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.