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Sepiatone

I LIKE them, but.....

49 posts in this topic

On 2/11/2018 at 7:59 PM, kingrat said:

and with Thenryb about Robert Ryan as John the Baptizer, as he's called for some reason in King of Kings.

Probably because the studio realized there's a difference between being called a Baptizer, and being called a Baptist.

14 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I do think that Gene Kelly was miscast in many of his dramatic offerings, like The Black Hand.  He just didn't work for me as an Italian-American with a vendetta against "The Black Hand" criminal syndicate. Someone like Frank Sinatra may have been better, or maybe Dean Martin if he was making movies in the early 1950s. 

OTOH, Kelly seemed a little TOO well-cast as the cynical wiseguy reporter in "Inherit the Wind"--

We're conditioned to think of Kelly's characters as "nice guys" from his MGM musicals, but look closely, and see how many of his typecast characters are hustlers, girl-chasers, and generally Cheshire-grin insincere, Don Lockwood included.  But yes, you don't put someone named "Kelly" in an Italian role when Sinatra is available.

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21 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Holden wasn't a big star when he filmed his part in Born Yesterday. He'd been in the business for over a decade, but he was thought of a B-level leading man at best, with his best years possibly behind him. It wasn't until Sunset Boulevard came out in August of 1950 that his star status rose, at which point Born Yesterday was already in the can, to be released that December. And still Holden received third billing under Crawford (first) and Holliday (second). Holden was much more handsome than Merrill, but I'm not sure if Columbia would have considered Holden any kind of box office guarantee. Broderick Crawford was considered a bigger star at the time, a ranking that wouldn't last long.

I agree that I overstated how Holden was viewed in 1950,  but I believe you understate it by saying a 'B-level leading man at best'.   E.g. Holden had star billing in Rachel and the Stranger (along with the also up and coming Robert Mitchum) and the film helped establish Holden as a handsome romantic actor.

Yea, many of his pre-Born Yesterday films where westerns, which tend to be 'B' type pictures (i.e. lower budget),  but he was in some other romantic comedies.    But I should have said it is likely Columbia cast Holden in Born Yesterday to increase his stardom (the play was all the rage so the studio knew they had a likely hit on their hands).

So Holden was cast to make him a bigger star and NOT because he was one.   

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3 hours ago, EricJ said:

Probably because the studio realized there's a difference between being called a Baptizer, and being called a Baptist.

OTOH, Kelly seemed a little TOO well-cast as the cynical wiseguy reporter in "Inherit the Wind"--

We're conditioned to think of Kelly's characters as "nice guys" from his MGM musicals, but look closely, and see how many of his typecast characters are hustlers, girl-chasers, and generally Cheshire-grin insincere, Don Lockwood included.  But yes, you don't put someone named "Kelly" in an Italian role when Sinatra is available.

I do agree with you about Inherit the Wind.  I would also agree with you about his persona of the girl-chasing, smart a-- characters.  In both Anchors Aweigh and On the Town, Kelly plays a bit of a ladies' man and schools Sinatra who seems to be lacking in that department.  Even in Singin in the Rain, he's got to be a bit of a wiseacre and standoffish to Lina, because she just can't take a hint that he's not interested.  

I noticed that Fred Astaire seems to have taken up a bit of Kelly's persona, as in many of his films he plays the same type of character, though perhaps without the Cheshire Cat grin.  

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4 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I am speculating that Bogart's character is probably in his late 30s-early 40s and Holden's character is supposed to be in his early to mid-30s.  

Bogart was in his 50s then, and looked it...but he looked like he was in his 50s for years...yeah, there is a definite 'ick' factor in Sabrina..and Funny Face, for that matter...

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11 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Grand Hotel was the first time I ever saw Greta Garbo in a film. And afterwards I was very puzzled as to what the allure was. Her entire performance just drifted into camp. After TCM came on the air and I got to see her entire body of work I was much more of a fan.

That was the idea. It was the schtick, the overly dramatic, highly sensitive prima donna. It was all so very intentional and she pulled it off in a way that would have been extremely difficult for anyone else IMO. Not for everyone, though.

