Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dawn's Top 10 Favorite "Cary Grant" Films

That Touch of Mink(1962). Romantic/comedy starring: Cary Grant, Doris Day, baseball stars Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra make cameo appearances. The film was Grant's last role in a romantic lead. Although, in his next role he romanced Audrey Hepburn in Charade (1963), she was the pursuer at Grant's request, because of the 25-year age difference. In one of my favorite scenes in the classic film, That Touch of Mink, is when the couple go to an under-construction apartment building, Philip (Cary Grant) makes a proposal which is not quite what Cathy (Doris Day) was expecting...

Video: the surprise proposal....

North by Northwest(1959). Thriller, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. North by Northwest, is a story of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by secret agents, who want to smuggle out microfilm containing government secrets. In one of one my favorite scenes, is when Cary Grant's character Roger, is waiting alongside a deserted road in the middle of empty farm fields where a crop duster is flying over head. The crop duster turns towards Roger and makes several attacking passes at him. Roger hides in a corn field, but the plane dusts the field with a chemical powder, forcing Roger back into the open. Spotting an oncoming tanker truck, Roger flags it down and stands directly in its path, forcing the tanker to stop. The plane swoops down at him and smashes into the tanker. When passers-by stop at the scene, Roger steals a pickup and drives back to the hotel.

The aircraft seen flying in the scene is a Naval Aircraft Factory N3N Canary, a World War II Navy pilot trainer sometimes converted for crop-dusting. The aircraft that hits the truck and explodes is a wartime Stearman (Boeing Model 75) trainer. Like its N3N "look a like", many were used for agricultural purposes through the 1970's. The plane was piloted by Bob Coe, a local cropduster from Wasco. Hitchcock placed replicas of square Indiana highway signs in the scene.

The gray suit worn by Cary Grant throughout almost the entire film was considered the best suit in film history and the most influential on men's style, stating that it has since been copied for Tom Cruise's character in Collateral and Ben Affleck's character in Paycheck. Writer Todd McEwen, who called it "gorgeous," wrote a short story "Cary Grant's Suit" which tells the story from the viewpoint of the suit.

Houseboat (1958). Romantic/comedy starring Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer, Paul Petersen, Charles Herbert and Mimi Gibson. My favorite scene in the film, is when Grants character Tom begins to date Carolyn and buys her a dress for the country club dance. Just as Carolyn and her friends arrive and after one of them insults Cinzia, Tom orders them from the houseboat. He then takes Cinzia to the country club dance and as they kiss and then he realizes he is in love with her...

Video: With friends like these who needs enemies...

To Catch a Thief (1955). Romantic/thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The movie stars Cary Grant as   cat burglar, who has to save his reformed reputation by catching a new "cat" preying on the wealthy tourists of the French Riviera. Grace Kelly, is his romantic interest. My favorite scene in the film, is when Grace as Francie, greets Cary as John wearing a beautiful diamond necklace trying to taunt him with it. John knows the gems are fake and he and Francie kiss, as fireworks  light up the night sky...

Video: Fireworks...

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948). Comedy film starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The house built for the 1948 film still stands on the old Fox Ranch property in Malibu Creek State Park in the hills a few miles north of Malibu. It is used as an office for the Park. One of my favorites scenes is when, as soon as work gets underway, unforeseen construction problems and questionable workmen begin to work on the Blandings home. An embedded stone "ledge" requires blasting before the foundation can be laid and the water well cannot be built until costly drilling reveals a water source...

Video: That is no rock..

The Bishop's Wife (1947). Romantic/comedy starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven in a story about an angel who helps a bishop with his problems. In one of my favorite scenes, after retiring to his study, Henry prays for guidance and a few moments later, Dudley mysteriously arrives and informs Henry that he is an angel sent in answer to his prayer. Henry is skeptical and when Julia comes in a few moments later, Dudley introduces himself as Henry's assistant, which pleases her and upsets Henry....

Video: The first meeting..

Suspicion (1941). Romantic/psychological/thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple dealing with strange events ...

Video: put on a happy face..

Only Angels Have Wings (1939). Starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur. It is regarded as being among Hawks' finest films, particularly in its portrayal of the professionalism of the pilots, its atmosphere and the awesome flying scenes!

Video: All clear...


