with smoking; they clog their pores with greasy make-up; they drink poison liquids. And the one thing they should be doing - making love - they are incapable of because their systems are poisoned. What really makes me furious is that people make fun of people who stay fit and trim . . poke fun at them because they don't smoke or drink. What else can they do to defend their own miserable condition? 

I refuse to give an analysis of my own acting career and it is hard to predict what the future will have in store for me or Hollywood , and the entire motion picture industry. Times have changed. Marilyn Monroe gets ten cents of every box office dollar for her picture Some Like it Hot. William Holden gets at least 750,000 dollars a piece plus 25 percent of the profits for each of them on The Horse Soldiers. 

I think it was Bill Holden who recently said, "The day when an actor was like a well­trained dog who barks on command is gone. An actor no longer just presents his body on the set and wonders what will happen next." 

The Hollywood studios want to make a successful picture, but in order to get the banks to finance it, they must have a big­name star. So then a studio - as told by the banks - goes to the star and insists on a deal. I have said, "Take it easy. This way I'll have to drive a hard bargain and you'll be sorry afterwards," but they insist anyway. 

Some producers believe the demands of the stars are forcing the motion picture industry into an impossible situation. I doubt if this is why I have asked for a half a million dollar guarantee and a cut of the world-wide gross - one day the picture can be sold to television and I'll have revenues in the future.

New Concept

A whole new concept in film entertainment is coming, out of experiments in the projection of movies. We haven't seen anything yet in audience participation experiences. It isn't possible to show what really can be accomplished because of the restrictive architecture of theatres. The new projection techniques will require new theatres, architecturally designed to accompany the picture. The change won't come suddenly. Everyone is desperately trying to protect the vast real estate interests as long as possible, but it is coming. The motion picture will give entertainment so vastly different from television in a few years, there won't be any question of competition. 

People say audiences want "realism." They say it has to be garbage cans and lousy two-bit violence. I don't see why it can't be laughs and the Plaza, too. That's part of life. High comedy and polished words, that's the hardest to write and to act but it's the best. And it lasts the longest, too. We're the ones who can go on for years.

Deal in Insults

These days comedy writers seem to deal in insults. Very few writers feel funny about life and therefore very little "light comedy" has been produced recently. Of course, I believe that comedy must have a certain grace and that involves living with a certain amount of grace which very few people ­- writers or anyone else -- have in these trying, fast-moving days of struggle.

I always personally loved shooting on location. 

One of the craziest things that ever hap­pened to me on location was in Germany . We were in the French zone shooting I Was a Male War Bride and I was made up as a French captain. The company was a good way down the road and I was sitting back in the jeep, waiting to drive up in splendor. That was a color film, and we had to wear off-white shirts. The only off-white shirt we could get for me wasn't only off-white, it was a little pink. So I sat there with the slightly pink shirt waiting for the action to start, and I noticed a Senegalese soldier staring at me. Pretty soon he came over and talked to me in French. Well, you know my French! I couldn't talk to the man. So he called the German cops and I couldn't talk to them either. 

It was hours before the unit found me and got me out of jail!

My present status in the motion picture industry is wonderful for my ego. But notice, I don't say it can't change. I do believe the only thing that would change my mind to make many more pictures would be the anxiety to do a particular piece of material that I could not resist.

I promised myself that I'll only play in another picture if the role is really worthwhile. There are many young actors who need a break and in my own little way I hope I have contributed something positive to the world of entertainment.

New Distinction

Just as the movies unwittingly did very much for the stage, so is television doing now for the movies. Movie stars who have not been keen on television have suddenly been given a distinction which we never had before. We are not just movie people any more but "motion picture actors and actresses." The age of television has just begun -­ much will still happen in your and my life, and you'll see it all on television. 

But I still want to go on making pictures until I'm dead . . . or longer.

