Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Great (film) Debates vol. 18

At one point, Hollywood held a lot of mystery for average Americans. Actors were larger than life and lived exotic lives. These days they're all rehab junkies and political morons. But think back to Hollywood's Golden Age:

Who is your favorite classic Hollywood actor and what is their best role?

Panelist: AndrewPrice

This is one of those impossible questions. Bogart exuded "tough guy." Jimmy Stewart was the most honorable man alive. John Wayne was America personified. And Cary Grant defined class. But I'm going with Steve McQueen. I understand he was a bit of a monster in person, but on screen he was just compelling. You couldn't help but watch him and pull for him even when he was the bad guy.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Bogie. Why? he had a magnetism that is hard to explain. He isn’t an obvious looking "man’s man" like the Duke, but a "man’s man" he was. His best role? Maltese Falcon by a hair over African Queen and Sierra Madre. That may be due to a slight bias on my part for the genre. African Queen was one of the first "grown up" films I remember seeing.

Panelist: T-Rav

There are a lot of them I like--Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, etc.--but my personal favorite would probably be the lesser-known Danny Kaye. I watched his The Secret Life of Walter Mitty some years ago in high school and just loved it. He did a great job of playing the ordinary, looked-down-on guy who suddenly gets thrust into an important event. I think he was in White Christmas as well, or whatever that big '40s movie was; I liked him in that too. Great all-around actor.

Panelist: ScottDS

Ask a hard one, why don’t ya?! Since I can’t decide between Jimmy Stewart and Humphrey Bogart, I’ll go with James Cagney instead. I haven’t seen every film he ever did (far from it) but the one that sticks with me is Yankee Doodle Dandy. Yeah, it’s a little cheesy at times but it’s great and wonderfully optimistic. Anyone who thinks Cagney could only play gangsters needs to watch this film. He sings! He dances! He does not shove a grapefruit in a woman’s face! "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you."


Comments? Thoughts? Who would you choose and why?

89 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

I like the fact that this question centered around "favorite" as opposed to the more nebulous "best." As such, it is hard to find fault with any of the choices. That said, both Andrew and T-Rav put up some unconventional choices, to say the least.

My first introduction to Danny Kaye was in the quasi-musical, Hans Christian Anderson where he was great. To me, Steve McQueen, was remembered best for The Great Escape, and Bullit, but I liked him best as the original Thomas Crowne. I even had a royal blue shirt, black knit tie and 3 piece glen plaid suit in his honor.:)

Jimmy Cagney is certainly a true American film icon. I may not have considered him since I tend to associate him with his tough guy/bad guy roles and in the 50's and 60's, our favorites tended more towards the heroic.

Tennessee Jed said...

I can understand people saying "Jed, Casablanca not even in the top 3?" to which I reply "why do you think he was my clear cut favorite in the 1st place?"

Joel Farnham said...

Well that depends on if they are living or dead.

Dead in no particular order:

John Wayne -- "The Quiet Man"
Humphrey Bogart -- "We're No Angels"
Steve McQueen -- "The Hunter" or "Tom Horn"
Danny Kaye -- "Hans Christen Anderson"
Cary Grant -- "People Will Talk"
Robert Mitchum -- "The Yakuza"

Alive

Robert Downey Jr -- "Ally McBeal" role - Larry Paul or "Two Girls and a Guy"

Outlaw13 said...

I love the movie Fort Apache and the John Wayne's performance in it. His work in the John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy was vastly under-appreciated. Additionally his performance in The Searchers is totally out of character with what he is normally associated with.

I also appreciate Gregory Peck's work in 12 O'Clock High. That flim could serve as training for anyone interested in the pressures involved with leadership in combat. Mister Peck does an excellent job.

Finally George C. Scott in Patton captures the essence of Patton. He rightfully won the Oscar that year. Great performance.

Tennessee Jed said...

