Spring of Cary: Suspicion

Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and Katja from Breath of Hallelujah and I have been watching Cary Grant movies this spring.

Up this week was Suspicion.

This one starred Cary and Joan Fontaine.

It was released in 1941 but takes place in 1938 and is based on a 1932 novel called Before the Fact by Frances Iles.

As soon as you see who directed the film – Alfred Hitchcock – you know this isn’t going to be your regular, happy-go-lucky Cary Grant film.

Here we are again with Cary playing a playboy named Johnnie , which I guess was the popular bad boy name back in the day. Or potential bad boy. This time he is Johnnie Aysgarth.

He meets Lina McLaidlaw (Fontaine) on a train by chance. Or is it by chance?

He sees her again at the horse track, where he is well known.

When he asks the women crowded around him who she is they tell him that she’s not really up his alley.

His response? “I’m a little bored with people up my alley.”

He’s clearly looking for a new conquest.

He’s very excited to meet her and she’s, of course, taken by him because, well, hello. It’s Cary Grant and he’s very delicious in this movie. He even knows she’s taken with him by the fact he finds a newspaper clipping featuring a photograph of him that she’s saved and placed inside the book she is reading.

(An aside: as a glasses wearer, I do think it is unnecessary that she keeps taking off her glasses to look more attractive. That is a minor issue, of course.)

At first it appears that Cary is really pursuing Joan in this film.

The question is why? He seems to have some underlying reasons for his apparent affection,

The movie seems very light hearted and he seems very charming and even full of humor.

But here seems to be something more sinister going on. You can feel it rumbling under the surface.

That rumble starts when Johnnie circumvents a trip to church by demanding she go on a walk with him instead. We immediately cut to a scene of them struggling.

“Now what did you think I was trying to do, kill you?” he asks. “Nothing less than murder could justify such a violent reaction.”

Whoa. Say what?

He claims he just wanted to touch and fix her hair. “Your hair has such exciting possibilities that I became passionate.”

Oh. Okay. Creepy.

He’s very handsy and touchy, even showing her first hand where her occipital maxillary bone is by reaching inside the top of her shirt to touch it. Like um…dude. Back off.

He even tries to kiss her on the hill outside the church and they barely know each other. Very forward and if I were her I would have slapped him but it’s clear the woman hasn’t had a lot of male attention in her life so she is wary, but is clearly eating up his pushy behavior. This is the first time he calls her “monkey face” which becomes his affectionate term for her throughout the movie. One I find irritating and degrading.

When he walks her back to her parents house he tells her he’ll see her at three that afternoon. She says she’s busy but then she hears her father saying she’ll never get married because she’s just not marrying material, she turns around and kisses him hard on the mouth.

From there her obsession begins and she starts pursuing him more than him pursuing her.

Now we, the viewers, are thrown onto a path of constantly wondering what this guy is really all about.

Her father suggests that he is wild and this seems to intrigue her even more. Now she wants him even more and begins calling him and sending letters. All of them go unanswered.

It’s actually a bit sad how desperate she becomes.

She finally meets up with him at a dance and all the girls rush to him but he has eyes only for her. He swings her out onto the dance floor and then out the door where they escape in his car.

“Have you ever been kissed in a car?” he asks.

“Never,” she says.

“Would you like to be?” he asks.

This all seems romantic for the most part, but, yet . . . something is just off.

He seems to be choosing someone who isn’t used to dating or attention from men for a purpose.

The camera angles in this movie are so well done – like all Alfred Hitchcock movies. Spinning cameras while they are kissing and panning out and in at the most interesting times. Then there is the play with light and shadows. They create such foreshadowing and a feeling of foreboding, especially toward the end of the movie when Lina really starts to question the motives of this man, who she incidentally marries.

After they marry, she’s whisked off to Europe for tours and excursions that blows the mind of her usually timid self.

Johnnie must have money, she thinks. He spent all this money and rented a beautiful home for them. But then Johnny asks for her help in paying a friend back $1,000 that he borrowed for the honeymoon and the red flags start flying everywhere. She ignores all those red flags and steps all over them.

I’m not going to give away too much about the movie in case you have never seen it but there is a lot of dark behavior by Cary in this movie and even though he is handsome and charming he is also inconsiderate of others and emotionally manipulative when it comes to his wife. Eventually he’s also outright abusive.

There is also way too much denial from this woman for most of the movie. I feel for her and how she was completely swept up by Cary’s charm, but I have to admit I might have done the same. I mean, that smile. Come on. So captivating.

One of the many odd things about this movie is apparently everyone is supposed to be British and it’s supposed to be in England but almost no one has a British accent.

I found it interesting that Fontaine won an Oscar for this movie and that it was the only Oscar won by any actor in a Hitchcock film. I was shocked that Cary didn’t win and wasn’t even nominated for his role because I really thought he did a phenomenal job of being both charming and creepy.

I also thought it was interesting to see a woman dressed as a man at one of the dinners with a local crime novelist (whose books Johnnie loves to read and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Ahem.), which was not common in movies back then. A blog says that the woman dressed as a man is the female novelist’s wife or partner, but I have no idea. I suppose that’s what is implied but it wasn’t the main focus of that scene.