HOLDING THE FORT: In his most recent picture,
Stanley Donen's The Grass is Greener, Grant (seen
here with Jean Simmons)portrays the owner of a stately
home who holds the fort while his wife goes off with a rich

Friday, January 12, 2024

Article Series - No.2 : He's Grand - and He's Grant by John Paddy Carstairs

He's Grand - and He's Grant  
by John Paddy Carstairs

John Paddy Carstairs Introduces You to Another Englishman in Hollywood who is going to be One of To-morrow's Stars

He's bright, he's breezy, and very happy-go-lucky! One gets the impression that it is immaterial to him whether he is in pictures or merely sweeping crossings. He'd be joking or laughing at the passers-by just as he does at the Paramount studios, where they hold him on a very nice contract.His name is Cary Grant, and he is English. If I say he is like Gable, he will be very annoyed. So will Gable. So will the Gable fans, not to the mention the Grant fans and everyone else! Nevertheless, he is of the same type as Clark Gable - just another likeable rough guy of the screen.
As a matter of fact, Cary takes this inevitable comparison with a great deal of indifference. I asked him about it, and he replied that he thought it probably annoyed Gable just as much as it did him. They were two separate players with different kinds of characters and types. I admit he is right, although I am wondering if he would have got his chance if the Gable type was not all the rage, as it is now.

He's very tall - about six feet two - with bright brown eyes that glint and sparkle while you talk to him. He has jet black hair and a dark skin.

When I first met him, the studio officials wanted me to interview him in the special Interview Room. We waited till they had introduced us, then both grinned.

When they had gone out I suggested that we should walk around the studio, and talk as we strolled. I have never seen so much relief on a man's face before: the suggestion set Cary at ease. We started off and wandered around the enormous Paramount studio, in and out of sound stages. We watched a new production being filmed; chatted to Randolph Scott, had coffee in the studio canteen, lazed on the lawn and, for quite a while, examined odd junk that had accumulated in the studio property room. Meantime Cary bubbled on, chatting, wisecracking and having a very good time. This Grant fellow is a lot of fun. As a matter of fact his life sounds like a film scenario.

Cary was born in Bristol, and his grandfather, Percival Leach was a very well-known stage actor, which probably accounts for the great liking for dramatics that developed in Cary at an early age. It was also probably responsible for the interest Cary took in the Princess Theatre, Bristol, where he invented a new and very successful lighting system.

This contact with stage folk made Cary restless. At the age of twelve he ran away from Fairfield Academy and joined the Bob Pender Acrobatic Troupe, a bunch of entertainers who did all sorts of tricks, from dancing, acrobatics and clown routines to comedy scenes and stilt dancing. At Norwich, Cary spent two months learning all the tricks of the troupe. But meantime his father had managed to find the truant and carried him back to school. Three years later Cary ran away again and managed to stay with the Pender troupe. They became very well liked in England, and then decided to make a trip to New York. Cary spent two years with the troupe traveling round America, and then returned to England, where he toured in indifferent stage shows. Meanwhile he started to develop a very elegant baritone voice.

Cary Grant & Queenie Smith in the Shubert Organization's musical comedy play The Street Singer

"Gosh! What a thrill for me! Soon he was back in New York and was playing in Golden Dawn, a musical show. Next he had the juvenile lead in Polly, the attractive sequel to the Beggar's Opera. Following this came Boom Boom was opposite Jeanette MacDonald," said Cary. 
"We played the show in New York and then Chicago. Jeanette came out here to Hollywood to make The Love Parade picture, and I dashed off to Europe for a grand holiday. When I came back I had quite a run of stage successes, both in New York and on tour. Then I made a fresh contract with film people when I played alongside Fay Wray and Kent Douglas in Nikki. After this I thought a visit to Hollywood would be quite an idea, and I made the trip by car all the way from New York. I was over at Paramount having lunch with a friend one day when some studio executive or other asked me if I would play opposite a girl of whom they wanted to make a test."

Cast of "Golden Dawn" - Archie Leach is Anzac


Nikki - Archie Leach is Cary Lockwood

Cary grinned. "It was all right with me," he said, "and they liked the test of us both. Two weeks later they gave me a contract and here I am!"

I asked this young man how he liked Hollywood.

"It's fine - so is America - but I must lose my English accent if I want a lot of different parts," he told me. "I've been trying, but so far I have only a curious mixture of English and American dialects!"