Joel - the whole classic vs, modern breakout is, by nature, subjective. Perhaps living vs. dead is a good way to go, and there are clearly some great actors and roles on your list. That said, in typical Commentarama fashion, way to force rank and pair down to your "favorite." :)

Outlaw - interesting you mentioned Peck in 12 o'clock high. In my corporate career, I went to a terrific seminar in leadership after I got my first managerial position. We actually screened 12 o'clock high as a great case study in leadership. As it so turned out, I am finishing up a review of this film, for that very reason. If Andrew, doesn't think it sucks too much, it will probably show up on this very site. ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

btw, in my last comment about Andrew, I am talking about if he thinks my review doesn't suck too badly, not the film itself :)

Tennessee Jed said...

For the Duke, I am partial to "The Horse Soldiers." For Bogie, "We're no Angels is an interesting choice. For Mitchum, I have always been most partial to "Heart is a Lonely Hunter" and the one where he is a moonshiner (film name flew right out of my head) Robert Downey Jr. is one of my very favorite modern actors. I can even forgive him for the indignities he has heeped upon Sherlock Holmes.

Outlaw, George C. Scott was born to play Patton. Probably his finest role, although a solid case could be made for "Bert" in "The Hustler" as well.

T-Rav said...

I hadn't thought of James Cagney. Not bad choices, all around.

Gregory Peck would have to be in my top five--now there's a truly great actor. Unless you ask Ben Shapiro, who said he was an overrated actor because he didn't have a "real" Southern accent in "To Kill A Mockingbird." (Yes, I mentioned ol' BS just to get the inevitable reaction.)

Mycroft said...

All great choices.
The problem is when I really think about it, there are so many to choose from.

There are the obvious choices:

John Wayne -- "McClintock"
Humphrey Bogart -- "We're No Angels"
Cary Grant -- "Arsenic and Old Lace"
Jimmy Stewart -- "It's A Wonderful Life"

But then there are those that don't get as much attention anymore:

Burt Lancaster -- "The Crimson
Pirate"
Tyrone Power -- "Zorro"
Error Flynn -- "Robin Hood"
... as well as the many others already mentioned.

Today, we have Eastwood and Willis, and a very few others that deserve to be mentioned along with yesterday's greats.

Suggestion for the next Great (film) Debate: favorite character or supporting actor. Someone that seldom got the leading role, if ever, but who made every film he was in better (Ernest Borgnine).

Tennessee Jed said...

Mycroft - check out volume 5 of the "GFD" series. We call them character actors, and I think comes somewhat close to what you are talking about, although there is a difference between a character actor and supporting actor so we could easily enough make that distinction.

Rav - have you no shame sir? Ben Shapiro?? Really???

T-Rav said...

I know, I know, Jed. I'm a bad person. :-(

Speaking of Downey and all, though, I have to say I didn't have a problem with his portrayal of Sherlock. The movie wasn't great, but it wasn't bad by any stretch.

Tennessee Jed said...

I suppose the Downey character was a fun enough personna as long as we don't try and pretend he was Sherlock.

DCAlleyKat said...

"Classic Hollywood Actor"...hmmm, that's gotta be Cary Grant for me. From Comedy to Drama to Suspense, the man was superb! A few of my fovorites of his are:
Penny Seranade
Mr.Blanding's Builds His Dream House
The Philadelphia Story
Holiday
To Catch A Thief
North By Northwest

AndrewPrice said...

Great answers everyone! I'll have more to say in a moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Those are great Steve McQueen movies, but the moment I actually think of the most when it comes to McQueen is the stagecoach scene in Magnificent Seven I recall reading an article about how much McQueen infuriated Yul Brenner in that scene because he kept drawing attention to himself even when he wasn't speaking.

And it's true. But the scene works brilliantly precisely because it's so full of "action."

All in all, I thought he was just truly compelling.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, "favorite" is best for this kind of question because there really is no "best" when it comes to picking things like stars.

ScyFyterry said...

Great question. First impression, I'm going with Bogart.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Cary Grant could easily be my top choice, they are all that close.