The film, according to an article on Wikipedia, shows what happens when Hollywood transfers a novel to film because this film changed the intent of the book. The book’s message was about how a person feels knowing they might be murdered. Again, not to give away the end of the movie, this was changed in the film under pressure from the studio and it’s something that Hitchcock was not happy about and apparently complained about for years.

It was his own fault, though. He caved under the pressure and let the screenplay writers write the ending the studio wanted. It is not the same ending as the book and now I want to read the book and see how it differs.

This was definitely my favorite of the movies we watched other than Holiday.

Next week is Notorious, which is another Hitchcock film and that will round out our Spring of Cary features.

I don’t know if we will do a Summer of … whomever or not yet. I am considering doing one on my own but…I haven’t really committed yet.

So, if you want to read Erin’s impressions of Suspicion you can do so HERE and you can read about Katja’s views HERE.

Spring of Cary: Operation Petticoat

For Spring Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumb, Kajta of Breath of Hallelujah, and I have been watching and writing about Cary Grant movies. I always add this disclaimer: the movies we watched were chosen because I had never seen them before, not because they are his best. I was trying to watch movies of his I had not seen so thought I’d do a challenge similar to my Summer of Paul last summer.

Now, with that disclaimer out of the way, last week we delayed writing about Operation Petticoat because Erin and I both had busy weeks and felt frazzled. We found out later that Katja also had a weird week so that worked out well.

Okay, now back to the movie, which is a comedy and that is really what I needed last week and still need this week. I find it surprising that this movie, out of all of Cary’s movies was actually the highest grossing of his career at $9.3 million. It was extremely popular when it was released in 1959 and is still considered the highest-grossing comedy of all time. Crazy, right?

Anyhow, we open with Cary Grant in a naval officer’s uniform.

This is actually a photograph from the end, but close enough.

At this point, I pause and sigh as I admire the view. I pause the film for a moment and sigh again.

In a world where men are being feminized more and more, it is refreshing to see a real man looking like a real man in uniform. Again, in case you don’t understand what I am saying, he does look nice in a uniform.

Now, on with the show.

Cary is an admiral in the Navy in the beginning of the movie. He’s gone back to a submarine that he was once the captain of. He finds his way to the captain’s cabin and waits for him to arrive and while he does he reminisces about when he was captain and all the craziness that happened one day in the beginning of the U.S.’s involvement in World War II.

Here is a bit of background and plot of the movie from Wikipedia so I don’t have to explain it all in my awkward way.:

In 1959, U. S. Navy Rear Admiral Matt Sherman (Cary Grant) boards the obsolete submarine USS Sea Tiger, prior to her departure for the scrapyard. Sherman, her first commanding officer, begins reading his wartime personal logbook, and a flashback begins.

On December 10, 1941, a Japanese air raid sinks Sea Tiger while she is docked at the Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines. Lieutenant Commander Sherman and his crew begin repairs, hoping to sail for Darwin, Australia before the Japanese overrun the port. Believing there is no chance of repairing the submarine, the squadron commodore transfers most of Sherman’s crew to other boats, but promises Sherman that he will have first call on any available replacements. Lieutenant (junior grade) Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), an admiral’s aide, is reassigned to Sea Tiger despite a total lack of submarine training or experience.”

Nick, in fact, has so little experience he walks up in an all-white dress uniform and talks about all the mundane and unimportant things he did for the admiral. None of it includes being at sea.

Nick does have another talent – ideas for how to get supplies that the captain will need to get his ship running again.

His ideas are “less than proper” shall we say and it turns out the admiral’s aide isn’t a waste of space after all. While the commander thought he was soft, it turns out he’s a real con-man, which is what is needed to get the submarine back on its way to Australia.

Nick strikes deals with ex-cons, witchdoctors, and many others to make sure they can get their supplies or help.

While out to see they find an island on and on that island are nurses who were stranded there when their plane had to land in an emergency because they were being fired at by the Japanese.

Cary/Matt isn’t really very interested in taking the nurses on his ship of all men, but the men, of course, are thrilled.

Many suggestive and flirty comments begin at this point, especially between Nick and Second Lt. Barbara Duran who he offers his pajamas to on her first night aboard.

In this moment things become quite bawdy (though not dirty) when she says she couldn’t possibly take his pajamas and he says it is totally fine as long as he is not in them at the same time. When she asks what he’s going to wear he says, “I’ll take the bottoms, if you like the tops. Do you like the tops? You can have the bottoms if you want.”

Oh, dear.

Matt tries to take the women to an army base but the Army says they can’t take the women without the proper orders because the Japanese are closing in. It is because the Japanese are closing in that Matt allows Nick to set up a casino-like operation where enlisted men can bring them the parts they need and get paid for them. The hull was damaged in the initial attack and the torpedo man would like some paint to fix the chips and nicks in it. The only issue is that they can’t get their hands on any gray paint so they finally settle on red and white. We all know what color that makes so eventually the hull is painted – yes, pink.

