Suspicion (1941)

Just a little over a week back, I was paying tribute to a cinema personality who played a major role in defining Hindi film music in the 1950s and 60s: Roshan. 1917 was the year Roshan was born, and in the same year, also in Asia (in Tokyo), a few months later, was born a girl who was to go on to become one of the most prominent stars of British cinema as well as Hollywood. Joan Fontaine, award-winning actress, sister to Olivia de Havilland, licensed pilot, Cordon Bleu chef, rider, champion balloonist, licensed interior designer—and scorer of 160 on an infant IQ test.

Most importantly, though, a fine very actress, and one who starred in some memorable films, in memorable roles: Rebecca, Suspicion, Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe, This Above All… her characters were often, in keeping with Ms Fontaine’s features, women of genteel fragility. Sometimes, that fragility teetered over the edge into terror (Mrs de Winter’s character in Rebecca is a fine example of this) before pulling herself together and showing the steel in her.

Rebecca I have already reviewed on this blog, but to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of an actress I have liked since I was quite young, I decided to review another Joan Fontaine film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Like Rebecca, this one too is about a naïve young woman who ends up married to a man who is perhaps not all he had seemed to be at first glance. Joan Fontaine’s portrayal of Lina McLaidlaw won her her only Academy Award for Best Actress.

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The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

This particular film review was supposed to have been dedicated solely to blog reader Professor in Peril, who first recommended The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (also known as Bachelor Knight) to me. Then, since bombaynoir has been raving about Cary Grant for the past several weeks, I figured she’d enjoy this too.

The other day, my husband asked me my plans for the day, and I mentioned I’d be watching this film, because I was planning to review it. “The bachelor—and the bobby socks her?” my husband asked, completely at a loss. We’ve been rewatching Jeeves and Wooster the past couple of weeks, and I can well imagine my husband’s bewilderment: who is the lady in question? Who was the bobby? And why did he sock her?

So. To Professor in Peril, bombaynoir, and Tarun: this post’s for you. Enjoy!

Cary Grant and Shirley Temple as and in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

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Charade (1963)

I hadn’t been able to decide on which film to review after Benazir, so I asked a bunch of friends to help me out – just by suggesting a genre. I got a varied lot of answers. Romance. Comedy. Social drama, à la Ladri di Biciclette. Suspense. Something with Cary Grant.
The result? This film, which is suspense, has a good bit of romance and comedy – and stars Cary Grant. (Sorry, Harvey: I’ll review something along the lines of Ladri di Biciclette sometime soon).

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Bringing up Baby (1938)

The other day, I was thinking aloud, wondering what to do for my next blog post, and my husband said, “Review a comedy.”

So here it is. A review of a film that’s intentionally funny, and which, furthermore, stars one of my favourite Hollywood actors: the incomparable Cary Grant, a leading man who had a fantastic flair for comedy. In this one, he teams up with the equally superb Katharine Hepburn in a crazy story involving a millionaire aunt, a big game hunter, a tame leopard, and a Brontosaurus bone, among other odds and ends.

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Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

The site stats for this blog sometimes show decidedly odd search terms that bring people to http://www.dustedoff.wordpress.com. ‘bollywood hide and seek behind a tree’; ‘sailing boat naked’; ‘iwanttohearmukeshsonginmukeshvoice’; ‘saree of kolkata grandmother’; and – this is one I can agree with, wholeheartedly: ‘cary grant being beautiful’. Yes, Cary Grant was very beautiful indeed (would ridiculously handsome be perhaps a more apt term?)

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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Fellow blogger and Cary Grant fan Sabrina Mathew’s sometime-ago link to this stunning slideshow of the actor made me take a silent vow to do a Grant post soon. It’s taken a while, mainly because I wasn’t able to make up my mind whether I wanted to review Arsenic and Old Lace, Charade, or Operation Petticoat—all classic Grant comedies—but the wait’s finally over. I’ll do Operation Petticoat and Charade later; for now it’s this hilarious, sometimes slapstick, dark comedy directed by Frank Capra, that I remember as being the first Cary Grant film I ever saw. It also remains one of my favourites—across time, genres, actors, everything.

Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace

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I’m back!

Or rather, I was back in India a couple of days ago, but I’ve only now managed (somewhat) to get over the jet lag, clean up home a bit, and find time to see what’s happening in cyberspace. Travelling is so tiring and trying.

Having said which, I’ll have to admit I love travelling. Give me a new place to explore—preferably with lots of old buildings, museums or pretty sceneries—and I’m very happy. Though I suppose I have to confess: Switzerland didn’t quite measure up to all I’d expected of it. There was, for one, no Shammi Kapoor begging me not to go off on my own

Shammi Kapoor in An Evening In Paris

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That Touch of Mink (1962)

What does a pretty girl brought up in straitlaced Upper Sandusky do in New York City? When she’s the type who sang in the choir back home, and who, though she’d love to be thought of as daring, is always wondering what people would think? When she finds herself bowled off her feet by a very wealthy, attractive man who has no scruples about admitting he’s only after sex?

Cary Grant and Doris Day in That Touch of Mink

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Eye Candy Part 1: Hollywood’s Classic Hunks

A discussion on one of my recent posts culminated in a promise to do a series of `eye candy’ posts: one each for Hollywood and Bollywood men and women who were, way back in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, awesome to look at. So here goes: the first of the posts, featuring some of the best looking men from English films (which includes Hollywood and British cinema) from the good old days. These are ten men who just need to be in a film for me to want to see the film; they may or may not be excellent actors (though most of them are Oscar winners or at least nominees). This list is more or less in order, starting with my favourites.

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I’m No Angel (1933)

I’d heard lots about Mae West, and seen plenty of still photos, but never any films. So when I came across this one, it seemed like a good introduction to the star—especially as I’m No Angel also stars Cary Grant. I’m all for Mr Grant: that man was awesome.
One and a half hours (or what was it? Seemed like an eternity) later, I’m wondering what this was all about. Mae West has some great one-liners in the film (she wrote it, after all—story, screenplay and dialogues; so all the juiciest lines are hers), but other than that? Ahem.

Cary Grant and Mae West in I'm No Angel

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