Cary Grant: Screen Legend Collection
Thirty Day Princess (December 2/06)
Featuring a script co-written by Preston Sturges, Thirty Day Princess casts Sylvia Sidney in the dual roles of Princess Catterina and a sassy New Yorker named Nancy Lane. After the Princess falls ill during a trip to the United States, a shady banker (Edward Arnold) hires Nancy to impersonate her - a scam that soon raises the suspicion of cynical newspaperman Porter Madison III (Cary Grant). That a mutual attraction starts to take hold doesn't come as much of a surprise, nor does the inclusion of a fake break-up in the film's third act. Although the film does eventually run out of steam, Thirty Day Princess is - generally speaking - an amiable little comedy that undoubtedly benefits from the charisma of its two leads (as effective as Grant is here, it's Sidney who deserves the lion's share of credit for the movie's success). The snappy screenplay is complemented by Marion Gering's surprisingly fluid direction, while the unabashedly romantic finale leaves the film with an upbeat and feel-good vibe.
Kiss and Make-Up (December 3/06)
Kiss and Make-Up revolves around the shenanigans that ensue after a respected beautician (played by Cary Grant) falls for one of his patients (Genevieve Tobin), even though his wisecracking, long-suffering secretary (Helen Mack) has secretly been in love with him for years. Aside from Grant's typically charming performance, Kiss and Make-Up has exceedingly little to offer most viewers - with the film's oppressively thin storyline its most obvious shortcoming. There's simply nothing here to hold one's interest, despite the best efforts of screenwriters George Marion Jr and Harlan Thompson; the pair, in an effort to compensate for the lack of plot, toss in an almost absurd amount of elements that ultimately can't help but come off as filler (musical numbers, car chases, etc). But their efforts prove fruitless and there's little doubt that even the most ardent Grant fan will be left rolling their eyes.
Wings in the Dark (December 4/06)
Wings in the Dark stars Cary Grant as Ken Gordon, a hotshot pilot who's blinded in a tragic coffee-making accident and subsequently forced to retreat from society. But Ken soon finds himself in the air once again thanks to the tireless efforts of fellow aviator Sheila Mason (Myrna Loy), and it's not long before a full-fledged romance starts to bloom between the pair. Directed by James Flood and written by Jack Kirkland and Frank Partos, Wings in the Dark possesses the sort of attributes one might've expected from such a premise - including requisite scenes in which Ken must angrily adjust to his blindness. And although the novelty of watching Grant play a blind guy keeps things interesting for a while, the film's overtly melodramatic qualities ultimately lend the proceedings a distinctly silly vibe (the inclusion of a needlessly protracted sequence towards the end, in which Ken must once again take to the skies to save Sheila, probably doesn't help matters).
Big Brown Eyes (December 6/06)
Undoubtedly inspired by the success of The Thin Man (which was released just two years prior), Big Brown Eyes casts Cary Grant and Joan Bennett as squabbling, on-again-off-again couple Danny Barr and Eve Fallon. Following a rash of jewelry heists, the pair are forced to put their differences aside and work together to catch the culprits (one of whom accidentally kills a baby during a hasty escape from the cops!) Screenwriters Bert Hanlon and Raoul Walsh (the latter of whom also directs) have infused Big Brown Eyes with a reasonably interesting storyline and dialogue that's often ridiculously snappy (ie "you've got a kind face, too - the kind I don't like!"), while Grant and Bennett are likable and convincing as the bickering twosome. And although the whole thing never quite adds up to much, Big Brown Eyes generally remains an agreeable piece of work that's undoubtedly elevated by the uniformly engaging performances.
Wedding Present (December 7/06)
Sporadically amusing but mostly tedious, Wedding Present revolves around the misadventures of two reporters - Cary Grant's Charlie and Joan Bennett's Monica - as they hunt down big stories and prank their superiors (and, eventually, each other). There are a few bright spots within Wedding Present's overlong running time - including a sequence in which Charlie and Monica fruitlessly attempt to make each other jealous over the phone - but the film is simply too aimless to make any kind of meaningful impact. Screenwriter Joseph Anthony's refusal to infuse the proceedings with anything even resembling a plot proves to be disastrous, as the movie's overly talky vibe eventually becomes oppressive. The chaotic finale consequently can't help but come off as desperate, and although there's certainly a palpable sense of chemistry between Grant and Bennett, Wedding Present ultimately wears the viewer down with its freneticism.