It's funny looking back and seeing how many great stars there were and how different they were and then thinking about how few there are today and how similar so many of them are.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Wayne fascinates me because I think he's such a one-tone actor, but he's still so incredible at what he does. I can't think of a film where I don't love him and despite his being "John Wayne" I've never doubted him in the role or felt he failed to bring all the emotions needed for the film.

Peck is an excellent actor as well, as is Patton.

Ed said...

Really great choices. I'm going with Jimmy Stewart though. To me, he embodies everything good about America.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I doubt the review will suck! LOL!

Believe it or not, I've heard this film mentioned before in management classes as a good example of leadership.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Your comment was clear, don't worry.

For me, for Bogart, the iconic role is Maltese Falcon but I like him best in To Have And Have Not.

For John Wayne, to me, the best role was Sands of Iwo Jima.

Mitchum is not someone I care for much. I don't know why, I just don't.

For Peck, my favorite role is actually The Omen.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Why whatever do you mean about inevitable reaction? ;)

Some people should not write about film or actors or other things they know nothing about. And fyi, some people compile objectionable lists simply because it gets people talking and generates publicity.

You may fill in the blanks.

LawHawkRFD said...

I'm with DCAlleyKat. For all around, never-lets-you-down performances, it's Cary Grant. He was great at romantic leads, mystery man, comedy, and on the rare occasions when he played the bad guy, he was really sinister.

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, I think it is shocking how many great actors we can think of back then and how few come to mind today. And many of the ones who seemed like they would be great today (like Clooney) have burned out.

We have done a best character actor, but no best supporting actor yet. I'll have to add that to the list. :)

Errol Flynn is another of my favorites. He's probably the one guy I'd most want to meet.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, T-Rav has no shame, pure and simple.


P.S. I'll add a "supporting actor" question to the next round. :)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav and Jed, I enjoyed the first one, but never equated it to Sherlock Holmes. I just took it as Robert Downey Jr. as some detective. And as Summer schlock, it was pretty good. I have no desire to see it again, but it was worth it once. I haven't seen the second one yet, but I expect it will be worse than the first.

AndrewPrice said...

DCAlleyKat, North by Northwest is the film that got me interested in Hitchcock (I should start doing a series on his stuff).

Grant is awesome. He's got the "it factor," he's got comedic timing, he got a dangerous edge to him. He's just all around the perfect actor.

AndrewPrice said...

ScyfyTerry, You can't go wrong with Bogart. As I just mentioned, Grant and North By Northwest got me into Hitchcock, Bogart got me into classic films.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Jimmy Stewart is the classic American. If we were going to distill what it means to be an American down to a single person, he would be it in my book.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Agreed. One of the things I liked a lot about him was a slightly hidden sense of menace. I think that gave him an edge which let him play any role.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scyfi - your perceptive abilities for this question are unrivaled. :)

Cary Grant does witty, urbane and comedy wonderfully. North by Northwest is still probably my favorite movie of all time. BTW, the new Blu-Ray edition is magnificent. My only regret is that the Mt. Rushmore special effects have not particularly fared well over time. That might make an interesting re-make if it could be kept away from Cloony, Streep, James Cameron or other liberals who would want to re-make it to sucker punch conservatives.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, A remade North by Northwest would be about an evil oil company trying to destroy Cary Grant because he saw plans for an alternative energy device that would wipe out our need for oil.

DUQ said...

My favorite is William Holden.

Others not mentioned include Fred MacMurray, Van Johnson, Yul Brenner, David Niven, Richard Burton, and Maverick! :D

T-Rav said...

No, I do have shame, but I drugged it and buried it in a cave. :-)

I've never been really passionate about John Wayne, but I'll defend him bitterly against those who want to tear him down. He and Jimmy Stewart were a couple of true-blue American actors--not the effete, cosmopolitan metrosexuals we have today. I'm looking at you, Johnny Depp.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Excellent list! I'm a big fan of Holden too. He's the perfect anti-hero in my book.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, LOL! Well, you managed to raise my blood pressure! ;)

I love John Wayne. I can't tell you why, I just do. And even if I didn't, I too will defend him against all the people who want to tear him down. He is an American institution.

