Top 10 Films Starring Classic Hollywood's Cary Grant – Top 10 Films

Hailing from Bristol, England, Cary Grant crossed the Atlantic when he was 16, joining the Pender Troupe, a group of performers whose acts included clowns and acrobats, before reaching critical acclaim as one of Hollywood’s leading men in a career that featured over 75 films.
He performed opposite many of Classic Hollywood’s leading ladies – including Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly – and frequently collaborated with directors Alfred Hitchcock (four films) and Howard Hawks (five films).
Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.
I watched my first film starring Grant – The Bishop’s Wife (1947) – in December 2020. I quickly fell for his easy-going charm and decided to watch more of his filmography. I now have 12 of his films under my belt and have several “must-watches” still to view, including The Philadelphia Story (dir. George Cukor, 1940) and Notorious (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1946).
Dir. Blake Edwards (1959)

Building from a slow start, Operation Petticoat is very entertaining, and Tony Curtis makes a fine pairing with Grant. One of Grant’s later films, Curtis takes the role he would have filled had it been made 15-20 years earlier. Grant has fun in the role of the Lieutenant Commander, bouncing off Curtis and, as you come to expect of Grant, delivering some great one liners.
Dir. Howard Hawks (1938)

The stuffy Dr David Huxley is quite a different role for Grant. He has terrific chemistry with Katharine Hepburn’s scatter-brained Susan Vance, as he plays the role of a palaeontologist dedicated to his work but who experiences one calamity after another after meeting Susan. There are plenty of laughs, but the physical comedy and obvious humour does wear after a while.
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1955)

This is a visually beautiful film, but your attention might start to wander. Grant stars opposite Grace Kelly, and together they make a dream pairing. Grant’s charisma and comedic timing make John Robie a part he was born to play, but after a decent amount of intrigue that had been built, the finale does feel lacklustre.
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1941)

Going against type, Grant portrays a dashing playboy who quickly convinces a shy Englishwoman (Joan Fontaine) to marry him. Grant’s charm and strong on-screen presences are still there but it is more devious and sinister, and it is impossible to work out his true motivations. Fontaine took home the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, and it is refreshing to see Grant in a role that swap witty quips for mystery and uncertainty.
Dir. Howard Hawks (1949)

Grant stars opposite Ann Sheridan as they tackle American red tape and administrative annoyances in this comedy based on the lived experience of Roger Charlier, a Belgian who married an American nurse and who tried to travel to the United States under the terms of the War Bride Act. While the second half isn’t as full of high jinks as the first, it’s a fun outing, especially considering the time it was made. (It was released just four years after the end of World War II.)
Dir. Stanley Donen (1963)

Grant demonstrates his James Bond potential in Charade, a fun, Hitchcock-esque film that straddles the thriller, romance and comedy genres. Bouncing wonderfully against leading lady Audrey Hepburn, the Grant charm and gentle seduction are used to terrific effect, as we – just like Hepburn – try to establish who murdered her secret agent husband and just who exactly Grant’s character is.
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1959)

This is an intriguing spy thriller where Grant shines in a case of mistaken identity. He shows off his 007 credentials again and would have excelled in the role. (Grant was urged to take the role by his close friend, Bond producer Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, but declined, only wanting to commit to one film.) There’s a generous helping of innuendo among Grant’s witty retorts, and it’s a physical role with some fantastically choreographed action sequences.
Dir. Garson Kanin (1940)

Grant’s easy, natural charm is on full display, as his character comes to terms with the unexpected return of his shipwrecked wife (Irene Dunne) and having to break the news to his new wife (Gail Patrick). By the time the screwball comedy reaches its happy conclusion, My Favourite Wife shows Grant at his light-hearted finest. There’s witty dialogue, moments of pure joy and the unexpected delight of seeing Grant don a Father Christmas outfit.
Dir. Howard Hawks (1939)

The third outing between Grant and director Howard Hawks sees newspaper editor Walter Burns (Grant) try to win back the heart of his former wife and ace reporter, Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell). The usual Grant charm is on full display with fun moments of playful teasing between Walter and Hildy. Ralph Bellamy’s Bruce Baldwin makes a fine third wheel as Hildy’s betrothed, and together the three of them share some comical scenes.
Dir. Henry Koster (1947)

Grant is at his most charismatic best in The Bishop’s Wife. This charming film sees a suave angel named Dudley (Grant) answering Bishop Henry Brougham’s (David Niven) prayer for divine guidance. Dudley reveals his identity only to Henry but forms close relationships with Henry’s wife Julia (Loretta Young) and their young daughter Debby (Karolyn Grimes).
Good article. Do check out “Arsenic and Old Lace”. That and “Notorious” were early CG favorites of mine when I was in my late teens.
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