Showing posts with label Early Days. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Early Days. Show all posts

Saturday, January 27, 2024

She Done Him Wrong (1933)

   " frank as an old Police Gazette, and much livelier and more picturesque."

With Mae West

She Done Him Wrong - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"She Done Him Wrong is something lustier, the overtly and successful predatory female against a colorful Bowery background.  It is as frank as an old Police Gazette, and much livelier and more picturesque.  It is an odd companion to be bracketed with Little Woman and State Fair  and Mama Loves Papa, but it belongs with them as a faithful bit of Americana.  Incidentally the overpowering Mae West personality shouldn't hide the fact that Lowell Sherman's direction figured pretty largely in the picture's effectiveness.

National Board of Review Magazine

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 8 - She Done Him Wrong (Lobby Card Style)

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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  

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Enter Madame! (1935)

    "There's music, music everywhere..."

With Elissa Landi

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

"Music's "in" for celluloid since the smash of Night of Love, so prepare for a deluge of temperamental opera singers on the screen as well as on Stage 2.  

Elissa Landi is about the most beautiful warbler you've seen (Mary Garden, please forgive me), and she sings magnificently, thanks to the smart dubbing of the Nina Koshetz voice.  Lovely 'Lissa is improving as an actress by leaps, and if sometimes she lands out-of-bounds in vivaciousness, I don't mind much.  

Gilda Varesi, author, starred in the play and though Miss Varesi collabed on the screen play, the yarn's tempo has been shifted from comedy drama to farce.  There's music, music everywhere, plus plenty of entertainment if you happen to be tone-deaf.  

Delia Robbia at twenty-five is a diva of world rep.  She surrounds herself with a mad, Sangercircus world which is shared by an entourage including a chef, maid and physician, all with ariaistic tendencies.  During a performance of "Tosca" in Italy, the soprano's train contacts a candle flame and tall-darknhandsome Cary Grant saves the lady from being scorched, though he himself is pretty well hotchacharred by love.  

Elissa and Cary marry and soon the guy finds himself spinning on a roundabout of concerts and tantrums.  Hubby wants to go to America, wifie promises to accompany him but signs for a tour at the last sec, so Cary goes home alone.  Elissa signs contract after contract, for she finds fame headier than marriage.  Cary threatens divorce, the songbird flies to America.  You guess the finale.  

Richard Bonelli sings Scarpia authoritatively.  Lynne Overman as the weary, pungent manager again proves his deft comedy talents.  He should draw longer assignments, for in a certain groove he's unsurpassed.  

Fast direction by Elliot Nugent is marred at times by overemphasis.  Camera work by Theodore Sparkuhl and William Mellor is distinguished.     

- Herb Sterne, Script

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 18 - Enter Madame!  (Lobby Card Style)

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Saturday, December 30, 2023

Madame Butterfly (1932)

   "...the Japanese settings are almost always pretty..."

With Sylvia Sidney

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

"The plot of this film is taken from the Puccini opera and the incidental music is by the composer, but it does not attempt to be a reproduction of the opera.  The story is not very suitable for this new medium, and though the long-drawn tragedy might be bearable if it were expressed in music or poetry, without any such embellishment it is apt to be painfully pathetic.  Nevertheless, Miss Sylvia Sidney, who plays the part of the Japanese girl, acts with a grace and delicacy which are a great relief from this prolonged assault upon our emotions.  And the Japanese settings are almost always pretty; an admirable use is made of what Swinburne called "the fortuitous frippery of Fusi-yama."  Moreover, Miss Sidney fits so well into the setting that all the purely Japanese parts of the film have a certain style and consistency.  But the intrusion of the American lieutenant (Mr. Cary Grant) has as disturbing an effect on the film as he had on the unfortunate Madame Butterfly.  In fact, the inarticulate sentimentality of all the American characters seems to have been nicely calculated to sound a jarring note in this carefully constructed world of oriental conversion, and nothing is done to accommodate these two modes of feeling."

The Times (London)

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 7 - Madame Butterfly (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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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

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
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

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
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

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
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

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 47 - Arsenic and Old Lace (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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Saturday, September 2, 2023

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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Saturday, August 12, 2023

Devil and the Deep (1932)

 "...the best dramatic talkie we have yet seen."

With Tallulah Bankhead.

Devil and the Deep - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"The Picture is, in my opinion, the best dramatic talkie we have yet seen.  It is unabashed melodrama at times, but Charles Laughton's magnificent acting disarms criticism of the more violently sensational incidents.  He appears as the jealous, half-demented commander of a submarine, stationed on the West African coast.  His wife, played by Tallulah Bankhead, has endured five years of hell through his insane jealousy, but to the world at large he appears as a goodnatured fellow with an impossible wife.  At length, driven from home by a maniacal outburst of rage, Tallulah meets Gary Cooper and succumbs to his manly charms, only to discover, the next morning, that he is the newly arrived second officer.  

The submarine leaves port for diving maneuvers, and, through an accident, Tallulah is on board, with her half-mad husband and unsuspecting lover.  The vessel is rammed by a liner, owing to the machinations of Laughton, and the crew are entombed at the bottom of the sea.  This sequence is admirably done, in spite of the occasional use of models in the shooting.  The half-mad commander orders his second officer to be arrested, but Tallulah reveals her husband's insanity, and one by one the crew make their escape by means of the emergency apparatus.  

Only Laughton is left behind, and as he smashes his wife's portrait to atoms with an axe, the water rushes in and he is drowned in his cabin.  Tallulah Bankhead has better opportunities than of late as the distrait wife, but she is overshadowed by Laughton's amazing performance.  Gary Cooper is completely negligible as the lover."

David Fairweather, Theatre World

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 4 - Devil and the Deep (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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Sunday, July 30, 2023

The Toast of New York (1937)

  "The production is faultless..."

With Thelma Leeds.

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

"This film is chiefly noteworthy for the rounded characterization of an early American individualist which Edward Arnold adds to his fine gallery of screen portraits, and, more than the careful and authentic reconstruction of old New York, his performance conveys the spirit of the time in which this historical drama is laid.  It is the story of Jim Fisk who drops his medicine-show business at the opening of the Civil War to prosper at cotton smuggling and go on to the higher gamble of the stock market.  Attacked by the press as an Ogre feeding on the small investors, he conceives the gigantic scheme of cornering the nation's gold and enters upon a financial struggle with Cornelius Vanderbilt.  Balked in his dream and disappointed in love, his strange career is abruptly closed by mob violence.  The direction of Rowland V. Lee is turned toward a large scale portrait which will serve for all the robber barons of our checkered post-Civil War industrialism.  Frances Farmer, Cary Grant and Donald Meek lend support and Jack Oakie provides more than one man's share of comedy.  The production is faultless and the morality of great wealth is a timely subject of discussion, so adults will undoubtedly find this production much to their liking."

- Thomas J. Fitzmorris, America

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 28 - The Toast of New York (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

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 23 - Suzy (Lobby Card Style)

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