As you can imagine, this makes the submarine a perfect target and creates even more hilarious moments on board as they try to make their way to safety. The real problem with the pink submarine and then some repairs that still need to be taken care of, is that eventually, their own side doesn’t know that it is them. I won’t tell you how they finally let the U.S. Navy know it’s them and not the Japanese, but let’s just say it involves some unmentionables.

A little bit of trivia from Wikipedia: Tony Curtis took credit for the idea for the movie because he joined the Navy during World War II to work on a submarine partly because he had seen Cary’s movie Destination Tokyo. After the war and after he became a star, Tony said he’d love to be in a movie with Cary where Cary would be a submarine captain.

An actress who was going to be in the movie actually pulled out because she felt there were too many sex jokes. She was probably right, but the jokes were still way tamer than the jokes that are in movies today.

One risqué quote that did crack me up from Cary was, “It’s like watching a striptease. Don’t ask how it’s done. Just enjoy what is coming off.”

The U.S. Navy supported the movie and allowed it to be filmed around Naval Station Key West, which is now called the Truman Annex of Naval Station Key West. The submarine was portrayed by three different World War II-era submarines.

I kept being too technical watching this movie and saying “You can’t bring a submarine up and down like that.”

My husband had to keep reminding me that this is meant to be a goofball comedy. “It is a typical Blake Edwards comedy.” Which I guess means that Blake Edward created crazy and unrealistic comedies.

And, yes, in case you are wondering or don’t know, the show Operation Petticoat (which I have never seen) was based on the movie.

Overall I really enjoyed this movie and it came at a time I needed something silly.

To catch up on what Erin thought of the movie you can find her blog here (the post might be late today) and you can find Katja’s blog here (her post might also be late but it will be up later).

Here is the original trailer

Next up to finish up Spring of Cary:

Suspicion (May 25)

Notorious (May June 1)

I’d love to do a Summer of Bogart and watch Humphrey Bogart movies, but I haven’t run that by Erin or Katja yet. I’ll see what they think. Maybe I’ll do it on my own for fun.

Spring of Cary: Holiday

Here we are to another week of Spring of Cary where Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I are watching Cary Grant movies for the spring. Katja from Breath of Hallelujah is joining in when she is able to.

I chose the list of movies from the ones of Cary’s I hadn’t watched before.

Our movie this week is Holiday and it was released in 1938, so it was one of Cary’s early films.

The movie kicks off with Johnny Case (Cary) coming back from a visit out of town where he says he has fallen in love with a woman and is going to marry her.

His friends don’t believe him and think he’s going to be destitute with a woman and her family leaching off of him.

They have nothing to worry about because when Johnny goes to the address that the woman he wants to marry gave him he finds out her family is super duper rich and live in a house that looks like, as he describes it, Grand Central Station.

The potential bride-to-be, Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), lets him know she’s from the famous, well-to-do Seton family. She also tells him that her father will expect him to start working with the company and become a businessman and Johnny really isn’t sure that’s something he’s interested in. He just wants to have fun. Like he told his friends at the beginning of the movie:

“She wants the life I want, the home I want, the fun I want.”

But does Julia really want all that? We will have to find out.

After Johnny first arrives at the big, fancy house, Julia tells Johnny she’s going to go to church and tell her father about them, and on their way out the door, in walks Julia’s sister Linda (Katherine Hepburn), who is very intrigued with this man her sister says she’s going to marry. It is clear that Linda has an entirely different spirit than Julia. A much freer spirit.

Linda wants to make sure that Johnny is good enough for the sister she loves. Deep down she doesn’t want Julia to get married. We learn later that one reason she doesn’t want Julia to get married is because she doesn’t want Julia to move out of the house and have a home of her own, This will leave Linda alone to be bored and unsure of her own future. For now, she’s simply rattling around in the big house where the men in the family and their goal of succeeding is the main focus and she is expected to attend business parties.

Early on we learn that Julia and Linda’s mother has died at some point in the past, but she was a fun mother who wanted her children to stay somewhat grounded so she had a playroom built in the house that featured more common furniture and the tools each child needed to explore their passions in life (a drum set, paints, and workout equipment for example).

Johnny isn’t very interested in impressing the patriarch of the family. He wants to work for a bit to save some money and then take several years off of work and go back to work when he learns why he’s been working his whole life. This is what he tells Linda, saying he wants to take a bit of a holiday in between his working years. The term “holiday” is sort of a British term to me but I know he means a type of break or vacation.

Linda likes the sound of that because she’d like to take a holiday from her rather mundane life where she feels like her family has lost touch with – well, each other. She longs for the days when her mother was alive and everything felt more real and wasn’t all about money.

Linda can tell right from the beginning that Johnny is a free spirit and while Julia is nice, she is not a free spirit. She is a “this is the way we’ve always done it and it needs to be done this way still” type of person.

As much as Linda is worried about Johnny ruining Julia’s spirit, she also seems worried that Julia will do the same to Johnny.

It all comes to a head at the New Year’s Eve party where Julia and Linda’s father announces the couple’s engagement but Linda refuses to come to it because she was going to throw a smaller, less public, and more intimate party for her sister instead.

