Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event sponsored by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week has a different theme from which to build a top 10 list. This week’s theme is a movie freebie. Since it’s a movie theme this week, I’m deciding to just go with that, rather than necessarily trying to rope it into books. So, I decided to showcase another love of mine: classic movies. I’m particularly in love with Cary Grant…and one of my life goals is to see all of his movies (there are about 70 total…I’ve seen about 30, I think?). I also really love classic movies in general, though I will admit that watching them sometimes makes me cringe in some respects, mostly when related to feminism and people of color. I still think some of them are quite good, especially when they do very little that’s cringeworthy. Without further ado, here are my top 10 (well, really 12) Cary Grant movies, of the ones I’ve seen. All titles link back to IMDB.
1. An Affair to Remember (1957), starring Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr
If you’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle, you’ve seen snippets of this movie. There’s also a remake of it with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening…but this one is infinitely better (I’m sure, even if I’ve only seen parts of the remake). This movie is itself a remake of Love Affair, but I also like it more than the original. It’s a tearjerker, but so good! It’s the story of two people committed to other people who meet and fall in love on a cruise ship…then agree to meet up in 6 months. Lots of things happen after that. Many tears ensue. One of my all time favorites!
2. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, & many other famous folks
This movie is a version of a stage play in which Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) discovers that his dear, sweet old aunts have been killing drifters out of mercy. Much hilarity ensues, including a lot of good old fashioned slapstick comedy, at which Cary Grant excels. It drags a little here and there, but I still find myself laughing out loud…even if his fiancée annoys me to death.
I feel like this is a lesser known film, but it’s one of my favorites. I have yet to find it on DVD for a decent price, but I’m going to keep looking. Grant plays a gambler who plans to steal money from a charity function, but instead falls in love. The characters have their ups and downs, and there were parts where I got teary-eyed as well. A quality movie.
4. The Philadelphia Story (1940), starring Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, & Katharine Hepburn
This is a classic comedy. Katharine Hepburn is Cary Grant’s ex-wife, and is getting remarried. On the eve of her wedding, he shows up, as does a tabloid-type reporter. Lots of romance and funniness ensue. I really love this movie for the all star cast and for some great one liners.
5. North by Northwest (1959), starring Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint
Essentially THE classic story about mistaken identity, this is one of several movies that Grant made with Alfred Hitchcock. Featuring the classic crop-duster plane scene, it follows Roger Thornhill, an ad executive who is mistaken for a government agent by a bunch of foreign spies. His life is turned completely upside down. It’s an amazing thriller, really well done. A must see.
6. Charade (1963), starring Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn
Another must see, in my opinion, Charade begins by following Audrey Hepburn’s character, whose husband is killed. She comes to discover that he was in possession of a stolen fortune and that the men who helped him steal it now want their share. Unsure of who she can trust, she places her faith in Grant’s character, whose identity is everchanging. A great thriller, it also features a younger Walter Matthau as a CIA agent also assisting Hepburn. Fun fact: Grant insisted that the romance between Hepburn and himself in the movie had to be written so that it was clear Hepburn’s character was pursuing him, since she was much younger than he was at the time, and he didn’t think an older man pursuing a younger woman was proper.
7. The Talk of the Town (1942), starring Cary Grant & Jean Arthur
In this movie, Grant plays a prisoner on the run: a former factory worker who protested the working conditions and was arrested for arson and murder (of the factory’s foreman). He hides as a gardener in the rental house of his childhood friend (Jean Arthur), who is renting the house to a law professor (and working as a secretary and live-in help to better hide her friend). The two childhood sweethearts work to get the law professor on their side so that Grant’s character can get a fair trial (and hopefully be proven innocent, as he claims he is). A really good love triangle completes this interesting story.
8. Only Angels Have Wings (1939), starring Cary Grant & Jean Arthur
The first movie (I believe) that Arthur and Grant made together, it follows the lives of pilots working for an air service in South America. The job is dangerous and risky, but Geoff (Grant) wouldn’t have it any other way. Bonnie, played by Arthur, is a cabaret singer who gets off of a ship in the village and decides to stay after meeting (and falling for) Geoff, who refuses to change just because of a woman. A really good love story, with some really intense suspense scenes.
9. People Will Talk (1951), starring Cary Grant & Jeanne Crain
A more serious film in tone, it is about Dr. Noah Praetorius (Grant), a beloved gynecologist who believes medicine is more than just medicine and surgery and what he learned in text books. He’s also a college professor, and meets Debra, a student of his who attempts suicide when she learns she is pregnant (and also single). The movie charts not only their relationship, but also the witch hunt put on by a professor jealous of Praetorius’ success and suspicious of his constant companion, a silent but kind man named Mr. Gunderson.
10. Penny Serenade (1941), starring Cary Grant & Irene Dunne
Also more serious, this movie follows a married couple. In the beginning, the wife is preparing to leave her husband, and the movie occurs through flashbacks that tell their story. It shows how they met, their struggle to have children, and the way they build their family, as well as how it all comes crashing down. I definitely cried at many points throughout this movie, but I can’t tell you why without spoiling it. A really wonderfully made film…just make sure to have Kleenex handy!
11. Indiscreet (1958), starring Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman
This movie is one of my favorite romantic comedies. Ingrid Bergman plays an actress, unlucky in love, until she meets Phillip, whose work has led him to be friends with her brother-in-law. As they fall in love, he tells her he has a wife back in San Francisco (they’re in London) and she will never grant Phillip a divorce. When he is about to transfer to New York, Bergman’s character decides she wants to marry him…and then finds out something very interesting that leads her to change her tune (maybe). Such a funny movie…and wonderfully acted.
12. Notorious (1946), starring Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman
Another Hitchcock film, this one is another favorite…though Grant’s character in this movie is not altogether likable at times. Bergman plays Alicia, a woman whose father sympathized with Nazis and has just been convicted of treason against the US government. Grant plays T. R. Devlin, a government agent who uses her to spy on her father’s Nazi friends. A very taut spy thriller, well executed in black and white, it’s also a love story, though this one isn’t all hearts and kisses like most of the others. The relationship between Devlin and Alicia is complex and complicated by their work. An amazing movie.
So…obviously when it comes to my love of Cary Grant, it’s hard to pick just 10 movies I love. There are so many more, but I’ll stop there. He was just such a wonderful actor, very able to play all different kinds of characters. My hope is that you found at least one movie on this list that intrigues you. 🙂
What’s your favorite classic movie?? Let me know in the comments & feel free to link to your own Top 10 Tuesday!