Topper (1937). Comedy, starring Constance Bennett and Cary Grant. The film was adapted by Eric Hatch, Jack Jevne and Eddie Moran from the novel by Thorne Smith. Directed by Norman Z. McLeod. The supporting cast includes: Roland Young, Billie Burke and Eugene Pallette.

New York banker Cosmo Topper's wife Clara, insists that they live a well-ordered life, the complete opposite of bank owners George and Marion Kerby, who live for fun and excitement.

After a board of directors meeting, the Kerbys try to convince Topper to stop doing what his wife says and "live." On the drive back to their country home, just after Marion says that she wants to make Topper over, George, loses control of their speeding car and they crash. Though they feel all right, George and Marian quickly realize that they are transparent and died in the crash.

As Topper thinks over the Kerbys' fate, he receives delivery of their newly repaired car and takes it for a drive, after the mechanic says that he is not the type for the car and Clara, forbids him to buy it. Speeding along, Topper, swerves off the road in the very spot where the Kerby's died. Although, shocked to see the Kerbys' spirits, Topper, likes Marion's ideas to make him a new man.

The Kerby's then take Topper to their New York apartment, where he dances, then passes out from drinking. Deciding that Topper needs a Bromo Seltzer, George and Marion de-materialize and help Topper to their car, then cause a near riot when some chauffeurs get into an altercation with Topper. A policeman hauls Topper, off to court where he is charged with drunken and disorderly conduct. Reporters, recognize his name and news hits the papers.

The next day, Clara, is certain that her dream of socializing with the prominent Mrs. Grace Stuyvesant is now impossible. To her shock, however, Mrs. Stuyvesant is dying to meet Clara's now notorious husband and invites them to a party.

At the bank, Topper's employees look at him with new respect and Marion, appears to get him to take her for a soda. Instead, she stops to shop at a lingerie store, where she sees a pair of  flying lace underpants. Topper, stuffs them in his pocket then accidentally drops them in front of Clara back at home.

When she accuses him of infidelity, Topper packs a bag and drives off. Marion, then appears in the car and suggests that they check into the Seabreeze hotel and have some fun. Meanwhile, George materializes and looks for Marion, at the Topper home, where he tells Clara, that she forced Topper away.

Back at the hotel, Marion's, constant appearing and disappearing gets Topper, into trouble with house detective Casey. When, George arrives, the situation worsens until Topper finally begs to leave. On the way home, George suddenly speeds up the car and says he can't stop and the care crashes at the same spot again.

Topper, is not dead, only unconscious. He says that he would rather be with George and Marion than back home, but they convince him to change his mind. Topper, awakens in his own bed and Clara goes to him, wearing the lace underpants. Knowing, that Topper, will now be all right, George and Marion, say goodbye as Clara and Topper embrace.

Video: Movie in full..

Some great sight gags made this a big hit for Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, who certainly are a handsome leading couple but it's Roland Young, as "Cosmo Topper," who steals the show. He's a stiff old man who quickly loosens up and the transformation is fun to watch. Bennett was a legitimate 1930's glamour girl who looks just great in here and pairs off well with the handsome Grant. The two of them also exhibit a good comedic touch. Even more handsome than those two was the automobile, what a great-looking sports car!

The fancy finned-back car driven by the Kerbys was custom built by the Bohman & Schwartz Co. using a 1936 Buick Roadmaster chassis. Originally the producers had in mind to use a coffin-nosed Cord, but it wasn't large enough. In the custom-made Buick there were special compartments for camera equipment, etc. The Buick resembles a Cord, but the supercharger pipes on the side were just decorations (a Cord comes with an actual supercharger). After filming the Buick was bought by the Gilmore Oil Co. and was used for promotional purposes for many years. It was updated in 1954 with a Chrysler Imperial chassis and drive train. The car driven by Cosmo Topper is a 1936 Lincoln Model K.


  1. Dawn - all Cary films are my favorites!I might have substituted "Charade" and Notorious" for "That Touch of Mink" and "Houseboat," but really, how can you choose?

  2. Dawn, I just finished a similar Cary Grant post yesterday (which I'll publish at a future date). I love your list and was especially pleased to see it included TO CATCH A THIEF. I think it's an underrated Hitchcock pic!


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