Ed Driscoll

YOU'RE A BETTER MAN THAN I

Nina and I saw Gunga Din on Friday night at the Stanford Theater in Palo Alto. What a fun movie–and one that there’s no way could be made in these PC times. Unless of course, the producers hired Noam Chomsky as their technical advisor, to add a postmodern subtext that informs us how evil those mean old empire building Brits were.

The other curious element of Gunga Din is that it’s one of the few films where Hollywood actually cast Cary Grant to play an Englishman. Most of the time of course, he was all-American, often as a Madison Ave. advertising man (Mr. Blandings, North by Northwest), or working for the US government (Notorious, Destination Tokyo). Today, whenever Hollywood employs Sean Connery, they build an elaborate backstory to explain why he’s a Scotsman in a film full of Americans. Back then, audiences suspended disbelief and assumed Cary was all-American–because he was so terrific to watch.

Speaking of which, if you’re reading this from the Bay Area, it will be playing these for the next few days, as the Stanford is in the middle of a Cary Grant retrospective.