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Film Studies 101
Feature
In Praise Of... Cary Grant
Why we'll always love Mr. Archibald Leach

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In the first of an occasional series of sycophantic respectful tributes to stars now no longer with us, we’re looking at just what it was that made the superstars of yesteryear as great as they were… and continue to be to this day. And who better to start with than Cary Grant, the man Howard Hawks called "the best that there is” and Hitchcock once described as "the only actor I ever loved in my whole life." So here it is, our eulogy to the great man – and apologies if it gets too lovey. He’s just that great, you know? 

WORDS ALASTAIR PLUMB
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In Praise Of... Cary Grant | He's <i>the</i> leading man
He's the leading man

When Ian Fleming set about creating James Bond, he was thinking in part of Cary Grant – which makes it all the more of a shame Grant turned down the role in Dr. No in 1962. Next to Sean Connery, who wouldn’t want to see Grant raise a world-weary eyebrow at SPECTRE’s dragon tank? It’s easy to see why Fleming thought of Grant when he crafted 007: both share the same addictive qualities that have legions of fans wanting to know them, be them, watch them work. That easy charisma and rugged virility, the ability to cast a spell with words, the wry, martini glass worldiness – both remain, in their own ways, definitions of what it is to be a leading man.

Handsome, sophisticated, debonair, Cary Grant embodied every role he played with a sense of manly confidence that defied his humble beginnings as a school drop-out from Bristol, then known, of course, as Archibald Leach. "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant," an interviewer once told him. "So would I," Grant famously replied. And, as you’ll learn from the rest of this tribute, so would we.

Example given: Cary Grant playing the unforgettable Peter Joshua / Carson Dyle / Alexander Dyle / Adam Canfield / Brian Cruikshank in Charade in 1963. Delightful espionage fun, with Grant taking the reins. 
 

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