Whoever coined the phrase, you always remember your first(s), was not lying.
My first kiss–Beth Eddington. I was six. We obviously didn’t know what we were doing and we closed our eyes too soon and bonked each other with our noses. Our lips touched. Hers were wet, mine were dry…
…that was about it. I ran away, blushing. She smiled and watched me act like my hair was on fire.
I remember the first time I scored a goal playing soccer. It was my third year playing. We had a pretty decent team and a great coach. I was in the box, there was a square pass made to me and I kicked it as hard as I could at the net, past the goalie. I was pretty close, it wasn’t very fair. After I got my first one, they just started flooding in and I can’t remember any of the rest.
Just like after your first goal when there are many more goals to quickly follow, such was the case with the first Cary Grant movie that I ever watched. I had to watch many more.
I’ve discussed a lot of the bonding that I’d done with my dad and movies on this blog. Time to share about my mom too. We absolutely loved Cary Grant, and “Father Goose” was a pure joy to watch. When Cary Grant passed, one of the networks (I can’t remember which one) ran a late evening marathon over the weekend of a lot of Grant’s pictures. We discovered the marathon right before “Father Goose” started and my mom grabbed a tape and we started recording. Standard practice at this point.
We took turns “pausing out” the commercials.
As I was looking for quotes, there were so many well crafted moments, that it was hard to pick just one. It was a movie that had such well written dialogue delivered by so many talented people, that it is truly an underrated Grant gem. My mom and I weren’t the only ones that thought so. Peter Stone, Frank Tarloff, and S.H. Barnett won the Oscar for Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen in 1965. The Oscars and I rarely agree…an exception I’m glad to concede.
Being that this was my first experience with Cary Grant, a decade later I found out that he was an Englishman (in real life that is) and was dumbfounded. In this and many of the other roles he portrayed in American films…he was an American. He would always, in some way be, the unshaven, un-bathed, crusty old American drunkard, Walter Eckland, who ends up being responsible for the lives of a school teacher and her female students on an isolated island during World War II.
I’ve raved about Grant, Leslie Caron as, “Catherine Louise Marie Ernestine Freneau,” was given a role of a lifetime and did beyond her very best with it. The Chemistry that Grant and Caron were able to share in this picture goes right alongside Redford and Newman in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” as one of the greatest pairings on film–in my book any way.
It would be a shame not to mention the great Trevor Howard as Commander Frank Houghton. He plays the “friend” responsible for conning Walter into taking a job reporting enemy war craft that he spots while remaining on an isolated island after an unfortunate “accident” with Walter’s boat and the Commander’s ship. The majority of the dialogue shared between Walter and Houghton is over the radio; cut and edited to perfection by Ted J. Kent.
The comedic timing portrayed between Grant and Caron on the island and with Howard over the radio was not only entertaining, I haven’t seen this type of scenario performed better in movies that share the same ploy. The closest is probably the scene in “Roxanne,” when C. D. is trying to help Chris woo Roxanne in person while Chris wears a listening device under an Elmer Fudd cap. Again, that is one scene. Grant, Caron, and Howard did it similarly throughout multiple scenes of an entire motion picture.
I know that I have not talked about the scenes in detail. Again, I do that because I do not want to spoil the comedy that you will find viewing this film fresh for the first time.
PS–I have decided that Cary Grant’s career has earned a Multi-Movie post as well. Keep your eyes open for that one. It’s gonna be big and you won’t want to miss those titles.
7 thoughts on ““Walter? Walter? Walter!””
These posts seem like a trip down memory lane for the author.
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Ha. Yes. For sure.
I love Cary Grant. It’s difficult to know which one of his movies is my favourite (why choose, anyway?), although I did write about ‘North by Northwest’ in one of the chapters of my PhD (Hitchcock and Cary Grant are a great pairing), and ‘Philadelphia Story’ I adore. I like everybody in that movie. Funnily enough, James Stewart also made a few great movies with Hitchcock.
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Yes. I love all of those that you mentioned. “Father Goose” means the most because it was my first. I love “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “The Bishop’s Wife.”