Tennessee Jed said...

For William Holden, my unreserved favorites are Sunset Boulevard, and Bridge Over the River Kwai (in a somewhat smaller role.) Fred McMurray become iconic on television, but he was a great villain as well. Still, I love the wines from his family estate; particularly the pinot gris.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, For William Holden, my favorite role is easily The Wild Bunch with Bridge On The River Kwai a close second.

I mainly knew MacMurray from television and some Disney films, except for Double Indemnity and The Caine Mutiny -- both of which are completely different than his television persona.

Individualist said...

Andrew

I lkied Kathryn Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen.

That was a great movie

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'll do Living and Dead as well and even moreso...

Dead:

I can't separate William Powell and Cary Grant. My Man Godfrey and The Thin Man are both in my Top 5.

John Wayne is altogether different... ditto all Outlaw said about the Cavalry Trilogy, The Searchers (and I'd add The Quiet Man to that).

Living: Christian Bale -- The Prestige, Equilibrium, Rescue Dawn, the Batman movies, 3:10 to Yuma, etc., etc.

HM: Gary Oldman may be the best of the bunch though...

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew and Jed,

I almost forgot.

Sean Connery -- Any movie.

One critic complained about his accent. He played a Russian Captain "The Hunt for Red October" with a Scottish accent. He also played a Spaniard with a Scottish accent in "Highlander". In "Highlander", he played a supporting role And he played it to perfection. He even played a dragon with a Scottish accent. My thought? Who cares about his accent? He is a great actor.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I agree -- great movie, great actors, well done!

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Bale and Oldman really have proven themselves to be excellent actors. Bale in particular impresses me.

It's funny about Wayne and Grant being different, yet both are great. I think old Hollywood had a lot more variety in terms of types of actors. It's like everyone today took the same course. In the past, that didn't seem to be true.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I agree. Connery has never been a "disappear into the role" kind of guy and I don't think it matters what accent he uses because as Americans we seem willing to accept a British-type accent as evidence of being foreign regardless of nationality. And what really matter is all the other intangibles Connery brings. In that regard, he's never once left me with any doubt that he wasn't who he played.

Tennessee Jed said...

Floyd - interesting you mention Gary Oldman. I think he has had a solid and somewhat under rated career. I just saw him in one of his first movies, the very dreadful "Criminal Law." Don't forget Christian Bale's "American Psycho" either.

Joel - Connery is one of my favorites, to be sure. He gets undervalued in a lot of stuff because he almost, make that ALMOST pulled a George Reeves with the Bond character.

In the old days, we had true movie stars. They may not have been able to do Shakespeare, but within their comfort zone, they were great and putt fannies in the seats. That is what I think a guy like John Effen Wayne brought to the table.

tryanmax said...

Maybe my answer is afield of the question, given the other answers, but I'd have to favorite Fred Astaire. The man was showbiz.

AndrewPrice said...

jed, I agree about Oldman, I think he's been unrated because he never because a A-lister. That seems to be the requirement these days or you are forgotten.

I think it's pretty stunning that Connery avoided getting typecast, especially because the Bond role was so HUGE.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Fred Astaire was a good actor and an excellent dancer who made everything look so easy. I like him a lot.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I think Connery was able to do that by walking away from the franchise while he was in his prime.

Tryanmax - Astaire is fabulous, although what was the old saying that Ginger Rogers did everything he did on a dance floor . . . backwards.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's probably true -- he didn't stay too long. Plus, he tried different films after that rather than just doing more of the same.

On Astaire, I've heard that too, but I actually prefer his solo work. I think that's where you really see the skill come out -- in particular the ease.

Tennessee Jed said...

. . . and in heels. Solo is nice but perfect synchronization id hard for me not to watch :)

AndrewPrice said...

So you must be the target market for synchronized swimming! ;)

I'm not saying what they do together isn't pretty, but I think the real skill is when he lets it rip flying all over the stage and climbing up on things and jumping over things.

rlaWTX said...

