By Barb Pert Templeton
Archibald Alexander Leach. Does it seem like that name would be attached to an attractive leading man? Well, luckily, it’s not.
It was changed to Cary Grant in 1932 when the British born actor was signing a contract with Paramount Pictures and strongly encouraged to lose the Leach.
Now it seems like a vast improvement but seriously, as long as a guy stands, smiles and wise cracks like this beloved iconic Hollywood star, I’m good.
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I believe I first got attached to Mr. Grant after I saw the 1937 comedic farce “The Awful Truth.” The plotline revolves around a divorced couple, Grant and perfect comedic foil, Irene Dunne, who actually don’t want to part ways but neither will admit it.
In a career that included over 50 films, having top of the line leading ladies was nothing new for Grant. The list grew to include Sophia Loren in “Houseboat,” Doris Day in “That Touch of Mink,” and Grace Kelly in to “Catch a Thief.” All three pictures remained in that vein of comedy and romance with a touch of suspense
Beyond the madcap movies Grant also enjoyed great success under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock in a pair of suspenseful spy thrillers, “North by Northwest” with Eva Marie Saint and “Notorious” with Ingrid Bergman.
Truth be told, I am so enamored of this classic film star that if his name and yes, okay his handsome face, are attached to it, I will watch.
Here are three of my absolute, don’t miss, Carey Grant flicks.
My Favorite Wife – 1940 – Directed Garson Kanin for RKO Radio Pictures
Storyline: Nick Arden (Cary Grant) finds himself remarried on the very day his not so late wife, Ellen, (Irene Dunne) returns stateside having been stranded on island with a hunky biologist (Randolph Scott) for seven years. Comedy ensues as Nick, still crazy in-love with his first wife strives to let his second one down easy. He’s taking too long so Ellen adds lots of humorous incidents to the plot including trying to pass off a short balding shoe salesman as her island companion to thwart Nick’s jealousy.
Behind the scenes:
- Leo McCarey was set to direct this film but he had to be replaced when he was injured in a car accident. He would later direct Cary Grant in Once Upon a Honeymoon and An Affair to Remember.
- Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, who play rivals in the movie, lived together on and off between 1932 and 1944.
My take on it: Actually, I don’t know who’s more entertaining in this delightful comedy, Grant or Dunne but it’s definitely lighthearted fun from start to finish. Having him attempt to explain the whole crazy mess to his new wife, an insurance salesman with his first wife’s death benefit and a judge are simply classic Grant, with much facial mugging for the camera.
An Affair to Remember – 1957 – Directed by Leo McCarey for Jerry Wald Productions
Storyline: Notorious playboy Nickie Ferrante (Grant) is finally hooked, set to be married to a wealthy sociate until he meets Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) on board a cruise ship in Europe. A very romantic affair begins despite the fact that they are both engaged to others. They hatch a plan to get untangled from their respective fiancées and if all goes well to meet in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. Of course, as is with love and romance, the plan goes awry.
Behind the scenes:
- At 53-years-old Cary Grant was only 15 years younger than Cathleen Nesbitt, who played his grandmother.
- Ingrid Bergman was the first choice to play Terry McKay. Doris Day was also considered before Deborah Kerr was cast
My take on it: If this movie is on – doesn’t matter if it’s beginning, middle or end – I stop my remote on the channel and tune in. It’s warm, it’s funny and despite some bumps in the road, alas a happy ending.
Charade: – 1963 – Directed by Stanley Donen for Stanley Donen Productions
Storyline: When Regina Lampert (Hepburn) meets Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) on a skiing holiday in France and later returns home to find her husband has been murdered the suspense ensues. Of course romance and comedy are right behind. Seems Regina’s spouse had a shady past and when a foursome of old war buddies begins chasing her, Grant repeatedly steps in to try and save the day.
Behind the scenes:
- It was agreed that Cary Grant would keep all of his clothes on when he took a shower in the film because as he was nearly sixty and slightly overweight
- When Hepburn looks at the receipt of her husband’s possessions during the movie, the date shown is May 4, 1963, which is Audrey Hepburn’s thirty-fourth birthday.
My take on it: When this film opened in a chalet in the French Alps and the faces of Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant soon filled the screen the plot didn’t matter, I was all in. The couple manages to fight off the bad guys while enduring some unique plot twists and despite an obvious age gap, their love story remains believable.