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Cary Grant: The Complete Filmography - Watching All Of His Movies (1 Viewer)

davidmatychuk

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It is a little annoying, but I was more or less able to get used to it and ignore it within a few minutes. Hopefully you'll have a similar experience, but obviously I would have hoped for better. Some of the Warner Archive DVDs have some serious picture flaws, but none have an audio track as bad as that.

This reminds me that I haven't had time to compare the several earlier DVD's I have with the movies from the new box set in them. "She Done Him Wrong" has a Robert Osbourne intro and a "She Done Him Right" cartoon, and "I'm No Angel" has a trailer, but otherwise the on-disc extras are the same. But some of the films that are three to a disc in the box set are two to a disc or alone on a disc on the other DVD's, so there could be bit-rate-based differences worth noting.
The DVD's I'm referring to are "Blonde Venus" from "Marlene Dietrich The Glamour Collection", "I'm No Angel" from "Mae West The Glamour Collection", "She Done Him Wrong", "The Eagle And The Hawk" and "The Last Outpost" from "War 10-Movie Collection" (though these are three to a disc so I don't expect any difference), "Hot Saturday" from the "Universal Backlot Series Pre-Code Hollywood Collection" (which also has "Merrily We Go To Hell", which should have been in the box set as I've moaned previously), and the five movies on the "Cary Grant Screen Legend Collection" (also "The Franchise Collection"), which are "Thirty Day Princess", "Kiss And Make Up" "Wings In The Dark", "Big Brown Eyes", and "Wedding Present" (which gets its own disc).
I'll get around to this soon, but in the meantime here are scans of the "Cary Grant Screen Legend Collection", including the three inner panels which contain some fun trivia and information about the five movies:

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Josh Steinberg

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About the compression on the new Universal set - I've watched a handful of titles and I'm not seeing anything that looks like they're over compressed. I'm viewing them on a 100" projection screen, and to me, they look on par with one-movie-per-disc titles from the same era. Most of the movies run 75 minutes, and are black & white, 4x3, and mono, so I think the dual layer discs are able to hold everything without an issue. I was maybe slightly concerned about this before the set came out, but I've had absolutely no problems with compression since I've gotten it.

Oh, Suzy, Suzy, Suzy... aka "the movie I had to buy an entire box set of Jean Harlow titles just to get" - why on earth Warner Archive makes this DVD-R available only in the set when the DVD-R could be easily manufactured as a solo item is beyond me - but I bought the whole set. Haven't watched it yet, but I've got it.

Looks like I'm overdue on reviews again... I think I only have about a dozen left to write and then I'll actually be caught up on the reviews with where I actually am in viewing, which will be nice. I thank you guys for not giving up on this thread while my output has slowed down :)
 

davidmatychuk

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I was watching "Legal Eagles" on DVD last night, and in the end credits there was a list of art pieces that I suppose had been loaned to the production, including "View Of Venice" which is credited as a gift from Cary Grant. It's a movie, it's a Cary Grant credit, but let's not be adding it to his filmography, okay?
 

Suzanne.S

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Oh, Suzy, Suzy, Suzy... aka "the movie I had to buy an entire box set of Jean Harlow titles just to get" - why on earth Warner Archive makes this DVD-R available only in the set when the DVD-R could be easily manufactured as a solo item is beyond me - but I bought the whole set. Haven't watched it yet, but I've got it.

You won't regret buying the whole set. Jean Harlow is a marvelous actress and her films are quite enjoyable. Bombshell is particularly good.
 

Josh Steinberg

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You won't regret buying the whole set. Jean Harlow is a marvelous actress and her films are quite enjoyable. Bombshell is particularly good.

Thanks Suzanne! That's what I figured. I've already watched Saratoga from the set (Harlow with Clark Gable) and really enjoyed it. I'll make sure I check out Bombshell too thanks to your recommendation!
 

Suzanne.S

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Thanks Suzanne! That's what I figured. I've already watched Saratoga from the set (Harlow with Clark Gable) and really enjoyed it. I'll make sure I check out Bombshell too thanks to your recommendation!

You're welcome. :) I like Saratoga, but I find it sad and distracting. Knowing that Harlow died before it was finished, it's quite obvious where they made changes. I look at how good she was in her films and how young she was. She could have had a long and varied career. Such a loss.

I've really been enjoying your reviews. I can't wait to see what you think of Suzy.
 

