Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, To Catch A Thief stars Cary Grant as former cat burglar John Robie, now retired in the French Riviera, who comes under suspicion when a thief impersonating his modus operandi begins stealing the jewels of wealthy tourists. Grace Kelly is Frances Stevens, a nouveau riche American heiress, in her third and final collaboration with the famed director.
And that’s a wrap! Much like the previous month, September was largely spent in NFT1-3 at the BFI, ignoring all the big releases at the end of summer in favour of more of Grant’s back catalogue. The second half of the BFI’s Cary Grant season features films from the mid-1940s until the end of his career in the 1960s.
On February 5th 1919, four of the most powerful players in the movie business officially joined together to form the United Artists Corporation. D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were unparalleled in terms of their creative and financial successes, and they’d decided that the time had finally come for them to seize control of their own creative destinies.
This post is part of the Classic Movie Blog Association 10th Anniversary Blogathon
Woman of the Year is a romantic comedy directed by George Stevens, featuring the first on-screen pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. They star as Tess Harding and Sam Craig, rival reporters at the New York Chronicle, who fall and love and rush into marriage despite the marked differences in their lifestyles.
Throughout August and September the BFI has been hosting a season called Cary Grant: Britain’s Greatest Export. This means that I’ve been spending even more time there than usual, and I’ve watched a lot of his movies over the past few weeks (with even more to come over the next few!). The season is divided into two parts, so I wanted to talk about the films I’ve seen so far in the first part, which spans from the beginning of his career in the early 1930s until the mid-1940s, when he was fully established as a major Hollywood star.
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, Queen Christina is a pre-code historical biopic which stars Greta Garbo as the eponymous monarch, who struggles to balance the wishes of her subjects and advisors with her own desires. John Gilbert plays Antonio, a handsome Spanish envoy who becomes the queen’s great love.
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard (with un-credited assistance from Buster Keaton), In The Good Old Summertime is a Technicolour musical reworking of Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around The Corner (1940), starring Judy Garland as Veronica Fisher, and Van Johnson as Andrew Larkin, the shop workers who do not realise they are each other’s anonymous pen pal.
A Bill of Divorcement is a pre-code drama following a day in the life of a dysfunctional English family at Christmastime, starring Katharine Hepburn in her big-screen debut as Sydney Fairfield, Billie Burke as her mother Meg, and John Barrymore as her father Hilary, who escapes the mental hospital he has spent twenty years in due to shell shock.
Barbara Stanwyck was not only one of classic Hollywood’s most prolific actresses, but also one of its most versatile. Throughout the 1940s and 50s she starred in a number of noir pictures and, despite the heavy conventions of the genre, turned in remarkably different performances in each. In this post I’ll be looking at three of her noir films from the 1940s, and how they demonstrate her unique and chameleon-like talent for the genre.
This post is part of the Noirathon