Walk, Don’t Run (1966): Cary Grant’s Last Film, Charles Waters Remake of The More the Merrier

Cary Grant made his last film appearance before retiring from the screen, at age 62, in Walk, Don’t Run, an amiable if slight comedy, loosely based on George Stevens’ Oscar-nominated comedy, “The More the Merrier.”

Stevens’ 1943 film, starring Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur, dealt with romantic complications, arising due to the housing shortage in Washington D.C. during World War II.  In Walk, Don’t Run, the story is updated to the housing shortage that prevailed in Tokyo during the 1964 Olympic Games.

Going back to his roots, Grant plays British industrialist Sir William Rutland, who arrives in Tokyo two days before the start of the games and cannot find any accommodations.  In despair, he answers an ad for an “apartment to share” and convinces the occupant, Christine Easton (Samantha Eggar), to rent him a room.

The next day he meets the handsome Steve Davis (Jim Hutton), a member of the U.S. Olympic walking team. Steve also needs a room and convinces Christine to take him on as a second tenant. After meeting Christine’s pompous fiancé, Julius D. Haversack (John Standing), Rutland decides to exercise his matchmaking skills in an effort to get Christine and Steve together.

Rutland sublets half of his cramped space to American Olympic competitor Steve Davis. While Easton is less than thrilled with the arrangement, she has to put up with it, as she has already spent Rutland’s share of the rent. Rutland sets about playing matchmaker for the two young people, in spite of their disparate personalities and Easton’s engagement to boringly dependable British diplomat, Julius P. Haversack.

To further his matchmaking, Ruthland strips down to his shorts and T-shirt, pretending to be a competitor so that he can talk to Davis during the men’s 50 kilometers walk, and try to heal the breach between the lovers.

The music was composed by Quincy Jones, with Peggy Lee contributing to the writing of the songs, “Stay with Me” and “Happy Feet.”

Significantly, it’s the only time in Grant’s three-decade career that he didn’t play the romantic lead, but the supporting character (and a superfluous at that), though he still got star billing and his name was feature prominently in the film’s posters and ad campaign.

He was smart enough to quit when the going was still good.  Walk, Don’t Run, despite mixed critical response, was one of Grant’s most commercially successful movies, earning 7.5 million at the box-office.

Grant died 20 years later, at the age of 82.  He is still considered to be the greatest star in Hollywood’s history.

Cast

Cary Grant as Sir William Rutland
Samantha Eggar as Christine Easton
Jim Hutton as Steve Davis
John Standing as Julius P. Haversack
Miiko Taka as Aiko Kurawa
Ted Hartley as Yuri Andreyovitch
Ben Astar as Dimitri
George Takei as Police Captain
Teru Shimada as Mr. Kurawa
Lois Kiuchi as Mrs. Kurawa

Credits

Released by Columbia

Running time: 114 Minutes.

Produced by Sol C. Spiegel

Directed by Charles Walters

Written By: Robert Russell, Frank Ross, Sol Saks

Released: June 29, 1966.