The Spring of Cary Grant – Suspicion

So when Lisa at Boondock Ramblings told me she was going to do a Spring of Cary Grant, I knew I wanted in on it. She introduced me to the legend that is Grant last fall, and I am woefully behind on his films. So I am tagging along on her journey, posting along with her as well.

This is double Cary week for me, since I got behind on the actual blogging part! But hey, look at me on time this week! Woohoo!

This week’s feature was Suspicion, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. Warning: This post will more than likely include some spoilers.

This was Grant like I had never seen him before, as a villain rather than a hero. And he played the role insanely well.

Johnnie Aysgarth (Grant) and Lina McLaidlaw (Fontaine) meet by “chance” on a train. I have that in quotes because by the end of the movie I was suspicious of everything that had happened! Johnnie sweets talks Lina into covering the rest of his first class ticket as he only has a third class ticket but has moved into her train car. Lina is sort of bookish, which we know because they constantly remind us of this by showing her wearing glasses and being very meek. Lina becomes instantly enamored of the charming Johnnie, and has a hard core crush. She sees him a week later at a hunt, he sees her, he pursues her, much like the hounds do the foxes, driving her from her den, where she is quietly reading and he arrives with some pushy society ladies and they all go to church. But then they actually don’t. Johnnie and Lina go for a walk, where he unbuttons her top button (whoa what the heck) and she gets a little feisty. Good for you girl. He also decides he is going to call her “monkey face” and does the entire movie. I don’t think I would like to be constantly called “monkey face” as a term of endearment. I think that is just part of his cruelty and gaslighting that will be more evident later in the movie.

Unfortunately, Johnnie’s flash and winning ways continue to encircle her and when he leaves for a week, she practically stalks him, calling all over to try to talk to him, begging the post office if they have a message for her. Like, get some chill honey. Ultimately though Johnnie returns and meets up with her at her father’s ball and they get married.

After a whirlwind honeymoon they return to their new home which is all fancy and updated, and frankly, uggo. I loved her family home, but her new one is ew. Lina quickly learns that her new husband who she is completely infatuated with is in fact, broke. No job, no money. But that is ok, because we don’t judge on that. Except, Johnnie is a gambler, who loves the races.

His good friend Beaky shows up and Lina learns from him that Johnnie is a good time guy, very entertaining, and a very accomplished liar. Lina eventually decides she likes Beaky after being a little put off him at first by his comments regarding Johnnie – mainly because she learns Beaky is telling the truth about Johnnie.

She has learned some unsettling facts about her Johnnie – he is a gambler, a liar, and now, he has sold her family heirloom chairs that were a wedding gift from her super rich dad. Later, she also learns that Johnnie was fired from his job because he embezzled, but won’t be prosecuted if he can pay his ex-employer (and cousin!) back the money. Lina is determined to leave Johnnie over this, but after writing a “Dear Johnny” letter, tears it up instead. At this moment, Johnnie walks in and Lina learns the horrible news that her father is dead. A little while later, Johnnie learns the horrible news that they were not left any money, only a gigantic portrait of the General himself.

Johnnie needs to still come up with the money to avoid prosecution. He talks his friend Beaky into a speculative land scheme, which Lina tries to talk Beaky out of later. Johnnie hears and gets really angry with Lina over it, obviously. However, she gives him the benefit of the doubt again. Then Johnnie calls it off anyway, and Beaky and Johnnie go to London together. A few days later, Beaky ends up mysteriously dead. The circumstances make Lina go hmm, especially after she is visited by inspectors inquiring into the death – they don’t suspect Johnnie, but she sure does.

It was here that Billy and I couldn’t stop seeing the web that Lina is in. Literally. The light and shadows in the shots form a web on the walls, on the floor, and once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It follows Lina and Johnnie everywhere, giving everything a much more ominous framing, like it needed to be more ominous. Lina discovers something that makes her fear for her own life, and when Johnnie brings her a glass of milk before bed, she doesn’t drink it. That scene, that shot, of Grant coming up the stairs with the milk is so freaky and so simple. Pure magic there. (also, see the web?)

The next morning, the glass is still there, undrunk, on the nightstand, but Lina is packing her bags to get the heck out of dodge. Johnnie finds her packing and despite her trying to convince him she is just going to visit her mom for a bit because her nerves need it, and he gets super mad. He tells her her will drive her and she is like no no, I can do it, but he insists.