Long live Cary Grant!!!!!!
DCAlleyKat - excellent taste!
However, I would change the order and put The Philadelphia Story at the top. I also love Mr Blandings. I have to admit that I hate Bringing Up Baby. And Cary Grant's (Archie Leach's) youth was rough - how he managed to make himself into Cary Grant is pretty amazing.
I also liked Yankee Doodle Dandy - probably the only Cagney film I really like (is it him the the Little Foys? if so, i like that one too)
I also like Gene Kelly and Bing Crosby. Fred Astaire - not so much. And that other guy in Singing in the Rain - Donald something... I like the dancing ones better than the all singing musicals...
I've only seen a few of Bogart's stuff - but I like the ones I've seen.
Another actor I like watching is Spencer Tracy.
I love Jimmy Stewart - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence!!! Mr Smith Goes to Washington!
John Wayne was my dad's favorite of all time. Liberty Valence, Quiet Man, McClintock (my fav), The Shootist are all awesome. He and Maureen O'Hara had some kind of chemistry! I recently saw one of his war movies - Pacific theater, fighter pilots - that I hadn't seen before. It was good. I think he gets a false rap of "one-note", there is depth there, you just have to be willing to see it. The part of the Shootist when the doc (Stewart) tells Booker (Wayne) he's going to die - because I've heard the backstory, it always makes me teary!

It's fun reading your choices!

rlaWTX said...

Modern classics: Sean Connery is a man who has aged very well! and I love his accent regardless of movie. He made The Rock...
Paul Newman is another modern classic (saw a color photo from 1954 - HOLY CATS!!! YUM!) The Sting is awesome.
Never did appreciate Robert Redford - except in Barefoot in the Grass (with Jane Fonda of all people).

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I never liked Redford either. In fact, I like nothing about him.

Connery has indeed aged well. In fact, in many ways, he was a better actor later in life than earlier, though he was excellent in both phases.

I like Paul Newman a lot. He was great in The Hustler.

Spencer Tracy is another good one.

ScottDS said...

Watching Bringing Up Baby in college almost ruined Cary Grant for me before I could even see him in anything else! (I despised the film.)

Thankfully, North by Northwest, His Girl Friday, and Arsenic and Old Lace brought me right back. I'd hate to see NxNW remade - besides, they already tried making a film in that vein. The result was The Tourist and they failed miserably. :-)

Andrew, you should do a write-up on Hitchcock though I'm not sure what else there is to say - his movies are some of the most written-about in history.

I like pretty much all the actors mentioned here. I'm 28 and I imagine mine is the last generation to know about most of them. Unless there's a serious movie nut in the bunch, I doubt my dad's 6th grade students know who John Wayne is.

Oh, and speaking of Steve McQueen, while I've only seen a few of his films, the one that proved to me that he was a serious actor and not just a "tough guy" was Papillon.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott,

That's my concern with Hitchcock -- is that so many people have written about it that there isn't much left to say. Although, I'm more of a fan of his lesser-known work.

I'm still tempted though. Just as I'm tempted to go through the James Bond films.

Papillon is a great film. I enjoy that a lot and I agree that it shows he has skills beyond the tough guy roles. But even so, I think his skill has always shown through.

I have no idea who the next generation will remember or not, but you're probably right. I barely know many of the people my dad's father knew. And doubt kids today will know much of what my father knew. And in 40 years, they won't even remember Star Wars... stupid jerks.

ScottDS said...

They'll remember Star Wars... just not the version we remember. :-)

Hopefully, there will always be a market for classic film lovers, just like there's still a market for people who buy records.

AndrewPrice said...

Gee, thanks Scott. First, T-Rav goes out of his way to upset me and now you pile on.

Actually, I betting that the version they remember will be some sort of 3-D version, possibly a remake.

//weeps

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, Tim Tebow has literally gotten a miracle so far. If he wins this game (in overtime now) it has to be divine intervention.

