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The 1966 romantic comedy Walk, Don't Run is an updated remake of the Oscar-winning 1943 film The More the Merrier. Cary Grant stars as Sir William Rutland, a British industrialist visiting Tokyo during the 1964 Olympic games. Due to a severe housing shortage, Rutland bamboozles his way into sharing an apartment with a young single woman, Christine (Samantha Eggar), who wants to keep the arrangement secret. Soon Rutland invites an American Olympic athlete, Steve (Jim Hutton), to share the apartment with them. It isn't long before Rutland finds himself playing cupid to the young couple and the sparks start flying between Christine and Steve.
Walk, Don't Run is most notable because it was the last film Cary Grant ever made. Even though he was still considered at the top of his game in 1966 and plenty of roles were regularly offered to him, Grant felt it was time to quit for several reasons. First, at the age of 62, Grant believed he was too old to be romancing women half his age on screen as he had done with Audrey Hepburn in Charade (1963) and Leslie Caron in Father Goose (1964). Second, Grant had felt for a long time that Hollywood was changing for the worse. He was not impressed with most of the scripts he was getting, and he felt that the studios were beginning to exploit rather than protect their stars. In addition, many of Grant's actor colleagues of the same age had already retired or left the business. The third and most significant reason for Grant's unofficial retirement after Walk, Don't Run was a personal and joyous one. For the first time in his life, Grant had become a father at age 62. Daughter and only child Jennifer Grant was born to Cary and his fourth wife, actress Dyan Cannon, in February 1965, five months before Walk, Don't Run was released in theaters. Cary Grant was ecstatic and was intent on devoting himself to being the best father possible to Jennifer, whom he called his "best production." "My life changed the day Jennifer was born," Grant later said. "I've come to think that the reason we're put on this earth is to procreate. To leave something behind. Not films, because you know that I don't think my films will last very long once I'm gone. But another human being. That's what's important."
While the critical reception of Walk, Don't Run was mixed, Cary Grant's performance was a big hit. Newsweek said that Grant "could not be unfunny if he tried," and The New Yorker said that Grant had "never looked handsomer or in finer fettle...if Walk, Don't Run proves anything it is that his attempted abdication as a screen dreamboat is premature and will have to be withdrawn: he is a good ten years away from playing anyone's jolly, knowing uncle."br>
Walk, Don't Run also features a buoyant musical score written by Quincy Jones. It was one of Jones' first big breaks, thanks to Cary Grant who had met Jones through singer Peggy Lee. The actor felt Jones' style would be perfect for the film and made sure he was hired. Jones went on to enormous success as the composer of numerous notable film scores such as In the Heat of the Night (1967) and The Color Purple (1985) and the producer of many successful pop recordings (like Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album).
Fans of Cary Grant will enjoy his cheeky humor coming through in Walk, Don't Run if they pay close attention: Grant occasionally hums the themes to An Affair to Remember (1957) and Charade, two of his best known films. Though he went on to live another twenty years, Cary Grant never did return to the movies despite the many attempts to lure him out of his self-imposed retirement. "I could have gone on acting and playing a grandfather or a bum," he commented later on, "but I discovered more important things in life."
Producer: Sol C. Siegel
Director: Charles Walters
Screenplay: Frank Ross (story), Robert Russell (story), Sol Saks
Cinematography: Harry Stradling, Sr.
Film Editing: Walter Thompson, James D. Wells
Art Direction: Joseph C. Wright
Music: Quincy Jones
Cast: Cary Grant (Sir William Rutland), Samantha Eggar (Christine Easton), Jim Hutton (Steve Davis), John Standing (Julius P. Haversack), Miiko Taka (Aiko Kurawa), Ted Hartley (Yuri Andreyovitch).
by Andrea Passafiume