By Jen Vargas
Anyone who has ever participated in DVD Netflix's popular and friendly #DVDChats on Twitter already knows that Cary Grant – lover, leading man, dashing goofball – is a longtime running theme and group crush (he gets mentioned at least once in every #DVDchat). Good ol' Archie Leach, in life and beyond, continues to make hearts go pitter pat! I mean, seriously. LOOK at the man. He was ridiculously handsome even later in life. So distinguished! (It was the accent. And maybe the suits, fedoras, and tuxes...)
Despite an acting career spanning over 70 films, not to mention a varied background of vaudeville, radio, and a bit of Broadway, can you believe he never won an Oscar? Sure, he was nominated for several BAFTAs, Golden Globes, but only a couple of Academy Awards.
In 1970, The Academy awarded him a Lifetime Achievement statuette. As a film student, the last part of his acceptance speech always resonated with me. He said, "I've been privileged to be a part of Hollywood's most glorious era. And yet, tonight, thinking of all the empty screens that are waiting to be filled with marvelous images and ideologies, points of view - whatever. And considering all the students who are studying film techniques in the universities throughout the world and the astonishing young talents that are coming up in our midst! I think there's an even more glorious era right around the corner!"
Offscreen, Grant was married five times, and never to Doris Day. He had only child, a daughter (with actress Dyan Cannon) named Jennifer, who was his "best production," he'd often say. That makes me think of the scene in "Sleepless in Seattle," a movie inspired by the Cary Grant classic "An Affair to Remember," which sits at a respectable number six on DVD Netflix's 15 Most Rented Cary Grant Films list. It's the scene where Tom Hanks' Sam and Rob Reiner's Jay discuss dating and being modern day (circa 1993) suave. "Hello, Dyan! Take a look at these swatches!"
Of course you should rent all fifteen of these Cary Grant titles, even and especially if you've seen them already.
Fun fact: There's a life size statue of Cary Grant in Bristol, England (Millennium Square)! Selfies and snuggles welcomed. (Pics or it didn't happen.)
After a man's wife has gone seven years missing at sea (and is long believed dead), she suddenly shows up on the very day he's about to marry again! Cary Grant stars as the beleaguered husband, and Irene Dunne is hilarious as his returning wife. She – on top of everything else – must adjust to a hectic life far removed from the island where she was marooned. Garson Kanin directs this comedy, which received three Oscar nods.
When wholesome small-town girl Cathy moves to New York City and meets handsome tycoon Philip, she thinks she's found the man of her dreams. Philip assures her he's not the marrying kind, but Cathy has other ideas.
Wealthy American diplomat Philip (Cary Grant) and famous actress Anne (Ingrid Bergman) meet just as Anne has decided that all the best men in the world are taken. Although Philip is indeed married, Anne can't resist their instant attraction and electricity, and they begin a passionate affair. But an unexpected secret Philip hides from his new love threatens to spoil everything. Stanley Donen directed this sparkling romantic comedy.
Engaged to wealthy Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), freethinker Johnny Case (Cary Grant) discovers that her family wants to remake him into their idea of the perfect son-in-law – and he's beginning to consider compromising his values. But as he gets to know Julia's headstrong sister (Katharine Hepburn), he realizes he has more in common with her. Directed by George Cukor, this witty romantic comedy earned an Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction.
This captivating screwball comedy stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a married couple who mistakenly suspect each other of infidelity and file for divorce – but then go to ridiculous lengths to make each other jealous. Ralph Bellamy is hilarious as Dunne's new suitor, Grant and Dunne have rarely been better, and a scene-stealing pooch provides some hearty laughs. Leo McCarey won an Oscar for his sprightly direction.
Cary Grant stars as Peter, who may or may not be a flimflam man who aids the recently widowed Regina (Audrey Hepburn) in her mission to recover a fortune hidden by her late husband. But three sinister crooks – who'll stop at nothing – also covet the loot.
Shy and beautiful Lina (Joan Fontaine, in an Oscar-winning performance) falls head over heels for handsome gambler Johnnie (Cary Grant) – but after the couple elopes, she begins to fear for her life when she discovers Johnnie's true nature and dark past in this Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Lina's doubts about her husband are compounded when he expresses a growing fascination with poison and a colleague of his meets an untimely death.
Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) is about to get hitched to dull insurance agent Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) – that's if her ex-husband, ruthless newspaper publisher Walter Burns (Cary Grant), doesn't succeed in winning her back.
Love runs wild for a hapless scientist and an unstoppable heiress in Howard Hawks's classic screwball comedy that ranks high on the American Film Institute's list of the funniest Hollywood films ever made. With her eye on paleontologist David (Cary Grant), heiress Susan (Katharine Hepburn) lures him to her home. But the hilarity begins when Susan's dog steals David's prize dinosaur bone and her pet leopard, Baby, is mistaken for a zoo escapee.
Although each is already engaged to another, Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) meet on an ocean liner and fall deeply in love. Tempting fate, they agree to meet at the Empire State Building in six months if they still feel the same way. But a tragic accident prevents their rendezvous, and the lovers' future takes an uncertain turn. This classic love story was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Music.
Stellar performances highlight this delightfully witty adaptation of the hit Broadway play about two dotty spinsters (Josephine Hull and Jean Adair) with a peculiar avocation: helping lonely old gents by poisoning them and burying them in the cellar. But the jig is up when the ladies' newlywed nephew, Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), discovers his aunts' "benevolent" deeds. Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre also star.
Socialite Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) prepares to remarry, but her ex (Cary Grant) and a tabloid reporter (Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner James Stewart) have other ideas as they converge on her home for a fateful visit. The three stars form an incomparable trio in one of the most tantalizing screwball romances ever. And under the direction of George Cukor, this once-urbane Broadway comedy springs to life with precision and wit.
Suspected in a series of gem heists in the French Riviera, reformed thief John Robie sets out to catch the real culprit with the help of pampered heiress Frances Stevens (Gracey Kelly). Robie's plan backfires, but Frances, who believes him guilty, plots an escape.
Government agent T.R. Devlin recruits American beauty Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) to spy on her father's influential Nazi friends in this Alfred Hitchcock espionage thriller. As part of her cover, Alicia marries one of her father's associates.
What if everyone around you was suddenly convinced that you were a spy? This classic from master director Alfred Hitchcock stars Cary Grant as an advertising executive who looks a little too much like someone else and is forced to go on the lam (helped along by Eva Marie Saint). Hitchcock's sure-handed comic drama pits Grant against a crop duster and lands him in a fight for his life on Mount Rushmore – a true cliffhanger if ever there was one.