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why today's Hollywood film stars are lost on older people


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49 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

For example, Davis's estate at her death in 1989 was valued at just under $1M, which is about $2.08M today. 

I live close to Davis's former home in Laguna Beach.   This is where she would often come for the weekend and where her mom was staying until she passed.    

My ball park estimate is that home is worth over 2 million today.    Not questioning your 2.08 million just pointing out that beach fronted real estate in that area has escalated much more than the standard inflation rate.

 

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8 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I live close to Davis's former home in Laguna Beach.   This is where she would often come for the weekend and where her mom was staying until she passed.    

My ball park estimate is that home is worth over 2 million today.    Not questioning your 2.08 million just pointing out that beach fronted real estate in that area has escalated much more than the standard inflation rate.

 

Agree that California real estate appreciation is beyond insane.  The estate value was taken from new stories at the time.  Typically, estate valuation just takes a snapshot of property values at the time.   

My point was that today's superstars are in an entirely different net worth bracket compared with most of their studio-era predecessors, unless those studio-era stars were also involved with production efforts.   Some exceptions from that era would have been the likes of Harold Lloyd (who eventually became his own producer and very wealthy).

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I referenced the Glenn Ford biography. Eleanor Powell around 1942 was making $3500/week when she met Ford, who was making around $200/wk. 

She curtailed her career to raise their son and Ford went on to stardom. In 1958 Glenn Ford was the highest grossing  star in Hollywood.  That surprised me. He was getting  $100,000 to $250,000 per picture. Pretty good for the times.

Nevertheless he squandered millions after his star faded, mostly on wives who were more interested in his money.

The son tells the story about how Powell had to sell the family estate she got in the divorce. On the days the realtor was to show the house she and her son would clean the house top to bottom as their staff was too expensive to keep. She would be on her hands and knees scrubbing toilets in morning then spiff herself up and sit by the pool during the showings, wearing sunglasses and playing the role of Hollywood maven.

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39 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I live close to Davis's former home in Laguna Beach.   This is where she would often come for the weekend and where her mom was staying until she passed.    

My ball park estimate is that home is worth over 2 million today.    Not questioning your 2.08 million just pointing out that beach fronted real estate in that area has escalated much more than the standard inflation rate.

 

Fenwick, Connecticut 2016 173 (2).jpg

This is Katherine Hepburn's home in the village of Fenwick on the Connecticut shoreline. She lived here most of her life and died here in 2003. There was a 9 hole golf course that routed behind and around the homes and one tee box was not 15 paces from Hepburn's back patio deck. I played there a few times but never saw her around. The NYT discussed the house when it went up for sale after her death. It was extremely dated. I suspect this picture is after renovations and after the the sale as it appeared to me to be in desperate need of updating when I saw it in the 80's and 90's.

Her wealth at her death was no where near that accumulated by even the B listers of today. 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, MrMagoo said:

I referenced the Glenn Ford biography. Eleanor Powell around 1942 was making $3500/week when she met Ford, who was making around $200/wk. 

She curtailed her career to raise their son and Ford went on to stardom. In 1958 Glenn Ford was the highest grossing  star in Hollywood.  That surprised me. He was getting  $100,000 to $250,000 per picture. Pretty good for the times.

Nevertheless he squandered millions after his star faded, mostly on wives who were more interested in his money.

The son tells the story about how Powell had to sell the family estate she got in the divorce. On the days the realtor was to show the house she and her son would clean the house top to bottom as their staff was too expensive to keep. She would be on her hands and knees scrubbing toilets in morning then spiff herself up and sit by the pool during the showings, wearing sunglasses and playing the role of Hollywood maven.

Brando broke through the million dollar barrier in 1962 with Mutiny on the Bounty.  Of course, the studio system was all but dead by then.   Independent production companies accounted for half of US films by 1957.  Some studios were still putting people on contracts, but most of the big names were free agents by then, getting paid on a per-picture basis (and perhaps some sort of residual), rather than a weekly salary.  

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Personally, I don't like lumping old people (and who is included in that?) into a stereotypical group (the one insurance commercial that mocks them).  I like some of the new stars and artists (e.g., Lady Gaga) but don't care for others.  My mother would not have known some of today's stars because she doesn't want to watch some of the current films due to violence, cruelty, nudity.  We also had/have no streaming services. Years ago, stars were advised to change their names (e.g., Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, and Karl Malden).  Today, some of the rap stars' names or others are too confusing (Megan the Stallion vs. Megan Trainer (sp?), Awkwafina (sp?), Nipsy Hustle?) to remember who they are and that is why they are lost on me.  But there are some talented ones out there and some (like Abigail Breslin and Scarlet J. who were fairly young when I first saw them).

 

Happy and healthy New Year to everyone.

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18 hours ago, Janet0312 said:

You think we'll ever come across another actor like Ed Brophy? Or anyone else from the olden days? 

