The Cary Grant List

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Message
Author
User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: VOTE OR DIE: the Criterion Forum Dot Org Goes Hollywood

#26 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:52 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:47 pm
Here's an obscurity: the Killer of Fossil Gulch, a silent western shot by Betsy Drake and starring Grant in dual roles (as both the victim and juror of the titular fiend) alongside his kids. Uploaded to Vimeo by a relative of Drake. Someone should tell her Criterion or any other label would probably pay good money to license it for a future Grant release!
Interesting, this is one of the missing links from wikipedia, I'll be curious to track down the other two... if I can even figure out what they are

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#27 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:02 pm

The Killer of Fossil Gulch was terrible, with the only saving grace being Grant's animated perf as the "victim" at the halfway point. It's clear that he's having so much fun and letting loose in fresh ways I've never seen before, and it makes sense it's with his family as if part of a home movie. I can't hate it for that reason alone- and yes, it's fun to see him pop back up in a reincarnated cameo with a ridic painted stache.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#28 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:14 pm

Very petty of me but I sure wish they’d found that killer a shirt that fit

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#29 Post by Matt » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:56 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:54 pm
I watched George Stevens' Penny Serenade last night, and while I don't think the film quite ends up working, there is a very effective scene wherein Grant is called upon to get to the verge of tears while pleading with a judge that is effective only because the viewer brings their baggage of what "Cary Grant" means and seeing him so vulnerable and quivering makes it that more shocking and successfully engaging.
This is actually the film I had in mind when I asked in the other thread if we should be ranking based on the quality of an actor's performance or the overall film. I find it an almost unwatchably, cheaply maudlin film, but it's such an interesting performance of Archie Leach plays Cary Crant playing Archie Leach (or whatever permutation you might prefer) that it's memorable and distinct. I can't imagine that it would come near my top ten, though.
Red Screamer wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:35 pm
Does anyone recommend the new Grant bio?
There are actually two! I read Eyman's, and it is very good (as you would expect from him). I wish it were longer, some of his films get mere mentions. There's a lot that I knew already, but I really valued the new-to-me insights into Grant's crippling insecurities as an actor. People often say "oh, he always just played Cary Grant,"—I used to say it myself—but "playing Cary Crant" was apparently an exhausting, nerve-wracking, never-ending job. I hope to get to the other book soon. David Thomson (linked above) says they are complementary works.

If anyone's making a reading list, I strongly recommend the chapter on Grant in James Naremore's Acting in the Cinema (though he's also referenced throughout the book, not least in the chapter about K. Hepburn). I was once invited to give a lecture on Grant to an acting class (one of the highlights of my career in higher ed), and Naremore's work was the foundation of anything worthwhile I had to say. Or there's this recent Zoom talk (if you're not already sick of Zoom talks).

User avatar
HinkyDinkyTruesmith
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:21 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#30 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:08 pm

God, there are so many Grant masterpieces. Alongside the usual suspects––Notorious, His Girl Friday, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, and Only Angels Have WIngs––I count both The Talk of the Town and In Name Only among my very favorite films. In fact, I rewatched The Talk of the Town three times last year. I've still yet to see Penny Serenade, despite my love of George Stevens, and it'll be nice to revisit I Was a Male War Bride.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#31 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:34 pm

I watched Penny Serenade today that thought it was a snooze overall, though interesting to see Grant flex his star persona- not only towards the melodramatic symptoms of anti-masculine "weakness" in the groveling with the judge, but as a man out of his element in the early caretaking scenes, unable to stay composed or treat a domestic task with his usual stamp of confidence. The scene where he cradles the baby in the silliest possible movement is terrific because it's a funny visual gag and also heartening to see America's poster-boy of self-actualized masculinity embracing his ignorance and beaming at small success in the same uneasy way as all of us (or those of my friends who have children) have and do, outside of a screwball comedy.

