Thursday, December 23, 2021

On This Day... The Grass is Greener (1960)

On today's date back in 1960, Cary Grant's 68th full length feature film, The Grass is Greener, was released. 


When down on their luck, Victor (Cary Grant) and Hilary (Deborah Kerr) have to open their English mansion for tours. One day, a millionaire oil tycoon, Charles Delacro (Robert Mitchum) visits the house and charms his way into Hilary's heart. Meanwhile, Victor is pursued by Hattie Durant (Jean Simmons), creating a complicated love triangle.


Cary Grant...Victor Rhyall, Earl
Deborah Kerr....Lady Hilary Rhyall
Robert Mitchum...Charles Delacro
Jean Simmons...Hattie Durant
Moray Watson ...Trevor Sellers, the Butler

Did You Know?

Charlton Heston passed on the role of Charles Delacro because he was committed to a stage play with Laurence Olivier. Heston stated in his autobiography, "I missed out on the only chance I ever had to play opposite Cary Grant. He stood out among his peers as the best at light comedy. I would have leapt at the chance just to sweep up after him."

Both Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum's characters refer to a mutual friend (never actually seen in the film) called "Josh Peters". This is an in-joke perpetrated by director Stanley Donen, whose young sons were Joshua and Peter.

The opening titles were designed by Maurice Binder who, two years later, would begin his legendary association with the James Bond series.


Victor Rhyall, Earl: Sellers, have you seen my Bible?
Trevor Sellers, the Butler: I'm afraid I've got it. I wanted to look something up.
Victor Rhyall, Earl: First you borrow my times, now you pinch my Bible. That's democracy running amok!
Trevor Sellers, the Butler: I'm extremely sorry, Milord. I'll put it back beside your bed.
Victor Rhyall, Earl: Anyway, you should have a Bible of your own!
Trevor Sellers, the Butler: Well, the one you're using is mine, Milord.

Victor Rhyall, Earl: Well, then, so long, be seeing you, as you say in America.
Charles Delacro: Cheerio, as you say in Britain.

Charles Delacro: Sometimes I'm convinced that the greatest barrier between our countries is the bond of a common language.

Posters and Lobby Cards:

Directed by Stanley Donen
Distributed by Universal- International.
Running time: 104 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

On This Day...Alice In Wonderland (1933)

 Cary Grant's 13th full length feature film, Alice in Wonderland, was released today, back in 1933. 


In Victorian England, Alice (Charlotte Henry), a bored young girl, dreams she has entered a fantasy world called Wonderland where she finds even more fantastical characters, such as Cheshire Cat (Richard Arlen), White Knight (Gary Cooper). Humpty Dumpty (WC Fields), March Hare (Charlie Ruggles) and Mock Turtle (Cary Grant).


Richard Arlen...Cheshire Cat
Roscoe Ates...Fish
William Austin...Gryphon
Gary Cooper...White Knight
Leon Errol...Uncle Gilbert
Louise Fazenda...White Queen
W.C. Fields...Humpty-Dumpty
Alec B. Francis...King of Hearts
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher...Rabbit (as Skeets Gallagher)
Cary Grant...Mock Turtle
Lillian Harmer...Cook
Raymond Hatton...Mouse
Charlotte Henry...Alice
Sterling Holloway...Frog
Edward Everett Horton...Mad Hatter
Roscoe Karns...Tweedledee
Baby LeRoy...Joker (as Baby Le Roy)
Mae Marsh...Sheep
Polly Moran...Dodo Bird
Jack Oakie...Tweedledum
Edna May Oliver...Red Queen
May Robson...Queen of Hearts
Charles Ruggles...March Hare (as Charlie Ruggles)
Jackie Searl...Dormouse
Alison Skipworth... Duchess
Ned Sparks...Caterpillar
Ford Sterling...White King

Did You Know?

The failure of the film at the box office was attributed to the fact that although a top-rank cast was used, many of them were virtually unrecognizable under their heavy makeup and costuming.

Bing Crosby was originally sought for the role of the Mock Turtle but refused it because he felt the role was demeaning to his career.