The sisters also have a brother, Ned, who keeps himself liquored up to deal with life.

This was really just a fun movie and I absolutely loved Katherine Hepburn in it. Critics called this her comeback movie after she had developed a reputation with RKO Pictures as being box office poison. I feel that in this movie she really showed them that they made a mistake. One critic in 1938 said the same, writing, “”If she [Hepburn] is slipping, as Independent Theatre Owners claim, then her ‘Linda’ should prove that she can come back–and has.”

She was sweet and touching in this movie and just pulled me into Linda’s world so easily. She and Cary had an amazing chemistry and as much as I liked Cary in this movie, I was mesmerized by her performance and simply impressed with his.

I really enjoyed Cary’s youthful exuberance in this movie. According to Wikipedia, he was 34 when the movie was made. He just seemed more chipper and happy in this movie than the previous movies I’ve seen him in. Since Cary was much younger in this movie, he was able to pull off a lot more of the physical comedy. Katherine got in on some of her own physical comedy during at least one scene.

This was one of four movies that Cary and Katherine were in together. The others were Bringing Up Baby (I absolutely recommend this one), the Philadelphia Story (I also recommend this one), and Sylvia Scarlett which The Husband just realized we have on DVD in a collection of Cary movies.

Incidentally, the director of the movie, George Cukor, almost cast Irene Dunne in the movie, which was the actress who was in The Awful Truth and My Favorite Wife with Cary. In the end, though, he chose Hepburn, which, as I mentioned above, did worry some in the industry.

I enjoyed this movie more than any of the others we have seen so far. To me, Cary and Katherine are simply a winning combination.

To see Erin’s impression of the movie hop on over to her blog (later Thursday for this week. She’s been delayed.)

I don’t know if Kajta will have a post today or not but if she does you can find her blog here.

Next up in our lineup for movies to watch:

Operation Petticoat (May 11)

Suspicion (May 18)

Notorious (May 25)

Spring of Cary: An Affair To Remember

I am watching Cary Grant movies with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs this spring. I picked movies of Cary’s I had not seen before.

I love this graphic Erin designed!!

Today we are discussing An Affair to Remember from 1957, which was nominated for four Oscars.

In this movie, Cary plays Nick Ferrante, a “international playboy”. He is a man who likes to date rich women – as many as he can at a time it seems.

As the movie starts, though, it appears that he is finally settling down. It’s worldwide news when he becomes engaged. He’s on a cruise, though, where there is a lot of women available to him and it’s there that he meets Terry McKay portrayed by Deborah Kerr.

He can’t seem to break himself from the habit of picking up women,so he starts with picking her up as well.

“You saved my life,” he tells her. “I was bored to death. I didn’t think I’d find one attractive woman on this boat. . . . I said to myself, ‘Don’t beautiful women travel anymore?’ And then I saw you.”

Then he proceeds by essentially trying to get into her pants. Excuse me for being blunt but he suggests they find something fun to do and he is her cabin. She, however, lets him know that she is romantically involved with someone. He keeps trying to get her to cheat and, well, eventually, that will happen with a few kisses, but nothing beyond that, as far as we are shown anyhow.

We see from the beginning that the connection is real, but then I did find myself wondering how real it was with two people who were willing to cheat on their romantic partners, especially the one who is used to moving from woman to woman. That’s the cynical side of me, of course. I mean they weren’t actually married yet.

They do try to stay away from each other on the ship but no matter where they go, they seem to bump into each other.

It is a literal bumping incident at the pool that leads Nick to invite Terry to meet his French grandmother during a stop by the ship in France. His grandmother adores Terry and Terry adores her and her beautiful villa. Terry learns more about Nick that makes her fall for him even more. He’s an artist, but he always destroys his paintings because they are never good enough, his grandmother says.

It’s at his grandmother’s that Terry breaks out her singing voice and shows she has hidden talents as well. But the ship horn is blowing, and they have to leave the grandmother, much to the grandmother and their sadness.

Terry clearly doesn’t want to love the grandmother because then she has to admit she’s falling for man who is not the man she has been romantically involved with and if she can’t have Nick, then she can’t have the grandmother either. But she does love the woman and  . . . yes, Nick.

An additional challenge for the now blossoming couple is that Nick is a famous socialite and everyone on the ship is watching them to see if they really are a couple so they can gossip about it.

Soon the cruise will be over, though, and they need to decide what they are going to do about their newfound love for each other. That’s when Terry decides they need to get their lives in order in the next six months and then if they both want the relationship, they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building in July.

They each go back to their lives, and we follow their journeys there until July. They both pursue their real passions in life during this time – art for Nick and singing for Terry. They both also change during this time, finding out what is real and most important in their lives.

You’ll have to watch the movie if you want to know if they meet or not, but if you’ve ever seen that one scene in Sleepless in Seattle, you probably know what happens. Or the gist of it. It really is a classic ending and I have my opinions on it, but I don’t want to share so I don’t ruin the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it. All I know is that I wanted to yell at the screen a couple of times and that I had to wipe my eyes a bit.

