The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss (1936)

 Run Time: 70 min. | b/w
Director: Alfred Zeisler
Stars: w. Cary Grant, Peter Gawthorne, Garry Marsh, Mary Brian
 Genres: Drama | Romance | Comedy
Storyline
A rare opportunity to see Cary Grant working on his home turf. Penniless Grant inherits a fortune and, feeling guilty, sets out to earn his living instead.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    August 2, 2017 at 8:22 am

    This is an obviously low-budget film from Cary Grant. It seems that most of the stars of the 1940s did a few cheap-o independent films during the 1930s (Bogart and Cagney did a few that I recently reviewed). However, what sets this film apart is that despite its poor quality at times, it’s a surprisingly watchable. So, if you ignore one or two flat performances by supporting cast members and sets that are not exactly MGM quality, you’ll be rewarded with a decent film. Yes, I’ll admit that the plot is just a little bit silly, but because of its charm and brisk pace, it satisfies. Cary plays a rich and lazy guy who finds himself bored with life. When he goes to the doctor, the doc tells him to stop sniveling about his life and DO something productive–get a job and stop being a self-indulgent jerk. Cary takes this as a challenge and decides to make himself over–all for the better. About the only strong negative I felt is that the girl that Cary is destined to marry in the film just seems awfully immature and stupid at the end of the film–I wanted him to find someone better!

  2. Anonymous

    August 2, 2017 at 8:22 am

    This has a worthwhile story idea, plus Cary Grant in one of his earlier starring roles, and it has some good scenes. There are a number of other, better movies made in the 1930s that were based on similar ideas, but this one is a solid feature. The main thing that keeps it from being better is that the story and script do not always make the best use of their opportunities. As a result, there are some sequences that take up screen time that could have been used for something better, while some potentially fine moments are under-emphasized.

    Grant plays a wealthy young man who has become jaded and spoiled by the company of other well-to-do idlers, and who sets out on a challenge to learn how to work for a living. This setup lends itself to a lot of good material, and the best moments are Grant’s interactions with other everyday persons who don’t know who he is.

    Within a very short time after this was filmed, Grant became one of the best actors around at handling this kind of material, and he was then able to make this kind of story work even when it wasn’t particularly well-written. Here, there are a number of times when his developing flair shows through, but he wasn’t quite experienced enough yet to carry the whole load, so there are some sequences that lack the spark that they needed in order to keep moving. It makes the movie somewhat uneven, still worth seeing if you like the era and genre, but otherwise unremarkable.

  3. IMDBReviewer

    August 2, 2017 at 8:22 am

    The year 1936 marks the end of Cary Grant’s long apprenticeship. Filmographies differ as to the precise order of the films he released in this period, so this film — the only one he made in Britain in the ’30’s — makes a convenient watershed. Of his films released that year, this one is probably the weakest.

    Cary at this point has his mature mannerisms, but he still lacks the sparkle. Moviegoers would have to wait another year. He really comes into his own in 1937 with "The Toast of New York", "Topper", and "The Awful Truth" in particular.

    This film’s plot follows the conventional Depression formula of a man of affluence temporarily renouncing his wealth in order to become a man of the people, with predictable results.

  4. IMDBReviewer

    August 2, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I love movies like this because they are as close to time travel as we’ll ever come. I’ve just read Cary Grant: A Biography by Marc Eliot, and to be able to see this movie after reading about it and what was going on in his life at the time is just wonderful.

    The movie itself–well, it’s tough to judge objectively when movies have changed so much in the intervening years. No car chases, no explosions, no body count–there aren’t even any sound effects in the big fist-fight scene, just quiet little thuds instead of the "crack" "pow" "bam" noises we’re used to hearing as fist hits chin. A quiet movie. A simple Aesop’s fable of human values and the importance of meaningful work, starring an astonishingly beautiful man. Definitely worth watching.

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