Sterling Holloway, who played The Frog in this movie, later went on to be the voice of The Cheshire Cat in the well known Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (1951).

The running time, 76 minutes, is the length of the time Alice is through the looking glass: clock on the mantelpiece starts at 3:40 and she returns at 5:00.

During the Mad Tea Party, the Hatter asks Alice what day of the month it is and Alice answers that it's the 4th. The Hatter checks his watch and bewails the fact that "it's two days off." When Alice examines the watch, the hands on the dial indicate the date as being a Tuesday in June. In 1933 when this film was made, June 4th fell on a Sunday - two days off from what the Hatter's watch indicates.


When the White Knight falls off of his horse into the ditch, he falls face down and his feet can be seen with the toes pointed downward. However, when Alice comes over to check on him, he is lying on his back and his toes are pointed upward.  When Alice helps him out, he continues telling a story about how he invented things, yet initially neither his lips nor Alice's are moving, nor do they match what is being said when they do.

During Baby LeRoy's brief appearance he initially is walking, but the action cut-in has him running with a different expression on his face.

Alice is an English girl, but speaks with an American accent.

When the White Queen flies in to see Alice after the fight between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, you can quite clearly see wires attached to her shoulders.


Directed by Norman McLeod.
Distributed by Paramount Publix.
Running time: 90 minutes (Varies)

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

Friday, December 10, 2021

On This Day...Kiss Them For Me (1957)

 Released today back in 1957, Kiss Them For Me was Cary Grant's 63rd full length feature film.


On obtaining 4-day leave in San Francisco, three decorated Navy pilots acquire a posh suite at a hotel and Commander Crewson (Cary Grant) arranges to populate it with party people. Lieutenant Wallace (Werner Klemperer) is trying to get the pilots to make speeches to rally the homefront at shipyard magnate Eddie Turnbill(Leif Erickson)'s plants, but they're tired of the war and just want to have fun. While Crewson begins falling in love with Turnbill's fiancée Gwinneth Livingston (Suzy Parker), he tries to ignore the distant call of war.


Cary Grant...Cmdr. Andy Crewson
Jayne Mansfield...Alice Kratzner
Leif Erickson...Eddie Turnbill
Suzy Parker...Gwinneth Livingston
Ray Walston...Lt. (j.g.) McCann
Larry Blyden...Mississip
Nathaniel Frey...CPO Ruddle
Werner Klemperer...Lt. Walter Wallace
Jack Mullaney ...Ens. Albert Lewis

Did You Know?

Director Stanley Donen had no say in casting decisions and did not like the script for the film. He reportedly agreed to stay attached to the film because "you don't turn down Cary Grant."

The song "Rum and Coca Cola" can be heard playing on the jukebox in the hotel room. "Rum and Coca-Cola" was a hit in 1945, and this movie is set in 1944.

Although set in 1944, when Andy Crewson and Gwinneth Livingston are on the cable car, you can see vehicles in the background through the window which are obvious early '50s models. When the cable car stops to allow passengers to disembark, there is a 1952 Pontiac on screen throughout the stop.


Gwinneth Livingston: Crewson, I love you very much.
Cmdr. Andy Crewson: That's the only way to love a person, otherwise it isn't worth all the trouble. I love you very much too.

Gwinneth Livingston: And that, Mr. Crewson, is why I'm engaged to Mr. Turnbill. He's alive now, and he'll still be alive at the end of the war. He's filthy rich now, and he'll be even filthier rich then.
Cmdr. Andy Crewson: That's the stuff. True love almost always fades, but money stays green forever.

Lobby Cards and Posters:

Directed by Stanley Donen.
Distributed by 20th Century-Fox.
Running time: 103 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

On This Day...Charade (1963)

Released today back in 1963, Charade was Cary Grant's 70th full length feature film.


After her estranged husband's murder, jet-setter Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) is pursued by three crooks who want the money her husband stole from them. With her life in jeopardy, she turns to charming stranger Peter (Cary Grant) for help, but soon discovers he isn't who he claims to be, and that his own agenda is far from clear.


