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Picturegoer - January 4, 1958

Cary Grant is puzzled because you have
No Time for Laughs

by Robert Ottaway

Cary Grant has never been one to swash a buckle, leap on to a horse, or sock a girl on the jaw for his art. "I suppose you might call me the sophisticated type," he says, knocking back a Martini. "I like to act with dialogue. Not with grunts." Grant, master of the flip technique of witty comedy, is finding life a little difficult these days.

Not that there's any shortage of parts - he's recently co-starred with Sophia Loren, Deborah Kerr, Jayne Mansfield and now Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet at Elstree - but, he broods gracefully: "I like comedy. But no one writes comedy these days. Not the upper-class comedy we used to have before the war.

"All these damn writers are so angry these days. Me, I'm not angry. Why should I be? My pictures are big grossers. But I suppose it's difficult for a writer to cook up the kind of jokes that slay you when the world's full of violence and sputniks."

So Cary Grant, immaculately clad in evening dress, looking suave and well-polished, is a man with a grievance. "Sometimes I feel a displaced person," he confesses. Then I remember that I didn't choose an acting career because I wanted to act. I picked it because I wanted to travel.

Is there any chance of a return to the old prewar wine-and-wisecrack tradition - the kind of thing that made stars of William Powell, Jimmy Stewart, Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard and, of course, Grant?

He doesn't think so. He was so convinced of it that he once thought of retiring. "After a few months of retirement I knew I liked work. Fortunately, the film producers thought the same way. So here I am, working."

The secret of his success? He puts it this way: "An actor has got to come on straight. He's got to be able to put on a suit and stand still. When the Method teaches that, then the Method boys will stop scratching their ears and making everybody nervous. Then they will become stars.

"For a star is just an actor who's reduced acting to the most economical means possible. He can register emotion without suddenly throwing a fit."

Grant is not the man to get excited about a movie. Not after playing in eighty of them. He wants to stay a star with the minimum of fuss. "They've asked me to put my own money into the pictures I make," he says firmly. "I prefer to take star billing and a percentage."

But, of course, there's more to Cary Grant than this off-hand approach might indicate. Watch him preparing to say a line and he screws himself up to a ball of concentration - and then says it as if he'd just though of it.

"I think I've a good life ahead as a star," he says, flexing his fifty-three year old muscles. "But I'd be happier if they'd give me something funny to say. After all, who likes to go out and be entertained by a grouch? And I really am a happy, amusing fellow at heart. Trouble is I seem to be the only one left."

A scan of the original article (including the photo) can be found on
Donna Moore's

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