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

Josh Steinberg

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#3 - Gunga Din (1939)
Viewed on March 5, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Warner)

Gunga Din was another Grant movie I had never seen before, that came in Volume 2 of the TCM Greatest Classic Legend Cary Grant set. This set also includes Destination Tokyo, Arsenic And Old Lace and Sylvia Scarlet, and was going for $7 on Amazon when I got it. In other words, this has to qualify as one of the deals of the century. Each movie is on its own disc with whatever bonus features came in the original release. Originally my fiancé had gotten me Arsenic And Old Lace on its own for my birthday, but when I discovered that this set was actually cheaper than the individual Arsenic disc, she eagerly exchanged them for me. I hope these comments on where the discs came from don't get too repetitious. Some of these movies I got at such great deals that seem to be readily available that I think it's worth passing on. I had gotten so used to purchasing movies I had already seen, and re-purchasing titles that I always owned, that I had kinda forgotten the fun of getting a set of movies that were mostly unfamiliar but interesting sounding and discovering things for the first time. To me, that was an even bigger gift than just the set itself.

I loved, loved, loved the movie. By coincidence, I had watched Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom a couple nights earlier, and while the two movies are pretty different, it was easy to see how Gunga Din might have been on the minds of the Indy crew. I had never seen Grant in a real action adventure movie before this, and he's fantastic. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Victor McLaglen are equally great as his fellow Army members, and Sam Jaffe gives a heartfelt performance in the title role. I found this to be one of those utterly enchanting movies, like Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, that just sweeps you off your feet and into a different world. The plotting and pacing is excellent, with just the right blend of action, humor and drama. For all of the talk that movies like Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz rightly receive when 1939 is talked as a legendary year for Hollywood, in my view, Gunga Din is at least as good as those movies and belongs in any conversation looking back at that special time.

As far as the DVD quality itself, this one was a little more beat up compared to Mr. Blandings and To Catch A Thief, but it's also significantly older than those two, and from the RKO library, which apparently has numerous problems. But the movie is never anything less than watchable (really, it's mostly very, very good with a few moments that are merely less good), and the audio track is clear. English subtitles were included and used, as I ended up staying up way past my bedtime to watch this one. The disc also includes an utterly fantastic commentary with Rudy Behlmer that had me rewatching the movie immediately after finishing my first viewing.

I hope Warner Archive brings this one to Blu-ray someday.
 

Mike Frezon

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Okay.

Here it comes.

I hang my head in shame...but I have never seen Gunga Din. I really don't know much of anything about it. I have seen it referenced about a million times in various TV shows, articles, etc. It has just never crossed my path and I've never sought it out.

Sounds like fun from Josh's post.
 

Nelson Au

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Josh, I think it's great you are listing the sources of the discs you're watching. I have a couple of Cary Grant sets and I think the one Gunda Din is in is the same set. Except I didn't get it at such a steal! That set was my first time viewing Gunda Din too and that was about 5 years or more ago. I have to admit because I'd heard the title before and knew it was a well known film, perhaps my expectations were set as I wasn't as taken by it. I'm going to have to see it again because I feel like I should like it more!
 

atfree

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Okay.

Here it comes.

I hang my head in shame...but I have never seen Gunga Din. I really don't know much of anything about it. I have seen it referenced about a million times in various TV shows, articles, etc. It has just never crossed my path and I've never sought it out.

Sounds like fun from Josh's post.
You SHOULD be ashamed! ;) This is one of the all-time great adventures and the set Josh referenced is still a bargain ($10.86 at Amazon right now). Buy it!! (Which will hopefully trigger a blu-ray release within a week or two; at least that's how it usually works with me!).

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Josh Steinberg

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(Which will hopefully trigger a blu-ray release within a week or two; at least that's how it usually works with me!).

There's a rule about that. Also as part of my birthday haul this year was the DVD for the Spencer Tracy Father Of The Bride. My fiancé said she knew I was waiting and hoping for a Blu-ray, but that I had been talking about wanting it for so long, and mentioning for as long as we've known each other that she should see it, so she got it for me and even commented, "I can always get you the Blu-ray later on if they ever release one." We watched it the next day. Day after that, Warner Archive announced the Blu-ray. Figures! I've never had that happen so close to actually getting a DVD before… less than half a year, maybe, but not less than half a week.
 

Robert Crawford

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Okay.

Here it comes.

I hang my head in shame...but I have never seen Gunga Din. I really don't know much of anything about it. I have seen it referenced about a million times in various TV shows, articles, etc. It has just never crossed my path and I've never sought it out.

