Victor (Cary Grant) and Hilary Rhyall (Deborah Kerr) are well-bred English folk who live in a huge estate. Unfortunately, they’ve fallen into a bit of a financial crisis, leading them to open the historic home up to the public for tours.
Though their home is, in essence, a museum, the Rhyalls are doing okay. They keep some of the rooms marked private so they can live in relative peace while tour groups gaze at their art collection and furnishings.
But what happens when a guest chooses to ignore the “Do Not Enter’ sign on the door? Hilary soon finds out when a rich, American oil tycoon named Charles Delacro (Robert Mitchum) ignores the sign because he’s curious to see who lives there.
Charles happens to be just handsome and charming enough to plant the seeds of divorce in Hilary’s head.
Stanley Donen directs the 1960 romantic comedy The Grass is Greener, written for the screen and based on the play by Hugh Williams and Margaret Vyner.
Co-starring alongside Grant, Kerr and Mitchum is Jean Simmons (as Kerr and Grant’s sassy friend) and Moray Watson (as the Rhyalls’ butler).
A fun opening accompanied by an Oompa Loompa-like song about England makes for an instantly exciting watch. The upbeat mood carries on from there, bolstered by the use of bright colors and the beautiful English scenery (both countryside and in London).
The cast of the film brings just as much cheer to the viewer as the mood itself. There is hilarious banter between Kerr and Grant; Kerr and Mitchum; Grant and Mitchum; Grant and Watson; Simmons and Grant. They’re fantastic actors and they all work very well together.
Separately, their performances are all solid as well. Jean Simmons is particularly lovable. Her character seems all at once innocent and calculating – a definite stirrer of the pot. The dialogue written for her character is very witty and Simmons’ performance is full of charisma.
And of course, they quartet has got the makings for pretty complicated romantic ties. The main love triangle is, of course, between Deborah Kerr and her men – both of whom she has wonderful chemistry with. She’s torn between her family and the new man she’s falling hard for. But there’s also a Kerr vs. Simmons battle, with the ladies vying for both Grant and Mitchum’s attention.
The film’s comedy comes from mishaps, mimicking and the nature of the complicated situation itself. It’s a pretty hilarious piece of work, with a slight undercurrent of sadness coming from the audience’s sympathy for Grant’s character.
All of the fun wraps up quite expectedly, though the path it takes to get there isn’t completely predictable. The Grass is Greener is neither a roaring comedy nor a serious drama. It’s an upbeat film, full of funny moments and with four fantastic lead actors. The score: 3.8/5