News from the 2014 Festival


Screen shot 2015-11-08 at 16.14.06This video, shot by UWE Filmmaking volunteers last year, gives you a flavour of the 2014 festival.


P1120981_smallA short film documenting the Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend festival gala screenings at the Bristol Hippodrome, which included a song raid by the Bristol Hippodrome Choir as part of the Bristol Festival of Song and a performance reenacting the life of Archie Leach by The Big Act, plus red carpet entrance and prizes for the best dressed.

This video was made by UWE Level 3 BA (Hons) Media and Journalism students from Taylor’s University, Malaysia participating in work experience at the Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend Festival.

We want to extend a huge thank you to all the UWE student volunteers who helped document the festival, Martin Williams and all at The Big Act and Victoria Bourne and all at the Bristol Hippodrome choir for helping us showcase Bristol talent.


17_ushers_group_croppedThe Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend Festival culminated in a red carpet double bill of Arsenic and Old Lace and North by Northwest at the Bristol Hippodrome – marking nearly 80 years since Cary Grant’s face last shone down from the silver screen when six of his films where screened there between 1932-38 when the theatre briefly operated as a cinema. Front of house staff at the Bristol Hippodrome got into the spirit of the occasion and dressed as vintage ushers and usherettes to welcome people on the red carpet entrance.  Prizes for the best dressedwill be announced shortly. In the meantime, view a selection of images of the red carpet taken by our wonderful UWE student volunteers, Ellisha Von Grunewald (UWE Film), Bethany Fitter(Filmmaking and Creative Media) and Jen Stuart (UWE Fashion). Professional photographer Jon Craig coached them on how to pap, as well as taking his own wonderful set of photos, which you can view here.


Film Challenge prize croppedThe winners of the Cary Grant Film Challenge 2014 were announced at the glamorous festival gala screening of North by Northwest at the Bristol Hippodrome, and showcased before the film. The shortlisted films were shown on the Big Screen in At-Bristol’s Millennium Square – right opposite the Cary Grant statue – throughout the week before the festival. Festival co-producer Charlotte Crofts (UWE Filmmaking) says “it was important to us to bring Cary Grant’s films to a new audience and the Film Challenge was part of that work. We also wanted to inspire young people with Cary Grant’s incredible life-story of struggle through adversity and self-creation”.  The wining film, The Girl With the Compass Tattoo, by Rob Ayling (pictured holding his Morph by Morphwest prize donated by Aardman), was commended by the Jury for squeezing in so much double-crossing into such a short film. You can watch the full shortlist here.



A short interview with festival co-producer Dr Charlotte Crofts (UWE), by UWE Press Office. “This is Event Cinema – we wanted to recreate the golden age of cinema-going. At the height of cinema-going in bristol, before World War Two, there were 40 cinemas operating at the same time in Bristol, with cinemas such as The Regent in Castle Park seating 2015 people and the Whiteladies Picture House seating around 1298 people – this was mass entertainment – we wanted to recreate that communal experience at the Hippodrome – the theatre where young Archie started out and where six of his films were screened during its short stint as a cinema between 1932-1938.”



Eugene Byrne2In his fabulous Bristol Times pull-out, double-page spread, in yesterday’s Bristol Post, Eugene Byrne asks whether Cary Grant could have been the first James Bond? The feature includes an interview with Professor Andrew Spicer (UWE) who is speaking at our From Horfield to Hollywood event at the Watershed on Saturday, on precisely that topic, along side Kathrina Glitre (also from UWE), on Cary Grant’s sex appeal and leading ladies. We love his final anecdote: “if you want one last surprising image of Cary Grant, think of him as this screen idol, a man who usually played wealthy and sophisticated bachelors … always taking his visiting Hollywood friends and wives to the chippie at the bottom of Christmas Steps.” Read more…


matthew-sweetThe Cary Comes Home For The Weekend Festival was mentioned on BBC Radio 3′s The Sound of Cinema, on Saturday 4 October, presented by Dr Matthew Sweet – who is joining us next weekend to talk Cary Grant with Mark Glancy at the Educating Archie event at The Watershed on Saturday 11th October, 1pm.

