This works for me on multiple levels.
BUT what I am profiling here isn't really so much a cute thing as a weird thing that Cary did from time to time. For some reason, he was most often photographed for publicity stills with his lovely leading ladies with his face weirdly mashed up against theirs. Don't get me wrong, I understand the intent. It's trying to be as romantic as possible (under that darn Hays Code), so they nuzzle and whatnot like they're about to kiss. That's fine for one or two pictures, but Cary was photographed doing it all the damn time. This is because -- and this is a baseless rumor that I wholeheartedly encourage you all to spread -- Cary had a propensity for sniffing faces. Simply couldn't help himself. It's the only explanation for why he did it with each one of his onscreen paramours. Think about it -- if dogs sniff rear-ends to get acquainted, why can't movie stars sniff faces?
With Irene Dunne, his costar in The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife and Penny Serenade. I don't really have that much to say because while I accept that Dunne is objectively a good actress, she's never really floated my boat. That is to say, I personally wouldn't have smelled her face.
Ingrid Bergman costarred with Cary in two films: Indiscreet and possibly the best movie ever made, Notorious. The latter film is about spies and Nazis, so obviously lots of face nuzzling abounds. The famous kiss they share in the film -- called by one YouTube user, "the most erotic kiss in movie history" -- is full of Cary-face-sniffing action.
Cary with his third wife, Betsy Drake, who obviously dug the face-sniffing enough to be married for almost a decade. I have a random hobby where I imagine I am a producer for weird films of my own devising, and I have already cast a biopic where George Clooney plays Cary and Kristen Wiig is Betsy and all they do is make movies together and sit around and drop acid and smell each other's face, because obviously they did that in real life.
Myrna Loy was too caught up with inexplicably dressing up like Amelia Earhart to notice Cary getting his face-sniffing jollies.
Katharine Hepburn starred with Cary in several of the most delightful films in cinematic existence: Sylvia Scarlett, Bringing Up Baby, Holiday and my actual all-time favorite The Philadelphia Story (it says something when two of my favorite films star Cary Grant). Across those four films, there was plenty of face smelling for Cary to indulge in.
Audrey Hepburn, on the other hand, was not feeling the facial nuzzles on the set of Charade.
The promotional shots for To Catch a Thief are a goldmine for proof of Cary as a face sniffer. Every picture I came across was of Cary's faced mashed up against Grace Kelly's in some variation. Perfection.
What do you think of Cary and his face-sniffing addiction? Tragic for a cinema star or heroic that he called attention to it on numerous occasions? I only feel bad for costars like Rita Hayworth and Deborah Kerr, who, for all I can tell, were never deemed worthy enough to get in on the action.