Train experience to Winchester

The journey begins. Coffee in hand (coconut latte from the local independent), heading off to Victoria station on an unusually sunny October Saturday morning. Lots of families with young children on the Victoria Line, probably looking for a green patch in… Green Park?

Arriving at Victoria Station was an easy affair. As I came out of the tube, the smell of bacon butties and pastries engulfed me, but alas, my priority was getting the ticket first. Coffee still in hand, I fumbled around with my purse, finally managing to dig out the email with the booking number. 
There was no queue at the self-service machine, but a massive queue of people with trolleys at the standard (traditional) ticket desks. Side stepping that, still fumbling in my bag, careful not to spill any coffee on myself, I made my way to a self-service ticket machine to be greeted by a message saying “please choose railcard type”. No railcard type here, so I pressed to start again and choose my prepaid tickets. 
I was a bit disconcerted by a message “please enter the card you used to pay for the ticket”. I did not have that card so I restarted my journey, thinking I might have missed something. A second attempt and I entered a card, not THE card, praying it would work. It did! They finally asked for my booking number and the tickets were swiftly printed. As soon as that was done I could hear the PA: “the 10:25 train to Horsham is departing from platform 11. First stop Clapham Junction”. Knowing I had to stop at Clapham Junction and change for the South Western Railway to Winchester I hurried. With only 5 min to spare I made my way to the platform and onto the train. It was the Southern line. Fairly clean and not too packed. Wi-Fi picked up almost immediately and good connection too.  Across the aisle, a French group were chattering deliciously about food, whilst eating bread rolls. My stomach grumbled as I realised I had skipped breakfast again. 
At Clapham junction I was met with a bit of a difficulty, which was promptly solved by good old Google who knows exactly what platform the train to Winchester was leaving for. Platform 9 (unfortunately not 9 and 3/4). And I have 10 min to spare. What Clapham junction lacks in terms of notice boards (either that or I didn’t look hard enough) makes up for in bagels and pasties. However, I had little time to deliberate and I chose a massive salted pretzel, which made me very thirsty indeed.
The train arrives with a gentle puff and the red upholstery of the seats which can be seen from outside gives it a posh appearance indeed.
As I take my seat (unallocated seating) I notice there are no charging sockets on this train. The trays are a bit small so I can only place my laptop on them. The coffee cup will have to sit on the tray belonging to the seat next to me. The Wi-Fi is a bit slow but at least it’s there. It’s taking me to the South Western Railway website which is a very colourful and animated experience.

I discover with a twang of disappointment that this seat makes it rather hard to do any work on it. The trays are definitely not designed for any laptops or work to be done on them, as the laptop keeps sliding off. But I don’t like to complain too much. The train carriage is very quiet and pleasant. A young lady is enjoying her yoghurt granola breakfast across the aisle, while on the seat behind her, a man in his 60s is doing the crossword puzzle. There’s no chatting among friends (yet) as this carriage is mostly filled with lone travellers. So far. This works for me as I managed to fill the empty seat next to me with my belongings. 

the Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough for me to upload my lovely pictures onto captureme, but I will make another attempt shortly. As we arrive in Farnborough, attempt at decency prompts me to clear the empty seat next to me. 

The train carriage is a bit livelier now, with 3 blokes having some breakfast beer (Kronenbourg) a few seats in front of me. Place has got a bit chattier but around me, the same quiet people are reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzle. we’ve left Fleet and are approaching Basingstoke. Outside my window things are getting greener by the minute. This pleases me. I spy some beautiful cows basking in the sunshine and I smile. It’s the little things. 

A lady with a food cart came by at Basingstoke. Alas, my coffee had finished and snobbery didn’t allow me to follow it up with the instant coffee served on the train. I was also disappointed they didn’t have Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. After Basingstoke, the next stop Winchester. This has been a short and pleasurable train journey. the end destination is Poole and I am half tempted to stay on and visit this city. my eyes had lingered on the name on the map a couple of times. it will have to wait till next time though.

Winchester, we have arrived.  Papier mâché pumpkins greet me from a window with a smile. The journey took 2 min less than expected. The 11:49 train to Poole arrived at 11:47. Winchester is sunny and friendly and I’m looking forward to vising the City Mill and the cathedral.

Bohemian Rhapsody – glorious yet shallow flattery

Anyone with a true passion for film would say that a great film stays with you long after you’ve seen it. In one way or the other. By that token I consider Bohemian Rhapsody a great film. However, it is not a great film from a cinematic, or even storytelling point of view. There are a few carefully chosen angles and camera pans that did make me stop and admire its cinematography.  It is a well executed film, but one would struggle to find more than two truly memorable scenes which would resonate with both film lovers and fans of the band alike.

