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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 physical comedy
His physical comedy

Archibald Alexander Leach only made it in Hollywood thanks a series of very unlikely events. He was expelled from his school at the age of 14 (put it this way – it involved a girl) and quickly joined the Bob Pender Stage Troupe, which took him to the US as a stilt walker, and it’s this training as an on-stage physical comedian that helped Grant hone not only his impeccable timing, but his balletic stunt work, too. While the rest of his troupe went back to the UK, he stayed in America to try his hand at the vaudeville circuit and Broadway comedies into his twenties.

Aged 27 and with stage name finally set in stone (he toyed with ‘Cary Lockwood’, but studio officials disapproved), Grant made a name for himself in Hollywood – picked by Mae West to star opposite her in She Done Him Wrong. Once on the silver screen, his physical skills made regular appearances, from his cat-like rooftop adventures in To Catch A Thief, to the physically demanding Kyber adventures of Gunga Din.

Example given:
He does some amazing physical work elsewhere (North By Northwest’s Mouth Rushmore scene springs to mind) but the torn dress scene from Bringing Up Baby takes the biscuit – if only for being so funny censors didn’t ban such a flagrant flashing of flesh.
 

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