When Judge Clark Douglas watched Father Goose as a kid, he kept wondering why they kept showing some old man instead of geese.
"I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me."—Cary Grant
Your honor, we, the jury, thoroughly filled out the fifteen-question survey you given us regarding the guilt or innocence of Cary Grant: The Leading Man. While we object to some of the ridiculous questions included on this particular survey, we have done as you asked. Also, we object to your policy of not feeding the jury until they have found a verdict. These things take time, your honor, and frankly we feel your policies are a lot of poppycock. That being said, here is your survey.
Question 1—Who is the subject of the documentary?: Cary Grant, your honor. If you were too dense to determine this from the title, you also probably don't know that he was a leading man in quite a few movies.
Question 2—What fruits are discussed or shown in the documentary?: Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn attempt to exchange an orange in a scene from Charade.
Question 3—When you think about the documentary, what is the first thing you remember?: The fact that Cary Grant's real name is Archibald Leech. What a splendid name, we feel it's a shame he didn't use it.
Question 4—Were there many scandals in the life of this particular Hollywood star? If so, are they discussed much?: While there have been numerous documentaries that have speculated on Grant's sexuality, this one does not. Instead, it simply focuses on his numerous failed marriages and on Grant's own insecurities as an individual. However, there are no real "scandals" discussed to speak of.
Question 5—How much of the documentary relies on clips from this particular actor's movies?: There are several dozen clips used in this documentary, and they are often curious selections. For some reason, rather mundane selections from various movies are picked, rather than real highlights. However, the documentary does a very good job of remaining spoiler-free.
Question 6—Which well-known or well-respected individuals participate in this documentary?: Leslie Caron, Stanley Donen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Eva Marie Saint, Deborah Kerr, Ralph Bellamy, Stanley Kramer, and Richard Brooks. Of these, Richard Brooks probably receives the most screen time.
Question 7—Who narrates the documentary?: We were delighted to discover that this documentary was narrated by the splendid Richard Kiley, who would later come to international fame as "Jurassic Park Tour Voice" in the film Jurassic Park.
Question 8—How long is the documentary?: A complex question, your honor. The DVD case claims that the "Total Content" is 127 minutes. The main feature only runs one hour. There are some extras, but it's more than a stretch to claim that they add up to 67 additional minutes.
Question 9—What is your opinion on the morality of viewing a flea circus?: Your honor, while we have no real problem with the idea of a flea circus, we also would like to state that we feel fleas are not given enough career options. A flea Laundromat or flea comic book store would also be quite welcomed.
Question 10—If you had to pick between watching this documentary or watching Speed 2: Cruise Control, which would you choose?: Considering that none of the members of jury have seen Speed 2: Cruise Control, we would choose the latter. We all loved Speed and we are comfortable making the assumption that a sequel would be amazing.
Question 11—On a scale of one to ten, how huggable would say the subject of the documentary is?: A 5.7, your honor.
Question 12—Just on a personal level, name five films you would recommend as a good introduction to this particular actor: To begin with, Notorious and North by Northwest, two of director Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films. Stanley Donen's delightful Charade is one of the Grant's most charming films. Romantics out there will adore An Affair to Remember, a lovely picture. Finally, Bringing Up Baby is one of the great screwball comedies of all time. These films offer a tremendous look at this actor's talent.
Question 13—How does the documentary look and sound?: The documentary was made in 1988, which has it's pros and cons. On the plus side, it has a charming little orchestral score…most modern documentaries of this sort use keyboards. However, the documentary doesn't sound so good. The dialogue is occasionally muffled, while the music often sounds distorted. The picture is very grainy and has plenty of scratches, dirt, and grime all over the place. This isn't going to win you over with its technical qualities.
Question 14—Are there any extras included on the disc? If so, are they worth checking out?: The biggest extra is a half-hour interview from the 1980s with producer Gene Feldman. However, the picture quality on this is so bad, it's nearly unwatchable. There are a couple different photo montages, one of which is a gratuitous seven-minute slide show featuring the producers with a wide variety of celebrities. There are also numerous promotional items for other documentaries in "The Hollywood Collection." Nearly identical extras can be found on most of the discs in this collection.
Question 15—Would you recommend this documentary for humans and/or animals?: Humans, primarily. They may enjoy this gentle look back at a much-loved actor. However, Cary Grant has also been known to have quite a remarkable effect on the extremely rare Iranian Tiger Fish.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Other Reviews You Might Enjoy
Scales of Justice
Studio: Janson Media
• Gene Feldman interview
Review content copyright © 2008 Clark Douglas; Site design and review layout copyright © 2015 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.