On Sunday I went to see The Philadelphia Story with my friend Matt. I wasn't sure what to expect, but callmemadam promised me I'd like it and she wasn't wrong. It's fairly standard romantic comedy fare of the period, with a divorced couple coming back into contact on the eve of one partner's wedding to someone else, but with Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, backed up by Ruth Hussey and a supporting cast of fun eccentrics (especially lascivious old Uncle Willie and precocious brat Dinah) it's a joyous thing. You may not root for Grant's character at first, given that we first see him slugging his soon-to-be-ex-wife because she's broken his golf club, but you root for him from the 'Two Years Later' caption onwards.
Last night was a talk, Cary Grant: From Knockabout to Knockout, delivered by Dr Charlotte Crofts, Associate Professor of Filmmaking at UWE and organiser of the biennial Cary Comes Home film festival in Bristol.
The talk was a brief overview of his life and career, with particular focus on Bristol, where he was born, was entertained at the town's various cinemas, left with a travelling circus as a teen, and returned to yearly when he was living in the USA. He would get his hair cut, go to the optician's, and give the Bristol Evening Post one publicity photo if they promised to leave him alone for the rest of his visit (a device not unlike the plot of The Philadelphia Story).
I learned that this extremely good-looking young man was so self-conscious about the thickness of his neck that he did nightly exercises to try and reduce it. Whatever you think is wrong with your own body, maybe think on that.
Crofts touched on his ambiguous sexuality and how it's part of his appeal, concluding "We want to be Cary Grant, and we also want to be with him."
Nobody in the audience was prepared to deny that.