BTW, Cary Grant in comedy, a total flop. He had no comedic talent. At least in the ones I've seen so far (which I admit is not many).

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11 hours ago, calvinnme said:

It's funny, I don't have this feeling about Stanwyck at all, but I do feel this exact same way about Mary Astor. She was a great actress and an asset to every film I've seen her in, but I just never bought her as a seductress or someone who could seduce Bogie in The Maltese Falcon, etc. She was good looking but not beautiful, IMHO, and as a result she aged well.

Agree generally, but didn't mind her in the Falcon. I think the role called for someone more than just beautiful so cerebral was she but having Bogie fall for her like that was a bit of a stretch.

Astor is my all as Edith Cortwright in Dodsworth.. Perfection!

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4 hours ago, laffite said:

That was the idea. It was the schtick, the overly dramatic, highly sensitive prima donna. It was all so very intentional and she pulled it off in a way that would have been extremely difficult for anyone else IMO. Not for everyone, though.

BTW, Cary Grant in comedy, a total flop. He had no comedic talent. At least in the ones I've seen so far (which I admit is not many).

I think that Grand Hotel has one of Garbo's weakest performances. I can certainly understand why someone who has seen little of the actress and saw her for first time in this would be mystified by her legendary status at the time. Her melodramatic highs and lows as a temperamental "artiste" are difficult to take seriously. Normally Garbo was a far more subtle actress than on display in this all star attraction (all the other stars in that film, by the way, particularly Crawford and the two Barrymore brothers, do some of their best work here).

Cary Grant a flop in comedy? Are you serious? Boy are you alone on this one. Try The Awful Truth, try Bringing Up Baby, try Arsenic and Old Lace, even try Gunga Din, if you haven't seen any of those already, and you may have a different opinion.

But where Grant did flop, in my opinion, was when he played an earnest Colonial America farmer-turned-politician inclined towards cringe worthy patriotic speeches in The Howards of Virginia or, years later, as the military officer lugging that canon around in The Pride and the Passion. Best to get back to comedy, Cary, or, at least, better written roles more suitable for you.

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Now some, like my Mother, would feel Crawford (for her) couldn't be convincing as the "straight-arrow" cop on his HIGHWAY PATROL television show.  But she did once say it was because she was so familiar with him doing the kind of characters he did in BORN YESTERDAY and ALL THE KING'S MEN and other villainous roles that him being on the "right side" of the law, to her, seemed out of place.  But then too, she, like I, haven't seen every movie Broderick Crawford has ever made.

And THAT'S probably the crux behind the vibe of this thread.  And it's probably the viewers who have a lack of some kind of "range" when it comes to accepting some of the actors/actresses they like when they do certain roles.  Like the large part of the populace being unable to accept SHIRLEY TEMPLE becoming a grown-up and doing (GASP!) adult level roles.

 

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Now some, like my Mother, would feel Crawford (for her) couldn't be convincing as the "straight-arrow" cop on his HIGHWAY PATROL television show.  But she did once say it was because she was so familiar with him doing the kind of characters he did in BORN YESTERDAY and ALL THE KING'S MEN and other villainous roles that him being on the "right side" of the law, to her, seemed out of place.  But then too, she, like I, haven't seen every movie Broderick Crawford has ever made.

And THAT'S probably the crux behind the vibe of this thread.  And it's probably the viewers who have a lack of some kind of "range" when it comes to accepting some of the actors/actresses they like when they do certain roles.  Like the large part of the populace being unable to accept SHIRLEY TEMPLE becoming a grown-up and doing (GASP!) adult level roles.

 

Sepiatone

Sep--

Your Mother was probably in agreement with the real Highway Patrol and producers of the TV series, as Brod was at times drunk and disorderly on the set  and often too drunk to be driving those squad cars. But he was such an in control guy that he had me convinced that he could do the 10-4 job. He was also very convincing as J. Edgar Hoover.

