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3 Cary Grant Films Everyone Should See

Updated on May 30, 2012

I’m a sucker for a good old movie. I love movies from when writers told real stories. The people on the screen inspired you to want for more than you had. Women were glamorous and always looked so put together. Men were dashing, handsome, chivalrous, and knew how to treat a woman.

Cary Grant was the embodiment of sophistication, class, and good lucks. He had a sense of humor that made him seem approachable and human. Never taking himself seriously, he was humble in his fame and never forgot who he really was.

I have seen many of his films numerous times; they never get old. I love seeing how easily he can make fun of himself. There was no air of superiority to him which is why women loved him and men wanted to be him. These are all qualities that just aren’t seen in many actors today.

Grant made a total of 72 films during his career, spanning many genres and cultivating him a devoted following. If you are new to watching old movies, then you will no doubt see some of his most famous films, including “North by Northwest”, “The Philadelphia Story”, “Charade”, and “Operation Petticoat.” These are all great films and should not be missed. However, there are some films of his that should not be missed. You should seek them out, no matter how hard they are to find. These are some of my favorite films and everyone I have shared them with has loved them.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

This is a hilarious movie which showcases his slapstick chops and perfect comedic timing. Grant plays drama critic Mortimer Brewster who returns home on his wedding day. Once there, he learns the eccentric aunts he adores have been poisoning transient men and burying them in the basement. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mortimer’s brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey) returns home looking to hide out from police, with harried plastic surgeon in tow played perfectly by Peter Lorre.

The aunts, played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, see what they have been doing as charitable work considering all of their ‘guests’ were men without families, without homes, without anyone to really care for them. Mortimer is shocked at the way his aunts can explain away their actions, believing perfectly they have not done anything wrong. Afterall, they provided the men with a Christian burial.

This is a fast paced film employing empathy, a smooth flow between scenes without a lot of cutting to different locations and good ol’ slapstick comedy. This movie will have you laughing, sympathizing with the characters, and in the end, perfectly happy with how well everything comes together. Everyone thinks the people in their families are crazy, but this film really puts it all in to perspective.

I Was A Male War Bride (1949)

French officer, Capt Henri Rochard (Grant) is assigned to work with American WAC Lt. Catherine Gates (Ann Sheridan) during the final days of World War II. As with any romantic comedy, the two initially can’t stand each other but soon bond over several zany misadventures as they work to complete their mission. Before long, they decide they need to be together and decide to get married, which is when the real problems begin.

This film likes to poke fun at the bureaucracy of the military, between the worst wedding night in history and the mountains of paperwork needed for Grant to follow his new wife home to America. In the end, their best option is for him to travel as war bride, the only male to attempt it. The awkwardness of the situation is heightened with each military encounter and culminates in Grant having to don a disguise in order to sneak on to the Navy ship bound for the US.

In this film, where gender rules are questioned and government red tape is primary protagonist, Grant and Sheridan each give outstanding performances. You quickly fall in love with characters and the absurdity of the whole situation. It may follow a formula story, but the acting, writing and chemistry make this film memorable.

Penny Serenade (1941)

Starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunn in one of the several films they made together, Penny Serenade will have you laughing, crying and unable to turn away from this touching drama. The film begins with Julie preparing to leave her husband Roger, packing her things and holding back emotions. When she gets to the record collection they have accumulated, she can’t help but play some. With each song comes a flood of memories and emotions, and the story begins here in flashbacks.

The first record she plays is the one that was playing when they met in a music store. The ups and downs of courtship and married life fill each song. The search for career success and the desire to start a family and making a home are all explored through the music of their lives.

Even more than seventy years later, the themes in this film are still very relevant today. Working a better life and to provide for children is something everyone can relates to. Not to mention the heartbreak that often comes with loving another person. This is a perfect date movie, the story is interesting enough to keep men involved and women will have a hard time not feeling the happiness and pain that fill this movie.

In the end…

Cary Grant had a long career filled with box office success, even with a chaotic personal life. He was a man that other men aspired to be simply because his cool, easy style made girls swoon while still seeming approachable. His are films that should not be missed, cannot be remade, and have managed to withstand the changing times and societal norms.

Think I missed a film that should be here? Leave me a comment and tell me which Cary Grant film shouldn't be missed!


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    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      Nice hub! I've seen only 'North by Northwest', I guess I should check out more ..!