AndrewPrice said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! Denver wins.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This was indeed a miraculous win! Wow!

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, It was STUNNING!!

Not only for them to score 10 points that quickly, but after Barber makes an incredible mistake by not stepping out of bounds? And then he fumbles right before Chicago wins?

And a 59 yard field goal to tie? And a 52 yard field goal to win?

It was incredible.

I have to say, I really couldn't take my eyes off the screen.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I like this Tebow kid. Gives credit to his offensive linemen and receivers. He really does bring out the best in his team!
Oh, and he says "God bless you."

No wonder so many sportscasters and writers hate this kid. I love watching them all flabergasted and tongue tied, lol.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Same here. He's everything we always say we want kids to be and then they hate him for it. I love the fact he's proved them all wrong and he's done it without ever getting nasty.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

After seeing this game it's virtually impossible to say there was no Divine intervention of some sort.

And I'm inclined to be a cynic, often moreso than is healthy, but it's impossible for me to be cynical when I see kids like Tebow.
His will to win and never give up is infectious!
And that's a good thing, I think. :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I am a cynic, but the level of coincidence is incredibly high here. The mistakes by Barber are just not mistakes NFL players make. 59 years field goals just don't happen -- especially when the earlier kick was blocked. Guys who miss 11 straight passes don't suddenly hit 13 in a row for a touchdown.

I don't know if it was divine intervention, but it certainly was extremely unusual.

Individualist said...

Well I think we should not ignore the other genres

Abbot and Costello are amazing comedians and the Three Stooge s go with out mention.

For horror who can beat out Bela Legosi

Kenn Christenson said...

... speaking of Gregory Peck - one of my favorite films had him as the leader of an unconventional force of saboteurs in "The Guns of Navarone." Excellent turns by an all-star cast - especially love the "chemistry" between Peck and Niven and their struggle between those who see the need to get the job done and those content to let others do the dirty work.

Another of my favorites - being a Sci-Fi fan, is Michael Rennie as Klaatu in "The Day the Earth Stood Still." The film is an excellent twist on the "stranger in a strange land" theme and - aparently unknown to the director, at the time - a pretty good Christian allegory.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, It's funny because in my mind, I tend to separate comedians from other actors. That's probably not fair, but I expect different things from them. So ignoring that prejudice, I love your list. I would also add Peter Sellers.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, I love Navarone. I actually did a review of it where I discuss the irony of the film because the writer was a communist who meant the film to undermine Western morale, but it ends up being a heck of a "you must stand up to evil" story!

The Day The Earth Stood Still is fantastic (though I hate the remake... blech). That and Invasion of the Body Snatchers to me were the high-water mark of 1950's style science fiction.

Kenn Christenson said...

Ditto your Peter Sellers, Andrew! Could anyone else have pulled off those three characters in Dr. Strangelove?

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, Agreed. He truly had a wide-ranging talent!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Lots of great choices!
So many choices. Jimmy Stewart, John Barrymore, John Wayne, Bogie, Spencer Tracy, Barbra Stanwick...I have so many favorites.

I'll go with Edward G. Robinson.
He's always compelling in any role, but his last performance, in Soylent Green was very poignant. Especially when he's eating beef stew with Charlton Heston.

Robinson had a very wide range of roles and I have never been disappointed in his extraordinary acting ability even in the movies I don't like all that much which weren't many.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I like Robinson. I particularly liked him in Ten Commandments.

And with your mention of Soylent Green, let us not forget Charlton Heston!

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

Charlton Heston was great. I think his last movie was "True Lies" which, if I am not mistaken, was the last honest terrorist movie made. It was made by a liberal no less. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Good point. That was the last honest movie about terrorism. They even got the motivations right.

And I still recall all the Muslim-American groups whining that this film would wrongly make Americans believe Muslims are terrorists when everyone knows that's just not true... blah blah.

So I guess we just imagined everything that happened after that, huh?

ScottDS said...