At that moment a flash of yellow caught my eye. "Hey!" I asked, "what's the idea of these vivid braces?"
Cary had the brightest Canary-colored braces I have ever seen. They peeped out from under his coat and almost smacked on in the eye!

Cary laughed, and then told me he had opened a haberdashery shop on the famous and very smart Wilshire Boulevard. "Swell clothes," he told me, "come on in and buy a tie one day. All my stuff is from Bond Street and Jermyn Street. It is a very exclusive shop, believe me! We did marvelously the first two days we opened, having forced our pals to come down and buy!" He went on chattering about the shop, and the humors of it.

Eventually I called a halt. "That will be enough from you. I'll lunch you here in a few days' time!"
I wanted to see if this vivaciousness just happened now and then or was it constant. I kept a careful check on the Grant lad, and I can promise you it's constant. With Cary, life is just a bowl of whatever you make it. You will see him in many films from now on, notably Blonde Venus, with Marlene Dietrich, and Hot Saturday, with Nancy Carroll. He is one of to-morrow's stars.

Film Pictorial - December 17, 1932 - page 20  

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Film Review Series #1: The Bishop's Wife By Bosley Crowther December 10th, 1947

 The Bishop's Wife ,

Starring Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young, Opens at Astor

By Bosley Crowther

Dec. 10, 1947

With David Niven.

Emissaries from heaven are not conspicuously exceptional on the screen, the movies having coyly incarnated any number of these supernatural types, ordained by their fanciful creators to right the wrongs of this world (not to mention the bookkeeping errors that seem to occur up above). And certainly communion with angels is traditional at Christmastime, which is the season when most of us mortals need angelic reassurance anyhow. So there is nothing especially surprising about the miracle that occurs in Samuel Goldwyn's "The Bishop's Wife," which opened last night at the Astor—except that it is superb.And that is very surprising, in view of the realistic fact that it is a sentimental whimsey of the most delicate and dangerous sort. All of us know that angels don't walk the earth like natural men—and definitely not in the image of that debonair rascal, Gary Grant. And most of us have some dark misgivings about the tact of the makers of films when they barge into the private area of a man's communication with his God.But you need have no anxieties in the case of "The Bishop's Wife." It is as cheerful and respectful an invasion of the realm of conscience that we have seen. And it comes very close to being the most enchanting picture of the year — a judgment to which its many merits will shortly make a strong bid. That is because its incursion is on a comparatively simple and humble plane and its whimsey is sensitively syphoned from the more human and humorous frailties of the flesh.We are not going to make an analysis of the many subtle comments in this tale of a full-bodied guardian angel who answers a young bishop's prayer for guidance and spiritual comfort in the midst of a crisis in his life. We are not going to state any morals which this charmingly casual angel proves in drawing the bishop's wrought attention from a new cathedral to the richer services of life—and, particularly, to a fresh fulfillment of his family responsibilities.

We are not going to mouth about these matters, because the picture itself refrains—and that is one of the most endearing of its many endearing young charms.In shaping this warm and winning fable from a Robert Nathan book, Robert Sherwood and Leonardo Bercovici have written with beautiful belief that a point clearly made in performance doesn't have to be hit a dozen times nor a moral quietly manifested put into a hundred solemn words.

And so there is no heavy pounding of the lesson of humanity, of the futility of ostentation, of the special possessiveness of a man's love. Nor is there any such pounding in Henry Koster's directorial style.Smoothly and with artful invention he has induced Mr. Grant to give one of his most fluent and beguiling performances as the angel, "Dudley," who fixes things. And he has got out of David Niven a deliciously dexterous and droll characterization of a sorely pressed young bishop who can't quite cotton to this messenger from on high. Elsa Lanchester, too, is encouraged in an exquisitely faceted role of a twitterly little housemaid who flirts with this angelic gent, and Monty Woolley is actually human as an old dodo who is morally re-inspired. James Gleason, Sara Haden and Gladys Cooper are rich in smaller parts. Weakness is only evident in Loretta Young's unctuousness as the bishop's wife. She is the one artificial, inconsistent and discordant note.Of course, there are probably some people who are going to say that this film encourages a futile illusion with its hope of miraculous aid. But they—if they do—will be missing its most warmly inspiring point which is—but wait a minute That's for you to recognize and enjoy. We cannot recommend you to a more delightful and appropriate Christmas show.

