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

Josh Steinberg

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I know quite a few people who disagree, but I like Lew Ayres in the film. His character and performance break my heart, and I think he holds his own with Grant, Hepburn, and Horton (all of whom are really splendid). I have always loved Holiday from the first time I saw it.

I don't think I gave him enough credit in my write-up and you're absolutely right, he's fantastic.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#42 - Gambling Ship (1933)
Viewed on May 8th, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Gambling Ship is an early Cary Grant pre-code drama made during his contract years at Paramount. In the film, Grant plays a mobster who has decided to go clean. Taking a train cross-country in hopes of starting a new life with a new name, he meets a charming woman played by Benita Hume. But unbeknownst to him, Hume also has a shady past. Outside forces conspire both Hume and Grant (separately) to go back to the sordid worlds they had hoped to leave, and ultimately they meet again on the titular gambling ship.

Like many of the Paramount contracts from Grant, there's not a huge amount of suspense about the outcome. Rather, it's an opportunity to spend 70 minutes with likeable actors playing charming rascals. In many of Grant's later films, he plays characters who aren't necessarily on the right side of the law or polite society, but he always carries the audience with him due his seemingly effortless charm. In Gambling Ship, we get to see Grant figuring out how to play a character who should be unlikable but in a likable way.

I watched this as part of Universal's "Vault Collection" set of Grant's contract films, and found the image quality to be on par with the others I had previously watched. I believe this was one of the titles that featured some of that unfortunate humming, but I don't have anything about that in my notes, so I can't say for sure. (I can check the disc if anyone would like.) It's certainly watchable, and it includes subtitles. As with the other titles in this set, there are no other bonus features.

Gambling Ship isn't a major entry in Grant's filmography (and it's not even his best movie about a gambler trying to reform), but it's a pleasant enough way to spend 70 minutes. If you've got the Vault set, it's worth checking out.
 

bujaki

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Lew Ayres delivers the best performance in the film. He finds the tragic core in his character; why he is driven to drink; why he will never be able to break free and take a "holiday." His last scene with that final look of defeat and ruin in his eyes, is indeed heartbreaking and unforgettable.
I still urge everyone to search for the original 1930 version starring Ann Harding and Mary Astor. The pairing of the two sisters is superior to that of the remake, imo.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I love Holiday. It is one of my all time favorite films. I try to watch it every New Year's Eve. Lew Ayres is amazing in this. His envy and pity of Hepburn as she continues to rebel against their father is palpable. I'm happy to see that so many others also love it as well.

I never thought about doing that before, but now that I've discovered how much I like the movie, I may try to do the same - I love when you can pair a movie with a specific holiday or day of the year.
 

David Weicker

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If I had not diverted my attention to The Poseiden Adventure last weekend, I'd have seen Holiday. So I'll make that up this weekend.

I'm sorry, but as already been explained, both of those movies can only be viewed on New Years Eve. You'll just have to wait another five and a half months
 

Josh Steinberg

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Hey Nelson, I diverted to Poseidon Adventure last week too! And then Towering Inferno. I bet Grant could have made a fortune appearing in one of those if he had wanted to. But I think he wanted to remain a leading man and not appear onscreen in smaller roles, which I also understand.

I watched The Howards Of Virginia with Grant over the July 4th weekend. I expected a terrible movie but instead was rewarded with a pretty solid one.
 

Nelson Au

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That's right, Poseidon took place on New Years eve! :)

Josh, I had not heard of that film, The Howard's of Virginia. I see several mixed reviews. I'll keep it in mind. I still have a lot of other Grant titles to see.

It was interesting that Fred Astaire made an appearance in Towering Inferno, which is next on my disaster film list to see. But I agree it was good Grant didn't do any more films past when he retired.
 

davidmatychuk

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Tonight I recommend this splendid Cary Grant fan website...

http://www.carygrant.net/

...because it led me to a Cary Grant appearance (as himself) in a 1936 MGM Technicolor musical short called "Pirate Party On Catalina Island" that I didn't know I had in my collection. It's on the "David Copperfield" DVD, and I'd call it wonderful even if it didn't contain colourful glimpses of Cary Grant sitting at a table with Randolph Scott, with Marion Davies twice (she's in his lap in one shot - was William Randolph Hearst not paying attention?), and one lovely shot of him grinning during a charmingly maladroit duet called "Smooth Sailing". That series of Technicolor shorts with MGM stars watching performances in resort locations is always a treat, especially this one of course.
 