Sounds like fun from Josh's post.
You should feel very a shame. ;) It's a great action film that you need to see as soon as possible.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Hey Mike, I hadn't seen Gunga Din until a couple months ago, so really no need for shame - or I'll be sitting next to you with a dunce cap. But it is absolutely worth checking out. Either on its own, or in that set I mentioned, which is a great bargain. On that particular set, I think Arsenic And Old Lace and Destination Tokyo are great and worth having. Sylvia Scarlett isn't as good, but it's not terrible.

Nelson, expectations are everything - I didn't know anything about the movie before popping it in, I sorta picked it at random from the set to watch that night, and I ended up being completely taken by it. As I keep getting deeper and deeper into this, I'm not really going out of my way to read to much about the movies ahead of time. If I'm gonna see them all, I guess I don't need to be sold on any of them, so it's been fun watching things blind or mostly blind.
 

Dave B Ferris

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I still regret that "None but the Lonely Heart" never received a pressed/retail release. (I *think* I am correct that the film was never released, domestically, for retail <i.e., pressed>.)

On the one hand, I think I understand that studio executives might have thought that the sales would be poor, as Grant was featured in a very un-Grant like role/performance.

However, I think the true Grant fans, as well as completists, would have generated (at least) reasonable sales.
 

Robert Crawford

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I still regret that "None but the Lonely Heart" never received a pressed/retail release. (I *think* I am correct that the film was never released, domestically, for retail <i.e., pressed>.)

On the one hand, I think I understand that studio executives might have thought that the sales would be poor, as Grant was featured in a very un-Grant like role/performance.

However, I think the true Grant fans, as well as completists, would have generated (at least) reasonable sales.
It's not pressed, but I played my WA disc a couple of weeks ago and I was happy to view it again, almost six years since buying it.
 

David Weicker

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Okay.

Here it comes.

I hang my head in shame...but I have never seen Gunga Din. I really don't know much of anything about it. I have seen it referenced about a million times in various TV shows, articles, etc. It has just never crossed my path and I've never sought it out.

Sounds like fun from Josh's post.

In my mind, there are a trio of classic adventure films (two from '39, one from '35)
Gunga Din
Beau Geste
The Lives Of A Bengal Lancer


For some reason, they just go together.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I haven't seen/heard of the other two, I'll keep an eye out.

Re: None But The Lonely Heart, the Warner Archive DVD-R is labeled as being remastered so it'll probably look pretty good (own it but haven't watched it yet). Their other DVD-Rs have been good. I was initially hesitant to buy DVD-Rs but so far I've been very pleased with the quality of the products.
 

Nelson Au

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Josh, I'm definitely going to revisit Gunda Din!!and I haven't seen Destination Tokyo in a long while. I'll revisit that as well. Interestingly, I have Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo in my shopping cart now.

My two 1940 favorites has been mentioned, Mr. Blandings which I also have at the time an expensive used laserdisc and later the DVD. And the other is Notorious. Too bad the Criterion edition never came out on blu ray. But the 2012 blu ray is very nice.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#4 - Destination Tokyo (1943)
Viewed on March 6, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Warner)

Another Cary Grant movie I had not previously seen, also from the Grant TCM set mentioned above. This was Grant's only WWII propaganda movie, but by no means his only war film. (Once Upon A Honeymoon is also a WWII movie but it would be hard to classify as propaganda…heck, that one's just hard to classify, but that's for another entry.) It's interesting that in the later part of his career, many of his movies were centered around WWII. In those movies, the toll war takes is examined more in depth, in either dramatic or comedic settings depending on the film. But in "Destination Tokyo" Grant leads a superb cast (including John Garfield, Alan Hale and Robert Hutton) in a straight drama-adventure. He's the captain of the submarine on a mission to Tokyo, and the movie explores the day to day life of these men as they head out on their biggest mission. The movie was the directorial debut of Delmer Daves. How much you'll enjoy the movie is probably directly proportionate to your enjoyment of the stars and WWII movies, but even for people who aren't fans of the genre, this is a well made drama with at least a couple very suspenseful sequences. I think it's a fantastic submarine movie; the movie is at its best when they're on the sub.

