Greatest movie star ever? How can you argue against Cary Grant, the graceful clown, the ironic romantic? Equally at home in an Alfred Hitchcock suspense piece or a Howard Hawks screwball comedy, the superb Mr. Grant (born Archie Leach) could handle just about anything. And it's a testament to his appeal that this boxed set, which contains not a single great movie, is nevertheless an entertaining catalog of Grant's splendid run during the 1940s. The earliest picture, and a sheer delight, is 1940's My Favorite Wife, one of Grant's blissful pairings with the wonderful Irene Dunne. He's about to remarry when his first wife washes up again after having been lost on a desert island (with he-man Randolph Scott) for seven years. Destination Tokyo is a WWII submarine picture, with Grant as the stalwart skipper--slightly odd casting, but he brings it off with admirable professionalism. (The film's propagandistic jabs at demonizing the Japanese enemy have not aged well.) Night and Day is one of those composer biographies that veers rather radically from reality, with Grant playing Cole Porter. A ton of great songs and the canny casting of Cary as the champagne-sophisticate Porter make it passably de-lovely, despite the whitewash of the composer's real-life story. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer puts Grant in deliciously antic mode, mooned over by teenager Shirley Temple but preferring the company of her older sister, Myrna Loy. He re-teams with Loy in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, an artless but regularly hilarious tale of Manhattanites whose Connecticut fixer-upper becomes a money pit. --Robert Horton
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