As my friend Mitchell observed (in our conversation about Cary Grant – nee Archie Leach – linked to below):
To this day, people say, “Oh so-and-so’s the new Cary Grant.” Cary Grant was acting in 1930. We’re talking 70 years ago. Almost 80 years ago, and we’re still referring to people as the “new Cary Grant”. Well, guess what, there’s no such thing. If 80 years later, you’re still trying to find someone to be the next so-and-so, there is nobody. It’s only him.
It’s only him.
He created the mould. The mould for what it means to be a modern Movie Star. (He and Joan Crawford. Both.) But the mould was so totally in his own shape that nobody else could ever fit into it. They try. And marketing departments try to convince audiences: “Look. It’s the new Cary Grant.” But it’s like the Uncanny Valley. Nobody buys it. Actors have to create their own mould.
There’s talent, which he had. There’s versatility, which he had. There’s career and money smarts, which he had. There’s beauty, which he had. These all helped enormously especially in the longevity of his career. He played it really really smart. But the thing he really had – which is difficult to talk about or define – is Magic.
And THAT’S Cary Grant.
I watch him in WONDER.
Here are some of the things I have written about him over the years:
#1, an enormous essay on one of his best performances in Hitchcock’s Notorious:
The Fat-Headed Guy Full of Pain: Cary Grant in Notorious
#2: Mitchell and I discuss Justin Timberlake, Lena Horne, Doris Day, Jill Clayburgh, Don Rickles and Cary Grant:
Mitchell Fain Presents: Part 1
#3: For Bright Wall/Dark Room:
You Are What You Do: His Girl Friday
#4. On Sylvia Scarlett, the extremely strange film that represented Cary Grant’s real “break” although he had been in films for a while:
The Wonderful Weird WTF-ness of Sylvia Scarlett
#5. Because of course:
Anatomy of Two Pratfalls: Cary Grant and Elvis Presley
#6. For Capital New York:
On Bringing Up Baby
#7. For House Next Door:
5 for the Day: Cary Grant
The rest of the stuff I’ve written on Cary Grant can be found here.