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Actors You Didn't Like....But Changed Your Mind


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6 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Dick Powell would make my skin crawl whenever I saw him as an ever smiling cutesy singer in any of the Busby Berkeley musicals.

Later, though, starting with Murder My Sweet, I saw him as a cynical private eye demonstrating a great facility for delivering throwaway one liners and had a major reappraisal of him as a performer. I was shocked at what a good Philip Marlowe he was, and eventually saw him in his other noirs (there weren't enough of them). Later he became a director and a major television pioneer producer and I came to realize what a major multi talent Powell was. I became envious of him, too, when I learned he was married to Joan Blondell in the '30s (let's all forget his later marriage).

And today I can even stomach him in those Berkeley musicals.

The guy had versatility and talent.

From this (when I initially had a difficult time appreciating him) . . .

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to this (in which he was one of the great screen cynics) . . .

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I love Dick Powell in his non-musical roles.  Murder My Sweet was a game changer for me too.  He's also really great in Cry Danger and Pitfall.  It's amazing how someone known for being a boyish crooner can play a disillusioned middle aged man so well.  Or maybe it's a logical progression, lol.

Dick Powell's singing voice reminds me of the other 1930s singing that I don't enjoy.  I don't know how to describe it,  other than it has kind of a tinny sound.  I don't know.  It has a very dated type sound.  Not timeless like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. 

With that said, I love him in The Golddiggers of 1933.  I only wish that I didn't have to bear the singing and "dancing" of Ruby Keeler to see Powell. But "Pettin' in the Park" is amazing and is one of my all-time favorite musical numbers.  

I'm only sad that Powell was a victim of The Conqueror

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1 hour ago, Arsan404 said:

Carole Lombard. At first I thought she was too frantic, too eager to please. Now I've learned to appreciate the energy she brought to her roles.

I agree with you here.  The very first time I saw My Man Godfrey, I found her character annoying and it was a film that I didn't return to for a long time.  Then, I don't know what happened, I gave the film a second try and suddenly found it hilarious.  The absurdity of the family juxtaposed with William Powell's calm demeanor is what makes it.  

"You're upsetting Carlo!" 

Carole Lombard is someone whose films I don't see very often on TCM.  I've seen To Be or Not to Be which was also pretty funny (and sadly, a good film to end on in Carole's case) and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which is an interesting oddity in Hitchcock's career. 

I just purchased the Universal Carole Lombard Glamour Collection and all 6 films are blind buys.  I saw it used and purchased it to go with my Mae West and Marlene Dietrich Glamour Collections.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of Lombard's work. These are the films that came in the collection: Man of the World, We're Not Dressing, Hands Across the Table, Love Before Breakfast, The Princess Comes Across, and True Confession

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10 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I just purchased the Universal Carole Lombard Glamour Collection and all 6 films are blind buys.  I saw it used and purchased it to go with my Mae West and Marlene Dietrich Glamour Collections.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of Lombard's work. These are the films that came in the collection: Man of the World, We're Not Dressing, Hands Across the Table, Love Before Breakfast, The Princess Comes Across, and True Confession

I purchased this collection as well, with Hands Across The Table my favourite. This is not the same crazy Lombard that you saw in My Man Godfrey but a far more subdued actress. This is a charming romantic comedy, with Carole giving a lovely, enchanting performance, in my opinion. This film is not as well known as some of Lombard's other films but it is well worth viewing. It was also the first of four films in which Fred MacMurray would be her co-star, with three of their films in this collection (their weakest film together, Swing High, Swing Low is missing).

screen-shot-2013-04-06-at-10-42-10-am.pn

By the way, John Barrymore has a supporting comedy role in True Confession. Barrymore, of course, (along with Howard Hawks) had been instrumental in Lombard discovering herself as a screwball comedy actress in 20th Century three years earlier. By the time this film was made, though, his career was on the decline and Carole, now a major star and grateful for the career boost he had given her, threatened to walk off the film if he was not hired.