Nelson Au

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Oh no, another set to buy to get another Grant title? ;)

Well, I got home late from a work event, but I wanted to see Gunga Din, so it was a late night viewing. I really enjoyed it this time. Since the last time I saw this was about 10 years ago, I don't really remember it at all except who Din is and the fight at the start of the film with Ballantine, Cutter and MacChesney but I didn't remember it was after they were swindled and were fighting with the swindlers.

What struck me was the location filming, the DVD is a really well done mastering and the image quality for a DVD of this vintage looks really good. I'm sure a once-over by a quality mastering would improve it. Also the other thing that struck me is that Grant is a less then heroic figure for most of the film. I seem to remember that the studio were afraid to make Cary Grant look bad, such as in the case of Suspicion. It's amazing to me to be studying this period of his movies when I'm more familiar with the works in the late 1940's and 1950's. He's playing a range of less then ideal men. ( The Awful Truth where his actions are questionable and later in That Touch of Mink where he's not that noble either shows he's OK perhaps to try different things. But maybe Mink wasn't his favorite. ). He's after gold and fortune here and is accused of deserting. But in the end I think he's transformed throughout the film by his kindness and friendship with Din. And Din's selfless sacrifice at the climax changes him and his colleagues.

The movie had quite the massive number of extras for the battle scenes and the gold Temple was an impressive exterior and interior set. I didn't know this movie inspired in part, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It should make watching that more interesting, and the Thuggs were a real group of killers if I can trust Wikipedia.

I forgot to add, poor Joan Fontaine, she had a rather thankless role. I doubt, but hope Ballantine makes it up to her.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie quite a lot. Not sure what will be next.
 
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davidmatychuk

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As I've mentioned personally to Josh, but never posted here, is that I have personally-made DVD's of several Cary Grant films (and Christmas films but don't get me started) recorded from TCM directly to the hard drive of my Toshiba RD-XS52 DVD recorder. It's a very useful item, and it has been since I bought it in 2005. It won't let me record copyguarded DVD's, but laserdiscs and VHS tapes are easy to copy, and I have a lot of titles not available on DVD even now in 2016. After recording the movies on the hard drive, it's easy to burn DVD's of the recorded items; the recorder even allows me to make chapters and menus that can also be recorded onto the DVD. Anyhow, I made DVD's of several Cary Grant films well before Warner Archive was a gleam in anyone's movie-loving eye, and the quality is decent enough. According to Josh's reviews of the Warner Archive Cary Grant titles, it seems like the source material is the same. I do have several Warner Archive DVD's in my collection, and the quality really does vary according to the source material (actually the Warner Archive "Nutcracker: The Motion Picture" DVD has a comparable picture to the iTunes HD download I bought, and the DVD audio is much stronger). The Cary Grant titles I'm referring to are "This Is The Night" (now in the new Universal box set which I haven't yet compared with my DVD), "The Toast Of New York", "Mr. Lucky", "In Name Only", "None But The Lonely Heart", "Once Upon A Honeymoon", "Every Girl Should Be Married", "Crisis", "Room For One More", "Dream Wife", and, yes, dear old "Suzy". Incidentally, the DVD of "China Seas" has a brief glimpse of Jean Harlow uncovered at 48:12 (something I noticed on the VHS copy of this old favourite of my mom's back in the 80's). She's plainly not wearing anything under her elegant satin dress (that stateroom must have been cold!) and I guess no one foresaw a future where freeze-frames on home video were a possibility. Ms. Harlow's recovery when her shoulder strap slips was so quick and elegant that the Production Code folks must have missed it at the time. Well played, Jean Harlow!
 

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I gotta say, Every Girl Should Be Married looked pretty good - it didn't seem like an old master being recycled. I wonder if Warner had maybe thought about doing another Cary Grant box set back in the 2000s and had started prepping for it, and then ultimately decided not to go through with it. It has the telltale look of their transfers from that later period, everything from the clearer picture quality to the windowboxed main titles.

I haven't watched it yet, but None But The Lonely Heart does say "remastered" at the top of the cover, so that may be an improvement as well.

I wish I had one of those DVD recorder thingies David has. I've got a DVR (and the supposedly restored "When You're In Love" that was on GetTV is sitting on it waiting for me) but no way to get things from there to somewhere else. It's rarely an issue, but it does make me miss the convenience of VHS.
 

