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Rick2400

Fred MacMurray

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Fred MacMurray, the Body Beautiful?

 

Here's something I didn't expect to find, a 1942 Photoplay magazine in which Fred was one of six finalists in the magazine's promotional "search" for the best male figure in Hollywood.

 

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The three judges were a doctor, Victor Heiser, tennis champ Alice Marble and boxer Jack Dempsey.

 

The other five finalists besides Fred: Johnny Weissmuller, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Robert Taylor and George Brent. Flynn was declared the winner.

 

Never really thought of Fred as a particularly hunky guy but there he is coupled with the likes of Flynn, Gable and Tarzan.

This was probably around the time of filming NO TIME FOR LOVE,.in which Fred.bares his rather impressive physique in his role as a member of a crew mining a.tunnel (or something like that); there must've been plenty of publicity stills of the mud splattered, bared torsoed Fred then making the rounds.

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While I don't think Fred MacMurray is ugly by any means, I wouldn't call him a hunk either.  I don't know, I feel the term "hunk" should be applied to someone whose looks are extraordinary.  Fred MacMurray just seems like an attractive (not super hot, but not ugly) nice guy.  Though, he for some reason in many of his films he's somewhat of a pushover or at least timid. Look how easily swayed he was by Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity !

 

I really liked his collaborations with Stanwyck and Claudette Colbert.  I just hope that my TCM is restored soon so that I don't miss too many more films. This is very frustrating.

 

At the risk of another semantic derailment of this thread, a la villain/heavy my impression of "hunk" had more to do with physique than handsomeness per se. If so, then Fred's physique in the 30s and 40s could justifiably be called thaf of a hunk.

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March is considered one of the best actors ever......You should change your name back to the original 'Mack the Knife". Much more apropos.

Oh, come now. Is there really a need to make this personal? A rhetorical question, not in need of an answer.  I think my distaste for Fredric March is based in something like an "agist" prejudice which would simply not allow me to believe him opposite Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch.  So, okay, go ahead and charge me with being envious. Only, I never did feel jealous of Alan Ladd in The Blue Dahlia, instead, I just kept thinking stuff like, "How lucky can a short guy get?"

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It's unfair because it is biased. And it is inaccurate. Technically, screwball (like noir) had its roots in the silent era. But of course the ones who want to keep pushing the 30s are not going to acknowledge that. Or else they will redefine it so that technological advances (sound) or economic and political issues (the great depression) are used-- items unique to the 30s-- in order to disqualify the earlier pictures. And we are not even getting into the fact that if screwball reached its peak in the 30s, these people situate it in cinema when we have no reason to doubt it did not occur in literature and radio programs as well, Thus, what we end up with is the same argument that IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and MY MAN GODREY are classic screwball and everything else does not count.

 

Well I never said everything else does not count.   That would be a silly non nuanced POV to have.   Of course all art forms have their 'roots' in the forms that came before them.  

 

 Anyhow you appear to have a beef with these 'ones who want,,,' and since that doesn't include me I have nothing else to say since you don't wish to have a discussion with me on the topic but instead those 'ones' that are not at this forum.

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Oh, come now. Is there really a need to make this personal? A rhetorical question, not in need of an answer.  I think my distaste for Fredric March is based in something like an "agist" prejudice which would simply not allow me to believe him opposite Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch.  So, okay, go ahead and charge me with being envious. Only, I never did feel jealous of Alan Ladd in The Blue Dahlia, instead, I just kept thinking stuff like, "How lucky can a short guy get?"

 

Getting DGF to take something personal is a first around here.   I don't know if you should be rewarded or shamed!   (I lean towards the former).

 

March is one of the top actors of his generation but to me he was miscast in I Married a Witch.     Ladd and Lake did make a great team mostly because Ladd didn't have to stand on a box to film their scenes together.

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It's unfair because it is biased. And it is inaccurate. Technically, screwball (like noir) had its roots in the silent era. But of course the ones who want to keep pushing the 30s are not going to acknowledge that. Or else they will redefine it so that technological advances (sound) or economic and political issues (the great depression) are used-- items unique to the 30s-- in order to disqualify the earlier pictures. And we are not even getting into the fact that if screwball reached its peak in the 30s, these people situate it in cinema when we have no reason to doubt it did not occur in literature and radio programs as well, Thus, what we end up with is the same argument that IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and MY MAN GODREY are classic screwball and everything else does not count.

