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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Elizabeth Gregory

Cary Grant's best film roles, from Charade to Notorious, to Bringing Up Baby

He’s the honey-eyed, Bristol-born movie star who lit up some of the greatest-ever films, and who remains to this day one of Hollywood’s most beloved leading men. Cary Grant, who was born Archibald Leach in 1904, made over 70 films over the course of his stellar career, worked with legendary directors including Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor and Stanley Kramer and shared a screen with icons including Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

Now his astonishing life is being made into a new ITV drama series, Archie, with Jason Isaacs playing the charmer. With the new series airing on Thursday, here’s our selection of Grant’s best films, listed in ascending order.

Charade (1963)

One of the last films that Grant made before retiring, at 59 he still more than charms as a man with many names in this Oscar-nominated romantic thriller. Audrey Hepburn plays Reggie Lampert, a wealthy woman who finds herself sucked into a criminal conspiracy when her estranged husband, Charles, suddenly sells off all their belongings before being murdered while fleeing Paris. Turns out, Charles stole a large sum of money many years ago, and now Reggie is being chased by shadowy men hoping to retrieve the bounty. Grant’s character, Peter-Alexander-Adam, keeps appearing just at the right moment.

Available now on ITVX

Notorious (1946)

An electrifying thriller from the master of the genre, Hitchcock’s 1946 film noir stars Ingrid Bergman as Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a convicted Nazi. She is recruited by the US government to become a spy and seduce one of the leaders of a group of Nazis who have fled to Brazil. Alicia and agent TR Devlin (Grant) fall in love while preparing for the mission, but repress their true feelings as the assignment goes ahead. Their rocky relationship, which is built on  mistrust, is put under further pressure as Alicia gets drawn more deeply into the Nazi organisation.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

This lovely film has Grant playing Dr David Huxley, a paleontologist who befriends the elegant and haphazard heiress Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) after the pair keep bumping into each other, and getting caught in increasingly hilarious situations. Susan falls in love with David, who is imminently going to be married, there’s a leopard called Baby running around, and the two new friends end up going on an adventure, taking Baby to a farm in connecticut. Chaotic and good for the heart.

Available now on BBC iPlayer

To Catch A Thief (1955)

In his third collaboration with Hitchcock, a romance thriller set in the French Riviera, Grant plays retired thief John Robie, aka The Cat. He is searching for a jewellery thief targeting the area’s rich and wealthy, as everyone blames him - despite his being a reformed character. He meets Frances Stevens, (Grace Kelly) a wealthy heiress, and the two strike up a friendship of sorts. But mistrust grows between the feisty pair, who go for a swim and take a drive, leading to some of the most glamorous, purr-worthy scenes to have ever been caught on camera.

Available now on NOW TV

Holiday (1938)

Another cracking romantic comedy, in Holiday, Grant plays self-made man Johnny Case, who is about to marry Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), the daughter of a wealthy banker. A film adaptation of a 1928 play, most of the film takes place at a glitzy New Year’s Eve party: for a moment it looks like Johnny has bitten off more than he can chew when he meets Julia’s family - her stern father, Edward (Henry Kolker), her alcoholic brother Ned Jr (Lew Ayres) and her spirited older sister, Linda (Katharine Hepburn). But things turn sour, then sweet, when Johnny finds a twin flame in Linda.

Available to rent from all the usual places

North by Northwest (1959)

Our favourite of Grant’s stellar Hitchcock collaborations, Grant is never better than he is as Roger Thornhill, a debonair, deeply tanned advertising executive who becomes the target of a criminal gang due to an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. After eluding the thugs it’s a non-stop cat and mouse chase, which becomes increasingly gripping as his own destiny becomes entangled with that of ice-cold blonde, Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint).

Available to rent from all the usual places

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story, an Oscar-winning film adaptation of a hit 1939 Broadway play, saw Grant join forces with Hepburn again and James Stewart to make one of the most whip-smart and delightful romance-comedies of all time. Socialite Tracy Lord (Hepburn) is getting married, and it’s going to be one of the biggest social events of the year, with journalists (including Stewart’s Mike Connor) clamouring for details about the big day. While Tracy is dealing with her chaotic and lovable family, the press, and planning the wedding, her ex-husband, Dexter (Grant) shows up.

Available to rent from all the usual places

His Girl Friday (1940)

This wonderful screwball comedy about a tough editor and his talented reporter ex-wife is the best of both Grant and film. With dialogue so fast you might need to watch it on half speed and a fizzing chemistry between Grant and Roslaind Russell, it's no real wonder that His Girl Friday is one of the favourite films of journalists up and down the country (I have asked). Hildy Johnson (Russell) is a star reporter, who is giving it all up to settle down and have a family. Her ex-husband Walter Burns (Grant) has other ideas, and puts her on one last case.

Available now on ITVX and Prime Video

Archie will premiere on ITVX on November 23

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