Summer series includes Bringing Up Baby, Philadelphia Story, and Arsenic and Old Lace
Rochester, N.Y., June 17, 2010—The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House will present a series of six films in July and August starring Cary Grant, whose name remains synonymous with the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The Dryden series, titled “Cary Grant Comedies,” showcases some of his most famous screwball comedies alongside leading ladies Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, and Sophia Loren.
Born to working-class British parents, Archibald Leach began performing as a singing acrobat at the tender age of fourteen. Upon his arrival in Hollywood, he changed his name to Cary Grant and a star was born.
“Dapper, debonair, and perpetually tan long before the days of George Hamilton, Grant projected an air of intellectually vivacious sophistication by way of his quick-witted repartee with his female co-stars and his clotheshorse characters’ association with wealth and leisure,” said Dinah Holtzman, Dryden Theatre’s assistant film programmer.
Grant’s talent for screwball comedy stemmed from his early dabbling in children’s theater and Broadway musicals. He signed to a contract with Paramount, the studio miscast the fledging actor as a kind of poor man’s Gary Cooper. It was only after he finished out his term with the studio that he began to come into his own through his roles in two Mae West vehicles. The aging vaudeville ingénue handpicked her co-star based on the qualities she desired in her male foils: warmth, dark handsomeness, and, most importantly, humor and charm.
The Dryden’s summer series of Cary Grant comedies begins on July 2 with a double feature of these Grant/West movies, She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel, both films that set the tone for Grant’s future roles as the aggrieved object of a woman’s romantic and sexual longings.
The retrospective continues when Grant stars as one of a pair of hard-drinking-and-driving mischievous married ghosts who intervene in the life of Topper, which shows on July 7 from beyond the grave. Three of Grant’s most beloved collaborations with comedienne Katharine Hepburn are George Cukor’s Holiday on July 14 and The Philadelphia Story on August 4, in which the pair play estranged spouses destined to reunite despite their stubborn resistance to one another, and Howard Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby on July 21, in which Grant plays against type as an uptight, straight-arrow paleontologist and famously appears in drag.
On July 28, the screwiest of screwball comedies, Arsenic and Old Lace, teamed Grant for the only time with director Frank Capra. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House will be shown on August 11, is a comic expose of the American obsession with home ownership. (more)
On Aug. 18 the Dryden will deal with some Monkey Business, which features hijinks aplenty revolving around a pill for eternal youth, a chimpanzee, Ginger Rogers, and Marilyn Monroe. Grant co-stars with Sophia Loren in Houseboat on Aug. 25, again proving critic Pauline Kael’s theory that every woman saw him as the ideal date, the kind of man who offered “infinite possibilities for mutual entertainment.
The films of “Cary Grant Comedies”
Admission to each film is $7 general/$5 students and members.
For more information visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org or call (585) 271-4090.
Friday, July 2: Cary Grant/Mae West Double Feature! (two films for the price of one!)
7 p.m. SHE DONE HIM WRONG (Lowell Sherman, US 1933, 66 min.)
8:15 p.m. I’M NO ANGEL (Wesley Ruggles, US 1933, 87 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, July 7: TOPPER (Norman Z. McLeod, US 1937, 97 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, July 14: HOLIDAY (George Cukor, US 1938, 93 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, July 21: BRINGING UP BABY (Howard Hawks, US 1938, 102 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, July 28: ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (Frank Capra, US 1944, 118 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4: THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (George Cukor, US 1940, 112 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11: MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE
(H.C. Potter, US 1948, 94 min.)
8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25: HOUSEBOAT(Melville Shavelson, US 1958, 110 min.)