 

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LIONEL BARRYMORE

screenshot26366.jpg

It is unfortunate that GRAND HOTEL is in such heavy rotation, because he irritates the **** out of me in this movie, so much so that it was always first and foremost in my mind when watching him in anything else for some time...

then I had the pleasure of seeing him in DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS (1949)-  a FOX FILM that I cannot recommend highly enough.

also I was also stranded home one winter's day during a DR KILDARE-A-THON on TCM and ended up watching them all, and while LEW AYRES- bless his heart- was a great guy but a B- actor, BARRYMORE can make the whole 60 minutes and change worth it by letting loose with his signature "GYYYYYYAAAAAAAAHs!" (that's the best I can phonetically translate it as, a 1930s version of "I'M TOO OLD FOR THIS ****."

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I was that way about brother JOHN in my youth.  Can't recall the first movie I saw him in it was so long ago, but I think it was because his character was such a pr*ck  I wound up not liking John Barrymore too.

Of course, seeing him many times over the years did change my mind.  But regardless of my now glowing opinion of him as an actor, I STILL don't get the "profile" thing.  Kind of reminds me of a "before" picture on the wall of a plastic surgeon.  ;) 

And too, based mostly on my mostly seeing him in various TV guest spots and such in which he usually played some kind of jerk, I disliked EARL HOLLIMAN. But eventually seeing some of his earlier work I realized he was fairly versatile as an actor.

Sepiatone

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On 8/24/2020 at 11:47 AM, chaya bat woof woof said:

I forgot to add Vincent Price to the list.  First taste of him was in horror movies.  He does a magnificent job in Laura.

love Vincent Price !  He always makes everything he's in more entertaining.  Although he was in in a lot of serious roles, I almost think of him as a comedian, maybe because he always looks like he's having a good time, whoever he's playing, even in his horror films.   Any movie with Vincent Price in it has my attention.

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Since I'm the only one (I think) to mention Nicolas Cage in a negative light on here recently, I feel I need to elaborate on the reason for my inclusion of him in my list of "bad" actors. One reason that Cage gets dragged as much as he does is precisely because he was once thought of as a good actor, an exciting performer, and known for unconventional choices. The movies listed above (Valley GirlRed Rock WestLeaving Las Vegas, etc.) are all good (although I wasn't thrilled by National Treasure), and I even consider Raising Arizona among my top two or three favorite comedies ever made. 

However, the newest film in the above lists is from 2004, and in the 16 years since, Cage has appeared in 47 movies. Of those, maybe 4 were good, while the great majority of the rest are abysmal, some as bad as the worst stuff featuring Steven Seagal or Dolph Lundren. 

I've seen 79 movies featuring Nicolas Cage, and I plan on seeing the handful of others that I've missed thus far, but he went off the rails a long time ago. Even if he manages to still make stuff I love like Mandy (which most if not all of the TCM crowd would despise).

Lawrence, I want to preface this by saying please don't think I'm arguing with you.  It's more a different point-of-view I'm about to express.  Anyway, here goes:

This is my take on artists who used to do great work and have descended into mediocrity:  it applies equally to actors, directors, writers,  songwriters, and musicians:  The way I feel about this is,  if an artist   (actor, director, writer,  etc....)   has ever produced anything outstanding, anything of excellence, anything that you still remember and can still appreciate years after the art was created   (  still watch the movie, still listen to the song,  whatever),  then they deserve a pass for whatever sub -par or even downright rubbishy work they've done since.     

I  "forgive" them  (and who am I to "forgive"?),  I choose to overlook the wretched work they've done, even if it outnumbers the great work they made previously, because I'm so grateful to them for once making me happy with their great acting, movie, song, book, whatever,  that they once made.

I apply this to Nicholas Cage, as well as to many other actors and other artists.

(Hope that didn't all sound pretentious, but there ya go.)

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I had a hard time warming up to Grace Kelley.  It wasn't that I didn't like her; I just thought she was overrated because she kept getting accolades and glowing reviews that I couldn't understand.  I only saw her in two films to base this on:  'Dial M For Murder' and 'Rear Window'.  The first picture was tough, since she was the only female of importance in the cast, and Ray Milland, Bob Cummings, and John Williams were fairly dominant in their roles.  Still, I thought her performance there was something that many other actresses could have played with equal effect.  I thought she was much better in 'Rear Window'.   Once I started getting TCM, I was exposed to more of her work.  I thought her work in 'High Noon' was similar to 'Dial M For Murder', but what blew me away was her performances in 'The Country Girl' and 'To Catch a Thief'.  I also liked her portrayals in 'High Society' and 'Mogambo'.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

I was that way about brother JOHN in my youth.  Can't recall the first movie I saw him in it was so long ago, but I think it was because his character was such a pr*ck  I wound up not liking John Barrymore too.