What the film does well is preserve the legend of Freddie Mercury, and there’s no doubt as to why that is. Brian May and Roger Taylor made sure that everyone attached to the project played it safe and showed respect to the source material. This might not have been the best idea. I couldn’t help wonder what the film would have been like if it had been directed by a true fan of the band and of Freddie. True fans would accept the darkness with the light, champion it and stylise it. That light does shine through in this production,or part of it. It cannot be kept away, for Freddie’s light shone very bright indeed, a force as great as rock music itself. Fortunately for us viewers, Rami Malek managed to capture a glimpse of that light and show it to the world. It left us wanting more. It left me wanting to discover more about Freddie’s extraordinary talent and his controversial life. Hence, weeks after having seen the film, it is still with me. I find myself wanting to watch it again, to see if any hints, innuendos or references to the musical genius might have been missed. On first viewing one feels they are shown a show reel, a best of of a best of. It is an ordinary presentation of an  extraordinary rock’n roll band. We all know from the very beginning that the story and more importantly the music was anything but ordinary. We are still waiting for the goosebumps we know good cinema undoubtely give.

What the film failed to capture, whilst busying itself with being as PG and PC as possible, was both the essence of the band’s musical legacy and the complexity of Freddie Mercury’s tumoultuous life. We can’t tell for sure which film Bryan Singer would have ended up making, had he finished the production. Fans of both the band and cinema itself would want either one of those, not both crammed up into one, without doing justice to either. The source material is too vast, too sagaesque both in terms of music and the private lives of the musicians to be made into one film. As someone who has now researched their music extensively, it is my belief that Bohemian Rhapsody only manages to show a glimpse of the kaleidoscopic narrative that is represented by the two titanic entities: Queen and Freddie Mercury.

Vice – an exquisitely pretentious piece of cinema

The story goes that when Dr Strangelove was first conceived, it was conceived as a dramatic script. Somewhere during the writing process, a funny idea came to Kubrick’s mind. And then another, and another, until what emerged was one of the best political satires of the 20th century. Adam McKay, the writer-director of Vice is no Kubrick. He is by no means a bad director. He is probably an even better writer.

However, the impression that Vice leaves with the viewer is that the idea of turning this political drama onto a satire seemed to have sprung up on him during post-production, leaving us confused as to what we were watching. He seems to have whipped up ideas as he went along while editing the picture and attempted to gloss over any inconsistencies through the use of fishing visual metaphors.

At times it felt like we were being privy to an avalanche of sensitive information regarding the way the free world is being run. This, I must confess, brought on a feeling of physical discomfort. It almost instinctively made me think that there are levels of corruption that we, as regular folk can only imagine. Either that or Adam McKay is very good at imagining and filling in the blanks left by the Bush administration by using private email servers.

While busying itself with painting a demonic picture of Dick Cheney, the film manages to dehumanise him, thus almost excusing him from all the machinations and Machiavellian dealings we see him carry out in the film. Christian Bale’s performance is an almost perfect representation of what Cheney looked like, spoke and acted in front of the cameras, but there is little depth to it. The monster is one-dimensional and thus less believable and less feared. At the beginning of the story we are told that it’s the quiet ones we should fear, the men in the shadow of those in power, thus giving Cheney an aura of insidiousness. However, there is nothing insidious about Bale’s performance as Dick Cheney. We get very little insight into what his driving force is, other than the all-encompassing American love for his family and his country. Protecting his family and his country gives Cheney carte-blanche to go off starting wars in the Middle-East. And yet, that motive isn’t as well defined as one might have hoped. There’s an indication at profit to be made from the oil in Irak, but that is also quickly swept under the carpet.

While the film is very rich in ideas as well as modes of execution, what it is lacking in is the consistency to present a story. It may even be accused of suffering from the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ syndrome, which makes the subject matter alone deserving of respect, regardless of the way it is presented to the public. After all, a biopic about a hated man and a crucial part in American history should have the same gravitas as a biopic about what is arguably considered the best frontman that has ever graced the music stage, and thus get as many accolades. While neither film manages to truly earn its Oscar worthiness, the saving grace for Bohemian Rhapsody was Rami Malek’s astonishing performance. In the case of Vice, Christian Bale’s central performance might have driven the film too far into caricature territory had it not been for the supporting performances of Amy Adams, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk and Sam Rockwell, the latter’s portrayal of a buffoon president being welcome with a knowing grin. After all, it’s hard to imagine G W Bush depicted in any other way. Amy Adam’s Lynne Cheney almost succeeds to be a well-rounded character, despite a few far-right outbursts that come off as a bit too much for a 2019 audience.  

