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

Josh Steinberg

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#46 - Wings In The Dark (1935)
Viewed on June 3rd, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

Wings In The Dark is an aviation melodrama made during Cary Grant's Paramount contract years that is also his first pairing with Myrna Loy. (The two would team up again a little more than a decade later to make the successful comedies The Bachelor And The Bobby-Soxer and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.) I was particularly interested in checking this one out as I had been on an airplane movie kick lately, but I found a little underwhelming. It was by no means terrible, but it felt very much of its time.

Loy plays a pilot who is unable to get much work, owing to the fact that in 1935, women were generally not given the opportunity to perform aviation work. Grant plays an inventor who is trying to perfect an autopilot system that could function in zero visibility. The two meet and fall in love, but one day while making coffee, a serious accident causes Grant to lose his eyesight. The doctors don't know if he'll ever be able to see again, and he's crushed to have lost his eyesight before even finishing his invention. Unable to work due to his condition, Grant's plane and experiments are repossessed. Loy gets an opportunity to pilot an overseas flight for prize money that she hopes to use to pay off Grant's debts so that they can marry. When her flight gets in trouble, the blind Grant figures if he can steal back his plane and engage the autopilot, he may be able to help rescue her. Will his plan succeed? Will he regain his eyesight? Will the couple end up together? The suspense was perhaps not as great as the filmmakers thought it would be, but the early chemistry between Grant and Loy makes it work. Grant also has some really cute and charming moments with a seeing eye dog that he adopts.

In terms of picture quality, this is another solid DVD out of the Universal Vault Collection. There are some very mild, very light scratches that do not distract, and overall the picture quality is pretty good. The audio is also good, clear and easy to understand. English subtitles are also provided.

Wings In The Dark is by no means a great movie, and some of the melodrama seems, well, a little melodramatic, but the strength of the leads makes it entertaining enough. The vintage aviation elements to the plot were also enjoyable. Though it's easily the lesser of the Grant-Loy collaborations, it's still a pleasant watch.
 

Nelson Au

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Josh, I read the first few sentences of the first paragraph of your write-up of The Last Outpost and I had to see if I had a copy of it, it sounded like a really good one. And I did get the Vault Collection! I had just seen The Invisible Man with Rains last weekend and that was great! Even if you don't see him! So I look forward to checking this one out.

I'm saving Notorius for later. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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I love The Invisible Man - I haven't seen it in years (I haven't watched the Blu-ray version that Universal put out a few years ago yet), but I love the movie. The original story as well. I remember when I was very young that my grandfather was an H.G. Wells fan and that he would tell me the story of the Invisible Man. I think I was probably too young for him to have actually read the unabridged text to me (though I could be mistaken), but I remember how much I loved that story when he'd tell it to me, and how much I loved the movie when I finally saw it.

I'm saving Notorious for near the end of this marathon too :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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#47 - The Howards Of Virginia (1940)
Viewed on July 2nd, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Sony)

The Howards Of Virginia is a Revolutionary War-era drama starring Cary Grant and Martha Scott as the titular Howard family. Richard Carlson also costars as Thomas Jefferson. Though this movie has been much maligned over the years (by many critics and fans, and even Grant himself), I found it to be surprisingly entertaining. Perhaps it was a case of diminished expectations after months of hearing how bad it was. Viewed over the Fourth of July weekend in between Drums On The Mohawk and 1776, it was enjoyable, and I think that I will revisit all three of those films on that holiday in the future.

Grant is Matt Howard, a young man who had previously lost his family in a pre-war skirmish against the French. As an adult, Grant is introduced by his friend Thomas Jefferson to Jane (Martha Scott), a daughter of aristocracy. Though their political beliefs and family traditions couldn't be further apart, they fall in love and are married. Their first child is born with a limp, which reminds Grant of Scott's brother, a man he despises so much that he withholds his affection for his son because of this similarity. A second son is later born, who Grant favors. As the war breaks out, conflict arises because Jane's family sides with the British, while Grant is firmly in favor of independence. Grant faces losing everything he's spent a lifetime to build, but stands to gain more than he could have imagined with the revelation that his oldest son is more like him than he had ever imagined.

This next sentence will probably be the strangest one I write in this entire thread. The worst thing about this movie is probably Cary Grant. The direction is competent, the writing is good enough (based on a bestselling book, it appears to have been rushed to the screen, with the movie coming out just a year after the book), and the supporting cast ranges from good to great. Grant isn't terrible, but he is uneven. He struggles with an American accent that at times is completely preposterous; at other times, he drops the accent and speaks in his more familiar Transatlantic accent. (Sometimes this switch will happen within the same scene!) But if Grant does seem out of place at times, he puts forth his best effort, which perhaps even works for the film, since his character ends up being something of an outsider. He's miscast, but it doesn't ruin the movie, and he's not terrible in it. In fact, everything other than his accent is pretty good.

