Archive for the ‘Cary Grant’ Category

I’ve been thinking about Myrna Loy in Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.   It’s one of my favorite Myrna Loy movies because I identify with her.  She’s a lawyer and is serious about serious things, but underneath that, she has a dry sense of humor.  I also like her clothes.

Cropped screenshot of Myrna Loy from the trail...

Cropped screenshot of Myrna Loy from the trailer for the film Libeled Lady (1936). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the best part of the movie is watching her become befuddled and bemused by Cary Grant.  I love the entire scene where they go out to eat at a restaurant that has a dance floor.  That scene has it all:  romance and subtle humor that slides into farce.  I love it.

Which makes me wonder why I don’t go to restaurants that have dance floors.  Do they even exist?

It would be worth going back in time just to be able to eat an elegant dinner and go dancing in a lovely dress with someone who knew a few dance steps and could lead.

Now that’s romantic.

And why the Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers films are so popular.

They made dancing together look so effortless, beautiful, and sexy, too.  I believe that Ginger’s acting — looking like she was falling in love while she danced — was one of the reasons Fred Astaire’s film career took off.  She made us see that skinny talented guy in a new  light.


Here’s a lovely still from Roberta.

An RKO publicity still of Astaire and Rogers d...

An RKO publicity still of Astaire and Rogers dancing to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” in Roberta (1935) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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It’s rare when I like a remake more than the original — especially when the original stars Cary Grant.  However, I like The Preacher’s Wife better than The Bishop’s Wife.  Why?

Cover of "The Preacher's Wife"

Cover of The Preacher’s Wife

I think Whitney Houston’s husband is more sympathetic than Loretta Young‘s .  Normally I enjoy David Niven, but he is a little too fussy and focused on making money (although for the church) in The Bishop’s Wife.   So at the end of The Bishop’s Wife, I feel sorry for Loretta because she has to stay with her reformed, but still fuddy duddy husband.  In contrast, Whitney gets to stay with her husband, who was always a great guy, just overworked and overwhelmed.  Through the visit from the angel, both Whitney and her husband learn to appreciate each other.

Perhaps I also prefer the smart-mouthed, modern American setting to the subtle, reserved English setting, which is also rare for me.  My favorite character in The Preacher’s Wife is Whitney’s mother played by Jenifer Lewis.   She has such a great attitude.  And the scene where she shakes Denzel Washington‘s hand and decides to quit smoking is very moving.

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I had a conversation about shaving today, and I wondered why such a normal part of a man’s life isn’t included in more films — as far as I’ve noticed.

The shaving bits I remember best involve Cary Grant.

English: RKO publicity still from Suspicion (1941)

English: RKO publicity still from Suspicion (1941) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Cary Grant and Myrna Loy have a hilarious morning routine, and I believe that Cary Grant has to share a bathroom with his teenage daughter.  He finds the scheduling of getting shaved very difficult.

In Walk Don’t Run, Cary Grant has another scheduling problem with the beautiful Samantha Eggar sharing the same bathroom, and he can’t remember if he’s supposed to shave first or shower first.  Very funny.

Walk Don’t Run is a remake of The More the Merrier, which I also love, but I can’t remember if Joel McCrea actually shaves.   I remember him taking a shower and barking like a seal.  I’ll have to watch it again and take notes.

Even Shakespeare recognized the significance of shaving, making Benedict shave before he begins to woo Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, but I’m trying to remember if Sam Waterston or Kenneth Branagh actually shave on screen . . .  I sense a future film festival topic.

Oh, and Howard Keel shaves before he goes to marry Jane Powell in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  That’s a great moment, which always made me a little sad because  Howard Keel had such a great beard.

In my book The M Word, shaving provides two plot turning points.

Are there any other films in which shaving is an important part of the story?

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Last night I watched the premiere of The Hobbit, and my favorite actor looked mighty fine in a great suit, crisp white shirt, and a tie clip.

Here he is:

from richardarmitageonline.com

Mighty fine.

He reminds me of another sharp-dressed man, Cary Grant.

Specifically Cary Grant in the movie Notorious with Ingrid Bergman.   I tend to watch Cary Grant’s comedies  (like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, and Arsenic and Old Lace) more than his dramas.  But today I’ve been thinking about Notorious.   What a great film.  Ingrid plays a bitter, damaged soul who falls in love with Cary.  Then as part of his job, he asks her to be a spy and seduce Claude Raines. There are a few wonderful scenes where Cary Grant portrays layers of feelings.   (Another tall, dark, handsome man with angst?  I sense a trend.)

