Following our hugely popular summer series of Cary Grant comedies, we present another selection of the quintessentially classy leading man’s big screen triumphs. This series includes two more classic laugh-fests, a heroic action-drama, a holiday classic, and three renowned, masterful suspense thrillers directed by one of Grant’s greatest collaborators, Alfred Hitchcock.
Howard Hawks, another of Grant’s favorite directors, made five films with the dapper actor, only one of which, Only Angels Have Wings (screening November 14), isn’t a comedy. Although it has its lighter and amusing moments, Only Angels is a highly entertaining study of heroism and camaraderie set among a group of airmail pilots, with marvelous performances and lots of character details. It’s also another essential Hawks love story, with romantic interests played by the unsurpassable Rita Hayworth and Jean Arthur. Don’t miss this gem!
Perhaps the high point in the series of rapid-fire Hawks/Grant comedies, His Girl Friday (December 16) reconfigures the classic play The Front Page into a screwball love triangle between Grant (newspaper editor), Rosalind Russell (star reporter and editor’s ex-wife), and Ralph Bellamy (dopey new fiancée). Hawks’ patented rapid-fire dialogue doesn’t come any more fast and furious than it does here.
There’s also no shortage of laughs in Leo McCarey’s screwball masterpiece, The Awful Truth (November 26), an affectionate send-up of married life that once again finds Ralph Bellamy (a bit more endearing this time) pitted against Grant for the affections of a woman, this time played by the scrappy Irene Dunne.
Grant began his work with fellow Englishman Hitchcock on the 1941 movie Suspicion, which finds more than a touch of menace behind Grant’s charm in this story of a ne’er-do-well husband who may or may not be trying to off his new wife (Joan Fontaine). Their relationship was solidified in 1946’s Notorious, which further explored the dark side of Grant by casting him as an American agent who forces his lover (Ingrid Bergman) to marry a Nazi-in-hiding (Claude Rains). These two ’40s gems play in a double feature on December 31, while the decidedly lighter but no-less breathtaking North By Northwest, Grant and Hitchcock’s final collaboration, returns to our big screen on December 11.
A perennial holiday favorite, The Bishop’s Wife (December 23) finds Grant in another unusual love triangle. This time, he plays a genuine angel sent down to answer the prayers of a man of the cloth in crisis (David Niven) who finds himself falling for the title character (Loretta Young).