The DVD from Sony was good. It featured a clear image, though it was littered with a few more specs and dirt than we're used to seeing from Sony releases. We've been spoiled in the past few years by Sony's outstanding digital restorations, and while it's not up to their latest 4K efforts, it was never distracting and is very watchable. The audio was fine, and the disc includes subtitles. The disc included trailers for other Columbia pictures but I do not believe it included one for the film itself.

On the whole, I found The Howards Of Virginia to be far better than what I expected. While not a masterpiece of the genre, it's a perfectly serviceable Revolutionary War drama, featuring some pretty cool location photography of (then newly restored) Colonial Williamsburg. I hesitate to recommend it as a blind buy, but I still think it's worth seeing. It's a little bit harder to find, as it's not available on any of the streaming services, and the disc is only available on its own (no box set bundle discounts to look out for), but if you can get it for a reasonable price and if you enjoy movies set around the Revolutionary War, it might be worth a look.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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And with that review, I have cleared through my backlog of Cary Grant titles - from now on, anything I watch, I'll be reporting on right afterwards instead of weeks or months after the fact. Thanks everyone for sticking with me so far. By my count, here's what's left for me to watch in this marathon, including some of my favorites which I had been saving for the end (the list is in chronological order):

1. This Is The Night
2. Merrily We Go To Hell
3. Devil And The Deep
4. Blonde Venus
5. Madame Butterfly
6. She Done Him Wrong
7. The Woman Accused
8. I'm No Angel
9. Alice In Wonderland (1933)
10. Enter Madame!
11. Big Brown Eyes
12. Suzy
13. Wedding Present
14. When You're In Love
15. The Toast Of New York
16. In Name Only
17. The Philadelphia Story
18. Penny Serenade
19. Arsenic And Old Lace
20. None But The Lonely Heart
21. Notorious
22. The Bishop's Wife
23. Room For One More
24. An Affair To Remember
25. Walk, Don't Run

Of these, I've seen Alice In Wonderland, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic And Old Lace, and Notorious for sure. For An Affair To Remember, I honestly can't recall if I've seen the entire film, or if I've just seen Sleepless In Seattle so many times that I just think I've seen it. I'm thinking it would be cool to finish up with This Is The Night and Walk Don't Run, since those were Grant's first and last pictures.

And wow, we're at 20 pages! This is officially the longest a thread I've started has ever gone.
 
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davidmatychuk

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#47 - The Howards Of Virginia (1940)
Viewed on July 2nd, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Sony)

The Howards Of Virginia is a Revolutionary War-era drama starring Cary Grant and Martha Scott as the titular Howard family. Richard Carlson also costars as Thomas Jefferson. Though this movie has been much maligned over the years (by many critics and fans, and even Grant himself), I found it to be surprisingly entertaining. Perhaps it was a case of diminished expectations after months of hearing how bad it was. Viewed over the Fourth of July weekend in between Drums On The Mohawk and 1776, it was enjoyable, and I think that I will revisit all three of those films on that holiday in the future.

Grant is Matt Howard, a young man who had previously lost his family in a pre-war skirmish against the French. As an adult, Grant is introduced by his friend Thomas Jefferson to Jane (Martha Scott), a daughter of aristocracy. Though their political beliefs and family traditions couldn't be further apart, they fall in love and are married. Their first child is born with a limp, which reminds Grant of Scott's brother, a man he despises so much that he withholds his affection for his son because of this similarity. A second son is later born, who Grant favors. As the war breaks out, conflict arises because Jane's family sides with the British, while Grant is firmly in favor of independence. Grant faces losing everything he's spent a lifetime to build, but stands to gain more than he could have imagined with the revelation that his oldest son is more like him than he had ever imagined.

This next sentence will probably be the strangest one I write in this entire thread. The worst thing about this movie is probably Cary Grant. The direction is competent, the writing is good enough (based on a bestselling book, it appears to have been rushed to the screen, with the movie coming out just a year after the book), and the supporting cast ranges from good to great. Grant isn't terrible, but he is uneven. He struggles with an American accent that at times is completely preposterous; at other times, he drops the accent and speaks in his more familiar Transatlantic accent. (Sometimes this switch will happen within the same scene!) But if Grant does seem out of place at times, he puts forth his best effort, which perhaps even works for the film, since his character ends up being something of an outsider. He's miscast, but it doesn't ruin the movie, and he's not terrible in it. In fact, everything other than his accent is pretty good.

