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Cary Grant & Betsy Drake


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I wanted to comment on these two...clearly, he was the big movie star, and he helped her break into movies (she was his real-life wife for many years).

 

Last night TCM aired EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED and ROOM FOR ONE MORE. I had never really studied Betsy Drake's acting...and I thought she did rather well. Her voice and mannerism remind me a lot of an early Joanne Woodward.

 

Drake was known for her writing abilities...she tended to 'doctor' some of her husband's scripts, usually uncredited. And she is the one who found the story of ROOM FOR ONE MORE. She also had a hand in developing HOUSEBOAT. She was actually set to star in it, but then Sophia Loren took over.

 

Drake is also remembered for having survived a sunken watercraft. She was traveling between the United States and Europe when the ship she was on went down. Fortunately, she was rescued at sea. This was during her marriage to Grant. After their divorce, they remained good friends. She is 87 years old and has written a well-regarded book about children and spent many years after her motion picture career as a psychoanalyst. She never remarried and has appeared in a documentary about her life with her ex-husband.

 

Among her U.S. and British film credits: WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?, PRETTY BABY, THE SECOND WOMAN and INTENT TO KILL.

 

Betsy_Drake_in_Every_Girl_Should_Be_Marr

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> I really enjoyed the 2 films she made with her husband. I think her talent was above average. Her voice was lovely.

 

I agree. When they made the first film in 1948, they were dating. When they made the second film in 1952, they had been married for awhile.

 

Some background:

 

They married in December 1949. He had 'discovered' her on the London stage and got to know her better on an ocean voyage to the U.S. (she was an American citizen traveling home...in fact her grandfather built the famous Drake Hotel in Chicago which is now a historic landmark and still open for business). She had appeared on stage in New York several years earlier and had been signed by another studio but made no films. Cary Grant introduced her to his bosses at RKO (where he had a deal with Dore Schary). RKO signed her and she made EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED almost immediately. Interestingly, when they wed over a year later, Schary had defected from RKO but the company's new owner, Howard Hughes, served as Cary Grant's best man during the ceremony.

 

PRETTY BABY, a film she made at Warners in the early 50s with Dennis Morgan, is scheduled on TCM on January 9, 2011.

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I like Betsy Drake, but I didn't care for her in DANCING IN THE DARK. She's just not the musical type (she's much too somber), and the script has June Haver written all over it (who was then at WB on loan making the first of her two musicals there).

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I was going to start a thread on these two movies. You beat me to it! I enjoyed them both, but one much more than the other. "Married" is cute and silly; pretty much the same plot as BRINGING UP BABY. But it's not very clever. There are no surprises. I only caught about two thirds of ROOM FOR ONE MORE, but what a delicious portion it was! Beautifully written, it's tastefully sentimental, with a subtle wit and an understandable rapport between the two lead players. Ms. Drake (Love the hotel!) is OK in the other movie. This one, she almost steals from her talented husband! She's warm, committed, and appears to enjoy, in character, the various shenanigans going on in her family.

 

The humor in this comedy is understated, if not unstated altogether. It's as much in what doesn't happen ("What other way is there to neglect a husband?"), as what does. There is some slapstick. Some silliness. But the real laughs are in the sly asides only the adults, and the audience, understand. This movie made me laugh, cry, and root for this beleaguered couple to...well, what other way is there to neglect a husband? It also made me wonder just where this fine family comedy has been all my life! Highly recommended by this viewer.

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Betsy Drake made eight films. She never received lower than fourth billing (and that was her debut, EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED).

 

She did some interesting projects. THE SECOND WOMAN is a suspense thriller costarring Robert Young, with a plot reminiscent of Du Maurier's REBECCA.

 

The one that looks really interesting is her final film from the mid-60s for MGM called CLARENCE, THE CROSS-EYED LION...a family film about wildlife preservation in Africa. It served as the basis for the hit CBS series Daktari.

 

b70-1430

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I have to agree about ROOM FOR ONE MORE. I think it's a masterpiece, with a classic message about the care of foster children. Drake and Grant are perfect for these kinds of parent roles...because they have such grace and style, and to see them crowded by an assorted lot of kids with realistic problems is quite believable and funny.

 

I was surprised the picture was from Warners...it seems very much like something we would find from either Fox or MGM in the 50s.

 

The script was well-balanced...and I like how they made a point of showing how older children can be given a second chance at a family, and there was one kid representing girls and one kid representing boys in this situation. The three biological children really take a backseat in terms of the film, but they do contribute to the story. (I love the scene where they all cast ballots and write 'leave' but then they tell the illiterate boy they want him to 'stay.' LOL)

 

It was the right blend of realism and humor, it had a strong message and yet it was not heavy-handed. I think Drake's performance is definitely what anchors the film. Cary Grant is sort of like the biggest kid in the batch, but she is there to guide them all, make the right decisions and dole out the necessary amount of love and patience.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> The one that looks really interesting is her final film from the mid-60s for MGM called CLARENCE, THE CROSS-EYED LION...a family film about wildlife preservation in Africa. It served as the basis for the hit CBS series Daktari.

