MOMA CLASSIC MATINEES WITH CARY GRANT
New York's mid town Manhattan MOMA is currently presenting a series dedicated to one of Hollywood's most dashing leading men, with more greats screening throughout May and June.
Cary Grant has always been described as a versatile actor. He possessed a keen wit and comic timing that made him a natural with the rapid banter of screwball comedies, and his charm and elegant good looks propelled him into the rarified company of cinema’s great leading men. From the start of his film career, in 1932, to its conclusion, in 1966, Grant worked with a who’s-who of iconic directors—from George Cukor to Alfred Hitchcock—on everything from outrageous physical comedies to intense dramas and thrillers.
The Bristol, England–born Archibald Leach was spellbound by vaudeville, and joined an acrobatic act called The Penders as a stilt walker. In 1920, Leach arrived in New York, where The Penders performed at the Hippodrome, and he remained in the States for several years. An uninspiring screen test at Paramount Pictures in 1931 nonetheless garnered him a contract—and a demand by studio head B. P. Schulberg that he change his name. Thus Cary Grant was born.
Elegant, mischievous, good-humored, masculine, cheeky, and sensual but never overbearing or pompous, Grant’s greatest gift was his peerless versatility. This series demonstrates that range with highlights from Grant’s three decades in American cinema, drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection.
Friday, May 19th 4:00 pm
WALK DON'T RUN (1966)
Cary Grant’s final feature film finds him as part of a triangle, but this time he is more avuncular than romantic. Sir William Rutland arrives in Tokyo two days ahead of his hotel reservation, and at the same time as the 1964 Olympics. The shortage of hotel rooms lands him in a one-bedroom apartment with a young British lady and a fearless American Olympian. Full of the flavor of the Tokyo Olympics, the film still feels very modern, and Grant remains his grand, charming self in his Hollywood sign-off.
Wednesday May 24th 1pm
GUNGA DIN (1939)
With Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Sam Jaffe. Three uproarious British officers are posted to British India in the 19th century, during the Thuggee unrest. They’re an all-for-one-and-one-for-all group. Until, that is, someone wants to get married and return to England, and a prank on the impending husband lands the trio in a Thuggee trap. Grant’s wide-eyed wonderment as Sgt. Cutter is riotous.
Thursday, May 25th 1:30pm
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957)
Having already directed Love Affair in 1939 with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, Leo McCarey revived the successful paradigm in 1957, this time with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as the lovers who agree to meet at the top of the Empire State Building, only to be kept apart by a series of unfortunate events. Grant and Kerr are exceptional, mixing elegance and understated grace with discomfiture and self-consciousness.
Friday, May 26th 1:30pm
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
Roger Thornhill, a Madison Avenue ad executive who is mistaken for a mystery man named George Kaplan, boards a train to Chicago to escape his pursuers. On the train he meets the serene Eve Kendall who offers to assist him while on the lam. But Eve, like most women in Hitchcock films, is not who you think she is. The film’s breathtaking climactic chase scene on Mt. Rushmore is quite deservedly an iconic moment in film history.
Wednesday, May 31st 1:30pm
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944)
Be prepared for gut-busting laughs in this Frank Capra classic. Confirmed bachelor Mortimer Brewster has railed against marriage for years, but once he takes the plunge he has to tell his eccentric maiden aunts. This outrageous farce puts Grant’s comedy chops to their best use ever. The aunts are a match for Grant’s hysterics, especially when they meet a new bachelor and serve up elderberry wine.
Program notes by MOMA.