Cary Grant...Peter Joshua
Audrey Hepburn...Regina Lampert
Walter Matthau...Hamilton Bartholomew
James Coburn...Tex Panthollow
George Kennedy...Herman Scobie
Dominique Minot...Sylvie Gaudet
Ned Glass...Leopold W. Gideon
Jacques Marin...Insp. Edouard Grandpierre
Paul Bonifas...Mr. Felix
Thomas Chelimsky...Jean-Louis Gaudet

Did You Know?:

It was agreed Cary Grant would keep all of his clothes on when he took a shower, as he was nearly sixty and slightly overweight. However, they then decided the scene was funnier that way.

Due to the suspense, the presence of Cary Grant, the structure of the screenplay, and the frequent plot twists, many people believe this was a Sir Alfred Hitchcock film. Hitchcock was not involved in the making of the film at all. This confusion has prompted fans of the film to call it "the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made."

In the scene in which Audrey Hepburn spills ice cream on Cary Grant's suit, she uses the term "assassinated," and he uses the term "assassinate." This film was in release shortly after the John F. Kennedy assassination in Dallas, and Universal Pictures was so worried about audience reaction to this dialogue that they hurriedly re-dubbed the lines, using other terms, then sent out a revised reel to every theater in America showing this movie, telling them to substitute it for the old reel. Both old and revised reels may still be in circulation.

The character of Peter Joshua was named after director Stanley Donen's two sons, Peter and Joshua.

Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) quotes a line from My Fair Lady (1964) ("On the street where you live"). The film version starred Audrey Hepburn the following year, and Grant was offered male lead.  Prior to making this movie, Cary Grant was originally offered Gary Cooper's role in the romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon (1957) (also co-starring Hepburn). Grant turned down that role because of the age difference between him and Hepburn. He was also committed to the role opposite Hepburn, eventually played by Humphrey Bogart, in Sabrina (1954).


Reggie Lampert: Is there a Mrs. Cruikshank...?
Adam Canfield: Yes.
Reggie Lampert: But you're divorced.
Adam Canfield: No...
Reggie Lampert: [Regina's face falls] Oh.
Adam Canfield: [Brian/Adam gets out his wallet to show her the picture] My mother, she lives in Detroit, you'd like her, she'd like you too.

Reggie Lampert: You're blocking my view.
Peter Joshua: Oh, uh, oh, uh, which view would you prefer?
Reggie Lampert: The one you're blocking.

Peter Joshua: Do we know each other?
Reggie Lampert: Why, do you think we're going to?
Peter Joshua: I don't know. How would I know?
Reggie Lampert: Because I already know an awful lot of people, and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.
Peter Joshua: Mmm... Well, if anyone goes on the critical list let me know.
Reggie Lampert: Quitter.
Peter Joshua: Huh?
Reggie Lampert: [chuckles while speaking] You give up awfully easily, don't you?

Reggie Lampert: Well, wasn't it Shakespeare who said "when strangers do meet in far off lands they should e'er long see each other again?"
Peter Joshua: Shakespeare never said that.
Reggie Lampert: How do you know?
Peter Joshua: It's terrible. You just made it up.
Reggie Lampert: Oh well, it sounds right.


Directed by Stanley Donen.
Distributed by Universal-International.
Running time: 113 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

On This Day...Operation Petticoat (1959)

  Cary Grant's 67th full length film, Operation Petticoat, was released on this day in 1959.


Lt. Commander Matt Sherman (Cary Grant) is the captain of submarine USS Sea Tiger.  While in harbour in The Philippines, 1941, she is damaged by a Japanese air raid. The crew manage to refloat and repair her to just about save her from being written off as sunk.

 Sherman acquires a supply officer, Lt. JG Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), a staff officer with no particular naval experience or talents, apart from the fact that he is a master scavenger for parts and supplies. Having set out for Australia for repairs, the submarine stops at a US-held island only to find it deserted, but for five nurses. Things are about to get very complicated.


