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Cary Grant plays Johnny Case, a happy go lucky man who has fallen in love with Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), the daughter of a millionaire.  Johnny, who has been working since the age of 10, manages to pull off a deal at work which means that after he is married he can follow his dream of taking an extended holiday, in order to find out what he really wants to do with his career, and how he fits into an ever-changing world.  His plan is met with dismay by Julia and her father, who had assumed that Johnny would go to work for their family business, where he can earn lots of money.  However, Julia’s sister Linda (Katharine Hepburn) thinks Johnny’s plan is wonderful – and it starts to seem as though Johnny has more in common with his fiancee’s sister than he does with Julia herself…

When I started watching this film, I was expecting something of a screwball comedy (such as Bringing Up Baby, anotehr Grant/Hepburn film).  This film is actually not that type of comedy; in fact I would hesitate to call it a comedy at all.  It seemed to be more of a light hearted drama, but is certainly not without comedic moments.  Grant is as likeable as ever, although here he is neither the befuddled but loveable eccentric that he played in films such as Monkey Business, nor the sauve debonair charmer of North by Northwest or An Affair To Remember.  Johnny Case is more down to earth character, possibly easier to identify with.  His acting is great, and he even gets the chance to demonstrate his acrobatic abilities.

Katharine Hepburn is also terrific as the wise-cracking Linda, the self titled ‘black sheep of the family’ (although she does seem to have a close relationship with her brother and sister), who finds herself attracted to her sister’s fiance.  She and Grant play well off each other.  However, I must make special mention of Lew Ayres, who plays Julia and Linda’s brother, Ned.  Ned has turned to alcohol to numb his disappointment at giving up on his dream to become a composer, in order to work for his father’s business.  Like Linda, he supports Johnny’s dream of an extended holiday -and is able to see that if Johnny doesn’t pursue this venture, he will probably end up like Ned himself; in the end, Ned was the most memorable character in the film (for me at least).

Excellent support is given by Edward Everrett Horton and Jean Dixon as Johnny’s friends Nick and Susan Potter – every scene they were in was funny and hugely enjoyable.

All in all then, a more subtle comedy, but an enjoyable one with some excellent actors.  Fans of Hepburn, and especially of Grant, should check this one out.

Year of release: 1938

Director: George Cukor

Writers: Philip Barry (play), Donald Ogden Stewart, Sidney Buchman

Main cast: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Doris Nolan, Lew Ayres

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