Bernard Herrmann’s incredible score to North by Northwest was featured as “classic score of the week” (about 39.5mins in) and the Cary Grant Festival is mentioned at about 49mins in.  There’s also a link to the festival from the BBC iPlayer website. You can listen again here.

Hear Herrmann’s unforgettable score on the big screen at The Bristol Hippodrome (the very theatre where they young Cary Grant started out as schoolboy Archie Leach) at our festival gala screening of North by Northwest on Sunday 12th October at 6.30pm.


BxacZk7CUAA07Nc.jpg_largeGreat piece from UWE Bristol Press Office on University of the West of England’s sponsorship of the Cary Grant Festival.

Festival co-producer, Anna Farthing says “it has been crucial to have both the support of UWE and the input of the UWE student volunteers who will be out in force stewarding and documenting the festival next weekend”.

UWE students from MA Curating, MA Filmmaking and Creative Media, MA Media and Journalism have already been involved in marketing the event and you can see them in action in this lovely photo gallery:

Read more here:


Cary-Grant-and-Betsy-Drake-on-the-beachIt’s no secret that Cary Grant was fit – he trained as an acrobat and kept his figure well into his later years – so what better prize for the best-dressed than a flabbergasting 3 months free gym membership at Nuffield Health, Bristol Fitness and Wellbeing Centre worth £82 a month??

Dress in your finest Hollywood attire at the red carpet gala screening of North by Northwest for your chance to win. Using this fantastic gym membership will have you feeling good from top to bottom (outrunning a crop-duster and joining an acrobatic troupe optional!).

And, there is a Cary Grant connection – did you know that Cary Grant’s mother, Elsie Leach, spent her last days in a Clifton nursing home called, The Chesterfield, now a private hospital managed by Nuffield Health?

Not bought your tickets for the gala screenings yet? Don’t forget our fantastic double bill offer – only available from the box office in person or call 0844 871 3012 for details (offer not available online)



Frilly Chantilly1Cary Grant epitomises Hollywood style, but he also worked with some of the best-dressed leading ladies, sizzling on the silver screen next to style icons Grace Kelly, Marylin Monroe, Audry Hepburn and of course, ice-cold Hitchcock blonde, Eva Marie Saint. Kathrina Glitre will be talking about Grant’s sex appeal and leading ladies in “Every Girl Should Be Married… To Cary Grant” in our From Horfield to Hollywood panel on Saturday 11 October at Watershed.

But it’s not just about what the stars wore on-screen, it’s as much about the excitement of getting dolled up to the nines for a night out at the pictures. Festival co-producer Charlotte Crofts says “We want to recreate the glamour of the golden age of cinema-going, when cinema was an event and people flocked to the movie theatres in their thousands. Before WW2 there were 40 cinemas operating in Bristol, with super-cinemas such as The Regent in Castle Park which had 2,014 seats and the Whiteladies Picture House with 1,298 seats – this was mass entertainment – we want to recreate that communal experience at the Hippodrome.”

Pop up parlour1If you are looking for inspiration for what to wear to our red carpet gala screenings then come and find us at Lou Lou’s Bristol Vintage Fair on Saturday 4 October, Passenger Shed near Temple Meads.  For example, the vintage-style red flock dress (above) from Frilly Chantilly references Eva Marie Saint’s classic cocktail dress in the iconic North by Northwest.

We’ve got some fabulous prizes for the best-dressed, donated by stall-holders at last month’s Bristol Vintage Fair:

Pop up Parlour Hollywood makeover with vintage hair, make up and fake eyelashes from any era the winner chooses.

Frilly Chantilly vintage-style dress, underskirt and gloves, worth £100.

English Rose Cosmetics, Bright Eyed and Bushy-Tailed Eyecream.

For a chance of winning the best-dressed prizes come down early to make your red carpet entrance, with exclusive access to the Bristol Hippodrome’s Piano Bar before each screening.  But, don’t worry if you don’t fancy dressing up – just come as you are.

Haven’t booked your gala tickets yet? – don’t miss out on the double bill offer on our website, which includes a backstage tour of the Bristol Hippodrome – first come first served.


