Marvell wrote:Consider Cary Grant, who for me and many others is the quintessential ‘movie star;’ when you really stop to think about it, his range is extraordinarily limited. It’s practically impossible to imagine him playing, say, Hamlet – and why would you want him to? There’s nothing Hamlet about Cary Grant, thank god; that’s what I love about him.
rrnate wrote:Cary Grant is a great example, and you can really see the seams showing when he's in more serious roles.
Now that Cary has come up twice, I really feel the need to defend his acting chops. I know Marvell wasn't really dissing him -- quite the opposite, I think, he was celebrating his quintessential "Cary Grant-ness". But Nate is just way off base here. Have you never seen Notorious
? He's fantastic in that, and it's quite a departure from the kind of roles he's generally associated with. He absolutely kills it as a humanist doctor in People Will Talk
, but his character there is a far cry from his rugged pilot in the Howard Hawks classic Only Angels Have Wings
. And while it's a common canard to suggest his range is limited, I'd suggest that even when playing typically "Cary Grant" roles, there's quite a lot of variation there. Compare his comedic chops in Bringing Up Baby
, his fantastic turn in The Philadelphia Story
, or his fast-talking reporter in His Girl Friday
. Those characters really couldn't be more different (unless, of course, one of them was Hamlet) yet they are all quintessentially "Cary Grant", in the sense that imagining anyone else in those roles is next to impossible. Sure, he repeated himself sometimes, but what the hell, the guy made a gazillion and a half movies (and the roles he was offered as he got older necessarily produced diminishing returns.) But I'd still argue his filmography is pretty damn diverse: besides those named above, there's Gunga Din
, The Bishop's Wife
, Once Upon A Honeymoon
, I Was A Male War Bride
, North By Northwest
, The Awful Truth
... classics all.
And that's not to mention the obvious, that "Cary Grant" is not his real personality at all, it's a carefully crafted and honed onscreen persona which few have ever been able to match. (I've long argued that "breezy" is one of the toughest things to pull off convincingly.) So let's knock off the Grant-bashing, please.
I mean, there's plenty of actually
terrible actors we could be discussing. For Pete's sake, nobody's even mentioned Kevin Bacon yet!