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
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
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
"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."
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