The DVD from Sony was good. It featured a clear image, though it was littered with a few more specs and dirt than we're used to seeing from Sony releases. We've been spoiled in the past few years by Sony's outstanding digital restorations, and while it's not up to their latest 4K efforts, it was never distracting and is very watchable. The audio was fine, and the disc includes subtitles. The disc included trailers for other Columbia pictures but I do not believe it included one for the film itself.

On the whole, I found The Howards Of Virginia to be far better than what I expected. While not a masterpiece of the genre, it's a perfectly serviceable Revolutionary War drama, featuring some pretty cool location photography of (then newly restored) Colonial Williamsburg. I hesitate to recommend it as a blind buy, but I still think it's worth seeing. It's a little bit harder to find, as it's not available on any of the streaming services, and the disc is only available on its own (no box set bundle discounts to look out for), but if you can get it for a reasonable price and if you enjoy movies set around the Revolutionary War, it might be worth a look.

You hit the nail on the head by grouping this film with "1776" and "Drums On The Mohawk". I just watched it again recently, and enjoyed it very much. It's a typical 1940's Hollywood historical fiction, well-made and very well directed. I think that Cary Grant had a powerful patriotic streak in his nature. His loyalty and service to his two countries, England where he was born and America where he made his mark, is well-documented, and seen in that light his desire to star in a movie based on American history is very understandable. And as far as his accent is concerned, who knows what people talked like back then anyway - with all the different nationalities milling about in Colonial America, I'm sure there were all sorts of strangely mashed-up accents wherever you went.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think the accent undermines what otherwise is a strong performance - I agree with you that his sense of patriotism and duty shines through. He just seems a little ill at ease with his voice. I wouldn't care which accent he actually used, I just wish he seemed a little more comfortable. The period clothing doesn't look bad on him either. The DVD cover is kinda lousy but he looked much more natural actually in the movie.

As far as his historical ventures go, I think it's a far better movie than Pride And The Passion.
 

davidmatychuk

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David, are there any left that you haven't seen?

Just "When You're In Love". I hope there's a disc soon. By the way, I'm actually kind of excited about "The Pride And The Passion" coming out on Blu-Ray. I've never been crazy about the movie, but the non-anamorphic DVD doesn't provide much of the spectacle that I'm sure Stanley Kramer must have intended. I'm looking forward to giving it another look in 1080P.
 

Mike Frezon

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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):


I had an LP once of movie music that included a track "sung" by Cary Grant of Cole Porter's You'd Be So Easy to Love.

Unfortunately, I can't find it anywhere on the interwebz.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I'm gonna do a second pass on Pride and the Passion as well. I'm not expecting it being HD to make me fall in love with the movie overnight, but if more of the visuals come through I'm hoping I'll find something there to appreciate.
 

Josh Steinberg

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#48 - She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Viewed on July 25th, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

She Done Him Wrong is one of Cary Grant's early Paramount contract pictures, perhaps better known for being a Mae West vehicle. For years afterwards, apparently to Grant's chagrin, West would claim to have discovered Grant and given him his big break. (Strictly speaking, this appears to be an exaggeration as Grant was already under contract to Paramount and had already appeared in half a dozen or so films in the year prior.) Being a huge fan of W.C. Fields, I had previously encountered West in My Little Chickadee but this was on the second of her films that I've seen.

On the whole, I enjoyed She Done Him Wrong, although I question its placement in the "comedy" section of the Universal Vault collection, as it seemed to be as much a drama as anything else. West is a bawdy saloon singer (one imagines that had this film been made before or after the era of Hollywood censorship that her occupation might have been somewhat more explicit), with more suitors than she knows what to do with. There's the saloon owner that she's kinda-sorta-maybe committed to; the owner's rival, who tries to convince West to switch men; and a Salvation Army-style mission director (played by Grant) who may have more to him than meets the eye.

I'm pleased to report that, as far as quality goes, She Done Him Wrong is easily the best looking title I've seen so far in the Universal Vault collection of Grant titles. Perhaps owing to its popularity as a Mae West film, it appears to have been remastered somewhere along the way. The picture is very clear, with very few age related blemishes, and the audio is equally good. English subtitles are provided. The disc does not include any additional bonus features.

On the whole, She Done Him Wrong was a little more dramatic and less comedic than I expected, but I enjoyed the movie. Mae West demonstrates why she was one of the biggest stars of her day, and Grant, in a small role, shows hints of the magic that he was still developing. I look forward to seeing their other collaboration, I'm No Angel, soon.
 
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Nelson Au

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Josh, that's a great story about your grandfather! Great memory for you it's sounds like.

