None but the Lonely Heart (1944)
I vaguely remember hearing about this film whilst watching a Cary Grant documentary which mentioned None but the Lonely (1944) a rare dark role for the actor who is best known for his comedy outside of his iconic roles with Alfred Hitchcock. Here he is back in his native Britain as a down and almost out Ernie Mott who seems to just about scrap by in order to survive in pre-war Britain. Seen as a burden on his mother Ma Mott (Ethel Barrymore) who has her own problems besides him.
He has to face up to life and carry on like the rest of the world. As soon as he leaves the family home he is making his presence known to the street, especially the ladies such as Aggie Hunter (Jane Wyatt) before he attention is drawn to Ada Brantline (June Duprez) who is not too keen on him at first, seeing him for a chancer and little else. It’s as if Grant is playing a role that is from his own past, having come to Hollywood as a charming funny man who sees everything he touch turn to gold.
Deciding to stay with his mother he starts putting down routes, taking on responsibilities, making a name for himself part of the family business, one that before long looses its appeal to him. It’s a grimy world where we find this usually dapper man. His luck is changing with Ada who starts to go out with him.
If we scratch beneath the surface of his world we find something far darker going on, a need to break free of life on a street where poverty and crime are wide-spread. Temptation is never far away, it’s as if film noir has come to our shores. Of course there are homegrown films such as Brighton Rock (1947), it’s an American production with all the production values, that paints a very dark picture that sees Mott join up with a group of gangsters, by todays standard they aren’t that menacing, they only commit one crime on-screen before having their comeuppance.
What makes this film stand the test of time, as well as it does is the fact it was a dramatic turn for usually comical Grant the jack-the-lad, charmer, brewing with cheek and confidence. Proving away from the master of suspense that he could still take on the darker roles. Placing him back on home turf, if only briefly. Joined by a strong supporting cast lead by Barrymore of the great acting family as the mother who herself is far from perfect, proving how human and open to breaking the law. Sometimes when your situation looks dreadful, we have to swallow our pride and do the wrong thing. Some decisions aren’t as black and white as we want them to be, there are some with many shades of grey in between.
- None But the Lonely Heart (carygrant.net)
- Best Actor 1944: Cary Grant in None But the Lonely Heart (actoroscar.blogspot.co.uk)
- None But the Lonely Heart (1944) Review (filmwriteup.wordpress.com)
- None but the lonely heart (smokeandmusicoptional.wordpress.com)
- Tales From the Crypt: None But the Lonely Heart (talkinaboutshitnstuff.blogspot.co.uk)