Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant starred in a great film, “Charade”, which was directed by Stanley Donen, even if the production resembles the Hitchcockian style. “Charade” is a wonderful film, full of suspense and action scenes, but it is also a comedy. I enjoyed it very much and I saw it several times. Audrey and Cary are nice together and the costumes designed by Hubert de Givenchy are also iconic.
“North by Northwest” is one of the best films ever made by Alfred Hitchcock. The posters reflect two of the most impressive scenes in the film – the plane attack on the cornfield and the escape on Mount Rushmore. It was a very modern film for its time and it was imitated by many thrillers that were produced in the next decades. Cary Grant was also in excellent shape and his numerous action scenes inspired the filmmakers of the 80’s and 90’s. The cold blonde Eva Marie Saint was also effective in the leading female role, even if one would have liked to see Grace Kelly in this. The villain was wonderfully played by James Mason.
Ava Gardner, Cary Grant, Charles Boyer, Clark Gable, Eleanor Parker, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Greer Garson, Greta Garbo, Hedy Lamarr, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Kim Novak, Laurence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Pickford, Monique classique, Myrna Loy, Nils Asther, Olivia de Havilland, Theda Bara
Deborah is one of my all-time favourite actresses. The first film I ever saw with her was “The Night of the Iguana”. But my favourites turned out to be her two films with her real-life friend, Yul Brynner. The films, for those who don’t know already, are “The King and I” and “The Journey” (the latter being my 3rd all-time favourite film).
Here are some appreciated clips with Deborah that I created over the years…many years ago, when I was still in high school and early college.
The last of the three films in which Cary Grant and Irene Dunne appeared together, “Penny Serenade” depicts the story of a couple who needs to overcome the tragic moments in order to keep their marriage and raise their adopted child. The plot is developed in flashbacks, as Julie (Irene Dunne) listens to a recording, “You Were Meant to Me”. The songs in the film mark the situations that Julie and Mark (Cary Grant) had to solve in the past, including her miscarriage and his financial collapse. Only in the end are they capable to find a miraculous solution and to save their marriage. “Penny Serenade”, the title of the film, is also one of the songs from the collection of records that could be heard throughout the motion picture. This film is said to be Irene Dunne’s personal favourite because of her own true story with the adoption of a child. It was also adapted for the radio in 1944, Dunne reprising the role. “Penny Serenade” earned an Oscar for Best Leading Role (Cary Grant) and it is considered an important romantic drama, directed by George Stevens, a master of such great films like “Giant”, “A Place in the Sun”, and “The Diary of Anne Frank”.
An excellent romantic comedy directed by Garson Kanin, “My Favorite Wife” tells the story of a woman who suddenly disappears during a shipwreck. After 7 years she returns to her husband all of a sudden, only to discover that he has just married another woman. He is accused of bigamy and is even taken to the police, only to be later released when his second marriage is no longer valid. It is wonderful to see Cary Grant between his two lovely ladies, Irene Dunne and Gail Patrick. You will also get to see the handsome Randolph Scott in a very becoming role, that of an attractive swimmer, former lover (probably) of Ellen (Dunne), during the time they stayed on a deserted island after the shipwreck. “My Favorite Wife” was nominated for 3 Oscars, for Best Writing, Original Story (Leo McCarey being not only the producer, but also one of the writers; he excelled in such romantic films like “Love Affair” and its remake “An Affair to Remember”), Best Art Direction, and Best Music, Original Score. The film was later adapted to a more modern version, “Something’s Got to Give”, directed by George Cukor, with Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, and Cyd Charisse in the leading roles. Unfortunately, the filming was suddenly interrupted after Monroe’s unexpected death, in 1962, but it was recently released to the general public, after it was discovered in an archive, despite the fact that it was unfinished. The edited version is around 30 minutes in length. I, personally, prefer “My Favorite Wife”, even if I am sure that “Something’s Got to Give”, had it been finished, would have been one of Marilyn’s best films and best performances in her entire career.
Another wonderful screwball comedy – but somehow sinister, maybe because of the WWII that influenced the Noir style – “Arsenic and Old Lace” was directed by Frank Capra and it stars Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, and Peter Lorre among the big names. If it hadn’t been a comedy, I would have considered it a film noir, because the plot involves several unsolved crimes that were made by Mortimer Brewster’s family, including his old and apparently kind aunts and his Dracula-like brother. There are many unforgettable scenes and the film obviously criticizes the American traditional family – which is depicted here as a group of maniacs -, but also the classical love story, with happy ending. Mortimer doesn’t particularly want to marry Elaine, who is his most ardent lover, and he repeatedly avoids her, even more when he finds out that he is the descendant of a criminal family. The film is much more appreciated today than it was at the time it was released, because it is an unusual comedy that combines romance with crime. It is a black comedy at superlative, and for those who like this kind of productions, “Arsenic and Old Lace” is certainly a gem of a film, that will offer you a very pleasant time.
One of the most delightful screwball comedies of the 1930s, “The Awful Truth” brings to our attention the lovely couple Cary Grant-Irene Dunne, who appeared together in yet other two great films, “Penny Serenade” and “My Favourite Wife”. The story of “The Awful Truth” involves a difficult relationship of two young married people, Lucy and Jerry Warriner. Despite the fact that both of them seek for another partner and decide to get a divorce, in the end they realise that they still have a lot in common and that they can’t live without each other. To our amusement, there is another key-character in this comedy, and that is Mr. Smith, played by Skippy, the dog best-known as Asta in “The Thin Man” series. The film was directed by Leo McCarey, who excelled at directing comedies and dramas, such as “Love Affair” and its remake, “An Affair to Remember”. You will get to admire Irene Dunne in some nice musical numbers, as she possessed a splendid soprano voice. “The Awful Truth” earned an Oscar for Best Director and other five nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing, Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. I highly recommend you to watch this beautiful creation of Hollywood of the 1930s, as you will certainly have a very enjoyable time!