 

 

Have you seen *Clarence, The Cross Eyed Lion* ? I watched it one afternoon a few years ago and I liked it okay. Richard Haydn is in it and has some really funny slap stick moments. However, this movie would never pass as family entertainment today. For one thing, all the adults smoke & drink and that would be frowned upon in a present day film. Second, one of the main themes is about animal poaching (can't remember if they show any cruelty but it's definitely unmistaken that they are really bad guys.) Third, the girl who plays the teenager is a pretty horrible actress. So before anyone decides to rent or buy this film to show to their children, I want to put that out there.

 

Drake has a small part as a doctor and is Marshall Thompson's love interest.

 

Edited by: helenbaby on Nov 23, 2010 3:06 PM

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it had a strong message and yet it was not heavy-handed.

 

Absolutely. Unlike some emotional stories, especially those that involve children, this one never preaches; never panders. It's kind of matter-of-fact as it states its case.

 

Cary Grant is sort of like the biggest kid in the batch

 

Yes! One of our finest and deepest actors, Cary told more with his priceless attitude than a page and a half of dialogue could have revealed. Indeed, he falls right in with the rough and tumble antics, self-serving but loving, like just about any kid who's given a chance. He reminds me of Dick Van Dyke's Rob Petrie; the man of the house, but little more than Peter Pan with a briefcase!

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I don?t want to give cause to any sort of controversy to this thread; be it that there are scores of other threads on the forum that have had their fair share of heated moments. Anyway, all I want to say about Betsy Drake is in reference to her rather flamboyant and tactless appearance on the last major documentary about Cary that was aired on TCM. Does anyone remember it? Betsy spared no choice of words in describing her sexual relationship with Cary during their marriage. Most fans might feel Betsy was simply defending Cary?s reputation over the series of gay rumors that have now hovered around him. Still, I was amazed, if not, shocked at Betsy?s explicit form of explaining what she believed to be the truth about Cary and his sexuality.

 

It?s rather funny to watch her speak of this subject in the documentary, because her image over the course of the years she was in show business, reflected that of a clean cut, all American, girl next door type! She was for Cary?s fans the ?good wife,? acquiring this image from the two films they made together. At least for an extended period of time, they were a ?golden married couple? of the movies. In watching Betsy talk about her ex-husband, she used words that could sure make a sailor, hooker at the street corner or a good ole truck driver blush by the way she basted-out decisively on the love life she had with Cary! It?s a ?no holds barred? description! Oh well, I guess this is just one of those things, one of those crazy things that now and then come, when we least expect it.

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Yes, they could've done a sequel for ROOM FOR ONE MORE. It's just a really fun film. I like how Cary even gets down to the dog's level...he's truly an overgrown kid in this flick.

 

Another thing I like about it is that the pace is brisk and it moves along very nicely from episode to episode. For instance, there is one point when Drake tells the boy to leave and not take anything they have given him. Next thing you know he's on the street naked! She quickly catches up to him and takes care of the situation. Then, we're on to the next episode/vignette. Also, the scene where Cary goes to confront the boys' parents about the daughter's aborted date...that was not dragged out and handled quickly and efficiently. I thought it was wonderful.

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*It wasn't a question of what she said about their sex life, it was the graphic way in which she said it. She used words that most would find offensive. Certainly, she didn't have to be so detailed in what she conveyed in order to perhaps free Cary from any outlandish speculation about his sexuality.*

 

Reminds me of something I read years ago about Stewart Granger when he first was hitting it big in Hollywood in the early 50s. Seems that rumors re: his sexuality were rampant (even though he was married to Jean Simmons). At a party full of industry bigwigs, he stated in no uncertain terms that he liked women, and exactly what it was he liked about women; it made any number of those present blush.

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That's personally what I felt about what Betsy Drake said about their sex life. Dyan Cannon also defended Cary Grant in the same regard.

 

Dyan Cannon is apparently writing a book about her relationship with Cary Grant. I am a bit nervous about that because he isn't alive to defend himself. I am not saying she is going to necessarily trash him but I am still a bit nervous (when they were first going through the divorce she said some nasty things about him. Maybe some of it was true but I also don't believe all of it either because of the circumstances of the divorce). Although they did end up becoming friendly again later on so I *hope* she will be fair in what she writes.

 

His daughter was also supposed to write a book about him but that seems to have fallen through which is a shame because I know that would have been a positive book on Cary.

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