All in all, Vice is a passable film that raises as many questions about American politics as it answers, and which could have probably been even more enjoyable had it fully embraced the Brechtian aesthetic it merely toyed with.

Fanny & Alexander – mini review

Was Bergman’s vision as a filmmaker translated into his theatre work with the same passion, complexity and zest for life? I would not know, for I would need a time portal to place me in 1906s Stockholm. Wouldn’t that be the dream?

But Bergman’s immense legacy is a fluid totem, an endless tapestry of colour and shadows upon which we can still, if our hands are able enough, weave intricate stories of life, death love, lust and loss.
Was Bergman’s spark of brilliance spotted in London’s West End last night? Perhaps so.

Stephen Beresford, the playwright certainly understands the material he adapted, the exquisite cinematic tour de force Fanny and Alexander. The 1982 film, which lives in two formats, theatrical release and TV has now spawn a third: a 3-act stage rendition, which has had its premiere last night at the Old Vic.
As an adoring fan of Bergman’s cinematic work, I stepped into the theatre with certain expectations. Knowing the material and Bergman’s recurrent themes and visual motifs, I had already imagined how the play would be acted out.

It was not as heavy as I had expected. The sacrosanct sanctuary of grandmother Ekdahl was somewhat missing, along with elements of Alexander’s imagination, which stood at the heart of the film version. The playfulness was beautifully captured, but Alexander’s rebellion seemed to fall flat, through no fault of Misha Handley, who played Alexander with the passion of a tried Hamlet.

When asked about the film, Bergman was quoted as saying that he found inspiration in Charles Dickens’ work for the execution and I almost wished director Max Webster had done the same. I found myself thinking of the marvellous production of A Christmas Carol, which coincidentally was performed over the Christmas period on the same stage, as envisaged by the brilliant Matthew Warchus.

Max Webster’s direction isn’t lacking in bergmanesque beauty. However, the silent wonder of witnessing the human condition unfolding before our very eyes in all its splendour is upstaged by something else. The seemingly endless red velvet curtains and mahogany furniture do give us a taste of a day in the life of the Ekdahl family. We are even invited at their Christmas table to enjoy a kinglike feast (the three Ekdahl brothers are all named after Swedish kings, after all).
But the whole setting fails to make us as nervous as it should. There is no complex tension in the performances, only a flat anxiety, perfectly embodied by Catherine Walker’s Emily Ekdahl, who seems to be staggering timidly through, asking the important questions but failing to believe the urgency. The mystique is too often replaced by an exaggerated humour, which Penelope Wilton excels at, as matron extraordinaire Helena Ekdahl. Only Kevin Doyle manages to chill the blood, especially in the whipping scene, the only time where Bergman’s darkness is truly rendered on stage.

Whilst still appreciating the difficulty of taking such a close-to-perfect piece of cinema and transposing it onto the stage, as a spectator I was left wanting more.

Fanny and Alexander is on at the Old Vic Theatre until 14 April 2018

Inner revolution

When the mortal remains of our immortal gods are no more
Who’s going to sing our generation’s pains?
When the fight isn’t done, about to be undone
Whose chant can we turn into the hymn of struggle?
When the summer of love is just a memory of a distant memory,
are we ready to love again?
When change needs yet another change
where are our poets with voices of angels and disguised as scary monsters?
When our cheeks are burning red from the slaps history has given
We’re waiting for new prophets and davids to slay the blind goliaths of hate.

Buster Keaton – cinematic butterfly

keaton-sherlock_optComedy has always been a film genre slightly looked down upon. It’s not considered as classy and meaningful as a drama or a love story, or as imaginative and insightful as a sci-fi film.

Looking at comedies today one can’t help but agree. As funny as The Hangover is, you can’t put it in the same category as Inception; The Dictator has got more disgusting jokes per minute than any other comedy prior to it. Romantic comedies have become a genre of their own, the sentimentality allowing us to laugh and cry at the same time, whilst the brainier part of our body acknowledges the silliness of the entire scenario.

