Thursday, May 08, 2014


Cary Grant is a British earl who has fallen on hard times; he and his wife (Deborah Kerr) have turned their mansion into a tourist attraction and have a butler just for show—the butler complains that he has nothing to do; he's trying to write a novel but doesn't have enough insecurity or despair to succeed. When a rich American oilman (Robert Mitchum) arrives, he begins a flirtation with Kerr that leads to a full-fledged affair when she trots off to London for a few days to be with him. Jean Simmons, the friend that Kerr is supposed to be staying with, goes to Grant with stories of Kerr's infidelity. At a house party weekend, Grant plans to get Kerr back, and sarcastic jabs turn into a duel between Grant and Mitchum. And since this is a comedy, things get righted in the end, and the butler winds up with some juicy plotlines for his novel. This was directed by Stanley Donen, and much as I love SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, I have not really liked any other Donen films; his non-Gene Kelly musicals aren't very fizzy and his comedies and caper films fall flat for me. This has potential in the farcical plot and the more than competent actors, but the farce flops and the actors feel at sea. Simmons in particular seems out of place, not so much her as her character who feels wedged in for plotpoint reasons only. There is a very amusing split-screen scene as Grant (with Simmons) talks to Mitchum (with Kerr) on the telephone. Moray Watson (pictured to the left of Mitchum and Grant) does well with the role of the butler. Not terrible but disappointing. [TCM]

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