Might've been ROMEO AND JULIET, that is a BAD PERFORMANCE FOR THE AGES.

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It's also worth noting that from some time around 1938 or so, LIONEL BARRYMORE was confined to a wheelchair and he was STILL making BIG MOVIES into the late forties/early fifties (or so) and giving performances that absolutely transcend the limits of his physicality, rarely do you really note that he is always sitting.

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59 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

love Vincent Price !  He always makes everything he's in more entertaining.  Although he was in in a lot of serious roles, I almost think of him as a comedian, maybe because he always looks like he's having a good time, whoever he's playing, even in his horror films.   Any movie with Vincent Price in it has my attention.

I was in line at a place where I buy scratchers sometimes and there was this goth type guy in front of me with bad a** tattoos and then on his calf, there was good old VP looking at me. I loved it. 

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Does anybody else here feel the same way I do about "giving an actor a pass", so to speak, if you love their earlier movies   (or songs or whatever), even if their more recent work is sub -par ?   I make an argument for that in a post earlier on this thread   (so if anyone's  going to respond to this idea, please read my more extensive post about it above, don't just respond to this one... the earlier one goes into more detail....guess some would call that "bloviating".   🙃 )

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When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, I couldn't stand Mickey Rooney.  He seemed to be around a lot in those days, and his apparent overacting and aggressive self-importance just really turned me off -- at least, that's how I saw him then.

But back in the early 90s, the old TNT channel, which showed a lot of great classic movies before TCM came along, had a marathon of Hardy Family films.  I had seen one or two of the Hardy films before and liked them  even though I wasn't a Mickey Rooney fan.  I thought the marathon was a good chance to see the full series, so I videotaped it.

Not long after that, my wife and I bought a house in a semi-rural area where there was no cable or satellite TV in those days.  So unless we wanted to watch over-the-air channels, which we mostly avoided, we spent a lot of time watching the old movies I had taped before our move.  (Almost all the tapes had commercials, but having no choice, we didn't mind too much.)

Well, we started watching the Hardy Family series and really got hooked on it, and we both came to appreciate the huge talents of Mickey Rooney.  Paraphrasing Freddie Bartholomew's comments about Rooney in MGM: When The Lion Roars, Mickey could sing, dance, play any musical instrument, make you laugh, or tear your heart out (sometimes all in the same movie).  He was just entertaining from start to finish.

And I especially love his portrayal of Andy Hardy.  Although the Hardy heyday was decades before I was born, I really enjoy the heartwarming stories, gentle humor, and even the somewhat dated father/son talks, which actually contain some good advice.  Since watching those TNT tapes decades ago, we've graduated to commercial-free DVDs and have watched the 15 original Hardy films almost 13 times through.  We were watching Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble just last night, leaving only the last of the original series, Love Laughs at Andy Hardy, to watch before we start over again for the 14th time with the first Hardy film, A Family Affair.  (We don't usually watch the 1958 "comeback" movie of the series, Andy Hardy Comes Home.  I've seen it a couple times, but despite the good intentions, it just doesn't capture the magic of the originals.  The late Lewis Stone as Judge Hardy is really missed.)

I now really enjoy Rooney from his smaller juvenile parts like Ah Wilderness!, to musicals like Girl Crazy, to his somewhat more dramatic roles like The Human Comedy and National Velvet.  I have to admit that I haven't seen many of his movies after the 1940s, but when I do see one, I usually enjoy it.

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Leslie Howard.  My introduction to him was, as I'm sure with many, was in Gone With The Wind. I thought he was a wimp and a fop. Which, of course, was precisely what the role called for. In the years since I first saw GWTW (as a very young person) I came to appreciate his range and talent. One of my favs is The Scarlet Pimpernel.  He was both a great actor and a great human....