Nelson Au

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I watched His Girl Friday last night after viewing Zero Hour! I really wanted to see the movie that is spoofed by Airplane! :)

I had seen clips and portions of His Girl Friday on PBS but never fully watched the entire movie and kept up with what was going on because it's hard if you don't pay attention! I found it a really big change from how Grant looked and acted in the year prior on Gunga Din. He used his Cockney accent in Din and now his more continental accent in Friday. And he was back to his tailored self. :). I enjoyed the movie, poor Ralph Bellamy, he looses the girl again to Cary. Cary and Rosalind Russell worked well together and the super fast banter was amazing to watch. I liked the Archie Leach and Ralph Bellamy jokes. Again Grant is playing a character whose less then honest. But he looks like he and Russell are having a really fun time at it. The poor convicted prisoner! He certainly wasn't going to get a fair shake and his fate seemed to lie in if the mayor, the Sheriff, Grant and the reporters got what they wanted in the end. I was surprised by the girl jumping out the window! It was also a hoot to see Abner Biberman as Louie after seeing him in Gunga Din.
 

Robert Crawford

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I watched His Girl Friday last night after viewing Zero Hour! I really wanted to see the movie that is spoofed by Airplane! :)

I had seen clips and portions of His Girl Friday on PBS but never fully watched the entire movie and kept up with what was going on because it's hard if you don't pay attention! I found it a really big change from how Grant looked and acted in the year prior on Gunga Din. He used his Cockney accent in Din and now his more continental accent in Friday. And he was back to his tailored self. :). I enjoyed the movie, poor Ralph Bellamy, he looses the girl again to Cary. Cary and Rosalind Russell worked well together and the super fast banter was amazing to watch. I liked the Archie Leach and Ralph Bellamy jokes. Again Grant is playing a character whose less then honest. But he looks like he and Russell are having a really fun time at it. The poor convicted prisoner! He certainly wasn't going to get a fair shake and his fate seemed to lie in if the mayor, the Sheriff, Grant and the reporters got what they wanted in the end. I was surprised by the girl jumping out the window! It was also a hoot to see Abner Biberman as Louie after seeing him in Gunga Din.
It's probably one of my top three, Grant films. Abner Bilberman as Louise was great! The quick banter between Grant and Russell is classic.
 

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#37 - Ladies Should Listen (1934)
Viewed on April 19, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Ladies Must Listen is the first movie I've watched on the new Cary Grant "Vault Collection" set which collects 18 of his contract pictures from his Paramount years. Each of these films runs about 60-75 minutes, many have familiar Paramount contract players in supporting roles, and are generally ensemble pieces with similar tones. This is assembly-line filmmaking if there ever was such a thing, with Grant having completed over eighteen films in a mere four year span. (There are a couple Paramount titles from this era absent from the set, as well as some he did on loan to other studios - so really, it's more than 20 movies in four years.) The persona isn't fully formed yet, although hints shine through. In an earlier post, David had a fantastic description of how Grant behaves in these roles, trying on and discarding elements of that persona in search of the right balance. These films go by quickly, and its best not to dwell too much on plot details or hope for too much characterization. Most of these I'd recommend more as a "B" picture in a double feature than for your main viewing choice of the night.

In Ladies Must Listen, Grant lives in an apartment building where unbeknownst to him, the switchboard phone operator (Frances Drake) has developed a crush on him. She discovers that his fiance is actually a terrible person and not in love with Grant, but just trying to swindle him. Edward Everett Horton is enjoyable in a supporting role as one of Grant's friends. Grant's character is spoiled and slightly obnoxious. (One of his pickup moves involves pretending to commit suicide to attract ladies - as they reject him on the phone, he fires a blank and the woman on the other end thinks he's hurt himself - they rush over to his apartment to check on him, and discover that he's "miraculously" survived. It's somewhat funny but it's sleazier than we're used to seeing Grant.)

Although each disc in the Universal Vault Collection features three movies, I didn't notice any compression artifacts or ugly digital noise in the image. Even with three movies, they're only about an hour each, all in black & white, 4x3, and mono sound, so the it doesn't seem to be a case of cramming too much onto the disc. For a mostly forgotten older movie, the visual quality was better than expected. Where this title disappointed was the audio - there was a loudish humming noise that was present throughout the film. Whether this was due to deterioration of the source elements or an error in mastering, I have no idea. After a while, it became white noise to me, and I could still understand the dialogue pretty easily (the English subtitles helped with anything I might have missed).

Audio issue and all, it was an enjoyable hour. None of the titles in this set are truly classic movies, but they make for fun viewing. They don't resonate in the way that his later films do, but these movies also weren't designed for that.
 

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#38 - The Eagle And The Hawk (1933)
Viewed on April 20, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Another title from the Cary Grant Vault Collection.

