Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Joe's Apartment: 51 Via Margutta

The spot where Joe gave the princess cab fare inside the gates at 51 Via Margutta.

Well my guest bloggers rebelled a bit on Roman Holiday, but I can't stop thinking about it. Last night I dreamed about Joe's Apartment. I dreamed I had a huge panoramic picture of it that I made interactive so that when you'd click on say Joe's desk it would pop a little factoid about it. How I wish I could provide the world with such a useful thing, but alas, it is not to be since panoramic pictures of 56 year old movie sets are nowhere to be had. Hoping for the next best thing, I googled 51 Via Margutta and looked at some pictures of the real life street where the movie was filmed. It's even prettier in color.

Speaking of which I was arguing with my mom last night about whether Roman Holiday was in color or not. Turns out she was thinking of Three Coins in a Fountain, a movie that came along the next year that tried to capitalize on the successful formula. (An american woman meets a European Prince in Rome. See TOTALLY different, idea.) She's never actually seen Roman Holiday which seems crazy to me since she could have actually watched it in the theater when it came out. Why wouldn't you? It's funny how when you are obsessed with something you expect everyone else to give the same level of importance to some obscure thing as you do. To her, Three Coins in a Fountain was just as good. As if.

Also while looking for pictures of Via Margutta, I found this blog entry. I direct your attention to the comments which rapidly degenerate into an argument about who would win in a fist fight Cary Grant or Gregory Peck. I think most people under estimate Cary's capacity to give a beat down.


kda0121 said...

The blog you referenced had some interesting reading. I thought it was too bad that the comments went to the "My dad can beat up your dad" type of thing. Speaking on behalf of both contestants, Cary was an athletic man, and put it to use in a few films. The Awful Truth and Holiday spring immediately to mind. I've also read that he did many of his own stunts in To Catch a Thief and North By Northwest. In the other corner, we have Greg Peck, who although quite a string bean, was athletic in his own right. I've read that during filming of Cape Fear there was a fight scene between Greg and Robert Mitchum and Peck accidentally gave one to Mitch on the chops. Mitchum later said something to the effect that it was no daisy punch.

The comment that stood my hair up the most was one that said that Gregory Peck took more chances with his roles than Cary. I don't want to digress to a film by film comparison, but I'm going to anyway, as I think the commenter was shortchanging Cary considerably.

Although we know Peck was capable of light comedy; i.e. Roman Holiday, Man With a Million and Arabesque, who could have portrayed David Huxley the way Grant did in Bringing Up Baby?

I don't think anyone could have played Atticus Finch as well as Peck. Or the hard-as-nails commander in Twelve O'Clock High. Or the tired gunfighter in The Gunfighter. But, look at some of Grant's choices. He gave a very understated, ingratiating performance in Holiday. He did the cockney soldier in the rousing adventure, Gunga Din; distraught husband and father in Penny Serenade, political agitator in Talk of the Town and ne'r do well wanderer in None But the Lonely Heart. How about those for film choices? None of those could be categorized as a "typical Cary Grant movie". I think we're just darn lucky that we had both of them for us to enjoy.

Jennythenipper said...

Well if we go by the Fight Club criteria (and why not) then probably Peck would take Grant on account of his lankiness, he probably had a longer reach. He did play Abe Lincoln and as Fight Club reminds us lincoln was our most bada$$ president because "skinny guys fight till they're burger."

I loved the discussion because it reminded me of all those ultra nerdy comic book geek discussions I've had about which superheroes or which Jedi would win in a hypothetical battle. Finally, I'm on solid ground in one of these things! My knowledge of classic movie actors is much greater than my knowledge of say Silver Age Marvel heroes.

Still, I think as you say Cary was tougher and more fit than most people give him credit for. In "The Pride and Passion" he appears with his shirt off and he's pretty ripped. I was watching that movie with some friends who weren't really Cary fans and they kept insisting it was a body double and I kept telling 'em you don't know Cary like I know Cary.

I agree Grant took as many chances with his roles as Peck did, if not more. I think Grant's riskiest role was Suspicion, in terms of his star image. Peck did Spellbound, but that character is not as dark. Both have "happy" endings but Suspicion stays with you and is more disconcerting. I also think None But the Lonely Heart was a big risk for Grant since not only was it a different kind of apart than he normally played, he put a fair amount of his reputation on getting the film made. I can't think of any similar case for Peck.

AbbyNormal said...

I loved the photos and the other blog link. I got a chuckle out of the Cary vs. Gregory. I love the comments here too.

I will donate your mom a copy of "Roman Holiday" if she will watch it. Does that help? heh heh.

Jennythenipper said...

Hey Abby, I think my mom would watch Roman Holiday if one were sent to her. She still goes to a bricks and mortar video store and they have very few classics. that's a great idea!

KDA, I agree Peck could not have handled the level of farce in Bringing Up Baby. I can think of almost no other actor of that era who could have except maybe, maybe William Powell. But Cary just owns David Huxley and to even think of another actor in that part is almost impossible.

kda0121 said...

I'd read that Ray Milland and Ronald Colman were considered for the part of David Huxley. Although no one could have done it better than Cary, I can see Milland in the part or perhaps Fred MacMurray. Both were very good in farce and could've played the role. But, as I say, never as well as Cary did.

Bucky Edgett said...

Dear Jenny,

If you are still interested in Joe's apartment (and the movie in general), please see , and the rest of the associated pages there.

Bucky Edgett said...

Dear Jenny,

If you are still interested in Joe's apartment, please see For the rest of the movie, see associated pages!

Yours truly,
Bucky Edgett

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures, the place really look nice, hope you got it.

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