18 films in this box set of early CARY GRANT, and there are 15 I’ve never seen. Not a good score for a Grant fan I admit.
I’m 2 down and 16 to go!
While under contract to Paramount, Cary made 22 films in 4 years. That was quite a film apprenticeship.
The box set cover photos are lovely.
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP (1932) hardly qualifies as a Cary Grant film. He is only in a few scenes at the start of the film.
The film is a leaden tale of a jealous husband ( Charles Laughton in his first Hollywood role), an innocent wife (Tallulah Bankhead) and a young naval lieutenant (Gary Cooper).
The pace for most of the film is so slow , it only comes to life in the final scenes on board a sinking submarine captained by Laughton .
Cooper and Grant have little to do but look handsome in a uniform.
Laughton overacts terribly and spoils any tone the film might have had. The only decent role goes to Tallulah Bankhead, though her makeup and movements have her looking very much like Garbo.
A pity Tallulah didn’t stay in Hollywood very long. A fine actress.
BLONDE VENUS ( 1932) gives Cary a slightly bigger role as a wealthy politician who falls for Marlene.
This film had a lot going for it if only the script had been better.
There is a lovely start to the film, in a German forest where Herbert Marshall is hiking. He and his friends come across a pool where several girls are swimming in the nude. The luminous lighting of the water and the girls’s figures reminds you that the film’s director is Josef Von Sternberg.
Marshall is immediately attracted to Marlene and one might have expected a few more scenes in the Bavarian setting.
Instead, the very next scene is in New York, in a very domestic setting, with Marlene bathing her little boy (Dickie Moore), with hubby Marshall in the background.
An abrupt change of tone which is followed by problems when Marshall , who is a chemist, finds that he has contaminated himself during experiments.
Marlene’s character was a performer and she goes back to work to earn the money for her husband’s medical bills.
The only parts of the film that stood out for me were when Marlene was performing. She looks dazzling in the tuxedo and top hat above.
The ‘Hot Voodoo’ number is particularly memorable, as Marlene (supposedly in an ape costume,though I expect she was doubled), takes the gorilla suit off, almost like a striptease.
Definitely an iconic shot in classic movies.