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9 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

This is my take on artists who used to do great work and have descended into mediocrity:  it applies equally to actors, directors, writers,  songwriters, and musicians:  The way I feel about this is,  if an artist   (actor, director, writer,  etc....)   has ever produced anything outstanding, anything of excellence, anything that you still remember and can still appreciate years after the art was created   (  still watch the movie, still listen to the song,  whatever),  then they deserve a pass for whatever sub -par or even downright rubbishy work they've done since.     

I  "forgive" them  (and who am I to "forgive"?),  I choose to overlook the wretched work they've done, even if it outnumbers the great work they made previously, because I'm so grateful to them for once making me happy with their great acting, movie, song, book, whatever,  that they once made.

 

I only focus on the great films a star has made. I choose to have a positive outlook when it comes to movies.

I have no issue with them doing a film "just for the money". I think we all would do a stinker today if paid us big money for it. Why not them ?

How many times have we read or watched a story about a star who was frustrated or even quit the business (Deanna Durbin), because they weren't able to do the material they wanted ?  Or actors who wanted to work but, only were offered subpar roles. Sometimes you have to take those mediocre roles to let people know you're out there so you can get offered better roles.

 When I think of Joan Crawford, Trog (1970) doesn't affect how I watch Mildred Pierce (1945) in the slightest.

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VERY interesting opinions here!

I especially agree with Dick Powell & Carole Lombard- I disliked Powell's goofy smugness & tinny singing voice in early movies too and just didn't like Lombard's frantic delivery. I won't NOT watch a movie with them in, but they're certainly not my favorites.

Two radical turnarounds for me were WC Fields and Mae West. I saw MY LITTLE CHICKADEE as a teen and wondered what all the fuss was about those two and avoided any movie with them for decades.

Thanks to our local film group President who has changed my mind about SEVERAL movie stars by exposing me to better examples. He scheduled a WC Fields movie and was all excited about the audience reaction. After dully stating "I hate WC Fields" he zeroed in & said, "Don't base your opinion on MY LITTLE CHICKADEE, it's the worst!" which took me totally by surprise!

pic8x.jpg

So I attended the screening and laughed my head off. The audience loved it too. Now EVERY Fields screening, I get excited to see what comic treasure it holds. 

Same exact story with Mae West. I thought she exploited herself, but soon discovered she was actually an empowering feminist! After seeing several of her movies screened with an audience, she has become one of my favorites, both as comedianne, writer & pioneering feminist. So some of my opinions were changed by seeing their better films while to some extent changed opinion because of my own maturity seeing these movies from a different perspective.

988bd77d2d0bac8cb4366273a67dd588--mae-we

 

PS so this kind of ties in with the earlier posts- why some actors/actresses won't take substandard material because it may hurt their career & reputation....in this case it only took one movie for both these greats!

my-little-chickadee-mae-west-w-c-fields-

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11 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

I only focus on the great films a star has made. I choose to have a positive outlook when it comes to movies.

I have no issue with them doing a film "just for the money". I think we all would do a stinker today if paid us big money for it. Why not them ?

How many times have we read or watched a story about a star who was frustrated or even quit the business (Deanna Durbin), because they weren't able to do the material they wanted ?  Or actors who wanted to work but, only were offered subpar roles. Sometimes you have to take those mediocre roles to let people know you're out there so you can get offered better roles.

 When I think of Joan Crawford, Trog (1970) doesn't affect how I watch Mildred Pierce (1945) in the slightest.

I agree that it's better to focus on the positive. It's also important to keep in mind that this is a business, show business after all.

Yesterday I was watching clips from Bea Arthur's interview on the Television Academy Foundation website.

She was asked the question "were there any episodes of Maude and The Golden Girls that you didn't like?"

I'm paraphrasing here-- she said there were a few poor episodes without naming them outright. She said it is inevitable in the business that as a performer you have a few clunkers on your resume. She claimed that sometimes it was about the amount of time they are given, that there simply wasn't enough time to go back and fix all the problems in the script.

Specifically, there wasn't the luxury of time in television or film that a performer has with stage work, where if the play isn't working, you can take it out of town (New York City) and workshop it somewhere on the east coast and solve the weaker aspects of the story. She also said that in television and film the reason they often don't throw out a bad script and start fresh is that the producers have all these pre-existing contracts with the unions (various technicians) and they have to film what they've got on the page, even if it's not perfect. Something has to be produced by the end of the week.

