The films of the 30s and 40s with Cary Grant saw a film actor on the rise and his final ascension into superstardom.Some prefer his 50s and onward persona of suave and sophistication.While I liked the on screen Grant of that era too it is this time period I believe that shows Grant at his best.Here was an actor with great energy,charm,charisma and an understated depth and range in his acting.This collection from Columbia is a great showcase for Grant and a must have for all of his fans.
There are five films included here;Holiday,Only Angels Have Wings,The Talk of the Town,His Girl Friday and The Awful Truth.
All are top notch and delightful films in their own rights and have strong leading ladies for Grant to play with.
Holiday is a film which I have not seen for some 35 years and it was a welcome sight.But as others have noted before me it is not available as a seperate release,and I can see why the film execs have NOT picked it as such;it ranges from good condition to poor.This film has been restored through UCLA using material from their archives,Columbia and The Library of Congress.And when one has to get elements from three seperate sources,the alarm bells go off in my head.
To start with from the opening credits to a good 15 minutes into the film,the picture seems slighly cropped,that is to say, we seem to be looking closer at everything than we should.Heads are precariously close to the top of the frame.Compare this to the other films and you'll see what I mean.Also there is a scene where Hepburn meets Cary's friends.I got the impression the friends got a little too cosy with her a little too quickly than they should have,possibly as a result of some slight footage being left out.When you have to get your build elements from three different sources then the odds are a)neither source has a complete print(or a decent working one) and b)some film may be left out/lost.But this is only my impressions/oppinions.
Most of the other films are generally in very good condition,some a little more grainy than others but good nonetheless.If I was to rate them all from the best to the worst,as far as condition goes,I would put Only Angels Have Wings and The Talk of Town in a two way tie for first,His Girl Friday and The Awful Truth in a two way tie for second and Holiday as a more distant third.
As I mentioned previously Grant's range can not be stated enough.He plays everything from a husband going through a divorce,a jungle pilot,a newspaper editor,a disenchanted husband to be and an innocent criminal on the lamb.All are embued with Grant's ineffable charm and charisma and the humour that plays out in each film is of a quite human and realistic nature.It is the latter that helps draw the viewer into the film and makes them care about the characters much more than they otherwise would.Two of the directors Leo McCary and George Stevens(The Awful Truth and The Talk of the Town respectively)are directly descended from working very closely with Laurel and Hardy.That type of humanistic,realistic,gentle and very funny humour is evident throughout those films especially.And no matter where the plots go,and some get pretty serious at times,they always in the end stay the steady course knowing in the end Grant's character will end on a little higher note than he began.
This set of five DVDS comes in a big slipcase with fold out holders.You will have no complaints as to the discs coming loose.In fact I have to say if anything these discs are a little TOO tight(I thought I'd never say that!).I had a devil of a time trying to get them out.
Each DVD has one or two short featurettes on its' pertinent film but nothing much else worthy of note.There are a nice set of 10 cards included;five lobby repros and five pub pics;very nice.
In conclusion,most of the films have been transferred well with Holiday having the worst number of deficiencies,as noted.But for all you Cary Grant fans and lovers of good films,these are five must haves ready and waiting for you all in one place.