While the history of the automobile begins a couple of decades earlier, the rise of mass production in the early 1900’s led to them becoming part of our every day lives. Another popular “product” was produced around the same time in 1904, a man who would eventually come to be known as Cary Grant.
Both Grant and the automobile are ubiquitous parts of international history. Autos are in-arguably a vital part of every day life, an industry which continues to grow and innovate. While Grant may not be as essential by comparison to our world today, he is still a very important part of our cultural history. Comparisons are still made to his talent, his style and his contributions to the film industry.
As someone who has long been obsessed with Cary Grant, it recently dawned on me how many of his movies contain a memorable scene with him in a vehicle. Almost all non-historical films contain vehicles as they were a part of every day life. But Grant’s films elevated them as more than just part of a scene. Instead they became an actual setting for action and dialogue to advance the story. Even closer notice reveals that many of the movies utilizing vehicles in this way are directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I’m sure there is a deeper analysis to be drawn here about Hitchcock’s particular use of cars in his pictures starring Grant, but that’s another article for another day.
Sometimes all the stars align just right and you get a thing of great beauty. Perhaps, that is how those involved in the making of To Catch a Thief felt. I doubt many pictures had a crew as simpatico as this one. Director Alfred Hitchcock admired both Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. He had worked with both actors several times, but never together. Kelly and Grant both appreciated the director. And thanks to this film, Kelly and Grant remained lifelong friends.
Matching the natural beauty of Grant and Kelly is the vibrantly magnificent views of the French Riviera where the film is set. Add in the fashionable, yet classic costumes designed by the award winning designer Edith Head and you have one of the most visually gorgeous films I’ve ever seen.
Grant is John Robie, a retired jewel thief living a comfortable life in the south of France, until a new round of burglaries is attributed to his alter ego The Cat. The local police believe that Robie has returned to his life of crime. To make matters worse, Robie’s former compatriots in the French Resistance share that believe. Robie decides the only way to clear his name is to catch the thief who is posing as him.
With the help of an insurance investigator, Robie begins shadowing those who might be targets of the jewel thief. His mission is complicated by American heiress Francie Stevens. Francie inserts herself into his life and constantly interrupts Robie’s private investigation. But Francie’s motives aren’t exactly what they appear to be. Engaged in dual games of cat and mouse, there is more at stake than Robie’s personal reputation.
Bringing Up Baby was my first introduction to the world of classic film. It was also my first experience with the screwball comedy genre as well as Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. With such an auspicious initiation, is it any wonder that I not only adore classic films, but that both Grant and Hepburn along with the screwball comedy genre remain my very favorites. No matter how many (countless) times I watch this picture, it never fails to entertain and to lift my spirits.SUMMARY
David Huxley is a paleontologist who is THIS close to completing the skeleton of a Brontosaurus. He just lacks installation of the final bone (the intercostal clavicle) and funding in the form of a million dollar donation by the wealthy Mrs. Carlton Random. He is also one day away from a marriage of convenience to the dull and practical Alice Swallow.
David’s meeting with Mrs. Random’s attorney, Mr. Peabody, is unfortunately disrupted by Susan Vance. After a meet cute filled with confusion, theft and mishaps, David is forced to reschedule his meeting for that same evening. However, David’s bad luck continues as he once again runs into Susan who once again ruins his meeting.
Susan, however is besotted and decides David is the man for her. Believing him to be a zoologist, Susan tracks him down to request his help. Her brother has sent a tame pet leopard as a gift for their aunt. Despite David’s refusal to help Susan deliver ‘Baby’, Susan coerces him by promising to speak to Mr. Peabody on his behalf. Unknown to David, Mrs. Random just happens to be Susan’s aunt.
David and Susan head off to the family’s Connecticut farm to deliver Baby. But Susan being Susan, everything that can go wrong does. Add in the family dog George who buries the intercostal clavicle, an escaped killer leopard, a visit from a family friend who is a big-game hunter and Susan’s introduction of David as a man recovering from a nervous breakdown and you’ve got the recipe for one of the funniest movies ever.
Jerry and Lucy Warriner are a happily married society couple. Or so they think. A misunderstanding causes an argument which leads Lucy to file for divorce. The judge grants them a divorce decree, but it is ninety days until it is final. While in court, the only point of contention which arises is who will receive custody of their beloved dog, Mr. Smith. The judge awards custody to Lucy but gives Jerry visitation rights. This provides Jerry and Lucy many instances to find themselves in each other’s company.
Urged by her aunt to move on, Lucy begins dating Daniel Leeson, a wealthy rancher from Oklahoma. Jerry’s jealousy rears its’ ugly head (again). He uses his visitation rights with Mr. Smith to disrupt Lucy’s new relationship, planting doubts in both her and Daniel’s mind.
After an embarrassing scene in which Jerry thinks he will catch Lucy with the man he suspected her of having an affair with, Jerry finally learns the truth of his wife’s faithfulness. Hat in hand, he realizes his error and apologizes, just as Lucy realizes she still loves her husband. But when he finds the man hiding in her bedroom, his suspicions are re-confirmed and he finally decides to move on.However, Lucy will not allow Jerry to be rid of her that easily. The tables turn and it becomes her turn to meddle in her soon to be ex’s promising new relationship. Will Jerry and Lucy reconcile before their ninety days are up?
To read the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.
Johnny Case is a self-made man who has been working since he was a child. On his first vacation in years, he meets and becomes engaged to the beautiful Julia Seton. Johnny is thrilled to have met a woman who he believes shares the same outlook on life as he does. Upon his return, he boasts of his luck to his good friends the Potters, before going to meet Julia’s family.
