Cary Grant, 1950s. This image has been part of my family for over a decade. My parents and I bought it, already shellacked onto a plaque, at a yard sale. It has hung on our wall ever since. At this point, he’s part of the family.
Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine in a still for Suspicion (1941), the first of four collaborations between Grant and Hitchcock.
The film originally ended on a much darker note, with Fontaine’s character knowingly drinking poison prepared by her husband—but sending a note to the police that will condemn him after her death.
Grant preferred this version to the more ambiguous finale that the studio demanded. As he explained, “I thought the original was marvelous. It was a perfect Hitchcock ending. But the studio insisted that they didn’t want to have Cary Grant play a murderer.”
Image scanned from A World of Movies by Richard Lawton (Delacorte Press, 1974).
Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, 1938.
Although Howard Hawks deserves much of the credit for the screwball comedy’s bubbling atmosphere, Hepburn revealed that she and Grant invented many bits of business for the film and painstakingly rehearsed the zingy timing on their own.
As she remembered, “We wanted it to be as good as it possibly could be. Nothing was ever too much trouble. And we were both very early on the set. Howard Hawks was always late, so Cary and I worked out an awful lot of stuff together. We’d make up stuff to do on the screen—how to work out those laughs in Bringing Up Baby.”
Scanned from Hollywood Picks the Classics by Afton Fraser (Bullfinch Press, 2004).
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in a still for Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth, 1937.
Grant and Dunne had a sparkling chemistry both onscreen and off. As Dunne recalled, “I loved working with Cary—every minute of it! Between takes he was so amusing with his cockney stories. I was his best audience. I laughed and laughed and laughed. The more I laughed, the more he went on!”
Scanned from Great Hollywood Movies by Ted Sennett (Abradale Press, 1983).
Cary Grant in Hollywood, November 1934, photographed by George Hoyningen-Huené for Vanity Fair.
Most of the images I’m scanning for this series are publicity photos, intended by the studio that created them to be reproduced and shared. However, since this one comes from a more exclusive publishing context, I have watermarked it with the copyright. Operating within Fair Use guidelines is important to this blog!
Scanned from Vanity Fair: Photographs of an Age (Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1982).
Cary Grant with Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, and Richard Barthelmess, mid-1930s. Cary appeared in films with each of these stars: Lombard in Sinners in the Sun (1932), The Eagle and the Hawk (1933), and In Name Only (1939); Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932); and Barthelmess in Only Angels Have Wings (1939).
Scanned from Images of America: Early Paramount Studios by E.J. Stephens, Michael Christaldi, and Marc Wanamaker (Arcadia Publishing, 2013).
In 1932, Modern Screen magazine ran an article on a newcomer called Cary Grant, entitled, “Will He Follow in Valentino’s Footsteps?” This publicity portrait taken around the same time certainly presents our hero in the smoldering matinee idol vein.
However, by his own admission, Cary felt inadequate at this point in his career. He recalled, “I copied other styles I knew until I became a conglomerate of people and ultimately myself… When I was a young actor I’d put my hand in my pocket trying to look relaxed. Instead, I looked stiff and my hand stuck in my pocket wet with perspiration. I was trying to imitate what I thought a relaxed man looked like.”
Note that he has his hand in his pocket here…
Scanned from Hollywood Movie Stills: Art and Technique in the Golden Age of the Studios by Joel W. Finler (Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 1995).