The Cary Grant Collection

Starring: Cary Grant

This is not the best of the Man From Dream City – or even the suavest or the screwiest or the darkest. This is a haphazard gathering of stuff only now appearing on disc. Though less snappy than Grant’s other comedies for director Howard Hawks, ”I Was a Male War Bride” (1949, 105 mins.) – wherein Grant is blithely implausible as a Frenchman and wholly credible as an army officer bitterly besotted with Ann Sheridan’s WAC lieutenant – is the set’s high point. The nadir is the melodrama ”Born to Be Bad” (1934, 61 mins.), destined to be lousy from the moment Grant was cast as a dairy exec who drives his own delivery truck. Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s ”People Will Talk” (1951, 103 mins.) finds our man coming on like a hip Gregory Peck – a saint of a doctor who cares for a pregnant and unwed Jeanne Crain and still finds time to conduct a student orchestra. The medal for glorious perversity goes to Stanley Donen’s ”Kiss Them for Me” (1957, 102 mins.), which melds a rote romance with a story about the existential alienation of military men. Conflicted about America, the movie finds its greatest call to patriotism in Jayne Mansfield’s bosom, and Grant, a World War II hero attempting a booze-soaked shore leave, gets to showcase his sterling cynicism.

Originally posted January 16 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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