With Loretta Young and Monty Woolley.


screen play by Robert E. Sherwood and Leonardo Bercovici;

from the novel by Robert Nathan;

directed by Henry Koster;

produced by Samuel Goldwyn for release through RKO Radio Pictures. Inc.

At the Astor.

Dudley . . . . . Cary Grant

Julia Brougham . . . . . Loretta Young

Henry Brougham . . . . . David Niven

Professor Wutheridge . . . . . Monty Woolley

Sylvester . . . . . James Gleason

Mrs. Hamilton . . . . . Gladys Cooper

Matilda . . . . . Elsa Lanchester

Mildred Cassaway . . . . . Sara Haden

Debby Brougham . . . . . Karolyn Grimes

Maggenti . . . . . Tito Vuolo

Mr. Miller . . . . . Regis Toomey

Mrs. Duffy . . . . . Sara Edwards

Miss Trumbull . . . . . Margaret McWade

Mrs. Ward . . . . . Ann O'Neal

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.

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

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Number 6 - Hot Saturday (Lobby Card Style)

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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Ladies Should Listen (1934)

  "A good deal of it is actually unfunny, and all of it is too synthetic."

With Frances Drake.

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

"Basically there may have been enough comedy and farce possibility in this story, but as handled, it emerges a much too highly strained attempt at farce.  A good deal of it is actually unfunny, and all of it is too synthetic.  

Cary Grant is brutally miscast as a philandering young Parisian.  He plays the part for comedy, miscuing several times.  On the other hand, Frances Drake as his vis-a-vis, a nosey telephone girl, who listens in on conversations and has a habit of trying to straighten things out for other people, turns in her best performance yet and does much to establish herself.  

Picture allows Charles Ray to make a film comeback in a very minor role.  Handles a comedy bit very effectively and ought to be able to go places again.  

Claude Binyon and Frank Butler overworked hoke and puns in their adaptation, and these were all overstrained in the direction." 

- Wolfe Kaufman, Variety

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 17 - Ladies Should Listen (Lobby Card Style)

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Monday, July 24, 2023

Suzy (1936)

      "...his talents for varied characterizations have been recognized, and in each new venture he makes good."

With Jean Harlow and Franchot Tone.

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

"Romance, drama, war, espionage, Jean Harlow, Franchot Tone, Cary Grant, ample production and the direction of George Fitzmaurice - such are the ingredients of Suzy, compounded on the Metro lot and soon to be turned loose on the world at large.  It will give satisfaction.  We could wish for less talking than it contains, and a greater reliance on the camera in developing the psychological phases of the story, but as we seem doomed to have such pictures until Hollywood learns how to use the microphone, we will be lucky if we get none less entertaining than this well-made Metro offering.  

The chief merit of the excellently written script is the businesslike manner in which the story is told, the contrasting elements being woven into an easily flowing narrative free from non-essentials.  There are intensely dramatic moments as well as some melodramatic physical thrills.  The picture, in fact, has something of everything in it, being fashioned in a manner that should make it satisfactory entertainment for any kind of audience, and as no picture can be better than its direction, we may credit Fitzmaurice with having done a most creditable job.  Praise is due Ray June for photography of distinction. 

Performances are excellent.  Jean Harlow at all times is in compete command of her role which runs the gamut from light comedy to stark tragedy.  I do wish, however, that they would do something with Jean's eyebrows.  The thin, pencilled lines, resembling eyebrows seen only in caricatures, caught my attention when she first appeared, and thereafter I could not keep my eyes off them.

Franchot Tone grows in stature with his every performance.  Always the perfect gentleman, intelligent, personable, never in word or gesture does he suggest the actor.  Cary Grant, too, is something more than just a leading man.  Since his outstanding performance in Sylvia Scarlett, his talents for varied characterizations have been recognized, and in each new venture he makes good.  Here we have him as a philandering aviation hero, a part to which he does full justice.  Benita Hume is effective as a war spy. 

