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Sepiatone

I LIKE them, but.....

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Yeah, I like just about all (with few exceptions) the "stars" of classic movies, "golden era" or whichever you prefer to call them, but there's some who, although very good at their craft, get put in roles that don't work for me.  I'll give a couple examples to show where I'm going with or coming from with this.....

BARBARA STANWYCK:  Very talented actress to be sure.  But IMO, while not totally UNattractive, not particularly pretty or "sexy".  But who has been placed in roles that call for an actress that fits those bills.  Like HENRY FONDA or GARY COOPER getting all befuddled wen she cuddles up to them like she's some kind of "sex kitten", or FRED MacMURRAY risking life and livelihood for her.  Just doesn't cut it for me.  JEAN ARTHUR is an actress in this box.  Like Barbara, LOVED her in most of the movies she was in, but, the gorgeous vamp roles too, didn't work for me.

ROBERT MONTGOMERY:  GREAT actor.  And a very likable countenance.  So much so that for me, his  sometimes tough guy or "hard-boiled" roles didn't work for me either.  Like the friendly bookstore clerk trying to play "gangster".  Or the middle school English teacher playing at being a mob "wiseguy".  Although his meek drunk driver "sent up" for manslaughter in THE BIG HOUSE was deftly handled by him, had they tried to make him a fiendish murderer instead, I wouldn't have bought it.

RANDOLPH SCOTT:  Big Western hero often, he still came off(to me) like a vacuum cleaner salesman playing cowboy.  The generally affable JIMMY STEWART handled Western roles better IMHO.

I know there'll be much disagreement with me here, and that's OK.  This IS mainly a "personal opinion" thread, But with only ONE rule-----

The actors and/or actresses YOU list must be ones you LIKE, and not to turn this into a sounding board about those any of you DON'T like. Just that the ones you like may have been put into roles you didn't think they for some reason  didn't or couldn't pull off.

Sepiatone

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Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier in THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL. 

I really do not like having to give a serious criticism to either actor, whom I have enjoyed in countless other films but....

Olivier made a better Nazi in MARATHON MAN than a Nazi hunter in here. And if I want to see Peck's dark side, I'll stick to DUEL IN THE SUN, where he isn't so over the top.

 

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I feel this way about Greta Garbo's melancholy ballerina in GRAND HOTEL. Way too melodramatic, and when she is beckoning the phone to "ring, ring", I can't help but snicker. This is the only of Garbo's performances that I don't feel she was right for.

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I love Gene Kelly, but his "Heavenly Music" number in Summer Stock is the absolute worst number in his entire career.  The number is irritating, the song bad, the costumes are embarrassing.  I loathe every minute of this routine.  I don't blame Judy Garland for one second if she feigned illness to get out of this number (she was supposed to be in it, but didn't show up to work on the day it was being filmed.  This is why she's wearing the  hillbilly outfit after the "Get Happy" number.)  What makes "Heavenly Music" even worse, is that Judy's fabulous "Get Happy" number occurs right after this one.  

The only good part of "Heavenly Music" are the dogs.

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

I love Gene Kelly, but his "Heavenly Music" number in Summer Stock is the absolute worst number in his entire career.  The number is irritating, the song bad, the costumes are embarrassing.  I loathe every minute of this routine.  I don't blame Judy Garland for one second if she feigned illness to get out of this number (she was supposed to be in it, but didn't show up to work on the day it was being filmed.  This is why she's wearing the  hillbilly outfit after the "Get Happy" number.)  What makes "Heavenly Music" even worse, is that Judy's fabulous "Get Happy" number occurs right after this one.  

The only good part of "Heavenly Music" are the dogs.

How did I know you were going to bring this one up, speedy? :P

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2 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

How did I know you were going to bring this one up, speedy? :P

This number makes me cringe every time I think of it.  The only other musical number that makes me shudder as much as "Heavenly Music" is the "Triplets" number in The Band Wagon.  I loathe that number too. 

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OK, so you don't like that number.  Was it that Gene Kelly didn't pull off the character he was supposed to be in the movie that did that number?  Or just a bad song regardless....?  Remember what I was referring to.

Good call too, BETH on THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.  I like the movie, but yeah, I too, had a problem with Peck as a Nazi.  And as good as he usually is, Larry seemed out of his element as well.

Sepiatone

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I mostly like Robert Ryan, but I thought he was really miscast as John the Baptist in King of Kings. I do not think he had the right sort of "evangelical" voice for the role.