Yes, film noir.and.screwball comedy had antecedents going back to the 20s; nothing of this nature emerges fully formed. However, as defined, these genres each have a set of traits that mark them thus; earlier movies will.not have many (or most) of these traits,.and cannot therefore be called noir or screwball. Screwball comedy can be seen as coming into its own as a genre, a variety of romantic.comedy, at the time of the institution of the production code, in 1934. It was a way to get around the code, in dealing with male/female relationships. The classic period lasted through the end of the decade, although even by then, critics (and audiences) were becoming disenchanted with the repetitious nature, and concommitent staleness, of the genre. By the 40s, the mood of the country was no longer one to tolerate the foibles of the rich,.runaway heiresses, etc. Not that the postwar comedies couldn't be considered screwball, but they were pale imitations of the prime examples overall. In fact, late 40s/early 50s comedies in the screwball vein were of the reasons that helped kill the moviegoing habit for many. Later 50s remakes, often featuring inferior heroines (to the original actresses) such as June Allyson, showed how missing was the magic of the 30s originals.

 

Yes, there are.romantic comedies today that could.be.considered screwball. But they should be called.something else, (neo screwball?), and are, usually just romantic comedy. Self conscious attempts at.making screwball, after the studio era,.such as WHATS UP DOC or WHOS THAT GIRL,.are just that,.self.conscious attempts.at.a genre.whose raison.d'etre has long past.

 

The definition of classic screwball comedy has long been set; the attmepts at.redefinition are by those wanting to include others outside the original parameters of the definition of the genre.

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Yes, film noir.and.screwball comedy had antecedents going back to the 20s; nothing emerges fully formes. However, as defined, these genres each have a set of traits that mark them thus; earlier movies will.not have ma.y (or most) of these traits,.and cannot therefore be callwd noir or screwball. Screwball comedy can be seen as coming into its own as a genre, a variety of romantic.comedy, at the time of the institution of the production code, in 1934. It was a way to get around the code, in dealing with male/female relationships. The classic period lasted through the end of the decade, although even by then, critics (and audiences) were becoming disenchanted with the repetitious nature, and concommtent staleness, of the genre. By the 40s, the mood of the country was no longer one to tolerate the foivles of the rich,.runaway heiresses, etc. Not that the postwar comedies couldn't be considered screwball, but they were pale imitations of the prime examples overall. In fact, late 40s/early 50s comedies in the screwball vein were of the reasons that helped kill the moviegoing habit for many. Later 50s remakes, often featuring inferior heroines (to the original actresses) such as June Allyson, showed how missing the magic of the 30s originals.

 

Yes, there are.romantic comedies today that could.be.considered screwball. But they should be called.something else, (neo screwball?), and are, usually just romantic comedy. Self conscious attempts at.making screwball, after the studio era,.such as WHATS UP DOC or WHOS THAT GIRL,.are just that,.self.conscious attempts.at.a genre.whose raison.d'etre has long past.

Arturo,

 

You brought up an interesting point about the remakes (especially the ones from June Allyson Remakes R Us). I wasn't particularly referring to those films but yes they can be seen as somewhat of an extension of the genre in its purest form. I agree that they often lack the magic of the original versions.

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Well I never said everything else does not count.   That would be a silly non nuanced POV to have.   Of course all art forms have their 'roots' in the forms that came before them.  

 

 Anyhow you appear to have a beef with these 'ones who want,,,' and since that doesn't include me I have nothing else to say since you don't wish to have a discussion with me on the topic but instead those 'ones' that are not at this forum.

I have a beef with people who try to narrowly define a movement in film to a specific decade. I have no beef with you, however! I might have a piece of chicken with you, though. Wanna meet me later at Kentucky Fried? :)

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I guess it's clearly a sign that Fred had "arrived" by 1940 when he was one of a number of stars caricatured in Warners' Malibu Beach Party.

 

Here he is in his swim suit frolicing with some other stars:

 

01_zps82de6c5f.jpg

 

What a hunk!

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Getting DGF to take something personal is a first around here.   I don't know if you should be rewarded or shamed!   (I lean towards the former).

 

March is one of the top actors of his generation but to me he was miscast in I Married a Witch.     Ladd and Lake did make a great team mostly because Ladd didn't have to stand on a box to film their scenes together.