However, if we take a look at silent comedies, notably the slapstick genre, we discover a kind of subtlety and intelligent humour that’s missing from movies nowadays. This type of humour seems to have only been revived briefly by comedy geniuses such as Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, Fry & Laurie and to a lesser extent Mel Brooks. Their time has passed unfortunately and there seems to be no one valiant or talented enough to try walking in their shoes.

What’s left for comedy lovers to do is to back to the beginning. It all started with The Sprinkler Sprinkled  in 1895 and it peaked with the genius of Buster Keaton. Some may say of course that it is Charlie Chaplin who holds the title of the greatest slapstick comedian of the silent era, but given that Chaplin’s sound films exceed the quality of his silent ones, it would be unfair to limit him to his silent career only and label him as a slapstick comedian. Moreover, Chaplin’s silent films haven’t aged as well as Keaton’s.

It is true that, judging by box-office success, Chaplin was the more famous and financially successful one. He was also a good business man. His humour however was fit for a 1920s – 1930s audience. Buster Keaton’s comedy style may have been too subtle and mature for the audience of the day. That may be the reason for which he was hailed as a genius only towards the end of his life, when he was “rediscovered” by a younger, more sophisticated audience. However, at that point he was no longer making movies of the same calibre and he was still seen by some of his peers, Chaplin included, as a bankrupt old man who had to do menial TV appearances for a living.

Looking at Buster Keaton’s career, one discovers a man who was born in show business. He wasn’t asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he just took over the family business at the age of four. He was, of course, a natural, but then again there might have been a great many things he could have excelled at if given the opportunity. One will never know how he would have been as a civil engineer, but the intricacy with which he would build up his gags and even the fact that he designed his own house stand proof that he might have been just as good at it as he was at comedy.

Most great directors are said to be/have been perfectionists and that may well be true. There is no other way to achieve greatness. Most of Buster Keaton’s film stand proof of the man’s perfectionism, which was sometimes pushed to the extreme. Many books have been written about his physical abilities and acrobatic skills and in the world of today may even be put into question, if we forget that special effects were in their infancy in the 1920s and that Buster was always one to perform his own stunts.  His grace and physical beauty were often compared to those of a butterfly and even the great Orson Welles called him “the most beautiful person to ever be photographed”. Who can argue with that when they’re looking into Buster’s big eyes who never laugh, but express many intense emotions despite him being called The Great Stone Face.

It is hard to decide what’s more fascinating about Keaton’s films: his ability to express a great range of emotions while keeping such a straight face, his ability to perform some of the most dangerous and awe-inspiring stunts ever to be captured on camera or his cinematic genius that created some of the best and funniest films of the silent era. To find proof of all of that one needs to look no further than Sherlock Jr. (1924). The gags created for this feature film, the shortest feature he’s ever released, are nothing short of extraordinary and even surrealist filmmakers like Luis Bunuel found inspiration in Keaton’s work.

Keaton’s masterpiece, however is considered to be The General (1927). Keaton’s attention to detail is most visible during the production of this film, which made it become one of the most expensive films of the silent era. He would spare no expense and the finished product would become a yardstick to action comedies and chase scenes of subsequent films and in inspiration to future directors. His vision as a director is coupled with his skills as an acrobat and his love for all things mechanical. Where Chaplin would make as much use of his persona and create a relationship between himself and the audience, Keaton would go out of his way to confuse the audience, show no mercy to his screen persona, but stoicism and determination and from this his unique style of slapstick would emerge.

Buster Keaton’s life story is no fairy tale unfortunately. He hasn’t got a successful biopic, starring an actor of Robert Downey Jr.’s calibre. He didn’t live the rest of his life as a recluse millionaire in Switzerland. He had to work until the end of his life in mediocre productions, “enjoying” his status as a former silent movie star. He was no astute business man, but a naive artistic genius who got the short end of the deal when he signed with MGM, signing away his creative independence. One can only guess the quality of his sound era productions if he had worked in an independent studio like Chaplin did. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and he faded into oblivion at the beginning of the sound era. Today he is only hailed as a cinematic genius by film scholars mostly, his legacy being preserved by those few fans who still hold dear the wonderful world of silent cinema.

Music, Technology and Lifestyle

We have arrived to an era where if one states that they’re “computer illiterate” means they’re just “illiterate” and that they’re having great difficulty with coping with the world around them. There have been a few isolated voices crying that the internet is ruining people’s lives, preventing them from communicating properly with the real world. With the advent of the smartphone, the tablet and the mobile internet, people have come to enjoy their real social life and their virtual one at the same time.  And it doesn’t stop there.