I probably watch North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief more than any other movies on a consistent basis- at least once or twice a year each, and recently revisited both but To Catch a Thief is a far more enigmatic Grant perf. He doesn't really flirt with Kelly in the traditional sense, and keeps his processing of who the cat is close to the chest, while the only real 'cinematic evidence' we have of his morality is the early breezy mention of doing prison time and joining the resistance to rehabilitate. Otherwise he's a dense mystery on paper, but superficially charming, and his surface-level charms are what solely sells the audience smoothly accepting his righteousness and bleed in with enough screen time into developing authentic humanity. I still squint to see if Grant will make more direct passes at Kelly or emote closer to Roger Thornhill's transparent relatability, but it's a testament to his star power that he makes the role work so well- it's a lot more challenging to pull off than most of his characters who give the audience lobs to work with. His charm -without fed complementary material- becomes his soul.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#32 Post by Matt » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:24 am

Quick plug for these films currently available on Watch TCM (with expiration dates):

My Favorite Wife (1/26)
Charade (1/29)
Every Girl Should Be Married (2/3 - not top 10 material, but rather enjoyable. Co-stars the soon-to-be third Mrs. Grant)
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (2/3 - very fun performance, even if Grant hated making it)

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#33 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:08 pm

I just watched the 1933 McLeod Alice in Wonderland, and ho boy, it's worth it just to see Grant as the Mock Turtle sobbing away, making awful puns, and singing "Turtle Soup" hysterically between blubbering tears. I need to know (I'm sure someone who's read one of his bios can attest) if that was actually Grant in the costume hamming it up to the point of shrilly crackling his vocal cords, as it would only make me appreciate the bizarre physical sides of the perf even more.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#34 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:10 pm

I strongly doubt it. Best to look at it as voice work

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#35 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:33 pm

I did some digging and apparently the actors all did wear their costumes- though the voices were surely dubbed over for the final product

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#36 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:36 pm

I would be curious of sources for that, because it sounds like exactly the kind of lie the studio would want the fan press to repeat

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#37 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:50 pm

I just googled "alice and wonderland 1933 cast in costumes" and clicked on every article on the first page and some on the second- and though not "official sources" more than just a few say that these actors wore their costumes- but yeah, you could be right about the lie spreading and continuing to this day without anyone to vocalize from experience. I'll be curious what the bios say, if anything.

I did find it funny that one Letterboxd reviewer mentions that they could see Grant's face as the Mock Turtle opens its mouth in one quick instant, but I just rewatched the scene and unless some pristine restoration exists I don't know about, I'm calling a bluff

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#38 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:36 pm

That Touch of Mink was a pretty dull sex comedy with an equally dull Grant perf. Doris Day has some decent moments though- the baseball dugout bit worked for me, especially the exchange between the Ump and Yogi Berra. The material was certainly begging for more inspired execution- like the homosexual misinterpretation that could have played into the risqué clash of mores within this in-between generational period but went nowhere.

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: The Cary Grant List

#39 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:07 pm

Was the Olive Signature edition of Father Goose a limited release? Because it's out of stock on Amazon.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: VOTE OR DIE: the Criterion Forum Dot Org Goes Hollywood

#40 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:28 pm

soundchaser wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:49 pm
His performance in In Name Only, which I just watched the other night, is definitely worth a look. I don’t know how often the world got to see a totally helpless Grant, but he pulls it off here.
I'll second this, but what I really enjoyed about this film was the tonal flexibility that allowed for tragic and comic moods to coexist dependent on the external intrusions tightening or loosening the noose on Grant. The melodramatic smearing didn't always work for me, but it's a testament to Grant's natural comic charms that the film actually sold itself to me as a screwball comedy for a few scenes! The ensuing action continues to be funny, Grant provoking people around him cheekily even after the first bout of grave seriousness passes through the narrative, and the methods by which romance crosses with humor and drama while that passion remains steady as a focal point is something to behold. I particularly liked the “I don’t wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’” bonding between Grant and the drunk as a sweet moment that breathes comedy into deep melancholy, providing a familiar lightness we often force into dark times. I don't think this is a great film, but it's a good one, and far better than its "elusive love against social mores" recycled plot would suggest on description. The ending is the typically ridiculous one of a medical professional, who also happens to be a psych expert, prescribing a holistic approach to save the day with love, but it manages to work in the context of the two lead performances- especially Lombard's tragic acceptance of their circumstances, which is formed steadily with enough humility to fully earn her resurgence. Also, did The Godfather rip off the door-closing final shot from this?

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#41 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:35 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:07 pm
Was the Olive Signature edition of Father Goose a limited release? Because it's out of stock on Amazon.
Many Olive releases are out of stock on Amazon, you’ll have to poke around other retailers. Of course, I’d recommend not bothering with the movie at all, but to each their own Grant!