The final scene in the picture as I saw it is the only story weakness.  Grant has been killed and the scene shows us his funeral.  We hear a long eulogy which robs the scene of the impressiveness it would have had if its treatment had been more intelligent.  There is no reason why we should hear the words of praise accorded the dead hero.  A long shot to establish the fact of the speech being made, appropriate music to make it reasonable we should not hear the speech, close shots to register the emotions of some of the mourners, and sympathetic camera treatment of the entire sequence, would have made it a great screen moment.  We can expect such blundering just as long as producers are governed by their obsession that the microphone is their principal tool.  Here they use it to commit a cinematic crime. 

- Hollywood Spectator

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Number 23 - Suzy (Lobby Card Style)

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

That Touch of Mink (1962)

      "When it comes to playing Cary Grant, nobody can beat Cary Grant."

With Doris Day.

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

"That Touch of Mink stars Cary Grant and Doris Day in a movie identical in almost every respect with Lover Come Back (Universal, 1962).  Lover Come Back was a funny picture and That Touch of Mink is a funny picture.  Stanley Shapiro was one of the authors and producers of Lover Come Back and is one of the authors and producers of That Touch of Mink.  Mr. Shapiro is not ashamed to repeat himself.  Ashamed? Am I kidding? The only significant difference between Lover Come Back and That Touch of Mink is that in Lover Come Back the Cary Grant part was played by Rock Hudson, and in That Touch of Mink the Cary Grant part is played by Cary Grant.  When it comes to playing Cary Grant, nobody can beat Cary Grant.  Go see for yourself.

- Brendan Gill, The New Yorker

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Number 69 - That Touch of Mink (Lobby Card Style)

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Monday, July 10, 2023

The Pride and The Passion (1957)

      "...Kramer has used locale and crowds of people superbly, alternating the big panoramic canvas with telling close-ups that are right from Goya"

With Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren.

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

"One great advantage that The Pride and The Passion has over most epic films is its unity of theme; all action revolves around the gun, the symbol of men fighting for what they believe in.  The English captain, skillfully played by Cary Grant, is a trained soldier, an authority on ordnance who has been commanded by his commodore to rescue the giant cannon, which was jettisoned by the fleeing Spanish army, and deliver it to a British warship.  The guerrilla leader, played by Frank Sinatra, is an uneducated, undisciplined patriot determined to deliver his hometown, Avila, from the occupying French.  Again and again the two men are contrasted: the smart, immaculately dressed, cold but sentimental English officer versus the emotional, cruel, provincial Spaniard.  Each has his big moments: the Englishman muddies his clothes as he assembles the broken cannon and directs its perilous journey, blows up a bridge and even eloquently pleads with the Bishop at the Escorial that the cannon be hidden in the cathedral; with less eloquence but with greater passion, the guerrilla leader persuades a group of townfolk to help drag the cannon out of the river and he effectively commands the peasants who work under him in the long march to Avila...  

It is fortunate that producer-director Stanley Kramer stressed the visual aspects in telling his story.  The script, written by Edna and Edward Anhalt, and stemming from C. S. Forester's novel The Gun, is strangely ineffectual; and the dialogue, whether due to the actors' odd mixture of accents due to poor recording, does not come through well.  The plot's argument is, therefore, difficult to follow at times; but Kramer has so directed the picture that the visuals succeed in developing the themes with little help from the spoken word.  Kramer's film is occasionally reminiscent of For Whom The Bell Tolls, another movie in which a foreigner was involved in one particular objective in helping the war-torn Spaniards; although the characters in the film made from the Hemingway novel were better drawn and motivated, The Pride and The Passion is far superior visually.  In magnificent scenes, like those showing the Holy Week procession in the Escorial, the dragging of the cannon through a dangerous mountain pass, the storming of Avila's walls and the routing of the French, Kramer has used locale and crowds of people superbly, alternating the big panoramic canvas with telling close-ups that are right from Goya.  Without minimizing the horrors of war, The Pride and The Passion is an epic sung in praise of the triumph of will over all obstacles.

Philip T. Hartung, The Commonweal

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Number 61 - The Pride and The Passion (Lobby Card Style)

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