I enjoyed this movie a lot more than My Favorite Wife. I did not expect Kerr to sing two or three songs in it, since it wasn’t a musical, but the songs were very nicely done. Overall, I felt the movie was well done. I did feel the ending was a bit rushed and would have liked to have learned a little bit more about what happened after it.

This movie was directed by Leo McCarey who also directed Cary in The Awful Truth, which, if you remember from my previous blog post about The Awful Truth, was a director that Cary clashed with originally. Cary didn’t understand McCarey’s style of directing, which included simply telling the actors the gist of the scene and then having them improvise. Cary eventually warmed to McCarey’s style and even expressed disappointment that he was not in McCarey’s movie Love Affair from 1939. He was so disappointed he talked McCarey into remaking the movie, which is what An Affair to Remember was, according to Wikipedia.

Cary and Kerr did improvise many of their lines and many of those were what appeared in the film according to trivia on IMBd.

Another bit of trivia on IMBd that I found interesting:

“Deborah Kerr plays Terry McKay, previously played by Irene Dunne in Love Affair (1939), of which this film is a remake. Both were directed by Leo McCarey. The year before this film was made, Kerr played Anna Leonowens in The King and I (1956), also a role that had previously been played by Irene Dunne in the black-and-white classic Anna and the King of Siam (1946). “The King and I” is a musical based on the same book.”

Next up for our Spring of Cary feature is the movie Holiday with Cary and Katherine Hepburn.

After that we have:

Operation Petticoat (May 11)

Suspicion (May 18)

Notorious (May 25)

To read Erin’s impression of An Affair to Remember, hop on over to her blog.

Spring of Cary: My Favorite Wife

For the third movie in Spring of Cary (Grant) with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs (and anyone else who wants to join – I’m looking at you kajta, but I know you’ve been busy), we watched My Favorite Wife with Cary and Irene Dunne.

Yes, Irene was in last week’s movie too.

This movie was an interesting concept – if not a bit crazy. Hopefully, you’ll be able to tell as I begin to write about this movie, that this is meant to be a comedy. In fact it was defined back then and now as a screwball comedy.

A man wants to get married, but before he can, he must declare his first wife Ellen (Irene) dead. She’s been missing at sea and was believed drowned seven years earlier.

It turns out, however, that she is not dead, and she returns while Nick Arden (Cary) is on his honeymoon with wife number two, Bianca (Gail Patrick).

Nick is of course shocked and now has no idea what to do because he has two wives.

It turns out Ellen was stranded on an island all those years and it would have been lonely for her if it wasn’t for Steve Burkett (Randolph Scott) who was stranded with her.

That’s a fact she doesn’t immediately admit to her husband and a fact he’s not real pleased with, even though he’s remarried.

That new wife, by the way, is not a very nice woman.

Oh and don’t forget that Nick and Ellen have two children together and all of that will have to be figured out as well.

To break the news to Nick, Ellen heads to his honeymoon, which was the same hotel and place they had their honeymoon, I might add. How tacky is that of him?!

As the movie goes on we the viewers now have to figure out who we want Nick to end up with and for me, of course, it’s Ellen (Irene), his first wife.

It’s clear from the moment that Nick sees his first wife that he is still in love with her.

The problem is that he has to find a way to tell Bianca that his first wife has returned and this is a task he drags out in comical ways. He drags it out so long that eventually, Ellen has to pretend to be a visitor of Nick’s mother. A wild Southern friend.

Of course, the movie keeps it tasteful and never touches on Nick and Bianca “consummating” the marriage, which we are guessing they never have.

Even though Bianca is stuck up, it is very unfair of Nick to keep dragging it out and not tell her the truth. She believes he’s her husband and that he might be running around behind her back. He keeps chickening out because he doesn’t want to upset her but she’s already upset, thinking something horrible is wrong with her and he’s fallen out of love with her.

Every time he has a chance to tell her the truth something interrupts them and he runs off again, leaving her in even more despair.

Of course, one of these interruptions comes from an insurance man who reveals that Ellen was stranded on the island with another man for seven years. Not only that but the man is quite interested in her and he lets Nick know about it.

This was a hilariously ridiculous movie, if not a little bit cringeworthy at times.

I mean are we really supposed to expect they were on an island seven years and nothing “untoward” happened? Hmmm….Well, I suppose it is a movie so we can suspend belief for a bit.

This movie was very similar to The Awful Truth, including Cary’s purposeful awkwardness and the silly and suggestive ending.

Overall it was a cute movie, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites of Cary’s.

Have you ever seen the movie? What did you think about it?

To read Erin’s impression of the movie, visit her blog here: https://crackercrumblife.com/2023/04/20/the-spring-of-cary-grant-my-favorite-wife/

The rest of the movies we will be watching for Spring of Cary include:

An Affair To Remember (April 27)

Holiday (May 4)

Operation Petticoat (May 11)

Suspicion (May 18)

Notorious (May 25)

Classic Movie Impressions. Spring of Cary: The Awful Truth

“What wives don’t know won’t hurt them.” That’s what Cary Grant as Jerry Warriner says in the beginning of The Awful Truth, the second movie that Erin of Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I are watching for our Spring of Cary.

