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does actors life style affect your viewing of their movie


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I was wondering if the what an actor does or their behavior off the screen affects whether you enjoy their movies. for instance I can not watch Joan Crawford movies. I watch her thinking she nuts and just finshed beating the kids. Robert Downey Jr, I keep thinking he is on something while he is delivering his lines. In his case I can still enjoy his work but the thoughts are still there. I get a a little depressed watching Inger Stevens in movies knowing such a beautiful talent took her own life.

 

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As far as Im concerned, they are two different things. The reality of their life offscreen never really had any bearing on the fantasy created onscreen, as the examples of Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, etc. indicate. No matter what may have transpired, these were professional actors, and the really good ones let their personalities show through anyway.

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This is an excellent topic, and yes, there are certain stars who I find are difficult to watch. Rex Harrison is one. It's fairly well known that he had an affair with Carole Landis, but broke up with her after she got pregnant by him. She then took her own life since she was so upset over him among other things. He was actually an outcast in Hollywood for many years because of this. It wasn't until "My Fair Lady" (in which he was brilliant) that he was really welcomed back to Hollywood. So regardless of how good he is in his films, I still think about the beautiful but obviously vulnerable Carole Landis, and how dishonorably he acted towards her.

 

Another one is George Sanders. Every time I watch him I wonder why he committed suicide. I can't understand it. And that crazy note he left - I'm bored - what? You're a movie star married to a beautiful blonde - what more do you want? Also Lupe Velez - she was a beautiful actress - why? I suppose many of the stars that committed suicide were seriously depressed, which would definitely be an explanation for their unfortunate suicides.

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Then again I think about the fame and fortune some of them had (especially during the depression). The big cars, the hot-cha-cha nightclubs, romping all night, the palatial homes etc.

George Sanders had his share of wine, women and song (good for him), Lupe Velez swung on the vines with Tarzan himself and might I add quite a few others (good for her),

Carole Landis had her choice of most of the men in Hollywood and chose a married man (how unfortunate, should have known better in such a town), Crawford had her cake and ate it too (worked hard and reaped the rewards) and so on and so on.

We should be so lucky to have just one day and night of such a life. A bit of paradise goes a long way.

I'll go on enjoying their films, which is what is was all about in the first place and think about the good times.

May they all rest in peace.

 

Mongo

 

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Oddly, I do wish that I knew LESS about certain actor's lifestyle on the contemporary scene. For example, my enjoyment of Woody Allen movies has definitely diminished in recent years. But still, "Annie Hall" is a funny movie. "Crimes and Misdemeanors" seems to be Allen's attempt to wrestle with his own conscience--a struggle that he seems to have lost.

 

Yet, when reading about some classic actors' scrapes, I usually guess they did what they thought they had to in order to get through life in the fast lane. I just ask myself: Would I have had the ability to avoid such temptations as these men and women met on a daily basis?

 

Evidence of racism and an eagerness to participate in McCarthyism STILL bothers me, however--though it doesn't stop me from watching and enjoying an actor's work. I think my viewing is more influenced by my reading about some of the egos of some actors...but then, if they didn't believe that their needs and wants and talent were the center of the universe, how would these folks ever have cultivated the drive needed to succeed in this tough, tough profession?

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I agree with you Mongo... actors' private, personal, or even public lives...shouldn't affect one's regard on their jobs and movies....I just cant't stand when some people tend to dismiss some filmakers' or actors' jobs, making disgusting remarks, because of their private affairs (i.e.: Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson, Norma Shearer, Elia Kazan, etc..) One cannot judge other people...and their work is independent of their mistakes, choices, etc...

 

Well.... talking about this item...I just love George Sanders' screen persona ("The Ghost & Mrs. Muir", "All About Eve", "Son Of Fury", etc..)... in spite of what my grandfather told me about him...my grandpa was born in 1916 (he died in 1996) and when he was a little kid he was in a German School in a city of the south a Chile, and George Sanders also was in it, although much older...and he told me this story about Sanders behaving cowardly, and letting a schoolmate die by drowning?...I don't remember it well, but since my grandpa knew I was very fond of classic american movie actors (since I was kid), he always told me stories about the films he saw, his fave actresses (Crawford his personal favorite), and this story about Sanders, whom he detested!!

