In this World War I yarn, unflinching U.S. Navy Captain Bob Kingsley (George O' Brien -- all smugness and self-assurance) is in charge of a "mystery ship" -- a schooner posing as a merchant vessel decked out with an immense cannon hidden in a giant box -- sent out to hunt down notorious German U-Boat 172 and its dashing commander Franz Schiller (John Loder). It's not much of a secret since when they land in a Spanish port riddled with undercover German spies -- including the luscious blonde Anna Maria (Marion Lessing), who takes a liking to Bob but also happens to be Schiller's sister -- Schiller is there with his boat refueling. Nevertheless, Bob and Schiller continue with the gentlemanly art of war and when they run into each other in a cantina they toast each other with Schiller exiting with, "Until our next meeting." Meet they do, in a rousing battle on the open seas, submarines and ships sinking along with the plot.
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Long before Hollywood suits thought it was a good idea to hide Freddie Prinze Jr.'s hottitude under a pair of spectacles (see Boys and Girls, if you dare), it was decided that for a change of pace, Cary Grant should be similarly four-eyed and socially reticent. And so he was cast in Bringing Up Baby as Dr. David Huxley, a nebbish scientist about to marry his icy prig of a colleague and who's been roped into wooing a rich potential donor to their museum. It's not that Grant can't play this guy, he pulls off the role just fine, but the whole enterprise seems reminiscent of covering a fine antique in layers of shellac or casting George Clooney as an antisocial computer hacker with poor fashion sense. Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.