Clifton photographic newClifton Photographic Company have donated two fab prizes for the best dressed at the Cary Grant Comes Home For the Weekend gala screenings:

Family Portrait Session (worth £145) for the best-dressed family at the Arsenic and Old Lacescreening, on Sunday 12 October, 3pm – come down early for exclusive access to the Bristol Hippodrome piano bar to be papped on the red carpet in your vintage / Hollywood / Halloween costume. Are you and your family dressed to kill? This is your chance to win a fun filled family portrait session, plus a free photograph to take home afterwards (and more if you can’t resist how damn good looking you all are!). This is going to be a family affair to remember, just remember not to wear anything you wouldn’t be seen dead in!

Weekday Luxury VIP Photoshoot and Makeover (worth £89) for the best-dressed couple at the North by Northwest screening, on Sunday 12 October, 6.30pm – again arrive early to make your red carpet entrance in vintage Hollywood style and a chance to win. So come and show us what glamourous co-stars you make on the red carpet, smile for the camera in the Piano Bar photo booth and remember a picture can tell a thousand words… You and your loved one, friend or family member could win the opportunity to be pampered like the leads in a Hollywood movie with an hour in hair and MAC make-up followed by a photo shoot, with your choice of one free image to remember your glamorous look by.

Festival Co-producer Charlotte Crofts says “We want to recreate the height of cinema-going in Bristol when going to the pictures was an occasion that people dressed up to the nines for. As well as going to see the films, movie theatres were the place to be seen so we’re looking for 1940s and ’50s Hollywood red carpet glamour. Arsenic and Old Lace is also a classic Halloween caper, so vintage ghouls and ghosts are also welcome.”

Both screenings feature extra treats, including live music, and entertainment from Swing Dance BristolThe Big Act and Bristol Festival of Song. Book your tickets for the gala screenings now! Don’t forget the double bill offer includes free backstage tour of the Bristol Hippodrome before the show – ring or visit the Box Office in person for details: 0844 871 3012 (offer not available online).


Byc_QBTCMAENjiu.png_largeThe Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend Festival is featured in Issue 183 of Clifton Life Magazine with a four page spread, focusing on his enduring international appeal, what Bristol meant to him and what he  means to Bristolians.


Merlin-and-MorphMerlin Crossingham, director of Aardman’s new Morph series, has been getting busy on the rooftop of Aardman HQ creating a special image for the Cary Grant Comes Home For The Weekend Festival. Morph by Morphwest is a cheeky homage to the original poster of the Cary Grant / Alfred Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest – one of the most celebrated and successful creative collaborations of any actor/director pair in history – in which Morph is pictured fleeing the iconic crop duster.  A framed print of the image will be one of the prizes at our gala screenings.

If you are feeling inspired, then why not enter our Cary Grant Film Challenge to make a micro-movie inspired by North by Northwest – but hurry the deadline is 3rd October – any length up to 90-seconds is welcome, including Vine and Instagram videos – the shortlisted films will be screened on the Big Screen in At-Bristol’s Millennium Square (rigMorph-by-morpheset-and-oright opposite the Cary Grant statue) and the winner will be shown before our gala screening of North by Northwest at the Hippodrome on Sunday 12 October, 6.30pm. Book now!


North by Northwest cinema marqueeEvent Cinema: A once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate Cary Grant’s Bristol roots in the very theatre where he worked back stage as schoolboy Archibald Leach, and to which he returned again and again with his mother in later life.

Extra Treats: Both screenings come with extra treats, including a red carpet entrance, paparazzi, live entertainment and vintage music, fashions and dancing. Red carpet attire is welcomed, with prizes for the best dressed (to be announced shortly). Gala ticket holders will have exclusive access to the glamorous Bristol Hippodrome Piano Bar where you can enjoy themed entertainment before the show:


The Big ActTheatreThe Big Act, the cream of Bristol’s young talent will be performing a live pre-screening performance inspired by the early life of Archie Leach.



Gathering-Voices-logoMusic: The Bristol Hippodrome Choir will be visiting us on a ’song raid’, performing songs from the shows as part of the Gathering Voices Festival of Song.