Heh-Heh. :-)  Yeah, well, I'll smoke the peace pipe if (he or she) will.  Right, I mean, imagine how tough that could be on any actress other than one with a father fixation to emote romantically toward somebody nearly old enough to be her grand-dad? She did remarkably well, adorably well, despite the challenge. I just don't think there has been an actress on the screen ever who suits my ideal for the adorable more than Veronica Lake.  And such a sad end she came to! Working as a waitress in a New York diner, for the godsake? Ever hear about that? Scuttlebutt is that she had something of the fight and fury of a Frances Farmer in her, which turned all the studio big shots against her. Who knew? Who could ever tell from what we see of her on screen?

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I have a beef with people who try to narrowly define a movement in film to a specific decade. I have no beef with you, however! I might have a piece of chicken with you, though. Wanna meet me later at Kentucky Fried? :)

 

Well I agree that much too often critics and other so call people 'in the know' as it relates to American movies try to narrowly define a movement to a specific decade.    My guess is that they do so to "dumb it down" but by doing so their POV often lacks a degree of nuance.    (I think they also do this as a way to sell their books). 

 

That being said I'm still of the opinion that most comedies made after WWII and into the 50s lacked the freegoing type of magic the great 30s comedies had and that the jokes and scenes feel somewhat forced in comparison.    I do admit to being biased toward 30s comedies.     You see it is a chicken \ egg type thing:  When I first got into 'classic' movies I found the 30s comedies of Powell and Loy,  Lombard (especially her films with Fred) and the Marx Brothers.   This lead to other 30s comedies.    I didn't really view many 40s and 50s comedies until much later and even than most of my focus for those decades was toward noir films.  

 

(ok,  maybe chicken \ egg doesn't really work here but I just had to get a chicken in there!).

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Oh, come now. Is there really a need to make this personal? A rhetorical question, not in need of an answer.  I think my distaste for Fredric March is based in something like an "agist" prejudice which would simply not allow me to believe him opposite Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch.  So, okay, go ahead and charge me with being envious. Only, I never did feel jealous of Alan Ladd in The Blue Dahlia, instead, I just kept thinking stuff like, "How lucky can a short guy get?"

March was, like, 43 when he played opposite Lake in I MARRIED A WITCH. The various senior citizens who played opposite Audrey (Bogart, Cooper, Grant) were a lot less believable.

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March was, like, 43 when he played opposite Lake in I MARRIED A WITCH. The various senior citizens who played opposite Audrey (Bogart, Cooper, Grant) were a lot less believable.

 

What you say is true.   So what!     I still say March was miscast in the role. 

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March never had that light comic touch.

 

I agree.   Our man Fred would have been a much better fit than March in the role.   Too bad Fredric won out over Fred!

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March never had that light comic touch.

Frederic March was terrific as the cynical reporter in Nothing Sacred, a great combination with Carole Lombard.

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Frederic March was terrific as the cynical reporter in Nothing Sacred, a great combination with Carole Lombard.

 

I agree that Frederic March was terrific in Nothing Sacred,  but as you noted his character was a cynical reporter.   Carole was the screwball in this comedy and the characters they were playing, as well as how they played them, balanced each other out.

 

I just don't see the same type of chemistry with Lake in I Married a Witch.  (of course Lake wasn't near the actress Lombard was).

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I agree that Frederic March was terrific in Nothing Sacred,  but as you noted his character was a cynical reporter.   Carole was the screwball in this comedy and the characters they were playing, as well as how they played them, balaced each other out.

 

I just don't see the same type of chemistry with Lake in I Married a Witch.  (of course Lake wasn't near the actress Lombard was).

Terrific or otherwise, he had a heavy comic touch (although he was not a heavy)

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Terrific or otherwise, he had a heavy comic touch (although he was not a heavy)

 

LOL

 

(...okay DGF...lets not start THAT whole thing again!!!) ;)

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LOL

 

(...okay DGF...lets not start THAT whole thing again!!!) ;)

By saying that March (and also Lombard) had a heavy comic touch, I mean that they seemed to be telegraphing their lines before they delivered them, as if it say, "This is really going to be funny".

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Terrific or otherwise, he had a heavy comic touch (although he was not a heavy)

only one e in fredric there be. :D

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By saying that March (and also Lombard) had a heavy comic touch, I mean that they seemed to be telegraphing their lines before they delivered them, as if it say, "This is really going to be funny".

 

I agree with you about March (but not Lombard);    As I said in Nothing Scared he is the straight guy and a light comic touch isn't required.   Someone like MacMurray,  who had a light comic touch, may not have worked as well in that specific role.   

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