In this film, Grant and Frederic March play competing World War I fighter pilots on the same side, but with opposite sets of morals. March is very proper, believing in honor and dignity and decorum, while Grant is more freewheeling and loose. They are eventually forced to work together, and have an uneasy partnership. Grant begins to suspect that March is cracking from the strain, and plays a hand in getting March some much needed leave. But when March gets back, his new copilot dies during a battle with a famous German air ace, and March is further disillusioned when he shoots down the German and discovers that the enemy ace is barely a grown man. But Grant has come to respect March, and tries to help him.

In terms of the DVD quality, this was on par with Ladies Must Listen. I watched this title a couple months ago and unfortunately I didn't take a note about the audio, so I'm not sure if it had the same buzzing issue as Ladies Should Listen. (I can double check the disc later if anyone would like me to.) The transfer won't knock your socks off, but it's totally satisfactory.

Overall I enjoyed this movie more than I expected to. I'm hit or miss on most war movies, and with Grant playing more of a supporting role, this is primarily March's picture. Both of their roles are given a fair amount of characterization, certainly more than Grant got in Ladies Should Listen. It's no "Wings" but then again, that wouldn't be the worst pairing if you were thinking about doing an aviation double feature.
 

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#39 - The Awful Truth (1937)
Viewed on April 22, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Sony)

I got this disc as part of The Cary Grant Box Set (which also includes Holiday, The Talk Of The Town, Only Angels Have Wings, and His Girl Friday) - I had a couple of the movies in the set already, but was able to find a used copy on ebay for less than what The Awful Truth disc would have cost on its own, so it seemed like a no brainer. If you can get this set new or used for under $20, it's worth grabbing - each of the Columbia movies contained within is well worth seeing.

In the first pairing of Grant with Irene Dunne, as well as his first movie for director Leo McCarey, the Cary Grant persona finally comes through, fully formed. This is the moment where it all starts happening for him, where his effortless charm combines with his lightning reflexes and amazing timing. I'm not sure that anyone had ever seen anything quite like it before. Without wanting to spoil too much of the fun, Grant and Dunne play a married couple that can't stand each other any longer and want a divorce - but don't want the other person to be with anyone else either. Grant and Dunne are magic together, Ralph Bellamy is great in a supporting role as Dunne's potential suitor, and McCarey's direction is perfect - so perfect that he won the Oscar for directing that year.

The DVD from Sony is pretty good, with perfectly satisfactory video and audio quality. The disc includes subtitles and two short featurettes which were enjoyable. But with the tremendous work that Sony has been doing with bringing classics to Blu-ray, I sincerely hope that they decide to upgrade this one at some point.

The Awful Truth is a fantastic movie that is a must-watch for all Grant fans. Dunne and Grant paired so well together that RKO made a similarly themed film, My Favorite Wife, a couple years later. My Favorite Wife also comes recommended, but The Awful Truth is clearly the better film.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Oh, and, sorry for the delay in getting these out. The backlog is almost cleared out! I think I have about seven left to write up and then I'll be caught up at last. Watching Jimmy Stewart movies has distracted me a little, with the added temptation that I'm not obligating myself to write about all of them.

Actually, watching Jimmy Stewart westerns side by side with some Grant movies, as has happened on a couple nights, has me thinking… Cary Grant in a western would be the most ridiculous thing ever, right? Or would it somehow work? I'm not hugely optimistic.
 

davidmatychuk

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Oh, and, sorry for the delay in getting these out. The backlog is almost cleared out! I think I have about seven left to write up and then I'll be caught up at last. Watching Jimmy Stewart movies has distracted me a little, with the added temptation that I'm not obligating myself to write about all of them.

Actually, watching Jimmy Stewart westerns side by side with some Grant movies, as has happened on a couple nights, has me thinking… Cary Grant in a western would be the most ridiculous thing ever, right? Or would it somehow work? I'm not hugely optimistic.

Errol Flynn did several very nice Warner westerns, without ever adjusting that Tasmanian accent for the American frontier. Given Cary Grant's superb physical grace, poise, and agility, I think that he too would have been excellent in westerns.
 

classicmovieguy

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Errol Flynn did several very nice Warner westerns, without ever adjusting that Tasmanian accent for the American frontier. Given Cary Grant's superb physical grace, poise, and agility, I think that he too would have been excellent in westerns.
Is there actually such a thing as a "Tasmanian accent"? Australian is more or less Australian. ;)
 

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