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Cary Grant: In Name Alone [Hardcover]

Gary Morecambe , Martin Sterling
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Sep 2001
Cary Grant became one of Hollywood's iconic leading men, in an era when glamour was prevalent. He cultivated a unique screen presence - one of timeless style and elegance - as he starred in a total of over seventy films including the critically acclaimed Hitchcock classics North By Northwest, Suspicion, Notorious and To Catch A Thief. Yet this man who was the epitome of Hollywood's sophistication started off life as Archie Leach (the name adopted by John Cleese's character in A Fish Called Wanda) in the distinctly unglamorous milieu of provincial, post-Victorian Bristol. The authors explore how he overcame the difficulties of his dysfunctional and unprivileged background and built his career. A reporter once asked Grant, 'Who is Cary Grant?' His telling response was, 'When you find out, tell me.' Cary Grant: The Legend provides an objective critique of the real, fallible man behind the projected screen image. Grant's private life was kept strictly secret at the time, when there was rigid studio control of stars and much less press intrusion than in contemporary times. Here, the authors uncover what happened off the film sets.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Robson Books Ltd (17 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861054661
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861054661
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,570,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Gary Morecambe, son of the famous comedian Eric Morecambe, was born in 1956. After a successful career as a publicist for a leading theatrical agency, he became a full-time writer in 1982 and has written several books, ranging from biography to fiction. Martin Sterling was born in Manchester in 1962. A freelance writer and broadcaster, he has extensive experience in journalism and has written plays and television scripts. This is his third book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer, beware 25 Mar 2003
Admittedly this book's foreword is by Sheridan Morley, not the authors themselves, but when a book starts out with a blatant error, that's not a good sign. Morley quotes the famous question and answer "How old Cary Grant?" "Old Cary Grant fine, how you?" and then, incredibly, calls it a "telephone exchange" when in fact it was an exchange of telegrams (no native speaker of English would ever say "How old Cary Grant" on the telephone; the question was four words long because the shorter the message, the less it cost to send the telegram). The book itself is a breezy read, and I agree with the authors' assessment that Grant's best films were the ones he made with Hitchcock. Their basic thesis--that Grant spent his life trying to reconcile his self-created persona with his humble origins--is convincing but repeated ad nauseam. The book's most outrageous moment (British readers, correct me if I'm wrong) comes when the authors--one of whom is Gary Morecambe, son of Eric Morecambe--blatantly state that "Eric Morecambe became widely regarded as the greatest British comedian of the 20th century," with no indication that this might be a slightly biased viewpoint. Obvious errors (chapter 6 quotes Grant's first wife as saying he was "solemn and disagreeable and refused to pay my bills" on p. 71 and "sullen and disagreeable and refused to pay my bills" on p. 73) make me wonder how many not-so-obvious errors there are. Overall, I enjoyed the book but never knew how much I could trust it.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic Look at the Man Beneath the Idol 15 Dec 2001
By A Customer
As owner of one of the largest Cary Grant web sites, I'd say I'm qualified to give an opinion on the veracity of a body of work dedicated to examining Grant's life; I am quite pleased with "In Name Only." While the content of Cary's life is very much as I'd expect, I really like the presentation of interesting snippets of non-Cary trivia that seem to make Cary's world a bit more clear. Also, while it is very obvious that this is a book written by huge Cary Grant fans, it doesn't have a sense of idol worship, nor is it fluffy or syrupy because the authors are afraid to mention his human frailties. Gary & Martin are doing quite a good job of making him seem like a real human being instead of some Hollywood demi-god. Some writers, in an effort to de-throne the idol seem to feel a need to 'bring him down to size' by denigrating him. There is no sense of that at all in this biography. It's as if Cary were a good friend that they're writing about. A friend they've simply accepted, and in that acceptance have recognized the good and the bad that make up the whole. A great addition to your Cary Grant library.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Grant biography yet 30 Oct 2001
By A Customer
I was only eleven years old when Cary Grant died and I had never seen any of his films until I saw North By Northwest on TV and I was hooked. I've read everything I could about him and when the Cary Grant website said this books was coming out,I bought it as soon as I could. And it's brilliant! It's better than the Graham McCann book because McCann's book was so dull, even though it was thorough. I suppose the difference is, that book was an academic study but this one is a proper biography. I love all the asides about Noel Coward etc. The pictures are good,too, because they're all different to the ones I've seen before. Excellent!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
At last, a comprehensive account of the life of 'Cary Grant' which is long overdue. Until now I had not fully appreciated what a complex character he was. If you only want the cold facts then this is not for you. If however you also hanker for a real insight into the person himself then here is a wealth of information that provides fascinating reading. The biography quotes Cary Grant; "Only half my life belongs to me; the other half belongs to those I shared it with". This book is totally absorbing and will definitely not disappoint.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written revealing portrait 27 Oct 2001
By A Customer
These two authors have really got behind the two dimensional screen image of a great screen star to show us the true Cary Grant. As a BBC broadcaster based in Norwich I was fascinated to learn that Archie Leach - as he then was - had run away from his native Bristol to join a troup of acrobats at the Norwich Hippodrome Theatre. It was this which led him to the USA and a new life - and identity - as Cary Grant. Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe reveal that Cary Grant never seemed to know quite who he was. Yet he developed this smooth screen style and constantly re-invented himself so he renmained at the top. He made it look so easy yet this was sheer hard work from a dedicated professional. It's a wonderful detailed look at his life. It's well written and researched, attempting to get to grips with Grant while also putting him into context. The potted history of Hollywood was a particularly good example. A good read in my view.
Tony Mallion BBC Radio Norfolk Norwich
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impeccably researched 1 Mar 2003
By A Customer
So the authors get the name of one scientist wrong on one page out of nearly 400. So what? As someone who has some experience of film research I can confirm that the degree of accuracy within this biography is, largely, impeccable. Yes, there are a couple of mistakes in the book; although they are largely mistakes of interpretation of facts than of poor research. But this is clearly a book written from the heart by two experienced writers. There are two excellent books about Cary Grant: this is one of them, the other is A Class Apart by Graham McCann. As to which is the best, I am not going to comment because, personally, I can't chose between them. But I recommend both.
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