Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movie Kisses, # I've Lost Count: Kate Kisses Cary, Holiday (1938)

It's been almost a year since I've seen an interesting kiss to add to my "Movie Kisses" series.

This kiss is from the end of Holiday (1938, USA) [so it's a spoiler].
The movie's an old favorite of mine (despite some atrociously embarrassing dialogue), but I only noticed the kiss when I saw the movie for the dozenth time the other night, as part of a Cary Grant film fest at a local theater.

In Holiday, Cart Grant plays Johnny, a guy from poor background who wants to quit working and search for the meaning of life.
He's engaged to Julia (Doris Nolan, below), a woman he believes to be "the perfect playmate" to join him in the search.In fact, Julia ambitions match those of her 19th-cent. grandfather, an industrialist who "stole a railroad from the stockholders."

BELOW: Johnny first realizes his betrothed is filthy rich when he goes to meet her family. (Has someone written about Cary Grant and staircases?)
(Screencap from Only the Cinema.)

Moping about the Fifth Ave. mausoleum family home is Julia's sister, Linda (Hepburn). She's a closet case--that is, she has closeted herself in the children's old playroom. Her family's repressive social values have driven her to near hysterical spinsterhood.

Johnny and soon-to-be sister-in-law Linda play well together.

And talk well together. (screencap from Riku Writes]

And dance. A worried Johnny confesses to Linda his dawning doubts about Julia (she wants him to go into banking); but Linda, who misunderstands her sister, pushes him not to break his engagement, even though she has fallen in love with him herself.

Finally Julia gets fed up with Johnny's talk of freedom and chooses the man who is obviously her true love--her unimaginative, conformist father.

Linda, realizing the massive mistake she has made, tells her family where they can get off and runs to find Johnny, who is just about to sail to France.
She finds him face down on the ship's floor, having failed to pull off the acrobatic move he always does to cheer himself up, the backwards flip-flop.

He is delighted to see her, and reaches for her hand. Kneeling next to him, she leans over and kisses him.
It's a nice twist on the Sleeping Beauty story--the man awakens the repressed woman, but she's the one who plants the kiss. (And open-mouth, too.)

(I screencapped the kiss from youTube, where you can watch the whole movie.)

Holiday was directed by George Cukor (below, with costars Grant and Katharine Hepburn). It was an open secret in Hollywood that Cukor was gay.
Ostensibly about straight people, Cukor's movies, from Sylvia Scarlett (1935) to My Fair Lady (1964), are often about the tension of acting a role in real life or leading a double-life.

BELOW: Katharine Hepburn, disguised as a young man, with Cary Grant, in Sylvia Scarlett:

Sometimes in Cukor's films the tension tears people apart (A Double Life, A Star Is Born), but often it resolves happily.

Holiday, of course, is happy, as both Johnny and Linda chose not to accept a life of social conformity.

Hepburn said she and Grant had a lot of fun working together, and I think that shows. Here, they're getting ready for the drop and roll acrobatics they perform in the movie.


ArtSparker said...

Oh, I'd better put some old films on my netflix list, one of these for sure.

Margaret said...

Reminds me of the Her Kiss photo.
I walked past it in a restaurant a couple months ago and had to back-track to look again.

kluks said...

"she's the one who plants the kiss" --not only does she plant the kiss but he is laying down and she is leaning over him. She may have been repressed from the outside looking in, OR, maybe she was the only one who wasn't repressed. . . I haven't seen the movie though--just an observation from my own personal perspective.

Fresca said...

M'RET: I don't know that photo and when I googled it I got a million hits. Details?

KLUKS: Right--, sorry, I wasn't clear:
she's really a passionate woman all along--she's not repressed in herself.
It's her social/family life that has repressed her (the family is constantly putting her down and belittling her desires).
Johnny comes along and, in the presence of a like soul, she and her zest for life wakes up.
Her active sexual role and his passive one at the end is a really nice touch--and not the Hollywood standard,

Margaret said...

Fresca said...

THX, MRET! Yeah, the way she's grabbing her partner's neck is very much a male move, traditionally.
(Her partner's gender is ambiguous, I'd say.)

Jennifer said...

This looks delightful! Grant and Hepburn do look like they're having a lot of fun, too, and that tends to leak into a film. I was disappointed with "Suspicion"--have you seen it? It's clear the movie studios wouldn't let Cary Grant's image get tarnished and that tanked the whole film...or else Hitchcock's issues with women did it, not sure which. I need to see something else with Grant in it to refresh myself now...I shall go looking for this!

Fresca said...

JEN: Yeah, "Suspicion" is disappointing, though it has a nice staircase!
I recently read that it was the studio, not Hitchcock, that screwed the ending--he was supposed to have killed her.