Cary Grant’s Back Flip in “Holiday”

Mitchell, my circus performer best friend, has described to me, in detail, why the back flip of Cary Grant’s in the last scene of Holiday is so unbelievable. Back flips are bread and butter to circus folk – but this one is extraordinary because of how he sees her approaching – while he is upside down and in mid-air – and then – instead of landing on his feet – like most backflips end – he falls flat onto his body from a height of 3 feet in the air, the only cheat being his hands dropping, but it happens so fast it doesn’t come off as a cheat. Mitchell has never seen a back flip like it.

He starts with a hand stand. Then he jumps back onto his feet and launches into his backflip from there.








Right around in here is where he sees her – he cranes his neck up – and catches a glimpse of her which makes him NOT complete the backflip and instead fall flat to the floor.







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6 Responses to Cary Grant’s Back Flip in “Holiday”

  1. Happy New Year! I’m so glad to see you talk up HOLIDAY! It is consistently overlooked in light of so many other movies these two made separately and together. It’s one of my favorites and doesn’t get shown enough on TCM. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn will always be two of my favorites.

  2. miker says:

    Happy New Year, Sheila.
    Hope 2008 brings you a myriad of delights. :-)

  3. red says:

    Jonathan – I think Hepburn has never been so touching as in Holiday. When she has that line near the end – something like, “Oh stop me…. I beg you, TRY AND STOP ME …” I mean, I have a lump in my throat just typing out the words.

    And Grant is wonderful. I paricularly love the Potter (or is it Porter? hahahahahaha everyone always gets their name wrong in the movie – “Maybe we should just change our names …”) couple … but everyone’s wonderful in it. Lew Ayres in particular.

    A strange and, like Kim said, “curiously sad” film – for all its happy ending, etc. It leaves a wistful feeling … it really works.

  4. A goldmine

    Fantastic essay on Cary Grant. A couple excerpts – although the whole thing is a must-read. I loved this observation: An insipid, undefined pretty boy on screen, he appeared in twenty pictures in four years, nearly a quarter of…

  5. Alex says:

    I think this is the premier Hepburn/Grant movie. Their chemistry together is unreal.

    Hepburn has a moment in the playroom when she talks about her mother. Every piece of history from her childhood is over and done with in two sentences.

    And I can’t say enough about Grant. He’s so relaxed and lovable and child like. The ultimate Dreamer. Always looking for who he is, and wanting to “quit working” at 30.


    And the tumble off the shoulder thing they both do early on in the film when Hepburn tumbles head first into the floor scares the whooey out of me every time I see it.

  6. red says:

    Alex – I have never seen Hepburn so wounded, so … herself. (Not that I know her – but you know what I mean). She is so earnest, so … lonely … what a wonderful performance. And I LOVE the scene in the playroom where they tumble and put on puppet shows, etc. – I so want to join that party!

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