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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 10 September 2001
As a 21 year old Cary Fan and not even having been aware of his films until he was dead, a book was the only way I had of finding out anything about him. I found this book easy and straightforward to read, though at some points a little confusing in it's comparison with or dicreditation of other authors work on the same subject. Other books I have ready since this one seem to bring Cary to life again in their tone and language, where as this one is a cold,hard and dispassionate analysis of his life, warts and all. That may be what some people are looking for, but if you don't like your heroes to be toppled from their pedestals then this book isn't for you.
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on 14 July 2015
This is a fair and well written biography. Archie Leach had an inauspicious beginning in Bristol. His mother was committed to a mental institution by his father when he was eight.This was a man who made his own luck and used his main assets-looks,charm and dedication-very well. He got into music hall show business which eventually took him to New York. He progressed into films and the rest is history. Hard work was the key, but without his basic attributes it would not have been enough. He comes over as a pleasant man who used his charm mainly to succeed in films. To say a man who married five times was not a womaniser seems strange, but considering all the opportunities he had he was very selective and went into each marriage wanting it to succeed. He was liked by men too, and was a good father to his stepson Lance and his daughter Jennifer. Altogether a good man who loved his mother. A book worth reading.
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on 29 October 2010
I very much like this biographer's style. He researches his subjects with great care, and he tells their stories with sensitivity and real insight. This book certainly does justice to the wonderful Mr Grant, both as a man and an actor.
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on 7 December 2001
McCann has done a fair job at analysing Grant's career, yet, in the process, he has forgotten - or doesn't mind - that he his writing about a human being. His book reads like a critical assessment of a play or film, rather than a cinematic legend, and one comes away from the experience feeling a little cold and uncomfortable. A lot went into the index - perhaps too much?
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on 22 April 2010
I've read several biographies of the great Mr Grant, and this is by far the best. It tells the story of the life very well, with a nice pace and a fine eye for the significant details, and it also analyses the image and the performances with real authority and charm.
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on 28 September 2010
This is a very impressive biography, vastly superior to most other film books. It is thorough, observant, wise and balanced, and the way that the book weaves together the life and th career, shedding light on both, is exceptional.
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on 1 February 2017
Cary Grant was the actor that embodied what the Golden Age of Hollywood was all about - being a star. In this very well-researched biography, author Graham McCann charts the course a young English boy called Archie Leach made from humble origins to become the Hollywood legend Cary Grant.

McCann chronicles Grant's incredible career spanning decades, where he made iconic movies such as "Notorious", "Charade", "To Catch A Thief" and "North By Northwest", and formed enduring friendships with screen legends including Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren.

McCann reveals the private battles Grant faced whilst trying to present himself to the world as the debonair and sophisticated "Cary Grant", revealing how much of the caricature was genuine and how much was impersonated. These pressures increased as Grant tried to find happiness with women and forming a relationship with his son. Grant illuminatingly said of himself "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant." McCann reveals that despite having the "perfect" persona, Grant still faced rather ordinary difficulties and challenges in his personal life.

McCann characterizes Grant as not only an actor, but someone who virtually took over entire movie productions to become the impromptu director, producer, screenwriter, acting coach, stage manager and costume designer. At times Grant seemed to be performing a one-man-show by doing every possible movie-related job!

Away from movies, McCann details the incredible time and energy Grant put into his diverse range of business interests. It turns out Grant was as much a businessman and marketing professional as an actor.

However, McCann is at his best when showcasing Grant as the last real male star of Hollywood - Grant is described as someone who played his "Cary Grant" role off the screen as much as on it. McCann reaches his crescendo when comparing the authentic star quality of Grant with the somewhat fake and contrived stardom of modern actors. He suggests today's stars are cheerleaders for political and social causes simply to obtain free publicity and extra credibility.

Overall, McCann succeeds tremendously well in his efforts to detail Grant's career and show the unique pressures of stardom he faced. This biography will appeal to anyone interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood and to anyone who wants to learn how a star battles to create and keep his true identity.
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on 7 February 2014
Excellently written book that is a joy to read with many insights that enlighten and entertain. I could not recommend this book highly enough and would encourage it accompany the viewing of Cary Grant's films.
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on 9 March 2000
This is a superb book.Beautifully written,thoroughly researched and packed with insights,it deals with all the films,all the facts and most of the myths,and deals with them all with wit,good judgement,sensitivity and (how rare!)decency.If ever a star deserved an elegant biographical treatment it is Grant,and now he has just such a biography.This is a joy from start to finish.
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on 6 April 2016
A good read, having read other books on Cary Grant, this one would appear to be totally true, and no gossip and scandal as some do.
He had a good life, and enjoyed it to the full, although sad that all his marriages ended in divorce. Enjoyed this book!
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