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7 hours ago, laffite said:

That was the idea. It was the schtick, the overly dramatic, highly sensitive prima donna. It was all so very intentional and she pulled it off in a way that would have been extremely difficult for anyone else IMO. Not for everyone, though.

BTW, Cary Grant in comedy, a total flop. He had no comedic talent. At least in the ones I've seen so far (which I admit is not many).

I actually think comedy is THE area where  Cary really excelled in (though he did turn in some fine dramatic parts in NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART, PENNY SERENADE, TO CATCH A THIEF and NORTH BY NORTHWEST over the years as well). 

Of course, Cary, like every actor and actress, had his share of stinkers that even his persona and talent couldn't save.

Perhaps TomJH is right, perhaps you just haven't seen enough of his comedies (the right ones anyway like the aforementioned) to be able to appreciate his comedic style. Or maybe you have and just think it isn't all that.

Different strokes for different folks as they say.

 

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On 2/11/2018 at 8:05 AM, Sepiatone said:

Yeah, I like just about all (with few exceptions) the "stars" of classic movies, "golden era" or whichever you prefer to call them, but there's some who, although very good at their craft, get put in roles that don't work for me.  I'll give a couple examples to show where I'm going with or coming from with this.....

BARBARA STANWYCK:  Very talented actress to be sure.  But IMO, while not totally UNattractive, not particularly pretty or "sexy".  But who has been placed in roles that call for an actress that fits those bills.  Like HENRY FONDA or GARY COOPER getting all befuddled wen she cuddles up to them like she's some kind of "sex kitten", or FRED MacMURRAY risking life and livelihood for her.  Just doesn't cut it for me.  JEAN ARTHUR is an actress in this box.  Like Barbara, LOVED her in most of the movies she was in, but, the gorgeous vamp roles too, didn't work for me.

ROBERT MONTGOMERY:  GREAT actor.  And a very likable countenance.  So much so that for me, his  sometimes tough guy or "hard-boiled" roles didn't work for me either.  Like the friendly bookstore clerk trying to play "gangster".  Or the middle school English teacher playing at being a mob "wiseguy".  Although his meek drunk driver "sent up" for manslaughter in THE BIG HOUSE was deftly handled by him, had they tried to make him a fiendish murderer instead, I wouldn't have bought it.

RANDOLPH SCOTT:  Big Western hero often, he still came off(to me) like a vacuum cleaner salesman playing cowboy.  The generally affable JIMMY STEWART handled Western roles better IMHO.

I know there'll be much disagreement with me here, and that's OK.  This IS mainly a "personal opinion" thread, But with only ONE rule-----

The actors and/or actresses YOU list must be ones you LIKE, and not to turn this into a sounding board about those any of you DON'T like. Just that the ones you like may have been put into roles you didn't think they for some reason  didn't or couldn't pull off.

Sepiatone

I think you make good points, Sepia about some ill-fated casting choices. I think it was theater critic John Simon who was taken to task back in the day, when he wrote a critical review of actress Maureen Stapleton taking on the role of Amanda Wingfield on Broadway in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie". Simon said something to the effect that it is well known that the character was supposed to have been quite the beauty and southern belle in her youth and that there was no way Stapleton could ever have been such, hence she was not right for the part no matter her acting skills. This of course was roundly critiicized as being cruel and unfair, yet it perhaps depends on one's viewpoint. Could Richard Dreyfuss, though a fine actor take on the role of Captain Blood in Sabatini's tale, as well as someone who looked like Errol Flynn? Does the mortal coil often make the role seem apt?

We must remember though that there is no accounting for taste. I've been told supposedly that there's a male here who finds women who look like Jim Croce, to be the cat's meow! 

One man's meat is another man's poisson!

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

Cary Grant a flop in comedy? Are you serious? Boy are you alone on this one. Try The Awful Truth, try Bringing Up Baby, try Arsenic and Old Lace, even try Gunga Din, if you haven't seen any of those already, and you may have a different opinion.

