Cary Grant: The Signature Collection (5 Discs) (S) product details page

Cary Grant: The Signature Collection (5 Discs) (S)

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Night and Day purports to be a biography of Broadway composer Cole Porter, but as with most such musical "biopics" of the period, it bares only a scant resemblance to the subject. The real Porter story is much more interesting, dealing as it does with a wealthy sophisticate from a prominent family whose marriage to a wealthy socialite masks his (and possibly her) homosexuality; even more notably, both Porter and his wife, Linda, were apparently good friends and quite fond of each other, adding another potentially interesting layer to their story. Since none of this could be dealt with in 1946, the result is a rather uneventful and unconvincing story filled with showbiz clichés. In other instances (such as Words and Music), the ridiculous screenplay is compensated for by a series of dazzling numbers. Night and Day's numbers, for the most part, are not standouts (despite the dazzling quality of Porter's words and music). This is largely due to the fact that they too often lack real powerhouses performing them. Jane Wyman does reasonably well with her numbers, but she's not a dynamo, and Ginny Simms is simply no Ethel Merman. Only Mary Martin, recreating the number that launched her career, provides the kind of punch that is required. What makes Night and Day work at all is its stars. Cary Grant and Alexis Smith provide enough charisma and star quality to make viewers forget the silliness of the script and the uninspired musical numbers. Grant even manages to suggest that perhaps there's a reason why Porter can't seem to commit to spending time with his wife. The two stars, along with supporting talent like Monty Woolley and an amusingly French Eve Arden, rise far above the material, transforming it into a very pleasant way to waste a couple of hours. Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

My Favorite Wife is a fast-paced, delightful farce that sparkles from beginning to end. Unlike the vastly inferior remake, Move Over, Darling, just about everything in Wife is absolutely right, starting with that farceur par excellence Cary Grant and that quintessence of wifely charm Irene Dunne. Both of these excellent actors possessed impressive ranges, and both were experts at the kind of light-but-serious touch that material of this sort requires; if the touch is too light, the essential silliness of the piece becomes evident, and if it is too serious, it kills the fun. Grant and Dunne skate across the screenplay without slipping and falling for even an instance. They're aided, of course, by Garson Kanin's fluid, assured and "fun" direction; Kanin's sense of humor and natural feel for the material shines through in every frame. The director even gets a chance to briefly indulge his trademark fondness for quirky fantasy/dream sequences when Grant ponders his dilemma. Even with such a strong director and stars, however, the film could have been nothing more than moderately entertaining were it not for the solid, well-structured and above all funny screenplay that manages to hit the ball out of the park on almost every occasion. Add in a marvelous supporting cast and the professional polish supplied by the designers and technicians, and the result is a Wife that is a favorite indeed. Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is an ideal example of the sort of frothy, smart-without-congratulating-itself comedy that Hollywood regularly produced in the first half of the 20th century. Cary Grant is near the top of his comic form as Jim Blandings, blundering through the construction of his new home in Connecticut with more bull-headed determination than practical skill, and Myrna Loy is his superbly dry comic counterpart as Jim's slightly more sensible mate, Muriel Blandings; the wonderful scene in which she sends the painting contractor to the produce market in search of the right colors is light comic absurdity at its best. And how about a hand for Connie Marshall and Sharyn Moffett as the Blandings daughters, who never fail to hit the right note of bemusement and embarrassment with their parents' ongoing fiasco, and Louise Beavers as Gussie, the loyal servant who seems a bit smarter than her boss (and has one of the best lines in the movie). Melvin Frank's and Norman Panama's screenplay puts enough spin on the situations to keep them from getting hackneyed, and H.C. Potter's direction keeps things light, lively, and on their toes. Like a good gin and tonic, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is light and bubbly, with just enough bite to be both refreshing and intriguing. Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Although quite dated in some ways, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a very enjoyable little farce. The biggest drawback to modern audiences is, unfortunately, its very premise: that an adult man would be encouraged to date a teenage girl -- and the girl's sister, yet. The situation nowadays comes across as rather smarmy, and one wonders about the wisdom of a judge that would create a situation that could conceivably lead to terrible consequences. Once one accepts the premise, however, there's a great deal to enjoy in Sidney Sheldon's screenplay. The plotting is just what is expected, but it comes across as inevitable rather than predictable, and Sheldon has supplied his characters with amusing situations (the opening trial sequence and Nugent and Margaret's dinner are especially fine) and sharp, delightful dialogue. Irving G. Reis' direction keeps the film moving at a brisk pace, allowing the jokes to land, but never lingering a moment too long. Cary Grant is, of course, in impeccable farceur mode, showing off both his charm and his sense of timing to their very best advantage. He's well matched by the delectable Myrna Loy, and Shirley Temple comes off quite well in one of her few "grown-up" parts. Bachelor is a trifle, but it's fun. Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

Although modern audiences may find many of the situations in Destination Tokyo rather clichéd, it's still a gripping submarine thriller. Tokyo is also a bit long, but the problem isn't that sections of the film drag; it's that it feels like the creators tried to get too much into the story. This isn't such a problem in the first half, where director Delmer Daves and writers Steve Fisher and Alfred Maltz spend time letting the audience get to know the large cast of characters and learn about life aboard a submarine. (Of course, this being Hollywood, the submarine is glamorized in terms of space, equipment, etc.) It does become a problem in the latter half of the film -- the "meat" of the picture -- when there are too many action sequences one right after the other. There are other glitches as well, such as the fact that some of the characters are a bit clichéd and that some of the timeline is seriously askew (although the latter will probably be recognized only be avid war historians). Many will find fault with the propagandistic aspects of the film, particularly a lengthy "letter home" sequence (which is apparently often deleted from many prints). Fortunately, Tokyo's cast helps to overcome these flaws, especially Cary Grant, who is aces as the man who holds both the submarine and the film together. He gets excellent support from John Garfield, Dane Clark, Alan Hale and Robert Hutton. And even with its faults, Tokyo manages to keep the viewer involved and engaged, even if he already knows the outcome. Craig Butler, All Movie Guide