I read a great story about the making of the movie in the book "Evenings With Cary Grant." In those days, new actors usually weren't invited to dailies because they were afraid that the young actors, not understanding the filmmaking process, would be thrown off seeing bits and pieces of their work without the proper sound, music and editing. But after filming one key sequence where Hutton's character has to disarm a bomb under the supervision of Grant's captain that could blow them all up, Hutton was invited to dailies. Not wanting to be in the way, he sat in the very front, while Grant first time director Daves sat in the back. When the dailies began and Hutton could see that he was front and center in every shot, and big time movie star Cary Grant was in the background in every shot, he started nervously fidgeting in his chair. Then, he hears Grant and Daves arguing, their voices getting louder. Finally, Grant shouts that he's the movie star, and the camera should be on him, and if Daves doesn't agree, Grant can find a new director to finish the picture. Hutton sinks in his seat. Grant and Daves storm out. Hutton has no idea what to do, so he sits there in agonizing silence as the rest of the dailies play. Finally, when it ends, he nervously exits the screening room, and come face to face with Grant and Daves - who can't keep it together any longer and start laughing. Hutton realizes he's been had and starts laughing too, and Grant confesses he put Daves up to the whole thing. Grant says that he insisted Daves made sure to keep Hutton the focus of the camera during that scene because that was best for the film, and they were happy with Hutton's performance.

The DVD looked very good. There's some stock footage mixed in the film and some model work, and the quality can dip a little there, but for the live action footage (the vast majority of the movie), it's great to look at. Certainly better than Gunga Din and probably Mr. Blandings as well. I could imagine this translating very well to Blu-ray with hopefully not too much effort. Warner Archive's Passage To Marseille looks stunning on Blu and I imagine this could too. The DVD includes a short from the same period as the film, but I did not get a chance to watch it.

Grant would return to the WWII theme later in his career in I Was A Male War Bride, Kiss Them For Me, Operation Petticoat and Father Goose, all fantastic movies in their own right which I look forward to writing about soon.
 

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There's a rule about that. Also as part of my birthday haul this year was the DVD for the Spencer Tracy Father Of The Bride. My fiancé said she knew I was waiting and hoping for a Blu-ray, but that I had been talking about wanting it for so long, and mentioning for as long as we've known each other that she should see it, so she got it for me and even commented, "I can always get you the Blu-ray later on if they ever release one." We watched it the next day. Day after that, Warner Archive announced the Blu-ray. Figures! I've never had that happen so close to actually getting a DVD before… less than half a year, maybe, but not less than half a week.
Do you think it'll work if I mention "Designing Woman" often enough? ;)
 

davidmatychuk

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Josh just alerted me to the existence of his new thread. Well done, my friend! Cary Grant is my favourite movie star, and I'm thrilled that there's a Cary Grant-specific thread on Home Theatre Forum. Just wait until I start trying to convince the rest of you all that "The Howards Of Virginia" is not a waste of Cary Grant's talents at all (I think I may have already persuaded Josh)!
 

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What? No love for Notorious or Suspicion or An Affair to Remember? Have to second the opinion here that Grant starred in more iconic hits than most actors get the chance to even audition for. The list is long and distinguished.

At the top of mine - in no particular order
Holiday
The Bishop's Wife
The Talk of the Town
Gunga Din
Charade
To Catch a Thief
The Awful Truth
His Girl Friday
Bringing Up Baby

PS - elegance never gets old.
PPS - always loved the story told by Peter Bogdanovich about his escorting Grant to his AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards presentation. Met by a girl at the entrance, accepting their invitations, the girl apparently did a double take from the name on the invite to Grant, than back to the invite, callously adding, "You don't look like Cary Grant" to which Grant drolly replied, "Well, nobody does!" Classic Grant - self-deprecating, charming, suave and unruffled; the true benchmark of the perfect movie star.
 

JoeDoakes

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In my mind, there are a trio of classic adventure films (two from '39, one from '35)
Gunga Din
Beau Geste
The Lives Of A Bengal Lancer


For some reason, they just go together.

They are all more or less movies about British Empire types, even if Beau Geste largely occurs at a French Foreign Legion outpost. Two other films that fit in quite well with these are Korda's Four Feathers and John Ford's Wee Willie Winkie with Shirley Temple. Truth be told, Lives of a Bengal Lancer might be my favorite of all.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Just wait until I start trying to convince the rest of you all that "The Howards Of Virginia" is not a waste of Cary Grant's talents at all (I think I may have already persuaded Josh)!

My DVD copy arrived maybe a week ago. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but it's gonna happen! I did see "The Pride And The Passion" - I'd like to think that by default it would have to be better than that.

What? No love for Notorious or Suspicion or An Affair to Remember?

Haven't gotten to them yet, but I've seen them all in the past and looking forward to rewatching and writing on them soon! The Warner Archive Blu-ray for Suspicion looks fantastic.
 

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