Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby. Too much of a muchness w/r/t silly characters and storytelling contortions to keep the laughs coming. Of all the Cary Grant I’ve seen, this is the first straight-up goofy comedy role (sillier than in The Philadelphia Story). He’s got a knack for it, apparently. I love seeing a new side of an actor I know mostly for being dashing. Favorite Howard Hawks movies? Gotta take Scarface over The Big Sleep, and then this one after Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Notorious

Notorious. Highly recommended. We’re back in quality Hitchcock territory after that last fiasco. Grant recruits the scandalous socialite Bergman as a fellow spy. They go down to Rio and struggle with how far to take their work and their love. The highlight for me was the party/wine cellar scene (which starts with a famous shot). The ingenious tension in this comes from the simple issue of whether there is enough champagne, and thus, is there time/cover to sneak into the wine cellar? And there’s the clever screenwriting where Bergman excuses herself to request that the band play Brazilian music instead of waltzes, which also refreshes the soundtrack for the subsequent cellar snooping.

And I tell you what: Bergman is an incredible actress–maybe my favorite female film star? I like Grant in this one, too. I’ve long been ambivalent about him on screen, but I like that this role seems to have a touch of menace underneath, and a little less confidence. Great movie. Ebert says.

To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief. It’s a romance packaged in a crime movie, and it’s quite good. Not fantastic, maybe not even great, but thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely feels shorter than it is. I expected the camerawork and direction to be more Hitchcockian (the faux diamond scene is an exception). I still don’t think I get Cary Grant, but I definitely want to see more Grace Kelly films. And I have to mention that first kiss. In context, it is absolutely incredible. Just jaw-dropping.