1 Oscar Actors: Grant, Cary–Screen Image

Research in Progress: Oct 15, 2021

Movie stars embody a particular lifestyle, a charismatic, unforgettable figure.

Stars represent a more general figure–a type–embodying a set of attitudes and qualities, which are the projection of the audiences’ dreams and desires,

Cary Grant was often being the figure he has played on screen.

He embodied the idea of the debonair romantic hero, moving with ease, assurance and charm, with quick and swift resourcefulness, through a world that’s urban and contemporary, moneyed and literate.

Screen Image: nonmacho charming lead man, known for his handsome looks, transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor, light-hearted approach to acting, sense of comic timing.

Later, he stretched himself with more  compelling dramatic texts, such as a robust action hero (Gunga Din, Destination Tokyo), but he always knew and remembered where his strengths are.

He represented a special mid-Atlantic, almost stateless and classless romantic man, free-wheeling, free-spirited, worldly yet oddly charm.

Grant projected insoucance.

His appeal was based  on paradoxes:

His matchless accent is British, but he owed more to Bristol than Oxford.

He was  cosmopolitan and  capable of  elegance, but not stuffy or upper-class.

he was smart, engaging and mobile. Mobility looms large in his persona, footloose, swinging bachelor who would never let his women down.

Grant, like his accent, seemed classless. He was comfortable and welcome among the working, yet not nervous among the wealthy and upper-class.

he exerted massive  romantic appeal on women without rousing men to anger or contempt, in keeping their men’s respect and admiration.

The grin became more self-reflexive, borderline self-mocking

Special blend of worldliness and naivete

Ability to mix polish and pratfalls in successive scenes.

Ge played near-fool, fey idiot without compromising his masculinity or surrendering to camp for its own sake.

He toyed with his own dignity without losing it completely.

Social grace: man who knows what to say and do and be in any social situation.

Ability to move with assurance through the world of the successful

Miraculous ability to defeat time.