Friday, June 4, 2010

If I were Cary Grant

I happen to like "classic" movies. Not classic like Wall-E, but actually classic - movies that have stood the test of time for decades. Therefore, both my TiVo and Netflix queue are packed with the likes of Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, Humphry Bogart, etc.

Tonight DW and I watched (part of) "In Name Only". [SPOILER ALERT] In the movie, Alec Walker (Cary Grant) is married to Maida (Kay Francis) who is a conniving shrew who married him for his (father's) money. He falls in love with young widowed mother Julie Eden (Carole Lombard), and a whole bunch of shenanigans occur to drive home the point that Maida is evil and Alec is therefore justified in carrying on an affair with Julie. Julie is an innocent, who fell for Alec before she knew he was married, and tries repeatedly to break it off, but Alec keeps stringing her along with promises of divorce and remarriage.

Although the movie paints Alec as the aggrieved party I can't find any sympathy for him. We learn that when he an Maida returned from their honeymoon, he received a letter from the mother of a gentleman who killed himself when Alec and Maida were married. In the note he explains how he loved Maida, but she left him for Alec's (father's) money. Alec kept the note secret for two years until he needs to force Maida to give him a divorce to marry Julie. So why not bring up this little matter right after the honeymoon and get an annulment based on Maida's false pretenses of marriage? Or if you're going to be married for years, be married. Instead Alec wants to have his cake and eat it too. In fact, they all behave like children except for Julie's little daughter, Ellen.

It's rare that I find myself hating Cary Grant. He's usually the nice guy in films. I suppose it's possible the writers of this film thought he was still playing a nice guy. On the other hand, it's not unusual I find myself disliking a movie for it's amoral (or immoral) proselytizing. The last movie I started was "The Sea Hawk", which is a 1940 anti-Nazi film set in the 16th century, with England playing the part of England, and Nazis being played by the Catholic Church. Not sure if I want to finish watching that one, despite Errol Flynn's swashbuckling performance.


Post a Comment