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Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style    by Richard Torregrossa order for
Cary Grant
by Richard Torregrossa
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

'Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant,' quipped the man himself. For years Grant has been seen as the consummate actor - being able to blend comedic timing with romance. He has also represented a sense of elegance with a wit and style that has yet to be rivaled. In short, no man could light a lady's cigarette quite as suavely or smoothly as he could. Author Richard Torregrossa brings us Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style as a tribute to this famed actor and a means of better understanding him. For those movie enthusiasts who have always loved Grant's classics, such as Bringing Up Baby, North by Northwest, and Charade, this book also offers a peek behind the scenes, literally.

Torregrossa covers all aspects of Cary Grant's life. He begins with Grant when he was Archibald Leach, a child growing up poor and without an explanation for his mother's sudden absence. He then shows how Leach made the transition to the man adored around the world. Chapters in the book touch upon Grant's style from different perspectives. In the beginning he wore bow ties and hats that didn't suit him. After much study he became the man we see in North by Northwest who can dodge a plane without getting his expensive suit wrinkled.

Torregrossa focuses on many facets of Grant's style - from his clothes to his persona to the movies he made. He is shown as a genuine friend to those around him, a person who immediately set people at ease. He also had a way with women, playing with many leading ladies from Katherine Hepburn to Mae West. Much of the dialogue in Grant's films exhibits a timing and underlying sexuality seldom seen in today's movies. This scene from Charade illustrates one of Grant's strengths:

Reggie (Audrey Hepburn): 'Won't you come in for a minute?'
Peter (Cary Grant): 'No, thank you.'
Reggie: 'I don't bite, you know. Unless it's called for.'
Peter: 'How would you like a spanking?'
Reggie: 'How would you like a punch in the nose? Quit treating me like a child.'
Peter: 'Well, then, stop behaving like one.'

The movie world lost one of its icons when Cary Grant died in 1986. Thankfully though, he survives through his movies and by the detailed work of authors like Richard Torregrossa. They offer us a look at the man behind the legend.

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