While I agree that Grant is great in light \ romantic comedy I can understand the POV that Grant wasn't as good in broad comedy; e.g. films like Bringing Up Baby or Arsenic and Old Lace.   But I don't believe that was because of his abilities but more so because that is how the director wanted Grant to play the part;  often exasperated and over the top  (especially Lace).     While I enjoy those films I'm much more of a fan of The Awful Truth, Holiday,  My Favorite Wife,  Topper,  and his other more 'grounded' comedic performances.

  

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9 hours ago, shutoo said:

Bogart was in his 50s then, and looked it...but he looked like he was in his 50s for years...yeah, there is a definite 'ick' factor in Sabrina..and Funny Face, for that matter...

I never thought there was an 'ick' factor in either Sabrina or Funny Face, both films are among my favorite; I was just saying that Bogart was definitely too old for his part.  Astaire does look too old for Hepburn, however, I would never describe it as "ick."  It makes sense that both Bogart and Astaire's characters would be a bit older than Hepburn as that fact is made evident by the fact that Hepburn's character is an ingénue whereas, it is apparent that both Bogart and Astaire's characters are established in their occupations.  In Funny Face, I get the sense that Hepburn's character was more won over by Astaire because he was able to see something behind her "Funny Face." He charmed her.  In Sabrina, I somewhat get the sense that Hepburn's character thinks that she can help the stodgy Bogart and he's also won over by Hepburn's youth and her optimism.  I get the sense that Hepburn and Bogart's characters aren't going to last as a couple, but they may have a fun trip to Paris together. In Funny Face, I'm not sure if Hepburn and Astaire would last as a couple, but I'm sure that Hepburn would have replaced Marion (I think that was the comic book model's name) as Astaire's muse. 

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12 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

In Funny Face, I get the sense that Hepburn's character was more won over by Astaire because he was able to see something behind her "Funny Face." He charmed her.  In Sabrina, I somewhat get the sense that Hepburn's character thinks that she can help the stodgy Bogart and he's also won over by Hepburn's youth and her optimism

I agree with this.   I don't see any ick factor and either does my wife,  but it is because each actor does such a fine job and both films are so well made \ directed,  that the vast age difference is something I'm able to ignore by smiling all the time.    

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37 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

While I agree that Grant is great in light \ romantic comedy I can understand the POV that Grant wasn't as good in broad comedy; e.g. films like Bringing Up Baby or Arsenic and Old Lace.

A matter of taste, James. I think those two comedies have two of Grant's most hilarious performances, particularly in the Hawks film.

But I love his mugging and double takes in the Capra film, as well. It took great confidence on his part to indulge in that kind of broad playing and, for me, it paid off handsomely. I don't think he would ever be so broad stroke in his comedy again. His early more physical comedy (as opposed to later efforts) remains some of my favourite moments of his career.

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36 minutes ago, TomJH said:

A matter of taste, James. I think those two comedies have two of Grant's most hilarious performances, particularly in the Hawks film.

But I love his mugging and double takes in the Capra film, as well. It took great confidence on his part to indulge in that kind of broad playing and, for me, it paid off handsomely. I don't think he would ever be so broad stroke in his comedy again. His early more physical comedy (as opposed to later efforts) remains some of my favourite moments of his career.

arsenicandoldlace2.jpg

I always thought that comedy was Grant's forte, as was the sophisticated romantic lead.  Period pictures are definitely not something I'd want to see Grant in.  His persona, for me, is very much contemporary.  I thought that Grant did the sophisticated comedies as well as the broad comedy.

I love Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace.  I also thought he was really great in The Philadelphia Story.  I love the beginning of the film when he puts the palm of his hand in Katharine Hepburn's face and pushes her over.  Grant and Hepburn had a nice rapport together in their films.  He had the right kind of onscreen personality that could take Hepburn down a few notches.  I also thought he was really great when paired up with Irene Dunne. Grant also did Only Angels Have Wings and Talk of the Town with Jean Arthur and I thought he did a great job in both films.

One film of Cary Grant's (and Katharine Hepburn's for that matter) that I really disliked was Sylvia Scarlett. Nothing in the film works for me: Hepburn in drag, the storyline, Grant is playing a criminal... nothing works.  

