[box cover]

Walk Don't Run

British industrialist Sir William Rutland (Cary Grant) is in Tokyo on a business trip — the only problem is that a good proportion of the earth's population also has descended on the city for the 1964 Olympiad. Arriving two days early, Rutland discovers that it's flat-out impossible to find a hotel room anywhere. A low-level diplomat at the British embassy, Julius P. Haversack (John Standing), tries to offer some assistance, but before long Rutland is looking for a bed — any bed — to sleep in. Finding a posting on a bulletin board, he thus contacts young Englishwoman Christine Easton (Samantha Eggar), who indeed does have extra space in her small apartment. Her reluctance to take on a male boarder is no matter — Rutland practically barges in and pays a week's worth of rent before setting up on the living room sofa. And perhaps, there, the problem would end, were it not for the fact that Rutland meets an American athlete the next day, architect Steve Davis (Jim Hutton), who also is in need of a roof over his head. Soon the trio are living in close quarters, and while Christine (coincidentally) is engaged to marry the officious Mr. Haversack, Rutland can't help but play matchmaker, aware that the high-strung Englishwoman and brusque American would make a perfect couple. Most famous for being Cary Grant's final film, 1965's Walk Don't Run is far from being his best project. The actor scaled comic heights over the decades in such classics as His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby, not to mention headlining a quartet of Alfred Hitchcock's finest films. Here he's just doing his usual, solid work in a low-key affair, a small situation comedy in a foreign country with a fair share of amusing moments. It doesn't stumble over treacly sentiment (as does Houseboat, to name one example), and he's teamed up with two appealing co-stars. As Christine, Samatha Eggar is button-cute, temperamental, and a bit on the high-maintenance side. As Steve, Jim Hutton is equally headstrong, and his lanky midwestern appeal has a Jimmy Stewart quality, recalling the interaction dapper Grant had with his colleague in The Philadelphia Story. And the film was shot on location in Tokyo during the '64 Olympiad, which provides plenty of local color (for a background on that event, Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad ranks among the best sports films ever made). Like most Cary Grant films, this one is worth watching simply because of the star's famous appeal, with his unique blend of self-effacing comedy and erudite charm. And while Father Goose would have been a more fitting send-off (or even better, the sublime Charade), there is something sad and touching when Grant spies the young lovers one last time before taking his leave, returning to England to be with his own family. Handing the stage to a happy couple, it's Grant's farewell to the industry that made him the greatest movie star of the classic era. Columbia TriStar's DVD release of Walk Don't Run features both anamorphic (2.35:1) and pan-and-scan transfers on separate layers — the colorful source print is in very good shape with smooth details and little in the way of noticeable wear. The monaural audio is on a DD 2.0 track. Trailer gallery, keep-case.

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