At the age of 61, Cary Grant decided to call it quits after Walk Don’t Run (1966). The film was an amiable remake of George Stevens’ hilariously funny The More the Merrier (1943). The original was set in Washington, DC at the height of the housing shortage caused by the war. In it, crusty old Charles Coburn talked his way into renting one half of Jean Arthur’s apartment, and then he rents half of his half to Joel McCrea. This simply moves the action to Tokyo and the housing shortage caused by the Olympics. Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton inherited the romantic leads and top billed Grant was left with the Coburn role. The thing was nobody really wanted to see Grant play Cupid for a pair of fresh-faced leads. Bear in mind it had only been two years since he played leading man to 33-year-old Leslie Caron, and three years since he’d wooed and won 34-year-old Audrey Hepburn. That leading man quality was still there and it was what the public wanted and expected. It probably didn’t help that Walk Don’t Run traded in the wild — occasionally slapstick — antics of the original for quieter amusement. But — if you can put leading man Grant out of your mind (probably easier to do today) — the film is a pleasant little work. Plus, you get young George Takei (see accompanying photo) as a police captain. Interestingly, the film also proved to be the last theatrical film directed by old guard studio craftsman Charles Walters.
Pack Memorial Library will screen Walk Don’t Run Tuesday, May 28 at 3 p.m.