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9 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I always thought that comedy was Grant's forte, as was the sophisticated romantic lead.  Period pictures are definitely not something I'd want to see Grant in.  His persona, for me, is very much contemporary.  I thought that Grant did the sophisticated comedies as well as the broad comedy.

One film of Cary Grant's (and Katharine Hepburn's for that matter) that I really disliked was Sylvia Scarlett. Nothing in the film works for me: Hepburn in drag, the storyline, Grant is playing a criminal... nothing works.  

Sylvia Scarlett was an important film in Cary Grant's career inasmuch as that was the one in which many think he found his screen persona.

Grant made few period pictures, and for good reason, based on The Howards of Virginia and The Pride and the Passion.

The one glowing exception to Grant's ineffectiveness in period films was Gunga Din, in which he was allowed to indulge is some very successful broad physical comedy, as well as be heroic. He gives a wonderful, at times very funny, performance in that film.

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23 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Sylvia Scarlett was an important film in Cary Grant's career inasmuch as that was the one in which many think he found his screen persona.

Grant made few period pictures, and for good reason, based on The Howards of Virginia and The Pride and the Passion.

The one glowing exception to Grant's ineffectiveness in period films was Gunga Din, in which he was allowed to indulge is some very successful broad physical comedy, as well as be heroic. He gives a wonderful, at times very funny, performance in that film.

Sylvia Scarlett may have been the second or third Hepburn and /or Cary Grant film that I ever saw. I think it's really pivotal in terms of what they and Cukor wanted to do in films, but probably weren't allowed to continue to do at that particular time.

If it makes some people seem uncomfortable today, that's not surprising because it certainly made the audience uncomfortable at that time. It was a terrible flop . Seemingly it really did not do wonders for anybody's career, except it didn't hurt really Cary Grant's.

How gutsy to make a film ahead of it's time and not care where the chips may fall.

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On 2/11/2018 at 8:05 AM, Sepiatone said:

BARBARA STANWYCK:  Very talented actress to be sure.  But IMO, while not totally UNattractive, not particularly pretty or "sexy".  But who has been placed in roles that call for an actress that fits those bills.  Like HENRY FONDA or GARY COOPER getting all befuddled wen she cuddles up to them like she's some kind of "sex kitten", or FRED MacMURRAY risking life and livelihood for her.  Just doesn't cut it for me.  J

I have to totally disagree on this. To me Stanwyck was very sexy and sensuous. I was even hot for her when her hair went grey and she was on The Big Valley!

 

One actor I would include is Glenn Ford, he was often very bland in some films but was excellent in "Blackboard Jungle" He couldn't really get away with playing criminal types, I thought he was miscast in "3:10 To Yuma", Robert Mitchum or Richard Widmark would have been a much better choice.

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5 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I have to totally disagree on this. To me Stanwyck was very sexy and sensuous. I was even hot for her when her hair went grey and she was on The Big Valley!

In Ball of Fire,  she was,  well a ball of fire.   Her dance number with the Gene Krupa band was sexy as well as her 'teaching' Cooper about the facts of life.    

Yea, she wasn't a beauty like Eleanor Parker (Det Jim, knows all about her),  but Stanwyck was great at making the most of her looks with her shinning abilities.

 

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5 hours ago, TomJH said:

I think that Grand Hotel has one of Garbo's weakest performances. I can certainly understand why someone who has seen little of the actress and saw her for first time in this would be mystified by her legendary status at the time. Her melodramatic highs and lows as a temperamental "artiste" are difficult to take seriously. Normally Garbo was a far more subtle actress than on display in this all star attraction (all the other stars in that film, by the way, particularly Crawford and the two Barrymore brothers, do some of their best work here).

Cary Grant a flop in comedy? Are you serious? Boy are you alone on this one. Try The Awful Truth, try Bringing Up Baby, try Arsenic and Old Lace, even try Gunga Din, if you haven't seen any of those already, and you may have a different opinion.