I'm sure Heston was in at least one or two films after True Lies, his cameo in Tim Burton's dull Planet of the Apes remake notwithstanding. :-)

Oh yeah, he was the Player King in Branagh's Hamlet which was released in 1996 and he narrated the opening of Armageddon (1998). He's credited with a few other roles in the late 90s as well.

I may be wrong but Executive Decision was a pretty honest terrorist movie which was released in 1996. There was also a British satirical film made about terrorism titled Four Lions which was released a year or two ago.

AndrewPrice said...

Hmm. I thought Executive Decision came earlier? I guess not.

FYI, Kurt Russell is a libertarian/conservative and Chuck Heston is a conservative/NRA type. I think it's no surprise these guys would be in these kinds of films... unlike, say, Matt Damon.

ScottDS said...

All I'll say is, Kurt Russell needs to be in more movies! (My love of Executive Decision - which was released two years after True Lies - is already well-documented in these parts.)

In fact, it leads me to believe that James Cameron's politics, at least when it comes to terrorism, might be a little more nuanced than we've been led to believe.

(This is your cue to say, "Nice try, Scott!") :-)

And I love Heston's cameo in Wayne's World 2.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, nice try Scott.

Cameron has pretty much proven himself to be on the hateful fringe left.

Russell is awesome. I think I've seen everything he's done and I like most of it and some of it is on my favorites list -- especially his work with John Carpenter.

tryanmax said...

I've heard that saying about Ginger Rogers, too. The problem with that is that Ginger was far from Fred's only dance partner and she never choreographed. Plus, she had to do twice as many movies as Fred to get that reputation.

AndrewPrice said...

Astaire really was in a class by himself.

What's interesting to me, is that he made it look so easy like anybody should be able to do it, which is simply not true.

That's usually the sign of greatness in physical activities, when you make something truly complex look easy.

tryanmax said...

Part of what made Astaire so brilliant is that he was both very in tune with the music and also extraordinarily precise about it. I forget which film it was, but on one production it was decided that the costumes and sets were too austere in one dance number so they re-shot the whole thing. Even though several weeks, maybe even months, had passed since the first shooting, a side-by-side reel shows that Astaire did precisely the same routine all the way down to the facial expressions and minor gestures. His philosophy of choreography was that when a dance was perfect, there should be absolutely no movement that is superfluous.

AndrewPrice said...

That's interesting. But in a way, it's not surprising. The one thing I've found with people who are great at something is incredibly consistency.

And interestingly, I've seen many instances where people they've worked with get upset at these people for being "anal" or "obsessive" about their work. And to me, that just shows the difference -- the people who truly get is understand the importance of getting it right every single time you do it... and the rest kind of fake their way through it and hope to get it right "when it counts." One works, the other doesn't.

That's something I've heard repeatedly and it many different contexts -- dancing, singing, athletics, musical instruments.

But if you think about, would you want a doctor or lawyer kind of faking it until the big case?

Tennessee Jed said...

Was it not Kate Hepburn who determined the reason behind the greatness of the Astair Rogers team? I paraphrase what I think was her quote: "he adds the class and she adds the sex." Sex and class . . . works for me everytime:) Regardless, they paired to make some of the most successful musicals of any era, and together added dance as an integral part to the "musical."

Tennessee Jed said...

Charlton Heston only escaped top consideration because of the impossible strength of field. One of my favorites of his was "The Big Country" where he was a great supporting actor (along with Burl Ives) to Gregory Peck. A western lovers western

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, There's a lot to that, that the combo was greater than the sum of the parts. That seems to be true in the arts -- especially music.

On that point, by the way, I think it's interesting that "dance" has become more individualistic with each passing decade. In fact, these days when you say "dancer" I tend to think in terms of single persons rather than partnerships. I don't think that was true even a decade ago when I still thought of couples when someone said "dance."


Great point about the strength of field. There really are so many incredible stars from the past that it's virtually impossible to rank them or even think of all the ones you like.

I hate to admit it, but I haven't seen Big Country. I've always meant to, but just never have.

Post a Comment