Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, January 9, 2023


 Cary Grant has always been watchable and in this 1936 film he is basically at the end of his acting apprenticeship and about to move on to the bigger and better things that wouold make hm a star.  Even now, there is a lot of the Grant flair to be seen -- a screen presence he would refine over the next years in such films as Topper, Bringng Up Baby, and Gunga Din.

In a plot which can nonly nhappenn in a 1930s movie, Grant plays Ernest Bliss, a bored millionaire in the midst of the Depression.  He visits a top medico who accurately disagnoses his boredom and the two enter into a bet.  The doctor wants Grant to live a full year without relying on his money.  I Grant loses, he will pay the doctor 50,000 pounds; if the docotr loses, he will give Grant an apology.  Grant leaves his posh surroundings with only five pounds on  him, hoping to find a job that will carry him over for the next year.  He finds a job and there's a cute secretary there also, Mary Brian (a WAMPUS Baby Star of 1926 -- her first credited role was a wendy Darling in 1924's Peter Pan).  Unfortunately, Brian does not get work her considerable coic chops in this film.  Anyway, complications ensue, including a pair of crooks who notice the resemblance between Grant and the millionaire, not knowing they are the same.

Filmed in England and released there under the title The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss. it was shortened to 61 minutes and retitled The Amazing Adventure for American audiences.  (It's the American version linked below).  The film was directed by Alfred Zeisler, an American-born director/producer/actor who worked in Germany beginning in 1924, leavng after the Nazis came into power.  Although Zeisler lived until 1985, this was the last of the thirty-four films he was credited with directing.  The script was written by John L. Balderson, a successful playwright (Berkeley Square, 1926. and the American stage version of Dracula, 1927; his screenplays included The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Gaslight).  The film was based on a 1919 novel by E. Phillips Oppenheim, the best-selling British thriller author of more than 100 novels and 38 collections of short stories.

Althoug filmed on the cheap, the movie has a lot to offer, including a look at Cary Grant as he takes off his traniing wheels.


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