Cary Grant...Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman
Tony Curtis...Lt. JG Nicholas Holden
Joan O'Brien...Lt. Dolores Crandall RN
Dina Merrill...Lt. Barbara Duran RN
Gene Evans...Chief Molumphry
Dick Sargent...Ens. Stovall (as Richard Sargent)
Virginia Gregg...Maj. Edna Heywood RN
Robert F. Simon...Capt. J.B. Henderson
Robert Gist...Lt. Watson
Gavin MacLeod...Ernest Hunkle
George Dunn...The Prophet
Dick Crockett...Harmon
Madlyn Rhue...Lt. Reid RN
Marion Ross...Lt. Colfax RN
Clarence Lung...Sgt. Ramon Gillardo (as Clarence E. Lung)
Frankie Darro...Pharmacist Mate Dooley
Tony Pastor Jr....Fox
Bob Hoy...Reiner (as Robert Hoy)
Nicky Blair...Seaman Kraus
John W. Morley...Williams
Arthur O'Connell...Chief Mechinist's Mate Sam Tostin

Did You Know?

According to Tony Curtis, with his career sizzling Universal asked him what he wanted to do next. He said a service comedy about submarines. They said okay and told him they would get Jeff Chandler or Robert Taylor for the captain. Curtis nixed their choices and said he wanted Cary Grant. They got back to him and said that Robert Taylor was so keen on the role he agreed to offer Curtis five percent of his share of the gross. Curtis held his ground and the role was awarded to Grant.  Grant himself was at first reluctant to take the role, knowing he was much too old to play a wartime captain.

The "sinking" of a truck was inspired by a real incident that happened in 1944. On August 9, USS Bowfin (SS-287) followed four Japanese ships into Minami Daito Harbor. She fired her six bow torpedoes at the moored ships, hitting three and sinking two of them, but one torpedo went astray and hit a pier. A bus parked on it was blown up and thrown into the water by the explosion.

Scenes set at the opening of WW II, were based on the actual sinking of the submarine USS Sealion (SS-195), sunk at the pier at Cavite Navy Yard, the Philippines.

Cmdr. Sherman's letter to the supply department on the inexplicable lack of toilet paper was based on an actual letter to the supply department of Mare Island Naval Shipyard by Lt. Cmdr. James Wiggin Coe of the submarine Skipjack (SS-184).

The need to paint a submarine pink, due to the lack of enough red lead or white lead undercoat paint was also based on a real-life incident.


Lt. Nicholas Holden: You've gotta sneak up a few back alleys. What you need, sir, is a supply officer who can help you find those back alleys.
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: You, Mr. Holden?
Lt. Nicholas Holden: Yes, sir.
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: You'd ruin your manicure! Here.
Lt. Nicholas Holden: Uh, don't let my manicure fool you, sir. I was born and raised in a neighborhood called Noah's Ark. If you didn't travel in pairs, you just didn't travel.

Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: I don't want to bore you with the problems of command, Mr. Holden, because I doubt you'll ever have one. It's inconsistent with that philosophy of yours - every man for himself.
Lt. Nicholas Holden: Dog eat dog.
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: Exactly! The unfortunate thing about command, though, Mr. Holden, is that the responsibilities outweigh the privileges! Now if it were just myself I was concerned with, I'd tell you what to do with that list. But my responsibility is this boat! And to get her out of here, I'd even make a pact with the devil!
Lt. Nicholas Holden: That's where I come in.
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: That's right.

Lt. Cmdr Matt T. Sherman: Sir, Sea Tiger was built to fight. She deserves a better epitaph than 'Commissioned 1940, sunk 1941, engagements none, shots fired none.' Now, you can't let it go that way. That's like a beautiful woman dying an old maid, if you know what I mean by old maid.
Capt. J.B. Henderson: Did you ever sell used cars?
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T.Sherman: No, Sir.
Capt. J.B. Henderson: I've got a hunch you missed your calling.

Lobby Cards and Posters:

Directed by Blake Edwards.
Distributed by Universal-International.
Running time: 124 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley of Studio 36.