Nov 23, 2013

Walk, Don't Run: Cary Grant's Last Gay Pickup

Walk, Don't Run (1966) is set during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where there is a severe shortage of hotel rooms.  Important businessman Sir William Rutland (bisexual actor Cary Grant) arrives with nothing available, so he answers a "roommate wanted" ad.  The only problem: the apartment is owned by a woman, Christine Easton (Samantha Eggar).

He assures her that he has no amorous intentions -- he has a wife back in England -- but then he spends the next day bragging about the "beautiful woman" he's living with, hoping that someone gets the wrong idea.






Having demonstrated that he is heterosexual, sort of, Rutland goes cruising.  He spies American architect and Olympic competitor Steve Davis (Jim Hutton), and rather obviously tries to pick him up.  After some seductive conversations, he drags Steve into a bathhouse, apparently hoping for a glimpse of his goods.  The American complains about women scrubbing his body -- women, gross!  -- before jumping nude into the bath.

Thus softened up, Steve agrees to share Rutland's room.  Christine is not happy with the idea of two men living in her apartment, but they assure her that they have no amorous intentions -- toward her, anyway.

Then, Rutland begins matchmaking, cleverly deflecting his attraction to Steve onto Christine.  At first Steve will have none of it -- he's not interested in women, thank you very much -- he prefers his hot boyfriend, Russian athlete Yuri Andreyovitch (Ted Hartley).

But a visa malfunction requires Christine to marry right away, so Steve acts the Good Samaritan.  And the marriage sticks.

His job done, Rutland heads home.  Just in case you thought he might really be gay, the cab driver suggests that he take a fertility god with him -- he and his wife have four children, but there's always room for more!

You'll find fewer obvious examples of overt same-sex desire deflected onto the feminine.  Aside from a few obligatory "My wife back home" statements, Cary Grant plays Rutland as gay.  And except for his deus-ex-machina falling in love, Jim Hutton does likewise.

This was Cary Grant's last movie role, though he continued to perform on stage (seen her in the 1930s with long-term partner Randolph Scott).  He remained active in the Hollywood community until his death in 1986.

Born in 1938, Jim Hutton had a "golly-gee" openness that was good for light romantic comedies, and he made a dozen of them in the 1960s: Where the Boys Are, Bachelor in Paradise, You're Only Young Once, Looking for Love, Sunday in New York, Who's Minding the Mint?  He died in 1979.

His son, Timothy Hutton (born 1960), was a Brat Pack hanger-on who played in a number of memorable buddy-bonding dramas, such as Taps (1981) and The Falcon and the Snowman (1986).