POSTED March 15 2012

Eva Marie Saint at 87: Faster Than a Speeding Wisecrack

Grant and Saint, the sexiest screen couple?

Tonight I introduced Ben Mankiewicz and Eva Marie Saint at TCM’s “Road to Hollywood” event in Philadelphia, a screening of an archival print of North by Northwest at the Prince Music Theater.

It was great to see N by NW in all its saturated Technicolor, VistaVision glory, with yellow cabs, emerald lawns, Saint’s vermilion lipstick, etcetera. Even greater was the Ben and Eva show, a kind of George Burns/Gracie Allen patter with Saint, 87 and so beautiful you can hear your heart crack, putting a spin on every question Mankiewicz served.

When he asked her to pretend there wasn’t an audience and that her husband of 61 years wasn’t in the room to tell him who was sexier, Brando (her co-star in On the Waterfront) or Cary Grant (her N by NW squeeze), she looked at him with a gimlet eye and said, “My husband.”

She joked about the lighting problems that ensued trying to get even illumination on Cary Grant’s permatan and her alabaster skin. When Grant saw Saint squinting under the lights, instead of saying that it was too much for Saint he gallantly told the lighting crew to turn down the wattage.¬†There were numerous questions about Alfred Hitchcock. Saint confessed that the thing that most impressed her about the director of N by NW was that he had his breakfast bacon imported from Denmark.

During the meet and greet beforehand I told Saint that my father took me to see N by NW when I was six and when we walked out, told me, “That’s a real lady.” Saint’s salty riposte: “He doesn’t know how wrong he was.

Answer the question lobbed by Mankiewicz: Brando or Grant?  For me, Grant. Naturally.



  1. Judy says:

    What a wonderful event! Wish I had been able to attend, but you made me feel like I was there. Will a pic of Ms. Saint at tonight’s screening be published?

  2. Kim says:

    I was there, a wonderful event & I hope TCM brings there road to Hollywood tour to Phila next year.

    Eva was a fantastic guest. I loved all her witty comebacks to Ben’s questions.

  3. Mike K. says:

    I was there as well. Wish the Q&A could have gone longer than the 30 minutes allowed. Time flew by. She’s a classy lady, who is modest and humorous and still sharp at age 87. Probably a great wife (of 61 years), mother and grandmother as well. You were right. It’s a click and stick movie. Lehman’s script, offsetting the suspense with bits of humor, Herrmann’s score and great casting make this a movie that stands the test of time. I have it on DVD and plan to watch it again this weekend. Hopefully TCM does this again and makes Philly one of the stops.

  4. Howard Haas says:

    Everything was fantastic last night- your introduction, Eva Marie Saint (as Mike K says above) and the terrific 35mm archival print of the movie presented to a “sold out” appreciative crowd at the Prince.

  5. Catherine Wyler says:

    Great piece, Carrie. Wish I’d been there to see her.

  6. Miz Val says:

    Our group of twelve had a wonderful time.Carrie,we want to thank you and the rest of your organization for bringing a classy lady (Eva Marie Saint) and a classic film to Philadelphia. Let’s do it again real soon.

    Be safe

    Miz Val

  7. Dallas says:

    I seriously learned about most of this, but having said that, I still considered it had been valuable. Fine job!

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