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I have to agree with Beth about The Boys from Brazil and with Thenryb about Robert Ryan as John the Baptizer, as he's called for some reason in King of Kings. In fact, that's the only Robert Ryan performance I can think of that I don't like.

I usually love Harrison Ford, and it's easy to understand why he wanted to be cast against type in The Mosquito Coast, but the attempt is not a success. Richard Widmark is perhaps a little more successful as the weakling Dauphin in Saint Joan, but he could never have been as believable as an actor like Anthony Perkins would have been.

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12 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

JEAN ARTHUR is an actress in this box.  Like Barbara, LOVED her in most of the movies she was in, but, the gorgeous vamp roles too, didn't work for me.

In what films did Arthur play a 'gorgeous vamp role'?     

Hey,  while I don't agree with you as it relates to Stanwyck,  she did play a gorgeous vamp in films like The Lady Eve,  Ball of Fire and Double Indemnity.     I just can't recall similar roles for Arthur.     E.g. in Only Angel Have Wings she is an entertainer that the Grant character and his crew find attractive but that is mostly because she is an American gal and the guys don't see many of them in South America.     Rita Hayworth is the gorgeous vamp in the film. 

 

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48 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

In what films did Arthur play a 'gorgeous vamp role'?     

Hey,  while I don't agree with you as it relates to Stanwyck,  she did play a gorgeous vamp in films like The Lady Eve,  Ball of Fire and Double Indemnity.     I just can't recall similar roles for Arthur.     E.g. in Only Angel Have Wings she is an entertainer that the Grant character and his crew find attractive but that is mostly because she is an American gal and the guys don't see many of them in South America.     Rita Hayworth is the gorgeous vamp in the film. 

 

While I don't know about the "vamp" part, I've always thought that Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Arthur were really pretty.  I like them because they're unique.  They don't have a "bland pretty" that many starlets of that time have. 

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

In what films did Arthur play a 'gorgeous vamp role'?     

Hey,  while I don't agree with you as it relates to Stanwyck,  she did play a gorgeous vamp in films like The Lady Eve,  Ball of Fire and Double Indemnity.     I just can't recall similar roles for Arthur.     E.g. in Only Angel Have Wings she is an entertainer that the Grant character and his crew find attractive but that is mostly because she is an American gal and the guys don't see many of them in South America.     Rita Hayworth is the gorgeous vamp in the film. 

 

Jean Arthur looked pretty hot in "The More the Merrier". Hot bod! And she was 43 at the time.

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Some of you are taking this too literal.  All I was stating was that for ME, Stanwyck as (how was it put?) "the gorgeous vamp" in films like THE LADY EVE, BALL OF FIRE and DOUBLE INDEMNITY didn't work.  Sure, she put in excellent performances in them, and also recall, I never claimed I thought her totally unattractive, just couldn't think of her as "sexy".  

And, I'm NOT looking for any agreements on anything I stated about anyone else.  Just asking any of YOU who you thought didn't convince you as certain personality types in movies.  Like my stating I never thought ROBERT MONTGOMERY was ever convincing as the "tough guy" in some of his movies.  If it worked for any of YOU, that's fine.  

Sepiatone

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On 2/11/2018 at 8:05 AM, Sepiatone said:

ROBERT MONTGOMERY:  GREAT actor.  And a very likable countenance.  So much so that for me, his  sometimes tough guy or "hard-boiled" roles didn't work for me either.  Like the friendly bookstore clerk trying to play "gangster".  Or the middle school English teacher playing at being a mob "wiseguy".  Although his meek drunk driver "sent up" for manslaughter in THE BIG HOUSE was deftly handled by him, had they tried to make him a fiendish murderer instead, I wouldn't have bought it.

RANDOLPH SCOTT:  Big Western hero often, he still came off(to me) like a vacuum cleaner salesman playing cowboy.  The generally affable JIMMY STEWART handled Western roles better IMHO.

 

I thought Montgomery  was very good in "Ride the Pink Horse" and "The Saxon Charm". I think if you saw those two from the 40s you'd admit that he pulled off the bad guy persona quite well.  I agree with you about "The Big House". I think the whole point was here was a regular guy who committed manslaughter when he drove drunk, and had to be punished. However, he really didn't belong in the world of career criminals in which he found himself once imprisoned. You can't help but feel sorry for him.

I very much agree with you about Randolph Scott and to tell you the truth I can't figure out how he remained a star for so long. He seemed off in modern dress roles and he seemed off in Westerns, but there was so much action going on in the westerns I think most people of the time just didn't notice it.