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman and Cary ...

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant on an airplane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And he is beautifully dressed throughout.  Perhaps it was just the era where men wore suits, but from my research I know that Cary Grant took his public image seriously and had specially tailored shirts, suits, etc.  It was worth the effort.

Hmm.  I’m thinking Richard Armitage would be great in a remake of Notorious.

Another thought.   Cary Grant once said about himself,

“I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”

There is an interesting article about this, “Becoming Cary Grant” found at


(For some reason my linking function isn’t working).

I find this entire premise fascinating and encouraging.  I do believe we can improve ourselves, but I have to ask myself.  Who do I want to be and am I willing to make the effort to change?

Great minds think alike:

Richard Armitage: That Old-Fashioned Star Allure.

And no one analyzes Richard Armitage’s tailoring better than Servetus.

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There is a wonderful scene in Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Joan Cusack where Joan tells Julia that she’s quirky, and Julia says, “You’re quirky, too,” but Joan corrects her.  “I’m not quirky, I’m weird.  There is a world of difference between quirky and weird.”  (I’m paraphrasing this).

Film poster for Runaway Bride (1999 film) - Co...

Film poster for Runaway Bride (1999 film) – Copyright 1999, Paramount Pictures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This scene was hilarious and insightful to me, because I felt weird through much of my adolescence (who doesn’t?) and as I’ve gotten older, I am becoming more confident, and therefore, more quirky (hopefully less weird).

Which made me think of weird and quirky heroes and heroines.

Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby — rotates between being weird and quirky.

Katharine Hepburn in  Holiday – quirky and sweet.

Jean Arthur‘s entire family in You Can’t Take It With You — quirky.

Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping — quirky.

Jim Hutton in Walk Don’t Run — quirky.

Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire — quirky.

Often “quirky” is left for the humorous sidekick characters.  But I like quirky.

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Ah, the value of a preposition.  There is a world of difference between “getting the ex back” and “getting back at the ex.”  Personally, I don’t mind a good revenge story (First Wives Club, anyone?), but I like stories where a couple gets back together.

The Parent Trap (1998 film)

The Parent Trap (1998 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan was a fun movie, and I particularly enjoyed Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid as her parents.  Their confused, befuddled and rekindled romance was charming.   Shakespeare liked reunited lovers, too, and Much Ado has references to the prior attraction having grown sour. 

What a Girl Wants, was a genuinely silly movie, but again, I found the adults’ romance charming.  Colin Firth was particularly endearing.

Philadelphia Story

Philadelphia Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favorite reunited husband and wife film is The PHILADELPHIA STORY.   It is in my top three movie list, and depending upon the day, it sometimes battles its way to the number one spot.   I adore this movie because it is funny, but it also deals with painful truths.  C.K. Dexter Haven (played by the enigmatic Cary Grant)  is a recovering alcoholic who interrupts his ex-wife’s wedding preparations.  

James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn in The Phi...

James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story trailer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thematically, we know what should happen, but then a brilliant young writer (James Stewart) shows up, and it is unclear until the last moment what the ex-wife (Katharine Hepburn) will do.  

My novel Her Ex Next Door is less complicated, but there were moments in the creation of it when I thought of Cary Grant fondly.

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Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in It Happen...

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (Photo credit: Lea Ann Belter Bridal)

It Happened One Night

Bringing Up Baby

The Lady Eve

The More the Merrier

Ball of Fire

My favorite screwball comedies have a fairly normal person who finds him or herself in an outrageous situation — that gets worse.  

Cover of "The More the Merrier"

Source: Amazon.com

As I was thinking about my favorite black and white movies recently, I realized that my novels are a little like screwball comedies.  I can easily imagine Jean Arthur, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert or Barbara Stanwyck  as my heroines.  And my heroes — some of them could be James Stewart, Joel McCrea, Cary Grant or Henry Fonda.  None of the screwball stories are realistic, but they are fun to watch.  It’s the same with my fiction — it’s based on reality, but there is a quirkiness to it.

So the question is — If you have read my most popular book — Who would play the leads in BABY COMES FIRST if it were made into a film?  Any actor living or dead is fair game.  So yes, Richard Armitage could play ANY of my heroes.

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