Cary Grant at BAM, round 2
Cary Grant attempts to pass as a woman in I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE.
Cray Grant lovers rejoice. There are still two more weeks to catch BAM’s second ode to Hollywood’s most charismatic leading man. I seem to remember last year’s line up featuring more of his better known films, and while this month’s screening schedule certainly hits all the high notes with films like CHARADE, NOTORIOUS, BRINGING UP BABY and AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, it also includes some of his lesser known roles, including some films not available on DVD. Take today’s screening, the off-kilter, family friendly ONCE UPON A TIME, which features Grant as a struggling theatrical producer who discovers a young orphan with a dancing caterpillar. Buyer beware, the dancing caterpillar is the crux of the entire film, and Grant delivers all the passion and drama usually devoted to more plausible plots to one little, wriggling worm he’s convinced will lift people up out of their dreary war-ridden lives.
The dreary, war-ridden movie-going folk might be better off with Grant’s spot on slapstick in the similarly titled ONCE UPON A HONEYMOON or the ridiculous but more entertaining cross-dressing spectacular I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE. Gems not to be missed are Grant’s 1932 screen debut, THIS IS THE NIGHT as well as his last film WALK DON’T RUN (1966). BAM’s curatorial team was really working overtime by securing the surrealist ALICE IN WONDERLAND, also starring Gary Cooper and W.C. Fields, and balancing it out with George Stevens’ GUNGA DIN, a rollicking adventure of three carousing British sergeants that apparently served as the prototype for the Indiana Jones’ films. This broad selection of films proves one thing. Cary Grant had it all: looks, charm, wit, drama, comic timing and the sexiest quality of all, the ability to look silly on screen.