Monday, 6 October 2008

His Girl Friday

Call it front-page news or inspired by a drama called “The Front Page”, His Girl Friday will be my pick for all time favorite Cary Grant movies.
This was the second Cary Grant movie for me, and to be frank, I became a big fan of his after watching this movie.
Cary Grant (Walter Burns) plays the role of a Chicago based newspaper editor and the story starts with him losing his main editor, who coincidentally happened to be his ex-wife played by Rosalind Russell (Hildy Johnson).
She would visit him to say that she would be getting married in two days time. She even introduces her to be husband played by Ralph Bellamy (Bruce Baldwin) to Walter.
More than losing his wife, he wouldn’t want to lose his main weapon in Hildy, who had quit the job for marrying Bruce.
Watch the movie to see the events, which keeps rolling while Walter makes every effort to get Hildy back in the job. He ensures Bruce is placed outside the equation so that she doesn’t have to marry him.
Quite a selfish guy to be honest, but it’s the dialogues and the way he convinces Hildy to cover one final story about a convict.
Coming to the origins, the original story had a guy playing Hildy’s role. But director Howard Hawks was convinced the dialogues would suit better if a female plays the role.
The script was altered and rest is a masterpiece with respect to situational comedy.
I have read a lot about this movie and I also came to know that this movie was one of the first, if not the first, films to have characters talk over the lines of other characters, for a more realistic sound. Prior to this, movie characters completed their lines before the next lines were started. I have just put a scene, which showcases this…

Released in 1940, this movie is one of my favorite. Directed by Howard Hawks, it starred Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy and others.

Sunday, 5 October 2008


The aura doesn’t diminish and the role of Sabrina Fairchild will be an all time favourite character of mine. Surprisingly, this was the first Humphrey Bogart movie I saw. Well, the well-known films of his were all before this movie.
Audrey Hepburn overnight became one of my favourite actress is because of this movie. The role of Sabrina has such innocence that one would fall in love with her immediately.

The story goes this way as narrated by Sabrina.
“Once upon a time, on the north shore of Long Island, some 30 miles from New York, there lived a small girl on a large estate. The estate was very large indeed and had many servants. There were gardeners to take care of the gardens, and a tree surgeon on a retainer. There was a boatman to take care of the boats: to put them in the water in the spring, and scrape their bottoms in the winter. There were specialists to take care of the grounds: the outdoor tennis court and the indoor tennis court, the outdoor swimming pool and the indoor swimming pool. And there was a man of no particular title who took care of a small pool in the garden for a goldfish named George. Also on the estate, there was a chauffeur by the name of Fairchild, who had been imported from England, years ago, together with a new Rolls Royce. Fairchild was a fine chauffeur of considerable polish, like the eight cars in his care, and he had a daughter by the name of Sabrina. It was the eve of the annual six-meter yacht races, and as had been tradition on Long Island for the past 30 years; the Larrabees were giving a party. It never rained on the night of the Larrabee party; the Larrabees wouldn't have stood for it. There were four Larrabees in all: father, mother and two sons. Maude and Oliver Larrabee were married in nineteen hundred and six and among their many wedding presents was a townhouse in New York and this estate for weekends. The town house has since been converted into Saks Fifth Avenue. Linus Larrabee, the elder son, graduated from Yale, where his classmates voted him the man Most Likely to leave his Alma Mater Fifty Million Dollars. His brother, David, went through several of the best eastern colleges for short periods of time, and through several marriages for even shorter periods of time. He is now a successful six-goal polo player, and is listed on Linus's tax return as a six hundred dollar deduction. Life was pleasant among the Larrabees, for this was as close to heaven as one could get on Long Island.”
Sabrina, since childhood was infatuated with David (played by William Holden). He hardly notices her, but still cannot keep an eye off him.
When things hardly seem to move, she is sent to Paris to learn cookery so that she takes the place of her mom as a cook in the estate. It is in Paris, she undergoes a lot of changes intellectually, and when she is back to Long Island, she returns as a gorgeous lady.
One scene that attracts is when Sabrina, while she waits for a cab, is noticed by David and offers her to give a lift without realizing she was Sabrina, the daughter of the chauffeur.
Oh, Hello… How are you?? Asks Sabrina
Hello…. I am fine… How are you? I mean who are you? David replies….
Now all this time, Sabrina was warned that she was trying to reach the moon, but after her transformation, she believed the moon was trying to reach her.
The rich and poor status quo comes in between and this is when Linus (Humphrey Bogart) brother of David steps in to resolve it.
Rest is something; I would love the movie to narrate because there are some of the best dialogues and scenes reserved for Sabrina and Linus.
Linus Larrabee: [while slow dancing with Sabrina] How do you say in French my sister has a yellow pencil?
Sabrina Fairchild: Ma soeur a un crayon jaune.
Linus Larrabee: How do you say my brother has a lovely girl?
Sabrina Fairchild: Mon frere a une gentille petite amie.
Linus Larrabee: And how do you say I wish I were my brother?
This was my first movie of Audrey Hepburn. Cary Grant refused the role and Bogie was a late replacement for him.
This movie was later made in 1995 with the same name, starring Harrison Ford playing Linus, Julia Ormond playing Sabrina and Greg Kinnear playing David.
This is not all, 1994 Bollywood movie “Yeh Dillagi” was inspired by the 1954 movie. Scene to scene one can see the resemblance. Kajol playing the Sabrina while Saif Ali khan plays David and Akshay Kumar playing Linus.
Directed by Billy Wilder, this 1954 movie earned Audrey Hepburn an Oscar nomination for best actress. Her haircut became a sensation. This movie managed to bag the Best Costume design (B/W) Oscar nevertheless.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Aweful Truth

This movie will be remembered as the first Cary Grant movie I ever picked up. Unlike his other classics, this movie doesn’t have a great story, but if one went back to the era of 30’s I am pretty sure, the theme of the movie would have reflected the mood of many people especially after their marriage.

He stars as a husband who ends up having differences with his wife played by Irene Dunne. Well it starts with the introductory scene itself and what happens later is a series of funny conversations and situations that kept me going till the end of the movie.

Cary Grant who makes every attempt to ruin his wife’s future marriage prospects, by constantly interfering in her personal life while both wait for the divorce, played the role of a married bachelor to perfection.

The same is complimented by Irene Dunne to upset Cary’s future prospects. Since I am a big fan of Cary Grant, I would say this movie was first to showcase his comic persona, which became his trademark as he went on to become a legend in the world of cinema.

This movie is about married couples, their differences, divorce, J factor etc.

Released in 1937, The Awful Truth starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy to name a few was voted as the best screwball comedies of 1930’s. This effort also won director Leo McCarey the best director Oscar.

For Fashion pundits, this movie is stylish with respect to its outfits especially the one worn by Irene Dunne in the first scene.