So there they are, racing along the cliffs at high speeds. Grant reaches over, fiddles with her door. We see shots of how close they are to the edge, how one good push and Lina could go flying from the car and down the cliffside into the water and her certain death. It gets all creepy and intense and what is going to happen and Johnny swerves the car at the last minute and then there is chaos, the door is open, they are struggling – then next we know, Johnnie pulls the car over and they argue and Johnnie instead confesses he was going to take her to her mom’s and then go home and commit suicide. He tells her that he has since decided that it is the cowards way out, and tells her all sorts of things, like how he was in Liverpool when Beaky died, and gives an explanation to her about the final straw that sent her packing. She believes him, they get back in the car, head back to their home, driving off into the sunset.

And that’s it. That is the end.

We are left to decide what Johnnie is really like. Is he just a wastrel, a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat and a thief? Or is he a murderer too? Was he trying to kill Lina? Or was he trying to save her? Like I said, I looked back at all of his movements throughout the film with new eyes after a certain point in the movie, and thought to myself, did he kill her dad? I fully believed he was capable of murder. Billy however thinks Johnnie was just a jerkwad but not a murderer. (I think Billy might need to up his intuition regarding danger, quite frankly!)

I loved this movie. I loved seeing a different side of Grant, the dark side. His acting was impeccable, leaving so much room for doubt in the audience’s mind about his character. Fontaine was fantastic as well. Overall, a winner in my book.

Although I would never have gotten back in that car. I can guarantee that.

For Lisa’s thoughts, jump on over here! For Katja’s, visit her here!


The Spring of Cary Grant: Holiday

So when Lisa at Boondock Ramblings told me she was going to do a Spring of Cary Grant, I knew I wanted in on it. She introduced me to the legend that is Grant last fall, and I am woefully behind on his films. So I am tagging along on her journey, posting along with her as well.

I got behind though, and Lisa was gracious enough to allow me the time to catch up! We started Holiday last week, then didn’t finish it before our trip, then when we got home things were crazy busy, so we finally finished it last night (and just ended up watching the whole thing again because I can’t just go back to the middle of a movie and start watching again). So this post was supposed to be up last Thursday! But better late than never!

This one was a hit in our house! Billy declared it his favorite, while I am still deciding if I like it better than To Catch a Thief. But it makes sense that Billy loved this one, because Billy is a bit like Cary Grant’s character, Johnny Case. A bit silly, a bit of a free spirit, a guy who likes a good time. And Johnny is a good time guy, no doubt.

The movie begins and Johnny is wildly in love with a woman named Julia, and is head over heels for her dimples. They met on a trip and fell madly in love and decided to get married. But Johnny still needs to talk with Julia’s family and when he shows up to their house, is knocked off his feet in a different way by their wealth and enormous museum of a house, impressed but also..not impressed if that makes sense. He meets Julia’s sister Linda first, played by Katherine Hepburn, and the two instantly hit it off. There is a bunch of coming and going with Johnny and where he is and he ends up in the room designated the playroom with Linda. The playroom is an ordinary room, an oasis of normalcy in the palatial fancy mansion. And it is so cozy and just normal, with a blazing fireplace and comfortable couches, as well as musical instruments and yes, leftover childhood toys. Linda explains that her late mother wanted a room that was a room that could be comfortable and a retreat, and it is evident that the playroom is Linda’s favorite room in the whole gigundo house.

Linda and Johnny get to spend some time in the room getting to know each other while waiting for Julia to talk her father about her intention to marry Johnny. The difference in financial status might get messy though, and Linda and Julia know it. However, Johnny is good at his job, and so Julia has high hopes that her father will see his potential and give him a job. Then they can settle down and live a nice, upperclass, privileged life together just as she wants. However, is that what Johnny wants?

Linda knows Johnny’s heart way better than Julia does. She knows that the life Julia has in mind is not the same as Johnny’s plan for life. He wants to be a free spirit, he wants to explore and wander and have fun, and make only the money he needs. He is not a slave to the almighty dollar with aspirations of wealth. It is quite evident to the audience and most of the other characters that Linda is in love with Johnny, and that the two are way more well suited than Johnny and Julia. Linda is the black sheep of the family, and we see that Julia and her dad dismiss her as silly most of the time, behind her back.

Linda loves her sister though, and after their dad approves the marriage, requests that she throw the engagement party, just something small and intimate, not a big to-do. She tells Julia that if she is not allowed to do this, then she won’t attend the big party. Well, Julia and her dad sort of poo-poo this idea of Linda’s, and plan to have a big party anyway. And true to her word, Linda doesn’t attend, despite it embarrassing Julia. Linda instead hides out in the playroom with Johnny’s good friends the Nick and Susan Potter, Linda and Julia’s brother drunk brother Ned, and finally Johnny as well.

