Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant Classic Movies

A Legendary Collaboration

Devlin and Alicia meet at the track, with Sebastian watching from the grandstand

Notorious trailer/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain


Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock had one of the most celebrated and successful collaborations of any actor/director pair in history. Hitchcock, famously derisive about movie stars, once said Grant was the only actor he ever loved. Their partnership spanned twenty years, and they teamed on four films, each with its own place in the classic movie pantheon.

Hitchcock had hoped that Grant would make one more film with him near the end of Grant's career — Torn Curtain. But the star had already decided to make a different film as his last, the charming comedy Walk, Don’t Run. Poor Hitchcock had to settle for Paul Newman.

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'Suspicion' – 1941

Suspicion. RKO Radio Pictures

Cary Grant was supposed to play the villain in this film, based on a novel about a man who plots to murder his wife. Hitchcock always said that the studio forced him to change the film’s ending to protect Grant’s image, and as a result, the climax doesn’t make much sense. Until then, however, it’s a gripping suspense movie, as petty crook Grant romances Joan Fontaine and then begins to menace her — or does he? From a creative standpoint, Suspicion was the least successful film Grant and Hitchcock made together, but still worthwhile — look out for the famous poisoned milk.

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'Notorious' – 1946

Notorious. RKO Radio Pictures

A spectacular teaming of Grant with lovely Ingrid Bergman – he, a federal agent trying to use the “notorious” daughter of a Nazi to chase ex-pat spies in South America; she, a secret patriot weary of living under the shadow of her father’s misdeeds. Of course, they’re hopelessly attracted to one another, but he sends her off to seduce superspy Claude Rains, hating every minute of it. Taut, terrific Hitchcock suspense as the girl comes under the suspicion of the evil Rains and his nasty Nazi mama. Cary has to figure out a rescue — and how to make it all up to Ingrid.

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'To Catch a Thief' – 1955

To Catch a Thief
To Catch a Thief. Paramount

A bit more light-hearted than their previous outings, To Catch a Thief pairs gorgeous Grant with another luminous Hitchcock favorite, Grace Kelly, all set on the French Riviera. (Glamour overload). Grant is a former cat burglar whose WWII heroics earned his freedom, and Kelly is a rich American girl traveling with her salty, down-to-earth mother. When a new burglar starts lifting jewels from the vacationers using the old cat’s tricks, it’s up to Grant to prove his innocence. This one literally sparkles, and the costumes — with Kelly in them — are to die for.

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'North by Northwest' – 1959

North by Northwest'
North by Northwest. MGM

Their last collaboration is my favorite Hitchcock film, and my favorite Cary Grant film. The plot, another spy thriller, is absolutely ridiculous, but you won’t notice as Grant crisscrosses the continent trying to clear his name after being mistaken for a spy, nearly killed with a bottle of bourbon and photographed holding a bloody knife over a dead diplomat at the United Nations. Eva Marie Saint is the icy-hot blonde love interest and James Mason is the silky-smooth villain. Did I mention the climax takes place on Mount Rushmore?