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#42 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:36 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:07 pm
Was the Olive Signature edition of Father Goose a limited release? Because it's out of stock on Amazon.
It might be, it's going for a pretty penny on eBay

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: The Cary Grant List

#43 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:59 pm

The thing with the Signature edition according to the blu-ray.com reviews is that it uses another master, a 4K remaster. Kind of frustrating to purchase a blu if you know there's a better version available. It's got a high enough IMDB rating that I'm willing to give it a blind-buy shot.

I'm going to try to see everything I haven't seen that's at least a 6.6, which is a fair amount of films. And also whatever extra there is on that Vault collection domino recommended (thanks for that domino). Warner Archive releases Room for One More on Tuesday, which I haven't seen.

User avatar
soundchaser
Leave Her to Beaver
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:32 am

Re: The Cary Grant List

#44 Post by soundchaser » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:16 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:02 pm
The Killer of Fossil Gulch was terrible, with the only saving grace being Grant's animated perf as the "victim" at the halfway point. It's clear that he's having so much fun and letting loose in fresh ways I've never seen before, and it makes sense it's with his family as if part of a home movie. I can't hate it for that reason alone- and yes, it's fun to see him pop back up in a reincarnated cameo with a ridic painted stache.
This reminded me of home movies we’d make with my dad years ago (there’s one where he gives a similarly animated performance as the villain). I agree wholeheartedly that Grant is the best part, but I don’t necessarily feel like it should be judged beyond that, because it’s clearly meant to be just a bit of fun. But then the mustache cracked me up, so what do I know? (Side note: I assume this was made on Super 8? I love the way it handles color.)

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#45 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:39 am

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:59 pm
It's got a high enough IMDB rating that I'm willing to give it a blind-buy shot.
I didn't like Father Goose much either, but it does give you a very different Grant- unshaven, dirty, drunken, feeble, erratic, and at the mercy of others albeit in a lighthearted presentation. While the movie itself isn't very funny, Grant's inversion of his star image is fun to watch- and I liked it more than most of the unseen late Grants I've been watching lately. I can't say it's definitively worth owning, but you could fare worse, and at the very least it's an engaging bit of mediocre comfort food- the kind of film I wouldn't mind watching when I'm sick. It's also a cheekily contextual capsule that he's on his way out of the biz!

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#46 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:12 pm

senseabove wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:09 pm
Cukor's completely unstable, tonally mad, gender-bending picaresque, Sylvia Scarlett.
Caught up with this one this morning and thought it was a messy, perverse ride through moods that emulated the labile psychology that could occur if one really did shift their hormones around to become different sexes; like a Jekyll/Hyde phenomenon initiated by self-will under the guise of purposing the long con when it’s really about vying for pause in the short ones. Romantic engagements (and I don’t mean deep romance, but broad sloppy tests of intimacy between Hepburn and practically every character she comes across) are recontextualized away from a final objective of achievement and instead reveal their intentions in fleeting goals of being seen and heard and forming identity based on harmonic tones wherever they can be found, often in the queerest of places. This happens subtly (well, this film isn’t very subtle, but in comparison to itself) by dressing up a mission of deception and unveiling vulnerabilities within a lie- heightening the confusion for Hepburn’s own desires and aims in a twisted animated product for us to watch, scratching our heads and nodding along simultaneously. What a way to demonstrate how confounding it is for one to unlock their emotional parts and self-actualize against both norms and their own internal barriers? The dance between self-consciousness and confidence is never as pretty as it’s depicted on film in this era, and thanks to this movie for breaking the mold.

I didn’t like this as much as its big defenders here, but it’s worth seeing again before the end of this project as it sits in my mind- I have a feeling revisits will be kind to the film (and if we ever to a Hepburn list, it’s hard to imagine it not charting highly on audacity alone). Reading through the forum, I came across Cold Bishop’s writeup, which is a terrific reading and worth looking at for anyone who loves this film.
Last edited by therewillbeblus on Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#47 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:14 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:59 pm
The thing with the Signature edition according to the blu-ray.com reviews is that it uses another master, a 4K remaster. Kind of frustrating to purchase a blu if you know there's a better version available. It's got a high enough IMDB rating that I'm willing to give it a blind-buy shot.
Don't know if you have the option in Canada but in the states you can rent it for $2.99 from Amazon. I'd... recommend trying before plunking down serious cash. This is not a visually interesting movie, I don't think a resto will help anything. Here's my writeup from a few years ago

