Monday, January 18, 2010

In memory....

Cary Grant, circa 1959 ("North By Northwest").

In Memory: Cary Grant 1904-1986

BY ROGER EBERT / December 1, 1986

Everyone knows that Cary Grant was the most charming man in the history of the movies, but charm alone did not make him a star, and indeed he rarely offered only charm in a performance. There was always something underneath, a quiet reserve, a certain coldness, a feeling that he was evaluating his leading ladies even as he romanced them - and that dual nature is what made him so important in so many different kinds of films. He brought comedy to thrillers, danger to romance, and even a certain poignancy to slapstick farce. He always gave us more than we bargained for.

Look, for example, at his famous kissing scene with Ingrid Bergman in Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946). In the movie, they are in love with each other, but Grant is a U.S. intelligence official trying to convince Bergman to marry Claude Rains, the leader of a postwar Nazi spy ring.Hitchcock's shot begins on a balcony overlooking Rio. Grant begins to kiss Bergman, and as they stay in each other's arms, they move slowly inside, where Grant picks up the telephone and makes a call, still holding her and kissing her, and then he guides them toward the door while she breathlessly makes dinner plans and he smiles rather remotely at her and then leaves, saying "goodbye" with an ironic smile before closing the door.

This is the kind of scene that perfectly captures what was unique about Cary Grant as a movie actor. He had the kind of handsome charm and sex appeal that made him completely convincing as a romantic leading man - but mere seduction never seemed very high on his list of priorities in the movies. He and his characters often had hidden agendas, secrets they were more interested in than love itself.

read the rest here...

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