An event that I witnessed a couple of days ago made me think of this BBC documentary: Synth Britannia . About 35-40 years ago there came a new type of music and it took time for the critics to accept it as a “valid type of music”. Then, as now, it started with mixing the new technology, the synth, with the oldest and most valued type of music, the classical music, as heard in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

The concert I attended was a replica of the same experiment, only with tablets instead of synths. The concert started with a DJ performing at his table. He had the typical gear a DJ would have on his desk, with the addition of two tablets where he had sounds looped in, which he would manipulate whichever way he pleased during his DJ set.

The most impressive part was however the classical music performance, which made me think of the influence classical music still has on modern music and how fast music as an art is evolving, now with the help of technology. The act consisted of a male baritone voice, an oboe, a violin and a cello. As each of the performers played their instrument, the DJ, while still on the stage, began mixing and modifying live the sounds emitted by the instruments and the singer’s voice respectively. The only tools that he was using were the two tablets he had played with before, in his DJ set. We, the audience, know this because a camera was tactfully placed behind the desk, the images captured being projected on a big screen at the back of the stage.

This was a cutting edge experiment with an impressive result. It is all the more interesting if we think that the end result sounded like a classical music concert which had been recorded, then submitted to hours of processing in a specialized sound recording laboratory. It all sounded like an instantly remixed version of a classical piece, which of course was the DJ’s intention. Technical innovation is making its presence felt in the music industry, making lives easier to musicians worldwide and giving them more tools to create original music.

Advertising and SEO

It is easy to presume for everyone nowadays that they know the first thing about advertising. After so many years of being invaded by publicity everywhere we turn, we know the sales pitch, we can see a mile away what the product is about and whether or not it satisfies our needs. Since everything has more or less been done or said before the customer is now educated and therefore very hard to impress and surprise. And thanks to Mad Men, the customer has now a bit of background information about the business of advertising as well.

Adverts are history. Nobody watches an advert and says “hey, I really wonder if that product is what I’m looking for!” anymore. Sure, ads are still part of a selling campaign, but the tactic has begun to change. It’s no longer about the art of presenting a new product to the market, it’s about who is supporting that product. Big brands like Virgin, Gillette, Volkswagen and many others have asked the help of celebrities to advertise for their brand in order to push their sales forward. People nowadays are too distracted by their own busy life to stop to look at an ad and reflect on it. If they want something they would simply go online and look for what they want.

Big brands have begun to tailor their ads to fit in with the modern man. Google has been for a few years now the go-to place to find everything one needs. Like a town’s elderly, what Google says goes. As a result, business owners need to get their website, which advertises for their business, ranking as high as possible in the Google result pages. And that’s not all. To get that high ranking, a website has to have an impeccable content describing the business, advertising for it and offering information to the potential customer at the same time. Google gets the customer through the door, the website itself has to convince the customer to buy the product.

If anything, building a business website is making a sales pitch that doesn’t look like a sales pitch. And this sales pitch has to convince the google search engines first and foremost. They are operated by algorithms that process information in a very mathematical, yet secretive way. SEO experts are still trying to identify the exact factors that get one website to rank higher than another. They advise website content writers to think about the customers reading their content, and not about the crawlers that process the information in order to rank it on Google.

Target audience is always one to bear in mind when writing content for a website. Just like writing for an ad, only thinking at a larger scale. Content editing and web usability are all part of the SEO strategy of advertising. Online advertising has become much more popular than our traditional commercial viewing while watching TV. People nowadays spend much more time in front of their computers than watching TV, therefore businesses need to change their medium and tactic in order to have success and gain more customers.

Just like an ad on TV that prevents one from changing the channel, the website has to be appealing enough at first sight in order to prevent the web user from surfing away from the page. The website has to mirror the same values as the product the business is trying to sell. It has to have an appealing layout, it needs to be easy to browse through, be informative and focus on one thing, a page at a time. By offering the web user a good experience while visiting one’s website, one can be sure that the user will visit again that page and more often than not, become a regular customer, recommending the business to other people as well.

Its name is Words. Keywords

For those who want to have a successful business on the internet, managing keywords is one of the most important things of SEO. Looking back to the beginnings of the internet age, Google search engines were not as complex as today. The algorithms were clearer and simpler and it was easier to know how to get to the top of the search results: use the keywords relating to your business as much as possible.

The algorithms have evolved and now the search engines, the crawlers, have become much more sophisticated. They are looking at more than just finding the same keywords a hundred times in a 600 word content on a page. Keywords are still very important but the context in which those keywords are being used has become part of the search algorithms as well. Not only that, but the way in which keywords are used is not to be disregarded by content writers. Search engines are able to identify words that are synonyms with the established keywords on the page and will rank well pages that use a wider range of well chosen words describing a service.