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davidmatychuk

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I don't think anybody on this thread has mentioned this yet, but in 1967 Cary Grant recorded a Christmas song (co-written for him by Peggy Lee!) called "Christmas Lullaby". As a Christmas nut myself, it goes without saying how thrilled I was to get the song on iTunes. Here it is, just in time for tomorrow's "Little Christmas" (see my postings on that topic elsewhere on HTF):

 

Nelson Au

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I finally saw Holiday for the first time last night. That's was from fighting the temptation to veer into Star Trek territory. :)

I had no idea that was Lew Ayres! I'm used to seeing him later in his career. I went into the movie having not read the review Josh wrote and the posts. So it was interesting as I hadn't seen Grant in this kind of role before. As a more regular kind of guy wanting to go his own way, having a plan and sticking to it. That was great to see too. He was willing to change his life for Julia. But there was a very subtle attraction between Linda and Johnny. I must be more used to modern material where the attraction was much more overt. So it wasn't telegraphed very strongly, but it was set-up very well in that scene in Linda's playroom. It was interesting that his character was a strong enough kind of guy to have his own plan and impress his future father-in-law enough to be welcomed after the initial suspicions. And then he could see Julia just wasn't going to work out. But he didn't have to chase Linda because he was set to go on his holiday. So it was great that Linda whose anti-establishment personality found the right connection with Johnny.
 

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#43 - Kiss And Make-Up (1934)
Viewed on May 10th, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Kiss And Make-Up is another early Cary Grant comedy from his Paramount contract years. It's not great, it's not terrible, and any chance to see Grant and Edward Everett Horton onscreen is probably worth taking. In the movie, Grant plays a successful plastic surgeon. So successful, in fact, that Horton's wife (who is a client) decides to leave Horton for Grant. Grant has a secretary who's actually the one he should probably be with, but he doesn't notice her initially because she's "plain". While on his honeymoon, he discovers that his new trophy wife isn't as interested in keeping up with her exhausting beauty regime now that she's landed a trophy husband, and begins to see that despite her artificial beauty, underneath the surface there's a lot not to like. I don't think it would count as a major spoiler to suggest that hyjinx and mild hilarity ensue, but that things end up more or less as you'd expect.

Viewed as part of the Cary Grant Vault Collection, the picture quality was on par with the other titles on the set, and the audio was clear and easy to understand, with English subtitles provided. I don't think this was one of the titles that had some humming in the audio, but it's been a little while since I watched it; I would be happy to check the disc again if anyone would like.

I found Kiss And Make-Up to be enjoyable for what it was; I liked watching it, but found it didn't leave much of an impression when it was over. Grant and Horton are better served in other collaborations, and Grant in particular hasn't quite perfected the balance of suaveness and confidence in this part; he's maybe a little less likable than the lead needs to be. But it's by no means a bad movie, and any chance to see Grant developing his persona is interesting for that alone.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#44 - Thirty-Day Princess (1934)
Viewed on May 23rd, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Thirty-Day Princess is another Cary Grant pre-code comedy made during his Paramount contract years. Though His Girl Friday is better in every way, if you enjoyed seeing Grant as a newspaperman, you might find some extra enjoyment in this title. And if you liked Duck Soup, you might notice the faintest hint of similarity. (They're all very different films, but both Duck Soup and Thirty-Day Princess were Paramount pre-code titles dealing with impoverished fake-European countries, and I couldn't help but feel a tiny bit of the same sensibility in the background. I enjoy how each studio had a distinctive feel to their pictures back then.)

In Thirty-Day Princess, Sylvia Sidney plays a princess from an impoverished country that hopes to sell bonds to get out of their predicament. Investors in the United States express an interest in buying millions of dollars worth, but want to meet the princess first before spending their money. The only problem is, when Sidney arrives in the States, she comes down the mumps and must be quarantined. Fortunately, she encounters an out of work actress with a striking similarity (Sidney again), who she hires to impersonate her while she recovers from the mumps. Grant plays a newspaper reporter who is skeptical of the bond deal, and the princess sends the actress to try to win him over. Though Grant has his reservations about promoting the bond deal in his newspaper, the actress finds herself falling for him. Grant starts to become suspicious about her identity, and Sidney as the actress finds herself in a predicament - she must continue to pretend to be the princess, but wants to come clean to Grant. Sidney is clearly the lead, with Grant in a more supporting role, but it's easy to see why Sidney's actress character would fall for him. Sidney handles the dual role well. Supposedly Grant was unhappy with the final product, and co-writer Preston Sturges also claimed that little of what he wrote actually made it to the screen. But despite misgivings of co-star and co-writer, it's an enjoyable little movie.