Now, last week I was a bit of a downer when I shared some of Cary’s personal life and the tension while filming Houseboat because of his affair with Sofia Loren. I will do my best this week to not be a downer! Ha!

This is a fun, silly movie so I will be able to keep things pretty light in this post. Lucky for all of you. *wink*

So, back to the storyline of the movie, which was released in 1937.

Here is a description on IMBd: Before their divorce becomes final, Jerry and Lucy Warriner both do their best to ruin each other’s plans for remarriage, Jerry to haughty socialite Barbara Vance, she to oil-rich bumpkin Daniel Leeson. Among their strategies: Jerry’s court-decreed visitation rights with Mr. Smith, their pet fox terrier, and Lucy doing her most flamboyant Dixie Belle Lee impersonation as Jerry’s brassy “sister” before his prospective bride’s scandalized family.

We start the movie out with Jerry trying to find a way to look tan so Lucy believes he was really in Florida. Not sure where he was for two weeks, but it apparently was not in Florida. We never really find the truth about that particular story.

Jerry goes home to his wife and finds out she isn’t home either. So, where has she been?

Jerry’s wife, portrayed by Irene Dunn, has secrets of her own, though they may not be quite as nefarious as Jerry’s – or are they? It’s never completely clear who is sneaking around on who in the beginning of the movie.

Eventually, it is clear that both of them are somewhat running around on their spouses, though maybe not full-blown affairs. They are, however, hanging around the opposite sex who are not their spouse.

In fact, both spouses are trying to pull the wool over each other’s eyes.

They’ve grown apart in a way and maybe have grown bored with each other so they are both living their own lives in a way and just when they decide they should officially live their lives apart by filing for divorce, they find there is still something between them they’re not ready to let go of just yet.

All it takes is a bit of jealousy to be stirred up when Lucy starts seeing another man, even before the divorce is final (gasp). From there the misunderstandings, mix-ups, and silliness kicks off and never slows down.

There are so many laugh-out-loud moments. One that stands out for me is Lucy’s call with her lawyer who is trying to talk to her about the beauty of marriage while his wife nags him in the background and he says to her, “Please shut your mouth” and then progresses to, “You shut your mouth! I’ll eat dinner when I want to!”

Irene and Cary are great together – tossing barbs back and forth fast and furious like the ball in a tennis match at Wimbleton.

They made three movies together: this one, Penny Serenade, and My Favorite Wife.

I have My Favorite Wife on our list to watch next week.

According to articles online, there were many parts of the movie that were adlibbed, which added even more to the charm of the movie for me.

The film was directed by Leo McCarey and you can read more about him HERE

According to an article on Criterion.com: (McCarey’s) claims to greatness, reaching far back into silent film, include Laurel and Hardy two-reelers; the Marx Brothers comedy Duck Soup (1933); a beloved melodrama that, astonishingly, he wrote and directed twice—as Love Affair in 1939 and, in 1957, as An Affair to Remember; and two surprise blockbusters, Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), gentle Catholic comedies starring Bing Crosby that reflect McCarey’s own devout Catholicism and feeling for the workings of divine providence.”

I have An Affair to Remember on our list for April 27th and I just added The Bells of St. Mary’s to my personal list to watch.

According to Wikipedia, the movie is based on a play of the same name written by Arthur Richman. It was also made into a radio theater program with Lux Radio Theater with Cary and Claudette Colbert in 1939. I’ve listened to the Lux Radio productions before and really enjoyed them. There was one of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House with Cary and Myrna Lloyd, who were the leads in the movie version as well and that one was superb.

The same article details that the actors at first struggled immensely with McCarey’s freestyle method of directing. They were not provided with a script or much direction, which infuriated Cary who was used to having set scripts and assembly-line type movies with Paramount. He tried to get out of the movie several times, which irked McCarey and he allegedly held a grudge against the actor for decades over that move.

Despite the rocky start, though, the actors eventually determined that McCarey was a comic genius and looked back on the experience fondly, remembering how hard they laughed each day.

The whole article, which details the process of filming and the improvisation on the set is very interesting. If you want to read more of it, you can do so here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Awful_Truth

To read Erin’s impressions of The Awful Truth, well…she doesn’t have one this week so check out her blog next week. *ahahaaaaha* She told me she didn’t have one after I put mine up.

Our remaining schedule for the Spring of Cary:

My Favorite Wife (April 20th)

An Affair To Remember (April 27)

Holiday (May 4)

Operation Petticoat (May 11)

Suspicion (May 18)

Notorious (May 25)

The Spring of Cary: Houseboat (1958)

I love this graphic that Erin madr

Today Erin of Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, and I are starting a spring feature called Spring of Cary Grant. We will be watching one Cary Grant movie a week and sharing our impressions of it on Thursdays.

I gathered this list of movies together not because they are his best movies, but because I either hadn’t seen them yet or had not seen them in years.

This week we are writing about Houseboat. Next week we will be writing about The Awful Truth.

Houseboat was released in 1958 and stars Cary and Sophia Loren.

Cary plays Tom Winters, a man whose estranged wife has passed away.

