Alfred Hitchcock may well have worked with some of the most celebrated actors of the 20th century, but a name that ranks highly among these legends is unquestionably that of Cary Grant. Despite the fact that both of them had extensive individual outputs in their respective careers, they only collaborated on four projects together which have certainly gone down in cinematic history as memorable cultural artefacts.
Throughout his tenure as a director, Hitchcock has often claimed that he has very low opinions of actors. In fact, he was once confronted about his controversial quote that actors are like cattle. However, he clarified with his usual dry sense of humour that he actually said this: “I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle”.
It is unclear whether Hitchcock treated Grant as cattle but his performances under him have been top-notch, resulting in the creation of a productive director-actor partnership. Take a look at all of the times Hitchcock cast Cary Grant to play a leading man in a wide variety of films, ranging from romantic thrillers to surreal nightmares.
Every Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock collaboration ranked:
4. To Catch a Thief (1955)
Although one of Hitchcock’s more formulaic works, To Catch a Thief does feature the fantastic combination of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly for whom it was her final collaboration with Hitchcock. Grant stars as a jewel thief who has given up his ways but is called into action again in order to stop an imposter.
An adaptation of David Dodge’s eponymous novel, Hitchcock denounced many elements of this work due to the claim that he did not manage to achieve the colours he was looking for. However, Robert Burks ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Colour Cinematography that year.
3. Suspicion (1941)
An interesting romantic thriller by Hitchcock that often gets overlooked, Suspicion is worthy of consideration primarily due to the brilliant acting work by Grant who puts in a wonderful shift as a deceitful playboy who tricks an innocent woman (played by Joan Fontaine) into marrying him.
Fontaine is equally adept in her pivotal role if not more, delivering a performance that would be known as the only Academy Award-winning rendition in any film Hitchcock ever made. In recent years, critical revaluations have found that Suspicion is an indispensable part of Hitchcock’s extensive filmography.
2. Notorious (1946)
It would be hard to dismiss any film that boasts of a cast featuring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman but Notorious outdoes any of those expectations by a mile. One of the finest films in Hitchcock’s illustrious filmography, Notorious follows Grant as an American agent who is tasked with the responsibility of infiltrating a Nazi operation.
Most scholars consider Notorious to be the apotheosis of Hitchcock’s creative sensibilities which reach power heights in the construction of this moving cinematic experience. Roger Ebert even included this particular Hitchcock flick in his 1991 edition of the “Ten Greatest Movies of All Time” list.
1. North by Northwest (1959)
Undoubtedly the most iconic collaboration between Grant and Hitchcock as well as one of the finest masterpieces that either of them have been a part of, North by Northwest has been described as “the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures” by its screenwriter Ernest Lehman.
This Kafkaesque nightmare features Grant as an ad executive in New York City who gets caught up in an international conspiracy where nothing is as it seems and his own identity is unclear. Hitchcock devises a brilliant narrative structure, amplifying the atmospheric confusion and ominous undertones with each passing second.