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.