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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 Praise Of... Cary Grant | His unique comedic persona
His unique comedic persona

Grant tiptoes the most amazing tightrope between dashing leading man and consummate clown with breathtaking ease. Watch him in his screwiest of comedy roles, such as the unforgettable Bringing Up Baby (1938), and he still maintains a sense of respectability even when clad in some fruity women’s negligee, because, you know, he went “gay all of a sudden.” It’s been said that this stylishly witty yet utterly approachable persona came into being during the shooting of legendary comedy director Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth (1937), with Grant essentially cribbing the McCarey’s character traits and bringing them to life on screen.

For more of his sharp-tongued side, there remains the gilded dialogue of His Girl Friday, rapid-fire witticisms flying across the screen like bullets in another of Howard Hawks’ classic farces. It’s relatable, somehow down-to-earth wit that saw Grant’s star status affirmed in 1940’s Oscar-garlanded The Philadelphia Story – and one that Grant refused to let go. He never playing a villain, or acted in a Western throughout his career. And, it’s safe to say, it worked.

Example given: Though his comedic persona varies, naturally, from role to role, be it the ladies’ man Cary Grant (An Affair To Remember) or, say… the spy-like Grant (Charade, Notorious), his comedy stylings are funniest (arguably) in His Girl Friday. “Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page.”
 

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