Born This Day In 1904 --- Cary Grant
Cary Grant was born 102 years ago today, and that's a hard thing for us to imagine, since his appeal is so modern, and yes, timeless. Was he wise to retire in 1966, and avoid the biz from then on? Yes, we think so. Maybe Cary anticipated the final breakdown of the Production Code, and the beginnings of a rating system pushing his kind of comedy into an "R" rated realm that would have proven an embarrassment for him, and his fans. It’s always nice to see an artist go out on top, and Grant was most assuredly in that position, right up to the moment of stepping down. His presence in virtually every sixties exhibitor poll is a refreshing reminder that here was a career of astounding longevity. We all know Grant was something of a paradox in his private life. The on-screen character was pure invention on his part, but what an invention! He often said he’d give anything to be Cary Grant, and that quote speaks volumes about the man. I never believed for a moment that rubbish about he and Randy Scott (watch the new DVD of Seven Men From Now and you’ll say NO WAY!). Roommate bachelors were a commonplace in thirties Hollywood, and besides, that whole flap originated with one fan magazine lay-out, which was admittedly a little dicey, but the poses in question were surely the inspiration of over-zealous photographers and publicists, not our boys. We like Cary best in comedies of course, and the one featured here is an under-rated gem we caught recently on TCM. Dream Wife is routinely dismissed in the review books, so we weren’t expecting much, but imagine our surprise when it turned out to be a pretty good little farce, and one of our favorite Grant comedy performances. It’s the little things he does, especially at the beginning when all his old-world courtesies are being rebuffed by the high-falootin’ career women he’s surrounded by (check out his attempt at providing a light for co-star Deborah Kerr). There’s also the delightful bonus of seeing old favorites Bruce Bennett, Les Tremayne, and Dick Anderson as a sort of hen-pecked Greek chorus for Cary to play off of (and it's great seeing Bruce so relaxed in a big "A" comedy for MGM). Nobody did gorgeous stills like Metro either. These shots from Dream Wife are typical of the studio’s first-rate publicity unit. We especially like the group portrait that so neatly captures the comedic conflict on view in the feature, and the spirit of this behind-the-scenes candid is nicely encapsulated in the studio’s original back caption ---
"THREE’S NO CROWD…. Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, and Betta St. John, the three stars of MGM’s "Dream Wife", take time out for some off-screen dialogue. They’re a compatible trio and find plenty to laugh about between scenes of the romantic comedy. Sidney Sheldon directs, Dore Schary produces.