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In most cases, I don't think of their personal lifestyle. I can remember a major reference book on Gary Cooper years back, in which the author dismisses the casting of Cooper in Peter Ibbetson. As the title character, Cooper is a grown man who's never gotten over being separated from his childhood sweetheart. It's suggested that he's gone on with his life and career, but romantically has never even sought a replacement for her. The author states that Cooper doesn't look like the type who would spend years thinking back to an old love, obviously influenced by Cooper's personal reputation as a playboy, and this greatly impacted his review of the film. However, this title appears quite frequently on these boards as a film which fans especially appreciated or request to see again, so it's apparent that many views can differentiate Cooper from his character.

 

The only film I can think of where I've been influenced by personal reputation is The Great Dictator, in Charlie Chaplin's closing speech. Reading a lot over the years about Chaplin's (obviously naive) feelings that the basic Communism principles of guaranteed food on every table sounded promising, this speech leaves me uneasy. I feel that Chaplin is suddenly leaving the character of the timid Jewish barber and speaking as himself (in a manner that is far more passionate than the barber has been depicted as up to then), from Chaplin's own personal view. I don't know why this simple utopian speech comes across as political to me, but it just does.

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I didn't mean to imply that I think badly of the stars that committed suicide. It is just something that I think about whenever I watch one of their films. George Sanders is a perfect example of an actor who was so brilliant, that it is difficult to understand why he would commit suicide. Obviously he had personal problems, but he never let them interfere with his acting. As for Woody Allen, I think he is a brilliant filmmaker - one of the best, and even though I don't really like him as a person, I don't let it bother me as I watch his movies. His films are great no matter how he lives his life, and no matter how much I may disagree with his lifestyle. And as some of you stated, that's all that matters - if you are enjoying a persons work, why let their personal life get in the way - after all, it's their life, and who are we to pass judgment. I'm sure that for all the fame and fortune, it must be really tough to live in the spotlight. And think about it - these people have their scandals and problems - but it is no more or less than anyone else, it's just that everyone else's problems are not spread all over the media and thrust down everyone's throats for all eternity.

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Rarely. I really enjoy old Woody Allen flicks but I have found I'm less receptive to his newer films and I do believe that is because of his personal scandals. Generally though I could care less. I don't care what Norma Shearer did, because she's brilliant onscreen. Rock Hudson's personal life never enters my mind when I see his movies. Judy Garland's problems I never think about. I think the problem with Allen and with Joan Crawford is that they both play characters very close to themselves so you are constantly reminded of their personal issues.

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Kavan - You made a very good point about Allen and Crawford. And I have to ask - twice now Norma Shearer has been mentioned. What was so scandalous about her personal life. Is it because she married Irving Thalberg? Or because she hit on Mickey Rooney? I'm a big fan of hers, and I never heard of any major scandal regarding her life. Can someone fill me in?

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I don't think it was so much scandal as the fact Shearer apparently chased after every man she worked with after Thalberg's death. She was notorious in her pursuit of Clark Gable. Complicated Women says one of her costars wanted battle pay because he spent so much time fending off her advancing.

 

The other thing that gets tossed up is the theory Joan Crawford advanced that Shearer only got her parts because of her marriage. It's nonsense but many believed it for years.

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I'll say one thing...the knowledge of Rock Hudson's sexual preference certainly DOES affect my viewing of his films. When he has a romantic scene how can you NOT wonder if he is grossed out ,or pretending his leading lady is a man? I'm not condeming him, or saying I like his movies less, but these kinds of thoughts do change my viewing experience.

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Well, because we live in a time that any celebrity's life style or behavior is public knowledge by dawn the next day, I prefer to overlook that stuff when it comes to film-making and acting. All I'm interested in when I watch a movie is how well the movie has been made, and how good the performances are in the movie. Aside from this, who cares?

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  • 18 years later...

If we were incapable of separating the Art from the artist we would be discarding a great deal of art that has been created from the caves of Lascaux to today.

We are all human. We have likes and dislikes. Turn-ons and turn-offs.  This cannot help but cloud ( or clear ) our lens.

We have the perfect right to "feel" personally anything about any artist as person.

We owe it to posterity and the love of Art to appraise it objectively and by its own merits. 

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I would generally say no. If it's a movie I like, I'll watch it. Doesn't mean I won't have certain thoughts about the performers in their actual lives occasionally surface while watching, but I don't think I've ever not watched a movie for those reasons.

