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Geoffrey Wansell


Geoffrey Wansell


Dark Angel

Cary GrantTo millions of moviegoers around the world, Cary Grant epitomizes the glamour and the style of Hollywood in its golden years. With his dark hair and mischievous smile, he is, was, and always will be one of its great stars. In the decade since his death, the incandescence of his image has not dimmed.

The photographs in Geoffrey Wansell's book, Cary Grant: Dark Angel, capture that essence. The pictures -- studio publicity stills, movie posters, candid paparazzi snapshots and family photos -- carry the reader through the stages of Grant's life as he moves from one role to another and one love to another. The photos are so good they speak for themselves. Quotes from such celebrities as Marlene Dietrich and Sophia Loren and film critic Pauline Kael add to the viewing pleasure in this encounter with the dashing Hollywood icon.

Born Archie Leach, the only child of a poor tailor's presser and an unstable mother, in Bristol, England, in 1904, Cary Grant became what the critic Pauline Kael once memorably called "the fairy-tale hero." Endlessly attractive and yet never seeming to take himself too seriously, he was pursued on the screen by some of the most beautiful women in the history of the cinema, among them Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn.

In a career spanning seventy-two films he went from being the picture-perfect matinée idol of She Done Him Wrong, the man whom Mae West told to come up and see her sometime, to the broodingly handsome C.K. Dexter Haven opposite Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story; from the enigmatic spy who hypnotized Ingrid Bergman in Notorious to the smiling jewel thief whom Grace Kelly could not resist in To Catch a Thief. Hollywood's greatest directors –– Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Leo McCarey, George Cukor, Stanley Donen –– worked with him time after time. Yet while he could flawlessly make screwball comedy his own, in films like Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace –– Frank Capra called him "Hollywood's greatest farceur"–– he could also, as in Suspicion, convey a fascinating menace on the screen.

And off it, perhaps. Grant was five times married, to a succession of beautiful women including the heiress Barbara Hutton and the actress Dyan Cannon, and sustained a tortured and obsessive relationship with money. In Geoffrey Wansell's illuminating study––illuminated by 150 exquisite photographs –– the author traces the threads of both light and dark in this Hollywood immortal, a man whom his friend and costar Deborah Kerr called "one of the most outstanding personalities in the history of the cinema".

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For a synopsis of any of Geoffrey's books, please click on the appropriate cover below.

David Suchet
Garrick History
James Goldsmith
Pure Evil
An Evil Love
Bus Stop Killer

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