All this time I thought She Done Him Wrong was one of Grants very earliest film appearances, but I see it's not exactly that. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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All this time I thought She Done Him Wrong was one of Grants very earliest film appearances, but I see it's not exactly that. :)

I mean, I would still consider it to be - he made his screen debut in 1932, and this was only from 1933. It's just that he made so many films during the brief life of that contract that it might seem further along in his career than it actually is. It's amazing to me to think that he did about 25 movies over his first four years in the business, and then it took another ten years to make his next 25. And then, the business had changed so much, that his last 22 movies came out over a twenty year period.
 

Matt Hough

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She Done Him Wrong was based on Mae West's hugely successful Broadway play Diamond Lil. Naturally she wrote both the play and the script for the movie, but due to the play's notoriety, she renamed her character in the movie to distance it a bit from the play. It didn't matter: the film was a smash hit (nominated for the Best Picture Oscar!), and it and her next picture I'm No Angel (also with Cary Grant) are often the two credited pictures for staving off bankruptcy from Paramount's doors.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Josh, that's a great story about your grandfather! Great memory for you it's sounds like.

Thanks for saying so, Nelson, I appreciate it. My natural tendency is to ramble, and I try to keep that in check, but also try to let a little come out every now and then to try to add some flavor to these writeups. I never really know as I'm doing it if it's going to work or if it's going to be too much, and it's really nice to hear that I'm getting the balance mostly right.

She Done Him Wrong was based on Mae West's hugely successful Broadway play Diamond Lil. Naturally she wrote both the play and the script for the movie, but due to the play's notoriety, she renamed her character in the movie to distance it a bit from the play. It didn't matter: the film was a smash hit (nominated for the Best Picture Oscar!), and it and her next picture I'm No Angel (also with Cary Grant) are often the two credited pictures for staving off bankruptcy from Paramount's doors.

Thanks for the extra background, Matt! That explains the "By Mae West" credit that immediately followed the main title, ahead of the screenplay credits. I thought it was odd that it would give her credit for writing it right above the people credited with writing it, and that makes so much more sense.

I found some additional trivia on the movie today, this is from Wikipedia and IMDB, so who knows how accurate, but they claim that the movie is the shortest movie ever nominated for Best Picture (it's only 66 minutes). I read something similar about the movie saving the studio from bankruptcy too.

I feel like this is one I'm going to enjoy even more the second time around (not that I didn't like it the first time), since I'll already know what it is and isn't, and won't be unconsciously comparing it against a preconceived notion. And I'm looking forward to I'm No Angel as well.
 

davidmatychuk

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#48 - She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Viewed on July 25, 2016
Viewing Format: DVD (Universal)

She Done Him Wrong is one of Cary Grant's early Paramount contract pictures, perhaps better known for being a Mae West vehicle. For years afterwards, apparently to Grant's chagrin, West would claim to have discovered Grant and given him his big break. (Strictly speaking, this appears to be an exaggeration as Grant was already under contract to Paramount and had already appeared in half a dozen or so films in the year prior.) Being a huge fan of W.C. Fields, I had previously encountered West in My Little Chickadee but this was on the second of her films that I've seen.

On the whole, I enjoyed She Done Him Wrong, although I question its placement in the "comedy" section of the Universal Vault collection, as it seemed to be as much a drama as anything else. West is a bawdy saloon singer (one imagines that had this film been made before or after the era of Hollywood censorship that her occupation might have been somewhat more explicit), with more suitors than she knows what to do with. There's the saloon owner that she's kinda-sorta-maybe committed to; the owner's rival, who tries to convince West to switch men; and a Salvation Army-style mission director (played by Grant) who may have more to him than meets the eye.

I'm pleased to report that, as far as quality goes, She Done Him Wrong is easily the best looking title I've seen so far in the Universal Vault collection of Grant titles. Perhaps owing to its popularity as a Mae West film, it appears to have been remastered somewhere along the way. The picture is very clear, with very few age related blemishes, and the audio is equally good. English subtitles are provided. The disc does not include any additional bonus features.

On the whole, She Done Him Wrong was a little more dramatic and less comedic than I expected, but I enjoyed the movie. Mae West demonstrates why she was one of the biggest stars of her day, and Grant, in a small role, shows hints of the magic that he was still developing. I look forward to seeing their other collaboration, I'm No Angel, soon.

The standalone Universal Cinema Classics DVD of "She Done Him Wrong" (from 2008) has a cartoon called "She Done Him Right" (about which more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_Done_Him_Right) and a Robert Osbourne introduction. The quality seems the same as in the box set.
 

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