Festival Co-ProducerFestival Co-Producer Anna Farthing says

“Cary Grant was renowned for his dance moves as well as his musical abilities and he never forgot his Bristolian roots. Therefore, we are delighted to be working with Bristol’s top talent to support the gala screenings with live events. Young Bristolians with ambitions to follow in Archie’s footsteps, as well as grown up Bristolians who love to sing and dance, will be popping up to entertain the filmgoing audience with an outdoor song raid and swing dancing and a short performance on the very stage where he got the acting bug. Our partners Bristol Festival of Song and The Big Act amply demonstrate that Bristol still has bags of talent and ambition.”




ShipshapeFantastic article by Eugene Byrne in ShipShape Magazine‘s

autumn issue ‘Gary Grant: 10 Things Every Bristolian needs to know about The Hollywood Legend’:



Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 October 2014

A city-wide celebration of the life, career and international appeal of the Hollywood film star and style icon Cary Grant is to take place this October in Bristol – the UK city where he was born, grew up, heard the lie that his mother was dead and first discovered acting.

CARY GRANT COMES HOME FOR THE WEEKEND is a two-day festival happening during the weekend of October 11 and 12 at venues which include a double bill film gala at the theatre where Cary Grant – then, still known by his birth-name of Archie Leach – got his first job.

The programme for Saturday 11 October includes:
• talks exploring the actor’s journey from the Bristol suburb of Horfield to Hollywood, his sex appeal and how he inspired the character of James Bond;
• internationally acclaimed US-based film critic David Thomson in conversation with film writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet on why he ranks Grant as “the best and most important actor in the history of cinema”;
• Cary Grant themed open-topped guided bus tours and sneak peaks back stage at the Bristol Hippodrome theatre;
• a debonair afternoon tea at the Clifton hotel where he stayed and a cocktail party featuring vintage music and drinks from Grant’s films.

The climax of the festival on Sunday 12 October, will be gala screenings at the Bristol Hippodrome of two of Cary Grant’s most acclaimed films – the family-friendly screwball comedy ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (directed by Frank Capra, 1944) and Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling NORTH BY NORTH WEST (1959) – with many added extras, including a Paparazzi red carpet entrance, live entertainment, vintage music, fashion and dancing.

Tickets for the full programme for the weekend will be released soon. Co-producer Anna Farthing says: “This long awaited celebration of Cary Grant’s Bristol connections will appeal to both Bristolians and visitors to the city. Fans will have the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for one of the city’s most famous sons, and a whole new generation will be introduced to his extraordinary life story as well has his iconic on-screen persona. The rich programme offers lots of ways to get involved with fun Cary Grant-inspired events that provide a taste of vintage Hollywood glamour, and some truly great films.”

As part of the run-up to the festival, a film challenge will be launched in early September for micro-movies inspired by an aspect of NORTH BY NORTHWEST – one of the most iconic Hitchcock / Grant collaborations. The competition launches on 1st Sept, with a deadline of 3 October.

Co-producer Charlotte Crofts says: “Bristol has a rich film heritage that continues to this day, and we want to inspire people to make films as well as watch them. Micromovies will be submitted online, the shortlisted films will be screened on the Big Screen At-Bristol Millennium Square next to the Cary Grant statue, and the winners announced before the gala screening of North by Northwest at the Bristol Hippodrome on 12 October. Anyone who can make a film of up to 90-seconds is welcome to enter”.

To register an interest in the film contest or for updates on how the rest of the programme is taking shape, follow CaryComesHome on Facebook or Twitter; email: or see

Tickets for the red carpet gala film screenings at Bristol Hippodrome are on sale now. £16 per screening (including £1 theatre restoration fund), if you buy in person from the Hippodrome Box Office; additional £2.90 booking fee for telephone bookings (0844 871 3012); additional £4 credit card fee for online booking. Special discounted price for double bill: £26, only available in person from the box office, or via telephone (plus booking fee) – N.B. not available online.

CARY GRANT COMES HOME FOR THE WEEKEND is a Good Stuff (Bristol) Ltd production, produced by Charlotte Crofts and Anna Farthing. Major sponsors are UWE the University of the West of England and Harvest Films Ltd. Festival Partners are Bristol Hippodrome, Watershed, Bristol Festival of Ideas. Supporters include BFI, BFI Film Hub South West and West Midlands, 123 Media, The Suit that Fits, Big Screen At-Bristol Millennium Square, The Big Act.