For the better use of keywords on the page, Google has created the AdWords tool. It helps businesses to learn which keywords  and keyword combinations are looked for the most by potential customers. Thus they know what combination of words they should use on their page to go up in the search result hierarchy.

Let’s take a practical example. Using Google Adwords, someone who is in the business of selling phone insurance can check what are the most popular searches, what are the average monthly searches on those particular keywords on a 12 month period and even the average cost per click, which helps create an advertising plans for one’s business.

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The Keyword tool by Google AdWords is showing in even more detail the habits of web users and acts as an inspiration of writers. Using the same example of the “phone insurance” keyword search, one can discover multiple combinations of words and improve on their website content. For instance, many web users are looking for “cheap phone insurance”, “mobile phone insurance” and most often than not they specify the type of phone they are looking insurance for. This gives writers ideas on how to mix up their keywords with their content for great Google search engine rankings.

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Keywords are not the only factor that one has to take into account in order to have a successful business online and rank well on Google search engines. A website creator has to consider other things such as content, design, meta descriptions, links and their anchor text. These are of course made up of carefully chosen words, which should be derived from the main keywords on the page. Links from well established websites are useful in supporting a page by directing its customers to it. Social media is a very useful and important tool used to advertise one’s job and to get as many websites to link to their page. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn to name a few, are helpful in creating contacts and generating these supportive links.

Google algorithms are only known by Google operators. SEO experts can only guess how information on the web page is fed to the Google search engines, but continuous research is made on the subject, just as continuous updates and improvements are made on anything that has to do with technology every day. This leads to continuously improved SEO strategies of online marketing and to strongly built websites.


Cary Grant vs the Production Code

Cary Grant wasn’t born in Bristol in 1904. Rumor has it he was born on the set of She Done Him Wrong in 1933, having been spotted on the studio lot by none other than Mae West. She cast him in the movie and a long successful career was thus started. And what could be easier? He was young, tall, dark, handsome. He had a lot of charisma, talent and sex-appeal. He also seemed to fit very well into that mad world of 40’s and 50’s Hollywood.

He was no longer Archie Leach. Archie Leach was left in Bristol, still performing pantomime at the Hippodrome theatre. If anything, Archie Leach remains in movie history as the clumsy and naive barrister played by John Cleese in A Fish Called Wanda (1988). In fact Cleese was paying a tribute to Cary Grant, borrowing his real name for the protagonist of his award winning comedy.

Funnily enough, by coincidence or not, the film that made him a star, She Done Him Wrong, prompted the creation of The National Legion of Decency. The sexual chemistry between Cary and his co-star, the sultry Mae West did not go unnoticed by the censors, the film being banned in Australia, Finland and Austria, as well as the state of Atlanta. Cary Grant’s career would soar from this point on and his talent as both a comedian and a dramatic actor would gain him international fame and respect in Hollywood.

It is easy to forget that the Production Code was set in place for the majority of Grant’s career, forcing quite important restrictions on his performance. He was one of the many actors to be working within the boundaries of the Code, but he was one of the few that seemed to thrive on it. His comedic talent of delivering double entendres helped him keep things decent enough for the censors and exciting enough for the audience to enjoy.

He helped create the fast paced kind of comedy, based on extremely snappy and witty dialogue. Comedies like Bringing Up Baby (1938), His Girl Friday (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), to name a few, were very much ahead of their times and are still getting big laughs out of a modern audience. Even in more serious roles, Cary Grant was showing his suave leading man attributes. His collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock on films like Notorious (1946), North by Northwest (1959), To Catch a Thief (1955) has become legendary. Hitchcock never took the risk of casting Cary Grant in a role as a villain, but he did state that Grant was willing to take such a step, not shying away from challenges in his career.

He expressed a particular dislike in the style of Method acting and its three main representatives: Marlon BrandoMontgomery Clift, and James Dean. He was quoted as saying “Some producer should cast all three of them in the same movie and let them duke it out. When they’ve finished each other off, James StewartSpencer Tracy and I will return and start making real movies again like we used to”. (source

He showed thus lucidity in observing that times were changing and acting was changing as well. His style of acting belonged to the golden era of Hollywood, where the Code was making things difficult and exciting at the same time and where braving through a restrictive set of rules to make a picture was a work of art in itself.