Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Born Archibald Alexander Leach, Cary Grant has always been known for his distinctive voice and good looks. He will always be remembered as the debonair leading man with not only charm but great style.

Cary Grant has appeared in many film classics including To Catch A Thief in 1955 with Grace Kelly and An Affair to Remember in 1957 with Deborah Kerr, a personal favourite of mine. Other classics include The Awful Truth in 1937 and Bringing Up Baby in 1938.

He is fondly remembered playing opposite Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story at MGM in 1940 and in Hitchcock's Suspicion in 1941.

He worked well in comedies with his great comedic timing and facial expressions none more so than in Arsenic and Old Lace in 1944 when discovering his two lovelable Aunts to be cold blooded killers.

This two piece blue velvet period costume was designed by Irene Saltern and worn by Cary Grant in the 1940 Columbia Pictures feature film "The Howards of Virginia". The film tells the story of the American revolutionary war as seen through the eyes of Cary Grant. Grant portrays Matt Howard with Martha Scott starring as his wife Jane Peyton Howard.

The colour of a costume even in the black and white film was considered important. It not only sought to provide authenticity to the actors in performing their roles, it was also important that a costume photograph well.

The dark blue velvet of this piece can clearly be seen in its black and white setting altough we don't know what colour it is, we know it is velvet and that it is not black. It is interesting to watch films that have been through a coloursitaion process and to see what colour cosutmes were considred as correct. Most times they are wrong. The magnificent blue of this costume would have been lost to the paying audiences of 1940. Perhaps ten years later the film would have been made in colour. It is nice now to be able to see what the cosutme looked like in all its beauty!

Cary Grant remained as one of the top box-office attractions for 30 years. When you watch his films, you can see why. Even Mr Grant put it best himself when he said "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant-even I want to be Cary Grant".


  1. Love your site... it's so neat to see these costumes as tangible parts of the film's history. Just, wow. How small the suit looks! Especially when you think of what a big image Cary Grant in breechpants must have been.

  2. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the nice comments. Yes they were all very small people, especially the waists. I am slowly adding more as I go. Keep checking back! Thanks again.

  3. What a striking shade of blue this suit is! I must admit that the thought of owning something once worn by Cary Grant dazzles me...

  4. Yes a very royal blue indeed and the velvet is is still very good for 1940. This is a large costume. Mr Grant was a very large man!