I think if you look at it the way Bea Arthur looks at it, you can see there's a reason why quality isn't always the greatest...but they try. Nobody really sets out to make a bad movie or a bad TV show. Mostly they want success, they want their careers as stars to continue.

Even Lina Lamont tried to avoid having a flop.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 1.10.56 PM.jpeg

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18 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Whaaat ?  ! ?   Are you serious ?  Wha'd I say?  Lawrence,  I went out of my way to be respectful; how could you possibly take what I said to be any kind of put-down or piece of nastiness?   I'm genuinely shocked and surprised.

Listen, all I said was,  if an artist has done fine work in the past that I've appreciated,  I give them credit for that and am likely to just overlook their later, poorer work.  I just thought it was one way to look at things, and was interested to know if others feel the same way.  I most definitely was not looking to offend or insult you in any way whatsoever, and I believe my post was clear and polite.  It's just an idea I have that I wanted to share with others and see if anyone else has a similar take about it.

Please carefully re-read my earlier post  (the longer one, the one where I go out of my way to state that I'm not out to argue with you,)   I just want to give my own personal "take" about actors who used to do good work but then descended into mediocrity or worse.   There was absolutely no insult or disrespect directed towards you.  I can only think that maybe you were having a bad day, and my perceived disagreement was the proverbial last straw.

Do please reconsider your decision.  I say again, I have done nothing to deserve this extreme reaction from you.  On the contrary, I just thought I was engaging in a discussion with you about an interesting subject regarding actors  (and other artists) whose work has altered for the worse over the years.   As far as I can recall, I have always interacted with you respectfully, and that hasn't changed.

 

I don't get Lawrence's issue either.  I didn't detect anything belligerently argumentative in any of your posts.  I usually used to see that sort of reaction on FaceBook, where most can't handle the occurrence of posts that don't fully align with  their point of view, or else take some so way out of context that the injection of reality seems like an affront. 

Sepiatone

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13 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

I don't get Lawrence's issue either.  I didn't detect anything belligerently argumentative in any of your posts.  I usually used to see that sort of reaction on FaceBook, where most can't handle the occurrence of posts that don't fully align with  their point of view, or else take some so way out of context that the injection of reality seems like an affront. 

Sepiatone

I've been thinking about this and I have a feeling Lawrence's seeming over-reaction just might have been prompted by some family health issues he recently noted he's been experiencing, and was as I recall a reason he gave for his diminished presence of late on these boards.

(...betcha our learned friend and colleague has just been worn down a bit by it all)

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I don't want to derail the thread and thought about starting another thread about tv shows you never cared about but now like ( due to re-runs) but since it still sort of fits this thread,  I wanted to say I now Love Magnum PI ( not the one on now but the original.) I always thought Tom Selleck was very handsome and sexy but for whatever reason I never paid attention to Magnum, PI all those years ago. I've been watching re-runs late at night and I love the show and I'm in love with Tom. ( of course he was in in 30's and early 40's at that time, so that helps, great eye candy LOL)

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44 minutes ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

Did you ever see Tom Selleck when he played a similar character on Rockford?  He is one actor that I liked better as both he and I got older.  I wish they would do more Jesse Stone movies.

Yeah, those Rockford episodes where Selleck played the never faltering P.I. Lance White were great. Selleck was perfect for the role, and his first big break in the biz, but the way Garner reacts to his "perfectness" with frustration and a bit of envy were hilarious.

(...btw, I've been a big fan of 'Blue Bloods' since its start...never miss a first-run episode)

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54 minutes ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

Did you ever see Tom Selleck when he played a similar character on Rockford?  He is one actor that I liked better as both he and I got older.  I wish they would do more Jesse Stone movies.

Yes I remember but I think it was only a couple of episodes he showed up in and he was charming. I always loved James Garner so much that my eye was always on him. btw, as long as we're talking about Garner, his autobiography is a very enjoyable read. Yes to the Jesse Stone movies, I agree  :)

Dargo, if you're reading this I would think you'd like Magnum PI, the cars were incredible they drove on the show.

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