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LOVE Natalie Wood, but I've never bought her for one minute as famed striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee in the film based on her life.

Natalie, to put it plainly, was much too pretty to play the "ugly ducking" lead role in this movie, and one where it's constantly suggested by her stage mother that she was just "too plain" to be a star.

Nope, never bought the premise for a minute, and even though the gorgeous Natalie does give it the ol' college try.

(...and so in essence, pretty much a case of "You can't make a sow's ear out of a silk purse" kind'a thing"...see how I did that?!) ;)  

 

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On 2/11/2018 at 8:05 AM, Sepiatone said:

 

BARBARA STANWYCK:  Very talented actress to be sure.  But IMO, while not totally UNattractive, not particularly pretty or "sexy".  But who has been placed in roles that call for an actress that fits those bills.  Like HENRY FONDA or GARY COOPER getting all befuddled wen she cuddles up to them like she's some kind of "sex kitten", or FRED MacMURRAY risking life and livelihood for her.  Just doesn't cut it for me.  JEAN ARTHUR is an actress in this box.  Like Barbara, LOVED her in most of the movies she was in, but, the gorgeous vamp roles too, didn't work for me.

 

It's funny, I don't have this feeling about Stanwyck at all, but I do feel this exact same way about Mary Astor. She was a great actress and an asset to every film I've seen her in, but I just never bought her as a seductress or someone who could seduce Bogie in The Maltese Falcon, etc. She was good looking but not beautiful, IMHO, and as a result she aged well.

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On 2/11/2018 at 10:55 AM, sagebrush said:

I feel this way about Greta Garbo's melancholy ballerina in GRAND HOTEL. Way too melodramatic, and when she is beckoning the phone to "ring, ring", I can't help but snicker. This is the only of Garbo's performances that I don't feel she was right for.

Grand Hotel was the first time I ever saw Greta Garbo in a film. And afterwards I was very puzzled as to what the allure was. Her entire performance just drifted into camp. After TCM came on the air and I got to see her entire body of work I was much more of a fan.

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18 hours ago, rover27 said:

Jean Arthur looked pretty hot in "The More the Merrier". Hot bod! And she was 43 at the time.

I agree with you about Arthur.   The bogus point that was made was that she played the role of a gorgeous vamp in some films and I don't recall her ever playing such a role;   In The More the Merrier she played a women that worked at a business.   She wasn't a gangster moll, like Stanwyck in Ball of Fire,  or a con artist like Stanwyck in The Lady Eve.

PS:  In Easy Living Arthur is also a working women but due to a misunderstanding (a core plot point),  she is mistaken as the mistress of a rich man by a hotel owner.    While I still don't view this as playing a 'gorgeous vamp',   in the eyes of the hotel owner she could be viewed as one.    

 

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How about William Holden in Born Yesterday.    Just adding geek glasses doesn't make Holden look like one of the guys from the Big Bang Theory.      He does his best to play the part but he doesn't really pull it off.

 

 

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

How about William Holden in Born Yesterday.    Just adding geek glasses doesn't make Holden look like one of the guys from the Big Bang Theory.      He does his best to play the part but he doesn't really pull it off.

 

 

I always thought he was wearing the glasses because he was a journalist and was supposed to look like the smart, intellectual type, which was in direct contrast to Broderick Crawford's character. 

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14 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I always thought he was wearing the glasses because he was a journalist and was supposed to look like the smart, intellectual type, which was in direct contrast to Broderick Crawford's character. 

Yes,  that is why he was wearing the glasses.    The smart,  intellectual type is often rather geeky.

 Gary Merrill played the part on Broadway,  but for the movie the much more handsome and well known Holden was cast because at this time the studio didn't wish to depend on Holiday and Crawford to bring in the fans.

Holiday did make a major splash the year before in Adam's Rib but that was a supporting role.    The same is true for Crawford winning best actor for All the King's Men.   But Columbia still decided to play it safe by casting Holden. 

PS: If the film was made in the 30s Leslie Howard would have been my choice for the role.

 

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On 2/11/2018 at 2:41 PM, Sepiatone said:

OK, so you don't like that number.  Was it that Gene Kelly didn't pull off the character he was supposed to be in the movie that did that number?  Or just a bad song regardless....?  Remember what I was referring to.

Good call too, BETH on THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.  I like the movie, but yeah, I too, had a problem with Peck as a Nazi.  And as good as he usually is, Larry seemed out of his element as well.

Sepiatone

Well I suppose he was fine in the part in Summer Stock.  The only person in that film who I can really say doesn't fit in is Hans Conreid's character, but I can't say I'm a huge Hans Conreid fan.  I do appreciate his work as the English Tutor in an episode of I Love Lucy.  

