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FLM 145 — Cary Grant: Hollywood's Most Versatile and Elusive Star

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 7 weeks
Date(s): Jun 29—Aug 10
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 1
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $400
Instructor(s): Mick LaSalle
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
6:30—9:00 pm (PT)
Jun 29—Aug 10
7 weeks
Refund Date
Jul 1
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Mick LaSalle
Cary Grant made himself into a Hollywood masterpiece, but he did not arrive fully formed. Dubbed “the best and most important actor in the history of the cinema” by critic David Thomson, Grant was born into poverty in England, and it took 14 years for him to go from the British music hall stage to Broadway and finally to Hollywood. His first short film performance in Singapore Sue was actually a study in awkwardness. But from there, he grew—first as a leading man opposite Mae West and Marlene Dietrich and then, starting with The Awful Truth (1937), as a magnificent star in his own right. He is remembered incorrectly as always “playing Cary Grant” when, in fact, he was one of the most versatile actors of his era. He could be hilariously over-the-top (Arsenic and Old Lace), urbane and sophisticated (North by Northwest), and cold and sadistic (Suspicion, Notorious), all while maintaining his own special quality.

In this course, through clips and features, we will examine Grant’s films from his first to his last and all points in between. You will immerse yourself in the work of one of Hollywood’s greatest artists, a man who was simultaneously genial and unknowable and who made timeless films with some of the best directors of the age, including Leo McCarey, Howard Hawks (Only Angels Have Wings), George Cukor, and, especially, Alfred Hitchcock.

Film Critic, Hearst Newspapers

Mick LaSalle is the author of Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man, The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses, and Dream State: California in the Movies. He writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and other Hearst newspapers.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.