Top Ten: Actors Snubbed by Oscar

We’re now at the stage in the cinema calendar where the Oscar nominations have been announced and the films designed to bait the audience are being gushed over. Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks in a Cold War thriller. Tick. Cate Blanchett in a 1950s lesbian love story. Tick…

I Was A Male War Bride

The easiest question in the world for me to answer is “Who is your favourite actor?” From the age of about six or seven the answer has been the same – Cary Grant. There are others I admire – James Stewart runs Grant a close second, Tom Hanks is always impressive…

Top Ten: James Stewart Films

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series James Stewart Weekend

To round off my James Stewart celebration weekend here are my Top Ten films starring the great man himself. And one starring an invisible 6ft rabbit…

James Stewart – An Appreciation

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series James Stewart Weekend

Most of the films that I watch and rewatch on a regular basis are from the more modern era. The mid-70s to today, roughly the years that I have been alive. My DVD shelves are packed with movies from the past fifteen years. I’m a modern girl….

The Descendants

This year’s battle for the Best Actor Oscar looks like being a straight fight between Frenchman Jean Dujardin, star of the silent hit The Artist, and Hollywood superstar George Clooney for his performance in The Descendants….

Father Goose

An amusing WWII romp with Cary Grant unconvincing as an uncouth slob

Whenever Cary Grant is mentioned the automatic image is smooth, suave, sophisticated. A real gentleman. Walter Christopher Eckland, his character in the Oscar winning Father Goose, his 73rd and penultimate film, is as far from sophisticated as it is possible to get. But can Grant really put aside almost 40 years of habit and pull off the unshaven, drunken beachbum role?

Set during the Second World War, Father Goose is the story of Walter Eckland, an American beachcomber who is forced by a Royal Australian Navy Commander (an old friend who definitely has the measure of Eckland) to act as a coast-watcher for the Allies. For his (independently verified) reports on Japanese planes and shops Eckland, now codenamed Mother Goose much to his disgust, is rewarded with bottles of whisky which are hidden around the small island on which he is based. Walter’s quiet life is disturbed by the arrival of Catherine Freneau, played by Leslie Caron, and seven schoolgirls who have been abandoned while attempting to reach safety in Australia. The clash between the sophisticated Mademoiselle Freneau and her charges and the boorish Eckland takes place against the backdrop of increasing danger from the ever-present Japanese.

I’ve always enjoyed Father Goose. It’s a silly, funny romantic comedy. It is however almost impossible to imagine Cary Grant as anything other than a handsome, suave hero and he doesn’t really convince as a slob. The beautifully clean white socks he wears in one scene doesn’t help either – why would he have such clean clothes? He’s just Cary Grant. That’s ok though. Father Goose isn’t a serious drama, it’s a bit of fun. And we Cary Grant fans know and love our man whatever – we know his character isn’t really a hobo…

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