Anyway, long story short. Julia wants Johnny to give up his life. Johnny wants Julia to give up hers. Neither want to, and the two break up and Johnny leaves on a cruise (that he tried to get Julia to go on). Linda realizes that Julia doesn’t love Johnny at all, and knows this is her chance to escape her gilded prison and see the world with the man she loves. So she runs out to chase down her man. It was pretty clear that Johnny had been feeling the same confused feelings and in the end, the right two characters end up together.

I feel like Julia’s hat here should have tipped us off right from the beginning about her true nature.

Katharine Hepburn is fantastic in this movie. She is simply insanely gorgeous too. Damn. Cary Grant was so saucy in this movie as well – so much physical humor and fooling around and carefree. I loved it. He has such a range, doesn’t he? And apparently so does Hepburn, because I didn’t know she was so funny!

So what would you do? If you had a chance to live a life of wealth and privilege but had to give up your dreams to do so, would you? In my twenties I was totally Johnny. Forget about settling down and wanting stability, enjoy youth while we can, that was Billy and I in our twenties, so we would probably have 100% turned down any offer that did not align with our world view. In our 40s? Hmmm. That would take a little more consideration…. lol.

We loved this one, and we are looking forward to the next in the line-up, Petticoat Junction!

Lisa’s post is here! I am grateful she allowed me time to catch up since I am enjoying these posts and I didn’t want to be too behind! Katja from Breath of Hallelujah is also joining in, and her post can be found here!

The Spring of Cary Grant: My Favorite Wife

So when Lisa at Boondock Ramblings told me she was going to do a Spring of Cary Grant, I knew I wanted in on it. She introduced me to the legend that is Grant last fall, and I am woefully behind on his films. So I am tagging along on her journey, posting along with her as well. I missed last week but I am back this week with My Favorite Wife!

This movie was so fun. It was so crazy and far-fetched and I well, I loved that. I mean, a woman is stranded on an island for SEVEN years? And then comes home and is perfectly perfect like she never left, no trauma, she looks great, and is just boom ready to resume her life? I loved that. Lol. However, her loyal and loving husband who waited for her and mourned her and looked for all that long time had just happened to have her declared dead and was remarried the very morning she returns. What are the odds? Like seriously, what are the odds?

This movie was a total romp. Grant, as Nick Arden, found himself with two wives, Ellen the wife who has returned from the dead basically, and Bianca, his new wife, who I felt sort of sorry for. Ellen makes her return known to him the night of his wedding, and instead of having a heart to heart with Bianca immediately, he strings her along a while. Properly, with no hanky -panky but still, it wasn’t very thoughtful or brave of him to let her just languish around really confused.

As for Ellen, Billy laughed and said there was no way in this world that I would have handled the situation with as much mirth, giggles, or grace. And he is completely 100% right. I would have given him .5 seconds to get up there and start explaining. I wouldn’t want him to hurt the new wife, but things would have been discussed, then and there.

It also comes to light that Ellen was not alone on her island. In fact, she was shipwrecked on the island with a real studmuffin, and they called each other Adam and Eve. Now, Steven (Adam) admits they did nothing that was reproachful so they don’t need to feel any regret for anything that happened on the island, but Nick is a wee bit skeptical, simply because this guy is super fit, athletic, and handsome. I must admit, I wanted to know way more about the time on the island but we never learned anything. Darn it.

Oh, I should mention that Ellen and Nick had children who were wee little kids when she was “drowned” so there are children to consider here as well. Ellen did not tell them right away, and I agree with that choice. That needed some finesse as it could have been traumatic. Thank goodness though the kids just overheard and were excited, and decided to pull their mom’s leg about it for a few minutes.

It ends at Nick’s mountain house (I wish I had a separate mountain house!) that was gorgeous. All wood and stone. Sigh. Anyway, there was some sort of nonsense happening with Nick not being sure how to handle things publicly with her return and a cruise he might take and wanting her to stay at this mountain house but then he didn’t want to actually leave her there and wanted to resume his marriage. So he ended up staying and I hated the last ten minutes and the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this totally silly movie. Grant’s eyebrows did a lot of work in this movie, and were super expressive. He could have given Dwayne Johnson a run for his money as the People’s Eyebrow back in the day.

Have you watched this one? What do you think?

Lisa always includes cool trivia and backstory with her posts (I mean, she was a journalist before staying home to homeschool her kids). You can find her post here!

Feel free to join in if you wish! Our next movie is none other than An Affair to Remember!