18 April 2009

Foiled by Grace Kelly

On the subject of films, by the way, any of you who've been pondering my March post on my vastly superior mental reworking of A Beautiful Mind can't fail to have noticed the most superficially implausible aspect of my Hitchcockian fantasy, which is that the age gap between Gregory Peck and Grace Kelly wasn't utterly ludicrous. Gregory P would have been 40 in 1956, whereas her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco, as Grace Kelly became that year, was a flawless 27. Only thirteen or so years between them.

You might think that's a lot, though I'd beg to differ, but given Grace's history with leading men, what can't disputed is that this age gap is negligible!

Look at her career, rounding things off a bit. In High Noon she was 23 to Gary Cooper's 51, and in Mogambo she was 24 while Clark Gable was 52. In Dial M for Murder, she was 25 to her husband Ray Milland's 49 and her lover Robert Cummings's 44. 25 again in Rear Window, her fiancee Jimmy Stewart was 46, and still 25 in The Country Girl and Green Fire, Bing Crosby and Stewart Granger were 51 and a sprightly 41 respectively. The Bridges of Toko Ri, from 1954 again, saw her 25-year-old self in a reasonably normal relationship with the 36-year-old William Holden, who she'd also been drawn to in The Country Girl, but she returned to form the following year, a ravishing 26-year-old seducing the 51-year-old Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief.

And then there's High Society, in which 41-year old Frank Sinatra vied with 53-year-old Bing Crosby and 45-year-old John Lund to win her 27-year-old hand.

So it seems that of all her leading men, only William Holden was closer to her in age than Gregory Peck, who, as I've sadly noted, never acted with her. The league table of age gaps runs something like this: William Holden a meagre 11, Frank Sinatra 14, Stewart Granger 16, John Lund 18, Robert Cummings 19, Jimmy Stewart 21, Ray Milland 24, Cary Grant 25, Bing Crosby 26, and Gary Cooper and Clark Gable both having a positively indecent 28 years on her peerless self, Clark Gable reigning supreme with a magnificent 28 years, 10 months, and 11 days!

Yes, I know, I've left out The Swan, but I haven't seen it and it doesn't seem to be available on DVD in this neck of the woods. This one looks to have a 42-year-old Alec Guinness perplexingly indifferent to the infinite charms of the Twentieth Century's most elegant woman. I know, it makes no sense.

Still, absurd though the premise of the film may be, I'm rather keen to see it, not least because it features this scene:

I know. Grace Kelly and fencing in one film. Can such perfection really exist in this fallen world?

I suspect the plot is rubbish.

1 comment:

Deirdre said...

Have just watched Murder My Sweet on the big screen at home. Highly quotable, which I have to say is one of my main criteria for watching a film. 'I find the men so attractive' (looking her up and down) 'I'd say they meet you halfway'. Very tightly scripted. Great stuff. I'd like to see some memorable quotes in your parlour game/pub quiz antics :)