But where Grant did flop, in my opinion, was when he played an earnest Colonial America farmer-turned-politician inclined towards cringe worthy patriotic speeches in The Howards of Virginia or, years later, as the military officer lugging that canon around in The Pride and the Passion. Best to get back to comedy, Cary, or, at least, better written roles more suitable for you.

Yes, quite serious, if you please :P

He had astonishing screen presence and that covers him. It makes him passable in comedy but that's it. I don't seem him as appealing in anything remotely screwball or slapsticky. He certainly was not "born" to this type of thing. He has a magnificent sophisticated demeanor that would make him ideal in a comedy in that vein. He would be a master in urbane repartee. I would like to see him in something like that. Perhaps he has done something like that that i am unaware of. Recommendation?

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37 minutes ago, laffite said:

Yes, quite serious, if you please :P

He had astonishing screen presence and that covers him. It makes him passable in comedy but that's it. I don't seem him as appealing in anything remotely screwball or slapsticky. He certainly was not "born" to this type of thing. He has a magnificent sophisticated demeanor that would make him ideal in a comedy in that vein. He would be a master in urbane repartee. I would like to see him in something like that. Perhaps he has done something like that that i am unaware of. Recommendation?

Well, I just caught him again the other night when TCM showed The Awful Truth, and I have to say here laffite that I was once again impressed with how Cary shines in his delivery of the "urbane repartee" in THAT film, anyway.

In fact, not only does he deliver his lines so masterfully in that one, but I once again noticed how well and funny he was in the physicality aspect to his role, also.

In fact, there was one part in this film where he's hiding in another room and discovers another would be suitor to his soon-to-be ex-wife Irene Dunne next to him, and who he's come to be jealous of. Both had worn bowler hats when they arrived to Dunne's apartment. Cary ended up with the other guy's hat. And so he turned around and handed him the hat. The other guy then takes it and thanks him. Cary then looks at him and the hat and knocks it out of his hand in disgust.

(...and while I know the way I've explained this scene it doesn't sound all that funny, I thought the way Cary acted just this one little scene out was hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud when he did that)

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2 hours ago, Dargo said:

Well, I just caught him again the other night when TCM showed The Awful Truth, and I have to say here laffite that I was once again impressed with how Cary shines in his delivery of the "urbane repartee" in THAT film, anyway.

In fact, not only does he deliver his lines so masterfully in that one, but I once again noticed how well and funny he was in the physicality aspect to his role, also.

In fact, there was one part in this film where he's hiding in another room and discovers another would be suitor to his soon-to-be ex-wife Irene Dunne next to him, and who he's come to be jealous of. Both had worn bowler hats when they arrived to Dunne's apartment. Cary ended up with the other guy's hat. And so he turned around and handed him the hat. The other guy then takes it and thanks him. Cary then looks at him and the hat and knocks it out of his hand in disgust.

(...and while I know the way I've explained this scene it doesn't sound all that funny, I thought the way Cary acted just this one little scene out was hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud when he did that)

Cary really knew how to play off the Ralph Bellamy character in that film too. And the scenes with the doggie taking the hat, putting it behind the mirror, and so on were classic. Didn't hurt to have both men fighting over Irene Dunne either as she was so impudent while being classy. I think Cary's background before he was in films, in being able to do a lot of acrobatic physical comedy showed him to be a lot more than a pretty face. To see such a stalwart and sophisticated looking man, appear to be a fool in a woman's negligee or peignoir was amusing.

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I do suppose this can be thought of as "miscast", but not entirely.  As I've stated about those in my OP, the persons mentioned did well in the roles, doing "bang-up" acting and all, it's just that for some roles, they for me, didn't quite pull it off countenance-wise.  Some actors have no problem coming off as the tough guy, just by their natural features alone, which also somehow manages to work well in comedic roles too.

Then there's some who when trying hard to "look tough" just manage to look like they're struggling with an attack of ptomaine.   And still others, when attempting a smile to convey a "happy-go-lucky" personality or a wry expression, just look as if they're severely constipated or fighting back an attack of the runs.

Sepiatone

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