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Showing posts with label Charlotte Crofts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlotte Crofts. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Becoming Cary Grant (2017) has its premiere - in England* - in Bristol

Becoming Cary Grant (2017) : A premiere at Cinema Rediscovered at The Watershed

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

29 July (Post-script added, 11 August)

An account of the sell-out screening of Becoming Cary Grant (2017) plus Q&A at Cinema Rediscovered at Bristol's The Watershed

Post-script, to try to formulate some thoughts about Archie more succinctly / clearly :

End-notes :

* Billed as the film's 'English premiere', this is because it showed at Edinburgh Film Festival last month.

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 10 July 2016

From the archive : Ma Apsley deputizes at inaugural Cary Grant Comes Home for the Weekend Festival

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

10 July

From Horfield to Hollywood - Guest Review ~ Diana Davis

I was thrown in at the deep end to review the event From Horfield to Hollywood, including a discussion with Laura Rawlings (BBC Radio Bristol) and an expert panel. The reason being that The Agent Apsley [@THEAGENTAPSLEY] was unable to cover the event, owing to another commitment in Cambridge, so he suggested I attend, and Charlotte Crofts, the event and festival organizer, agreed - as I have always been such a fan of Cary Grant...

It will come as no surprise to most Bristolians that the Watershed was packed with fans at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning – even George Ferguson, wearing his trademark red trousers, was there, to herald the start of the Cary Grant Comes Home for the Weekend Festival : to celebrate the transformation of Bristol schoolboy Archie Leach into Hollywood icon Cary Grant, and his endearing relationship with the City.

The film Cary Comes Home was directed by Stuart Napier ten years ago for ITV, and Laura Rawlings kicked off the proceedings by telling us that, on the anniversary of Cary Grant’s birth (18 January) this year, BBC Bristol decided to produce a radio programme about his life, and so invited listeners to contribute tales about him. She received many different stories, because people had met him walking around the City, or remembered him from school. She felt sure that it would be possible to make another film about their encounters in the future.

Dr Kathrina Glitre, Film and Screen Writing Lecturer at UWE, said how she just fell in love with him when she was eight, after watching Arsenic and Old Lace [(1944)], and saw a lot of his films. She was a teenager when he died, and spent the whole day in bed in misery. I feel sure that most women in the audience felt exactly the same, as his charm, elegance and sheer acting skills were mesmeric when he was on screen.

To think, too, that the-then Archie, as a poor child of eight, returned home from Bishop Road school to find his mother just not there must have been heart breaking. To be given no explanation by his callous father, Elias, who had packed his wife off to the psychiatric 'asylum' at 100 Fishponds Road - on what grounds we do not know* - beggars belief.

In a film-clip, a psychiatrist said that, as Archie's mother was quite strict about his appearance, she could have been suffering from OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder]. Archie therefore felt for years it was something he had done that had caused her to go away.

It is commonly known that he helped back stage at the Empire Theatre and the Hippodrome, and, in so doing, met Bob Pender, who gave him the chance to join his acrobatic troupe, since he was impressed with Archie’s skills. So Archie ran away from home in order to do so.

His father tracked him down up north and insisted he returned home to continue his education at Fairfield School - and, when he did so, Archie discovered that his father had remarried. However, Archie’s desire to join the troupe (so the story goes...) made him peep into the girls’ toilets, and thus he was expelled : he then rejoined the troupe, and went to New York City with them, as he was now 13.

In 1935, Cary learned his mother was alive when one of the Kingdon family, his mother’s relatives, saw a film of his and thought that he bore a strong resemblance to the Archie Leach whom he had known as a boy. It was 1939 before Cary was able to make contact with his mother, and another six years before he was able to visit her. He ensured that she was released from the psychiatric hospital, and was the perfect son to her right until her death.

After the interval, Professor Andrew Spicer, a lecturer at UWE [University of the West of England], gave an interesting talk about James Bond (Agent 007) and why Cary turned down the role. Cubby Broccoli, a friend of Cary’s, had wanted him to play the part of Bond in Thunderball [(1965)], but Cary did not want to be tied down for a total of seven films. In any case, he would have been too expensive, as the film had a budget of only one million dollars, and Cary’s fee would have eaten up most of that. It was felt that an unknown actor would best suit the part, and Sean Connery [that unknown then] landed the job !

Stuart Napier’s film on Cary Grant’s life, with Cary occasionally speaking in his everyday voice, was highly interesting. He had been a very astutute man, and had realized, when cast opposite Audrey Hepburn in Charade [(1963)], that - on film - the age-gap between them was too great. He therefore insisted that the scene in the lift be re-written, which meant that he was then able to tell her that she was a child who needed a good spanking, and to behave herself, when she was coming on to him.

In her summing-up, Laura Rawlings referred to the story that Cary [when still Archie] had been playing football in the Bishop Road school-playground, and, when one of his front teeth had been knocked out, there was no money available to have a false tooth. However, mercifully the gap grew over and, as evidenced in a photographic still, he did indeed have only three front teeth. If one had not been told, one would not have realized at all !

There are not many cities whose inhabitants who can boast both about Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, the s.s. Great Britain, and a Hollywood star whose origins began in their home town of Bristol :

Hurrah for Cary Grant !

To come, in the Festival itself, on 16 and 17 July :


But watch or @carycomeshome, and this space... ?

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)