He is surprised when the taxi delivers him to a Fifth Avenue mansion. Thinking Julia must be employed by the owners, he goes to the back entrance. He experiences a further shock when he discovers that his new fiancée is one of THOSE Setons. Fabulously wealthy, socially connected, even their servants are haughty.
Johnny meets a kindred spirit in Julia’s older sister. Linda is chafing against the expectations and strictures of wealth and family expectation. She is thrilled with Julia’s choice of husband and offers her support for the couple in the face of Mr. Seton’s displeasure over their match.
Johnny and Julia wish to quickly tie the knot. But it doesn’t take much time to discover that Julia sees the world more like her rigid class-conscious father than her free-spirited fiancé. When Johnny expresses his desire to take time off to discover the meaning of life, things come to a head.
Ever since my introduction to classic film via the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, Katharine Hepburn has remained my favorite actress. Hepburn is famous not only for her unique personality but a long career, in which she appeared in many different roles and film genres. She is also well known for her love affair and eight film collaborations with Spencer Tracy. But perhaps because of Bringing Up Baby, I have always preferred her films with Cary Grant.
Sylvia Scarlett is an unconventional film about a girl who passes herself off as a young man. When Sylvia’s father Henry Scarlett (Edmund Gwenn) gets into trouble with his illegal activities, the two of them flee France for England. Henry feels his daughter’s sex will be a hindrance to his getaway. So Sylvia (Katharine Hepburn) cuts her hair and becomes Sylvester. On their way to England they meet con man and trickster Jimmy Monkley (Cary Grant). Soon the three are running scams together. Sylvester is determined to turn their threesome honest and is eventually successful. Continue reading “Sylvia Scarlett (1935) -The Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy Blogathon”
I am delighted to be able to introduce you to one of my very favorite films, The Philadelphia Story.
The Philadelphia Story Summary
Tracy Samantha Lord (Katharine Hepburn) is a Philadelphia socialite who is preparing to wed for the second time. Unfortunately for her, the editor of a popular tabloid magazine has bribed his reporter and photographer as well as Tracy’s ex-husband into providing coverage of the wedding. His bargaining chip is incriminating evidence he holds against Tracy’s philandering father. So, in spite of her wish for a quiet, private wedding she agrees to this invasion of her special event.
Her path to matrimony is unexpectedly complicated by her attraction to the male reporter Macauley “Mike” Connor (James Stewart). The arrival of her ex doesn’t make things any easier. She and CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) had fallen deeply in love years ago, but were driven apart by her excessively high standards and his affinity for alcohol. But now Dexter has returned to a warm welcome from Tracy’s family. He uses his relationship to her family to constantly remind her how unsuitable her new fiancé is for her.
To add to the confusion, Liz, the female photographer is in love with Mike. It’s a love quadrangle folks! Or is it a love pentagon, it’s hard to keep track of who wants who in the few crazy days leading up to the wedding.
I have been a faithful fan of Cary Grant the actor for over twenty years. In that time I have read every book I could find about him to learn more about the man behind one of the most famous personas in cinematic history.
I have always been interested in biographies. I have read biographies about many of my favorite film stars. Over time, I have realized that I prefer the ones that focus on the individual’s personal background. While it is always interesting to learn about an actor’s career, who he worked with, why he chose certain projects, etc. I prefer it when those facts don’t overwhelm their actual story.
So, having done all the work of reading numerous books about Cary Grant, I am now sharing with you my three of my favorites.
Today, I am excited to be participating in the Five Stars Blogathon which is being hosted by Classic FIlm TV Cafe.
Anyone who has been following my posts will know that I absolutely love movies. This being the case, asking me to pick five, and only five favorite stars was an almost impossible task! I mean really, it would be like asking me to choose my favorite book (another impossible task) or my favorite breath for that matter. But for the sake of following the rules, I have managed to narrow it down to the requested five. Just don’t get the idea that I don’t have other favorite film stars. And since this blogathon is in honor of National Classic Movie Day, I am sharing my favorite classic film stars.
Any one who knows me knows of my love for Cary Grant. His film Bringing Up Baby was my first introduction to him, to classic film and to screwball comedy, all of which remain favorites to this day. Cary Grant was a versatile actor who was equally at home in both comedies and dramas. His characters tended not to take themselves or life too seriously and yet also retained a darker edge about them which was highlighted more in his dramatic roles. And while I enjoy his later dramatic films, my preference will always be for his pre-war comedies. Who else could pull of playing men of sophistication and privilege who were able to laugh and make fun at their own expense? Continue reading “Five Stars Blogathon -My Five Favorite Film Stars”
Since most of my friends and family are not classic film fans, I thought I would start a new series in which I introduce actors and actresses from this era, in the hope that it will familiarize you with famous names and perhaps whet your appetite for their films.
Personal Bio:Myrna Williams was born in Helena, Montana in 1905. Her father was a successful businessman and state congressman. After his death in 1918 her mother permanently moved the family to southern California where Myrna attended high school in Venice. She was the model for a sculpture which was displayed outside of the high school for many decades. Her portrait caught the eye of famous silent film star Rudolph Valentino which eventually led to her gaining work in silent films, changing her last name to Loy.
Myrna was not only an actress but was a lifelong Democrat who was actively involved in political issues through out her life. She put her career on hold in WWII to work with the Red Cross and was so vehemently outspoken against Hitler that she was placed on his blacklist. Continue reading “Introducing…Myrna Loy”