That Ol’ Feeling

A word of caution to all readers. With Cary Grant,one almost never judges; one humbly pays homage....

Written by PALLAVI SINGH | Published: June 26, 2010 10:33:08 pm

A word of caution to all readers. With Cary Grant,one almost never judges; one humbly pays homage. The eternal leading man of Hollywood who Time magazine once described as “the world’s most perfect male animal”,he ruled the box office for nearly 34 years. From humble beginnings as Archie Leach in Bristol,England,he worked his way up — from a travelling troupe of acrobats to Broadway and finally to Hollywood where he filled out the fantasy of the dry-witted debonair.

After a dream run in the 1930s and ’40s,with a succession of screwball comedies and a couple of Alfred Hitchcock films,Grant,nearing 50,was ready to call it a day in Hollywood. It took Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief to bring him back. Good thing too,since his most successful films,namely North By Northwest,An Affair To Remember and the splendid Charade,were yet to come. This pack includes To Catch A Thief (1955),Melville Shavelson’s Houseboat (1958) with Sophia Loren and Delbert Mann’s That Touch Of Mink (1962) with Doris Day. The toast of the collection is To Catch A Thief.

A Hitchcock extravaganza starring Grant as retired jewel thief John Robie (The Cat) who is out to clear his name in a series of copycat burglaries,it also stars the incandescent Grace Kelly as a spoilt heiress,Francie Stevens,on a pursuit of her own. While Grant goes after the burglar,Kelly makes a persistent play for the man himself. The storyline is a prop to showcase the charms of the two actors,with the stunning French Riviera as the backdrop. Though it is clearly not one of Hitchcock’s most accomplished works (his earlier movies with Grant,Notorious and Suspicion,are definitely edgier),no one’s complaining. In Houseboat,Grant is the hapless father Tom Winters,who must get to know his three children after the death of his estranged wife. He gets along with more than a little help from Loren playing Cinzia Zaccardi,an Italian socialite posing as a maid after she runs away from her dictatorial father. It is a light comedy that makes you laugh and cry at the right places.

The weakest movie here is That Touch Of Mink. It has cliches coming out of its ears and Grant and Day sleepwalking through infantile roles. Grant plays Philip Shayne,a one-dimensional Mills and Boon-type tycoon mouthing cheesy lines. Day plays Cathy Timberlake,a working girl fighting off men until she comes face to face with Grant. Day meets Grant’s tycoon line with a dumb blonde act. Ironic because she held her own with Rock Hudson in the roaringly successful romantic comedies they did. Strictly for the die hard fan. Of Mills and Boon.

pallavi.singh@expressindia.com

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