The Garner Files and Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise
Before I get to my review of the extraordinary Cary Grant biography by Scott Eyman, I’ll remind anyone who reads my Old Hollywood and Classic TV Book Reviews that I go to great lengths to keep from giving anything away (including not showing any of the pictures inside the book).
I want the reader to experience the book as I did – with the luxury of making their own lovely discoveries along the way! It’s what’s best for the reader and what’s best for the author. An author, after all, devotes years to writing about their subject, carefully planning everything from the title of the book to the photos used inside. For anyone to give away or over-share what they’ve worked so hard to put together is, in my opinion, about as wrong as wrong gets.
I love watching old movies and classic television with an unmeasured passion and I love reading biographies and autobiographies of the stars with an equal passion. I am ALWAYS in the middle of at least two “new to me books,” while carrying around at least 4 additional books for cross-referencing the new books and researching for posts or Tweets.
I take this commitment to keeping these wonderful stars’ legacies alive and well very seriously!
Fortunately there are authors such as Scott Eyman who feel just as strongly. If I had been a star from the Golden days of Hollywood, he’s one of the first authors that comes to mind when I think of the one I’d want to write about me. He’s thorough, fair-minded, and never writes with even an ounce of salaciousness or judgment. He doesn’t try to sensationalize the star’s life and seems to always remember that the star was, first and foremost, a human being.
When I’m reading an old Hollywood biography, there is one word that comes to the forefront of my mind when I begin reading and it stays there until the end. The word is respect. If I ever detect that the author does not respect the individual they’re writing about, I throw the book out, simple as that. It has happened before and I’m, unfortunately, sure it’ll happen again.
Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise (Amazon link)
Scott Eyman’s biography, Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise (Amazon link), is… understandably.. a must have for Cary Grant fans but it’s also a must have for anyone who loves old Hollywood. Through the fascinating exploration of Cary Grant’s life, you bump into a whole world of other stars – something that always intrigues me. You often get to see a whole other side of a star when you bump into them this way. For example, a June Allyson autobiography gave me more beautiful insight into Judy Garland than any Judy Garland biography I’d ever read.
The same is true with this compelling book. Seeing Cary Grant’s co-stars through his experience is an eye-opener and I find myself EVEN bigger fans of two in particular: Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman. I already adored Katharine Hepburn to distraction or she’d be right there with them.
One of the things I love most about this biography is the fact that, while I knew a great deal about “Cary Grant who was once known as Archie Leach,” I knew next to nothing about “Archie Leach who would one day be known as Cary Grant.”
In fact, something occurred to me about half way through the book. You know the incredible performance Hayley Mills gave in The Parent Trap (1961)? The way she convinced you there really WERE two actresses playing the roles?! I am fascinated by the way author Scott Eyman presented what often seemed to be two personas (Archie and Cary) yet, at the same time, blends them together to give us the legend we only thought we knew.
We see early on things that shaped Archie Leach‘s life that HAD to have lasting effects on the man who he’d become, Cary Grant.
I’ll be honest with you, this Archie guy was every bit as interesting! The way his mind worked and the level of confidence stopped me in my tracks a few times. His audaciousness will always stick with me – and I do not mean that in a bad way, whatsoever.
Was Cary Grant perfect? Did he always make the best decisions, say the right things, and do only reputable things? Heck no! And frankly, I’m glad of it – what a boring book that would have made! I’m sure a great author like Scott Eyman could have made it interesting, of course, but I’m relieved Cary Grant didn’t make that necessary as there was no part of his life that was ordinary or even remotely boring.
This amazing, hard to put down biography is nearly 500 pages in length and is the definitive biography on Cary Grant. There are 56 photos which are truly remarkable – many I’d never seen, in spite of spending a GREAT deal of my life’s waking hours in Old Hollywood. Well, non-waking hours too, if we’re being completely honest.
I truly hope you’ll grab a copy of Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise (Amazon link) as soon as possible. I’m very anxious for more people to see just how complex and interesting Cary Grant was. There was so much more to him than most of us realize and I am forever grateful that author Scott Eyman brought it to light.
While this book would be a wonderful addition to your own library, it would also make an excellent gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Valentine’s Day.
Thanks so much for reading my review. You’re going to absolutely love this book! ~ Joi (“Joy”)
Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise (Back Cover)