Sophia portrays Cinzia Zaccardi, the daughter of a famous Italian composer who is in the United States while he is touring and wants to experience life in the United States before she has to go back. She’s supposed to be 22 and I thought she looked older but she was actually 24 when the movie was made.

Cary was 54. I’ll just leave that where it is.

The opening of the movie was pretty heartbreaking and it doesn’t give too much away to say that the mother of Tom’s children has passed away and their father, who they rarely see, has returned from Europe. He was preparing to divorce their mother and they had been separated for four years so he didn’t know the children very well.

There is a definite undercurrent of sadness in the movie, but thankfully there is plenty of comedy.

As we get into the movie we realize Cary’s character truly is clueless about how to be a father.

He’s also a bit of a jerk. Then again the other men in the movie are sort of jerks too. Most of them needed slapping. A few of the women did as well.

Luckily,  he learns how to be a better father and a better person as the movie goes on.

There are some downright ridiculous moments in this movie, but I need a bit of ridiculous this week.

There were also a lot of heartbreaking moments of children really acting out in grief and their lives being turned upside down.

The child actors were excellent in this. I think they might have actually had more range than Cary in this one.

There was something awkward about this movie for me and I thought it was only because of the age gap, but when I read about the movie and how it came about, the awkwardness continued.

According to IMBD: “The original screenplay was written by Betsy DrakeCary Grant‘s wife at the time. Grant originally wanted it to star her, but his extramarital affair with Sophia Loren complicated the project. Grant decided to have Loren replace Drake. Adding insult to injury, it was drastically rewritten to accommodate Loren by two other writers, Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson (who also directed), bearing little resemblance to her original script, she received no writing credit, and the reworked script was Oscar®-nominated for Best Original Story and Screenplay.”

Ouch. I can’t even imagine that heartache. But here is some more complication – Sophia apparently wasn’t as in love with Cary as he was with her because before filming started she married another man, which is why I think the chemistry between them really wasn’t there for me. Cary, who was reportedly heartbroken, tried to back out of the movie but couldn’t because of his contract and so the director helped make it go smoothly – how, I have no idea.

I guess Cary got over it eventually since he was married five times (two times after that) Ha!

I guess this wasn’t a great kick off for The Spring of Cary Grant – learning about his personal life, but I still enjoy his movies. I hope that he apologized to his previous wife for that one before they both passed away. Eek! I did read that they actually remained friends until his death, so I think they did make amends.

Also, Cary had a lot of issues from his childhood that he carried into adulthood and that affected his relationships with women, unfortunately. It’s not an excuse but it does help me understand his issues in that area a little bit better.

And, again, it doesn’t take away from his acting ability or his movies.

I’m looking forward to writing about The Awful Truth next week, which I already watched when I planned on doing this feature myself. I’m so glad Erin decided to jump in with me. You can find her impressions of Houseboat on her blog.

The movies of Cary’s that we will be watching next include:

The Awful Truth

My Favorite Wife

An Affair To Remember


Operation Petticoat



The Spring of Cary Grant

Last summer I watched Paul Newman movies I had never seen and dubbed it the Summer of Paul.

This spring I plan to watch ten or eleven Cary Grant movies and call it The Spring of Cary.

The idea to watch Cary Grant movies came when I was looking up a particular movie of his for another reason and realized how many of his movies I haven’t seen.

I decided I needed to remedy that as soon as possible.

So, for the months of April and May I will be watching the following movies and posting reviews of them on Thursdays.

Houseboat (April 6 )

The Awful Truth (April 13)

My Favorite Wife (April 20)

An Affair to Remember (April 27)

Holiday (May 4)

Operation Petticoat (May 11)

Suspicion (May 18)

Notorious (May 25)

If you want to join me in watching them, let me know. I plan to watch one and blog about it and then mention in each post which movie or movies I am watching next.

Until then, here are trailers for the first three movies I plan to watch.

‘Tis The Season Cinema: The Muppets Christmas Carol

This week for the ‘Tis The Season Cinema Erin and I watched The Muppets Christmas Carol. I watched it with my kids.

I thought I’d give you a blow-by-blow of our watching experience for something different this week.

After we open with the film being dedicated to Muppets creator Jim Henson, who had died in 1990, two years before the movie was made, we move forward into the movie.

We open up with Gonzo telling us he’s going to tell us the story because he knows it “like the back of his hand.” He also says his name is Charles Dickens.

He gets the story a little bit messed up as he starts out by saying the Marleys are dead.

(illustration by Brianna Ashby)

And then he introduces Scrooge.

Oh, a song. I forgot this was a musical. Okay. I’m ready for that.

This starts a debate between The Boy and I about how many of these A Christmas Carol renditions are musicals featuring songs about how mean and miserly Scrooge is. I said there aren’t many and he says there are a ton, like every remake that has been released lately. I still disagree.

Seeing Michael Cain  as Scrooge makes me think of this hilarious story he told on The Graham Norton Show one time about how he was at a Hollywood party and Katherine Hepburn asked him why everyone kept calling him “my cocaine.”

The Boy must have thought of it too because we call out “My Cocaine!” at the same time when we see him.