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I've enjoyed reading the replies on this rather interesting "old time" thread.

I do sometimes consider something that happened in the star's life if it seems to affect something on screen. 

Example: when I watch new episodes of The Connors I can't help but think what it's like for John Goodman, Laurie Metcalfe and Sara Gilbert to do this show without Roseanne. They owe their success to her, and if she hadn't done something so wrong, she would still be there leading them. Her creative DNA is all over The Connors but of course she is conspicuously absent.

I am hoping that when they eventually conclude, maybe they can bring Roseanne back for a gotcha ending in the very last scene.

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In most cases, I'd rather not know.   I don't want to pay attention to gossip.   But let's say it's something that's incontrovertible, that is well-established as fact.

It depends.  For things like known little foibles, or an actor's vastly different political outlook, or something, that rarely, if ever, affects my enjoyment or evaluation of their performances.   Of course, I may personally think "less well" of them for these reasons, but I can divorce that from recognition of sheer talent.  An example for me, might be Barbra Streisand;   while she may not be my personal cup of tea, I bow before her singing prowess.

If it's something really vile, corrupt--  that tends to color my view enough to make the person not palatable to watch.   I'm thinking of an actress who was troubled, very talented who, by all accounts, sexually abused her own stepson who was a minor.   (Not using names since I don't want to sling mud if I don't know 100 %.)   Something like that is a deal-breaker for me.       

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I try really hard not to let an actor or actresses personal life affect my appreciation of them in the movies.  The misconduct of an actor or actress would have to be pretty extreme for me to cancel them out.  This also goes for directors too.  Certainly, Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen are surrounded by controversy but I don't let this cloud my views of their films many of which are masterful.  I'm also skeptical of "tell all" books written by relatives, associates, etc..  How do we really know for sure?

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On 7/17/2003 at 7:00 AM, moviejoe79 said:

And as some of you stated, that's all that matters - if you are enjoying a persons work, why let their personal life get in the way - after all, it's their life, and who are we to pass judgment. I'm sure that for all the fame and fortune, it must be really tough to live in the spotlight. And think about it - these people have their scandals and problems - but it is no more or less than anyone else, it's just that everyone else's problems are not spread all over the media and thrust down everyone's throats for all eternity.

^^^ worth repeating.

Also often to be successful in "the biz" takes more determination & tenacity than most any other job. An actor and even director must retain huge levels of confidence just to get through the daily barrage of rejections and conflicts without deflating. Not many shy, insecure people "make it". This focused self centeredness can develop into autocratic personal behaviour.

I certainly don't condone it, but it doesn't ruin my enjoyment of their work.

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On 7/16/2003 at 7:08 AM, moviejoe79 said:

This is an excellent topic, and yes, there are certain stars who I find are difficult to watch. Rex Harrison is one. It's fairly well known that he had an affair with Carole Landis, but broke up with her after she got pregnant by him. She then took her own life since she was so upset over him among other things. He was actually an outcast in Hollywood for many years because of this. It wasn't until "My Fair Lady" (in which he was brilliant) that he was really welcomed back to Hollywood. So regardless of how good he is in his films, I still think about the beautiful but obviously vulnerable Carole Landis, and how dishonorably he acted towards her.

 

Another one is George Sanders. Every time I watch him I wonder why he committed suicide. I can't understand it. And that crazy note he left - I'm bored - what? You're a movie star married to a beautiful blonde - what more do you want? Also Lupe Velez - she was a beautiful actress - why? I suppose many of the stars that committed suicide were seriously depressed, which would definitely be an explanation for their unfortunate suicides.

I agree with not enjoying Rex Harrison because of the shameful manner in which he treated Carole Landis (really like her movies), but then I didn't like Harrison movies much before I discovered this.

As for as actors committing suicide, that does not bother me in the least when I watch one of their movies.  Can say the same for sexual orientation and so forth.  Really enjoy most Sanders movies, particularly The Saint and The Falcon ones.

Never liked Ronald Reagan much to begin with, but his presidency completely turned me off to any of his movies.   

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I'm only really affected at times if I am watching a particular actor or actress, aware of some sad or tragic circumstances that awaited them in the future. For example, I can be watching a John Garfield film and feel quite sad knowing the tragic circumstances of his being blacklisted and dying an early death.

But I can't see myself refusing to watch a film because an actor/actress is in it who did something in their personal life of which I may disapprove.

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