It's hard to judge the numbers persay, as per usual in these types of films, none of the numbers make any sense together.  Perhaps there are some unseen scenes in the play that are supposed to tie these numbers together.  I will say that it is flat out a BAD song. 

I do think that Gene Kelly was miscast in many of his dramatic offerings, like The Black Hand.  He just didn't work for me as an Italian-American with a vendetta against "The Black Hand" criminal syndicate. Someone like Frank Sinatra may have been better, or maybe Dean Martin if he was making movies in the early 1950s. 

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4 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Yes,  that is why he was wearing the glasses.    The smart,  intellectual type is often rather geeky.

 Gary Merrill played the part on Broadway,  but for the movie the much more handsome and well known Holden was cast because at this time the studio didn't wish to depend on Holiday and Crawford to bring in the fans.

Holiday did make a major splash the year before in Adam's Rib but she that was a supporting role.    The same is true for Crawford winning best actor for All the King's Men.   But Columbia still decided to play it safe by casting Holden. 

PS: If the film was made in the 30s Leslie Howard would have been my choice for the role.

Holden wasn't a big star when he filmed his part in Born Yesterday. He'd been in the business for over a decade, but he was thought of a B-level leading man at best, with his best years possibly behind him. It wasn't until Sunset Boulevard came out in August of 1950 that his star status rose, at which point Born Yesterday was already in the can, to be released that December. And still Holden received third billing under Crawford (first) and Holliday (second). Holden was much more handsome than Merrill, but I'm not sure if Columbia would have considered Holden any kind of box office guarantee. Broderick Crawford was considered a bigger star at the time, a ranking that wouldn't last long.

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I can think of a couple actors and films actually that I really like, despite feeling like a major role in the film was miscast.  I guess which goes to show how much I like an actor (or how great of an actor they are I suppose) when I know they're miscast and I still like them. 

William Holden is much too old for Picnic.  His character seems like he is supposed to be just a few years out of college, maybe mid-20s, since his former classmate Alan Benson, is graduated from college and working in his father's grain mill.  Holden on the other hand, looks every bit of his 37 years and perhaps a few years on top of that.  He looks like he's old enough to be Kim Novak's dad, even though in reality, there are only about fifteen years between them.  However, despite the leading actor being too old for the main role in the film, I still really like Holden in the role and I like the film. 

Humphrey Bogart was miscast in Sabrina, and I believe he felt the same way.  Bogart is way too old to be courting Audrey Hepburn.  He is old enough to be Hepburn's dad.  I could even handle Hepburn with Fred Astaire (who is a few months older than Bogart) in Funny Face.  I thought Hepburn and Cary Grant were great together in Charade, despite the 25-year age difference.  Maybe it's because Astaire and Grant just seem so much more youthful in comparison with Bogart.  Anyway, I love Sabrina and am a big fan of Bogart, but he is too old for this part.  I think that Billy Wilder could have recast Bogart's part with William Holden and then found a younger actor to fill Holden's part.  I got the idea that Bogart's character is quite a bit older than Audrey as it sounds like he was already working when Audrey was a child growing up there.  Holden's character sounds like he's a bit younger than Bogart but older than Hepburn.  I am speculating that Bogart's character is probably in his late 30s-early 40s and Holden's character is supposed to be in his early to mid-30s.  

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1 minute ago, LawrenceA said:

Holden wasn't a big star when he filmed his part in Born Yesterday. He'd been in the business for over a decade, but he was thought of a B-level leading man at best, with his best years possibly behind him. It wasn't until Sunset Boulevard came out in August of 1950 that his star status rose, at which point Born Yesterday was already in the can, to be released that December. And still Holden received third billing under Crawford (first) and Holliday (second). Holden was much more handsome than Merrill, but I'm not sure if Columbia would have considered Holden any kind of box office guarantee. Broderick Crawford was considered a bigger star at the time, a ranking that wouldn't last long.

I love Born Yesterday, but Broderick Crawford's character is absolutely horrible.  I know that was the point, because they want you to feel bad for Judy Holliday's character, which in turn makes her end of the film triumph even sweeter, but ugh, Crawford's character is awful.  His blowhard yelling shtick actually gets kind of tiresome in the beginning.  For me, the film gets better once Holliday is under Holden's tutelage and I love the gin rummy scene between Holliday and Crawford. I can't say that Born Yesterday has ever made me purposely seek out Crawford. 

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