Wow, he was young in this movie. Well, he would be since it was made in 1992.

That poor little rat was just used to clean a window.

Oh Kermit. There he is. Sigh. I love Kermit.

Dude. Michael Cain is bald in this movie. Is that a hair piece? Or is it a hair piece when he wears in other movies?

Kermit is so cute in his little suit.

The Boy and I read A Christmas Carol two years ago and actually enjoyed it.

Who is playing the nephew? Hmmm…some British actor I’ve never heard of – Steven McIntosh. I’m not going to look up what he’s been in before. I’m not going to do it. Not this time. No.

Okay. According to Wikipedia:  “He is perhaps best known for his role as Andreas Tanis in the action horror films Underworld: Evolution and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.” Never heard of it. That was a waste of a search.


More singing. Now it is Kermit’s turn. Also, those rats are really clean for … well, rats.

I always think it is interesting they mix humans in with animals. I don’t know why I find that interesting. My life is just a little sad, I guess.

This movie must have cost quite a bit to make.

Google says $12 million and that it made 27.2 million. Now you know.

Ha. Jacob Marley is one of the old men that usually complain during the show.

In case you were curious, this is what Michael Caine told GQ Magazine about being in the movie: “To start, my daughter, who is the mother of my grandchildren, was then seven, and she had never seen me in a movie. I had never made a movie that a 7-year-old can see. And so a man mentioned the Muppets and I said, “That’s it! I’ll do that!” And it’s A Christmas Carol, it’s a fabulous tale! You’ll be old Scrooge, it’ll be marvelous! And it was absolutely perfect at that time for what I wanted. I could make it, and my daughter could see it. That’s why I did it. And it was lovely.”

Scrooge just beat his dressing gown. That dude is a bit on edge, I’d say.

I have to be honest, I haven’t seen this one in years and forgot it was a little darker than other Muppets movies. I was hoping for a little more goofiness in it, but yet it’s so well done I can’t help liking it.

The angles of the camera are very nice indeed. Scrooge should be eating more than bread, though. He’s an old man and needs more nutrients in his diet.

Oh good. The old guys. A bit more silliness now and now I know why Gonzo said the Marleys were dead. Because there were two.

This first ghost? Yikes.

Imma gonna have nightmares tonight.

Seriously. What is that? It is bad 90s special effects is what it is. She’s sort of like a digital cabbage patch doll. Shudder.

Ah. Now we are getting to the Muppet goodness. We are singing and dancing and just being downright silly at the dance where Scrooge meets Belle.

 “Oh please, do not show me that Christmas,” Scrooge says.

Yes, because you were a JERK during that Christmas, Scrooge! It’s why you are totally alone now.

We’ve gone through a couple more songs and another ghost and now here is Miss Piggy.

Aw and Kermit and his nephew playing Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

The Husband walks in and brings up an awkward point: “He’s a frog. She’s a pig. How did they have children?”

We tell him we don’t want to think about it and to go back to working on his stories for the paper and be quiet.

Now the nephew and Kermit are singing a sweet song and I ask The Husband what the nephew’s name is.

“That’s a great question. They introduced him in –”

I tune TV Trivia Man out by Googling and finding out his name is Robin.

Little Miss looks up and sees Miss Piggy and says, “That hair doesn’t work for her.”

Now The Boy and The Husband are arguing about what happens to the ghost of Christmas Present at the end of the night. The Boy says he dies because it is the end of the day and the end of the present. He pointed out that his hair gets grayer each time we see him, which means he dies at the end. He’s a ghost, though, so I don’t think he can die.

The Husband says he lives on because he is in the present and the present is always there.

Who knows. I’ll let them have that debate. I have a movie and blog post to finish.

Oh dear, poor Miss Piggy. She’s crying. Tiny Tim has died.

Now Michael Caine is crying with her. Now I want to cry.

Little Miss is finding the movie a little scary so now she’s watching The Muppets Now show on her phone.

The Spirit of The Future is…um…ominous.

Ah. We’ve reached the scene where Scrooge is joyously celebrating being alive and being able to celebrate Christmas. Now he’s giving money to all the creatures around, ordering a turkey, etc. This is my favorite part.

Now Michael Caine is singing and The Boy says, “Who knew My Cocaine could sing.”

He’s doing a pretty good job. Not really. I’m just trying to be nice.

Singing is not really his thing. He reminds me of Rex Harrison in – well, anything he tries to sing in. He sort of sing-talks, but it works.

This was such a nice cozy movie to watch together and now that our Christmas tree is up it is making Christmas movies even nicer and relaxing to watch together.

Overall we agreed that it was a nice movie.

Except for The Boy who said, “Yeah. It was alright.” But then he added. “I enjoyed that.”

To see what Erin thought of the movie hop on over to her blog and to read Kajta at Breath of Hallelujah click over to her blog. If you joined in with us, leave a link to your blog post in the comments so we can link to yours as well.

Up next in our feature is Holiday Inn. We post our impressions on Thursdays.

After that we are posting our impressions of the following movies:                                                                           

Dec. 15: It’s A Wonderful Life

Dec. 22: Charlie Brown Christmas and Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas