Archie Leach day: The Awful Truth

Sylvia Scarlett was the first inkling of the success that was to come – but the movie itself was a flop. The Awful Truth was an enormous success and it made Cary Grant a huge star.

Garson Kanin says:

The Awful Truth was enormously successful, and the studio was eager to come up with a second picture for Cary and Irene [Dunne]. Leo McCarey had a contract with the studio but, for complicated business reasons, did not want to direct. He asked me if I would like to do it. And of course, I was delighted. They were both big stars, very able, and full of personality. They had developed instinctively a fascinating team rapport — something that cannot be directed, written, or inspired.

Irene Dunne said:

I loved working with Cary — every minute of it. Between takes he was so amusing with his cockney stories. I was his best audience. I laughed and laughed and laughed. The more I laughed, the more he went on.

Garson Kanin remembers the My Favorite Wife shoot:

Cary was not one of those movie stars who gets out there just because he’s handsome and has a flair for playing one key or another. He worked very hard. I remember that indelibly. Almost more than any other quality was his seriousness about his work. He was always prepared; he always knew his part, his lines, and the scene. And he related very well to the other players. He took not only his own part seriously; he took the whole picture seriously. He’d come and look at the rushes every evening. No matter how carefree and easygoing he seemed in the performance, in reality he was a serious man, an exceptionally concentrated man. And extremely intelligent, too. Still, he played far more on instinct than he did on intellect. I don’t recall him ever intellectually discussing a role or a scene or a picture or a part. He trusted his own instincts, which had worked for him so well. He just polished that up and used it.

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