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:49 am
Father Goose (Ralph Nelson 1964) Grizzled boater Cary Grant is bamboozled into manning a remote pacific island to watch for Japanese aircraft in WWII, ends up through Hollywood magic forced to share his island retreat with Leslie Caron’s schoolmarm and her seven charges, all preteen girls. If that sounds like a bad sitcom, well, of course it does, because that’s all this this. The clashing of Grant and Caron is never funny and since both characters are so obnoxious, their eventual coupling is one of those “You could both do better” scenarios. This somehow won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, because giving Grant a tic like wanting to drink scotch and mentioning it every thirty seconds indicates a mastery of screenplay composition. (To be fair, it was up against one of the most bizarre lineups imaginable: A Hard Day’s Night, One Potato, Two Potato, the Organizer, and L'Homme de Rio)

And for good measure, here's my rebuttal of the Sylvia Scarlett reclamations in the 30s List Project thread
domino harvey wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:44 pm
knives wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:03 am
domino harvey wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:22 pm
Also, Cold Bishop, in honor of you adopting the best post formatting, I'll bump Sylvia Scarlett up in my viewing queue
It's probably Hepburn's best of the decade so definitely not a poor choice.
It gives me no great pleasure to say so, but I dutifully watched Sylvia Scarlett as promised and hated it. Hyperbole stronger than even my usual brand constantly came to mind while viewing: worst Hepburn performance, obviously-- turns out contemporary critical notices were too kind if anything; worst Cukor movie-- I hope, I don't want to see one worse than this; worst film I've watched specifically for this project-- sadly accurate, unless one counts sitting through Up Pops the Devil for the Lombard thread. I thought Cold Bishop did a great and noble job extolling the virtues as he saw them, but I think he hit the film's biggest problem dead-on when he described it as a hangout film. This movie presents a variable I hadn't considered, because these kind of movies are usually so great, but: what happens if you are stuck in a hangout film where you cannot stand every single character on screen? This movie had everything going for it-- con artists, bold sexual politics, gifted actors and director-- and blows it at every turn. I am not exaggerating when I say-- with the exception of parts of the finale on the train, which at least has a cute idea in the feigned ignorance of both lovebirds before blowing even that-- I hated every minute of this film. I found it obnoxious, idiotic, shrill, and an insult to decent Hollywood contrivance. If Cold Bishop is correct that this is a foundational text in queer studies, that saddens me on a deep level, as here's another atypical bad Hollywood film that reinforces negative misconceptions of the era's film-making quality for audiences not well-versed in the period.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#48 Post by Matt » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:20 pm

Father Goose is free to watch on Pluto TV (there might be ads, but it looks fine). I don’t love the movie (can’t stand Leslie Caron in general), but Grant is always charming when working with kids, and this role is a perfect late-career evolution of the curmudgeon-with-a-heart-of-gold persona he perfected in films like Mr. Blandings and Male War Bride. To echo TWBB above, this is something I would watch any time if it were on, but wouldn’t go out of my way to see it a second time. I feel similarly about Room for One More. Grant is great with the kids (especially George “Foghorn” Wilson as Teenie), but the script and the filmmaking are pretty dire. Both of these films will probably make my top 20, but purely on the strength of Grant’s performances.

User avatar
soundchaser
Leave Her to Beaver
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:32 am

Re: The Cary Grant List

#49 Post by soundchaser » Sun Jan 24, 2021 3:43 pm

I just watched Singapore Sue, Grant’s first onscreen appearance, and it is baaaaaaaad. Grant and his sailor friends hang out in a bar harassing the local women, which of course means lots of “me so solly” tripe as a method of flirtation. The leading lady and her local beau sing a few songs, which I assume was the point of the whole exercise, and then it’s over. Main thrust of the film aside, it is interesting to see how early on Grant’s role as a “charmer” was with him (even if it’s deliberately a failed one here), and I’m sure someone more knowledgeable than I could draw a line from here straight through to Suspicion, where his good-looking, fast-talking persona is called into question more openly.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: The Cary Grant List

#50 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jan 24, 2021 4:40 pm

I watched that a few days ago and concur with its awfulness. Grant was cast on the basis of a theatre role, so I wonder what that character was like to make him suited for this self-delusional ‘suave’ sailor

Post Reply