As with other titles in the Universal Vault Collection, the picture and audio quality on the DVD were satisfactory. (I'm running out of different ways to say that pretty much everything in this set has so far looked about the same and has been fine.) I don't think this title had a problem with the audio, as there's nothing in my notes about it, but I'd be happy to check if anyone would like.

While not the greatest movie ever, I found Thirty-Day Princess to be a charming little romantic comedy, and perhaps better than its star and writer thought.
 

davidmatychuk

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#44 - Thirty-Day Princess (1934)
Viewed on May 23rd, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Thirty-Day Princess is another Cary Grant pre-code comedy made during his Paramount contract years. Though His Girl Friday is better in every way, if you enjoyed seeing Grant as a newspaperman, you might find some extra enjoyment in this title. And if you liked Duck Soup, you might notice the faintest hint of similarity. (They're all very different films, but both Duck Soup and Thirty-Day Princess were Paramount pre-code titles dealing with impoverished fake-European countries, and I couldn't help but feel a tiny bit of the same sensibility in the background. I enjoy how each studio had a distinctive feel to their pictures back then.)

In Thirty-Day Princess, Sylvia Sidney plays a princess from an impoverished country that hopes to sell bonds to get out of their predicament. Investors in the United States express an interest in buying millions of dollars worth, but want to meet the princess first before spending their money. The only problem is, when Sidney arrives in the States, she comes down the mumps and must be quarantined. Fortunately, she encounters an out of work actress with a striking similarity (Sidney again), who she hires to impersonate her while she recovers from the mumps. Grant plays a newspaper reporter who is skeptical of the bond deal, and the princess sends the actress to try to win him over. Though Grant has his reservations about promoting the bond deal in his newspaper, the actress finds herself falling for him. Grant starts to become suspicious about her identity, and Sidney as the actress finds herself in a predicament - she must continue to pretend to be the princess, but wants to come clean to Grant. Sidney is clearly the lead, with Grant in a more supporting role, but it's easy to see why Sidney's actress character would fall for him. Sidney handles the dual role well. Supposedly Grant was unhappy with the final product, and co-writer Preston Sturges also claimed that little of what he wrote actually made it to the screen. But despite misgivings of co-star and co-writer, it's an enjoyable little movie.

As with other titles in the Universal Vault Collection, the picture and audio quality on the DVD were satisfactory. (I'm running out of different ways to say that pretty much everything in this set has so far looked about the same and has been fine.) I don't think this title had a problem with the audio, as there's nothing in my notes about it, but I'd be happy to check if anyone would like.

While not the greatest movie ever, I found Thirty-Day Princess to be a charming little romantic comedy, and perhaps better than its star and writer thought.

Pauline Kael really liked "Thirty-Day Princess", for what it's worth.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#45 - The Last Outpost (1935)
Viewed on June 1st, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

The Last Outpost is a war drama-action-adventure movie pairing Cary Grant with the always excellent Claude Rains. (The movie is not to be confused with, and significantly better than, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that shares the same title.) Grant plays a British officer captured by the Kurds during World War I. The local commander, played by Rains, reveals himself to be a fellow British officer in disguises, and helps a skeptical Grant plot an escape. Though he ultimately escapes, Grant is seriously injured, and is nursed back to health by a nurse (played by Gertrude Michael). Unbeknownst to Grant, the nurse is secretly married with Rains, who hasn't heard from her husband for a long time. Things come to a head when Grant discovers the identity of his nurse's husband, and when Grant and Rains find themselves back on the battle field, they must overcome their rivalry to accomplish the mission at hand.

The picture quality on the DVD, part of the Universal released Vault Collection, was pretty good. It was mostly clean, with some light scratches that were very unobtrusive. The audio was clear without hiss or distortion (I wrote that down specifically so it must be true). English subtitles are provided.

On the one hand, this Paramount contract picture doesn't live up to some of Grant's later adventures - if you want to see Grant in the far east, Gunga Din is a far better movie. And he wears a ridiculous mustache throughout the picture. (To be fair, the mustache probably isn't that ridiculous, but it's a little strange seeing Grant with it.) During his romance scenes with the nurse, Grant lays the charm on perhaps a little too thick. But, looking past those shortcomings, I found this movie to be better than most of his other roles from this period. I suspect that whenever I finally finish the Vault Collection set that this came in that it'll have been one of my favorites. And seeing Grant and Rains together is a treat. This is one that I will definitely revisit.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Claude Rains always elevates any movie he's in. That's why you'll revisit this one.

Amen to that! The Vault Collection set this is on has 18 movies in it. When you've got 18 movies to watch, how do you even decide where to start? Look at the costars in each, that was my trick here. By no means have I seen all of Rains' films, but I don't think I've ever once been disappointed when I have watched one.
 

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