Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Gold Medal Goes to "Walk, Don't Run"

With the London Summer Olympics in high gear, there are all sorts of lists of Olympics movies floating around out there. There's a lot of love for Oscar-winner "Chariots of Fire," of course, as well as "Cool Runnings," about the novelty of the Jamaican bobsled team; "Jim Thorpe -- All-American," with Burt Lancaster as the Native American decathlete; "Miracle," about the 1980 US hockey team; and even "Million Dollar Legs," a 1932 W.C. Fields movie about the fictional country of Klopstokia and their Olympic efforts.

But there's one movie that everybody has completely overlooked. It's got Cary Grant. It preserves the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics for posterity. It centers on an Olympic event that is both funny and obscure. It's an Olympified remake of a classic film. What's not to love about "Walk, Don't Run"?

Okay, so Cary Grant is not the romantic lead, just the matchmaker scheming to get Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton together. And, yes, that plot concept -- where a man and a woman unexpectedly have to share an apartment -- has been done a lot, not always with the best results, and, yes, "The More the Merrier," the post-World War II precursor, was terrific.

I don't care. I love "Walk, Don't Run." Cary Grant is as charming and wonderful as ever, even if he's playing Cupid instead of Romeo. He has a killer scene where he strips down to his skivvies to try to catch up with Hutton while he's racewalking, and that alone is worth the price of admission. And it's Grant's last film. Every Cary Grant-o-phile needs to see it for that reason alone.

Plus Samantha Eggar makes a pretty, fresh kind of 60s chick, much less vapid than most of that period, and Jim Hutton's brand of sweet, awkward romantic hero is very appealing. I like their chemistry, and I love the milieu of Tokyo in the bright pop 60s.

So if you need a little Olympics on the side, an Olympics that includes Cary Grant in his underwear, you can watch "Walk, Don't Run" instantly at Amazon.com, or order the DVD through either Amazon or Turner Classic Movies. Quick! Before they get past the racewalking event!

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