Cary Grant: A Class Apart mainly focuses on the transformation of Archie Leach to the quintessential gentleman, Cary Grant, the man who exudes charm and effortlessly glides through life.
At 238 pages it’s one of the shorter biographies I’ve read, although the book does seem massive because there’s nearly as many pages of reference material as there is of writing. It doesn’t go into every film that Grant worked on but it does give an overview of the main periods of his life, and despite the short length I do feel that the book gives a comprehensive look at Cary Grant’s life. I wasn’t aware of his background as Archie Leach, so I found that interesting, and I also liked how the author took some time to debunk popular myths.
McCann does have a habit of using dialogue excerpts from films to illustrate points, and this I found frustrating because these passages often lose context when read on the page rather than listened to, so I skimmed over these, but otherwise the writing was done well.
It’s not the most involved biography I’ve read so for people who are obsessed with Cary Grant it may not offer much in the way of new material, but for someone like me who liked his films but knew little about the man it was a good read and I recommend it.