TOPPER
1937, Sonar Entertainment, 97 min, USA, Dir: Norman Z. McLeod

Cary Grant and Constance Bennett play a wealthy, fun-loving couple who awaken from a sports car accident only to discover that they’re dead. They have to perform at least one good deed to make it into Heaven, and to do that they try to teach their stick-in-the-mud friend Cosmo Topper (Roland Young, Oscar-nominated) how to enjoy life. This sparkling box office hit (which spun off a pair of sequels and a TV series) helped establish Grant as a screwball comedy star of the first order.


THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
1940, Warner Bros., 112 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

Katherine Hepburn had been declared “box office poison” before this delightful romantic comedy, adapted from the Broadway play in which she’d starred, revived her career. She plays Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord, who is just about to get married when her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a reporter (James Stewart) enter the picture. Stewart and screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart both earned Oscars for this almost unimprovable screwball gem, later remade as the musical HIGH SOCIETY.


ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
1944, Warner Bros., 118 min, USA, Dir: Frank Capra

Theatre critic Mortimer (Cary Grant) discovers on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are serial killers of lonely old bachelors, and that insanity runs in his family. Just when he believes things can’t get any worse, his psychotic criminal brother (Raymond Massey) returns in the dead of night with his alcoholic plastic surgeon sidekick (Peter Lorre). A classic Capra black comedy!


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