Thanks for reiterating my post's original point: that so many top actors were "charactors" in their way of speaking & emoting; example Cary Grant, Bette Davis, etc. The test is how easily are they imitated by impressionists? 

So many of today's stars act "real" they just come across as bland. We can connect with "bland" actors but are more easily delighted by watching actors with "charactor", like Woody Allen.

The very few actors of today that come to mind when I think of "imitate-able" characteristics are brooding Nickolas Cage, prissy Johnny Depp &  goofy Steve Buschemi. 

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

Thanks for reiterating my post's original point: that so many top actors were "charactors" in their way of speaking & emoting; example Cary Grant, Bette Davis, etc. The test is how easily are they imitated by impressionists? 

So many of today's stars act "real" they just come across as bland. We can connect with "bland" actors but are more easily delighted by watching actors with "charactor", like Woody Allen.

The very few actors of today that come to mind when I think of "imitate-able" characteristics are brooding Nickolas Cage, prissy Johnny Depp &  goofy Steve Buschemi. 

Totally agree. I've never been disappointed by a Steve Buscemi turn. He, like many from the 30's and 40's came from nothing. He was a NYC firefighter before he found acting. While he's pretty much espoused the same persona in all his roles (his most dramatic, poignant effort was in GHOST WORLD imho) he always made his character real. He must have been one of those "go to" actors for certain casting directors. "Who is Steve Buscemi? Get me Steve Buscemi. Get me someone like Steve Buscemi." 

Who today is another Steve Buscemi? The phones are open.

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22 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Watched Bette Davis last night on the Dave Cavett show.   I believe in was the late 70s.       Dave made an assumption about how it was much harder on  up-and-coming actors during the studio-era and Bette  pushed-back on that assumption.     

Wouldn't that be DICK Cavett?    Anyway.....

My guess might be that Cavett was more referring to how actors and actresses had little to no say in how the studio presented them to the public.  They had no voice in character portrayal, dialog, costuming etc.   One need look no further than the life and career of FRANCES FARMER to realize how hard it could be for up and coming actors and actresses in those days.   Y'all know as well as I that many of the "stars" in those days were so NOT based on any exceptional skill or talent in their craft, and that if "stardom' WAS based on skill and talent, than many of the ones we call "character actors" would have achieved "stardom".  and a lot of who were thought of as "stars" would have never reached that height.

Sepiatone

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This thread seems like an excuse to be ageist towards younger people.

The fact is there were LOUSY actors in the golden age of Hollywood and there are lousy actors now. Just as there were great actors back then and there are GREAT actors now.

Personally I find James Stewart and Tom Hanks both overrated. This is not to say I don't enjoy some of their films or the performances they give in those films.

I do agree with those who say Denzel Washington is a fine actor still starring in motion pictures today. But of course he's not the only one.

Screen Shot 2020-12-13 at 10.51.25 AM

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18 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This thread seems like an excuse to be ageist towards younger people.

The fact is there were LOUSY actors in the golden age of Hollywood and there are lousy actors now. Just as there were great actors back then and there are GREAT actors now.

Personally I find James Stewart and Tom Hanks both overrated. This is not to say I don't enjoy some of their films or the performances they give in those films.

I do agree with those who say Denzel Washington is a fine actor still starring in motion pictures today. But of course he's not the only one.

Screen Shot 2020-12-13 at 10.51.25 AM

I don't know that it's really an excuse, but just an acceptance of the fact that, for most of us, as we age, pop culture moves beyond us.  At least that's true for most people.  It has nothing to do with the talent level of today's actors.  It's just that they become less relevant to most people as they grow older.   Saw it happen to my grandparents,  and then my parents, and despite my attempts to "keep up", it's happening to me.

 

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31 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This thread seems like an excuse to be ageist towards younger people.

The fact is there were LOUSY actors in the golden age of Hollywood and there are lousy actors now. Just as there were great actors back then and there are GREAT actors now.

Personally I find James Stewart and Tom Hanks both overrated. This is not to say I don't enjoy some of their films or the performances they give in those films.

I do agree with those who say Denzel Washington is a fine actor still starring in motion pictures today. But of course he's not the only one.

Screen Shot 2020-12-13 at 10.51.25 AM

It's hard to find a bad Jimmy Stewart performance. Did he ever...EVER?.....play a villain? For that matter, has Tom Hanks ever played a bad guy.

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Yes and yes. Read no further if you don't want plot twists revealed!

 

Jimmy Stewart turns out to be the murderer in After the Thin Man. And Tom Hanks is the villain in the Coen Brothers' re-imagining of The Ladykillers.

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1 hour ago, MrMagoo said:

It's hard to find a bad Jimmy Stewart performance. 

I disagree, respectfully of course. I don't want to bash him since he has a lot of fans and as I said earlier I don't mind most of his film performances...but sometimes he exaggerates his characters, even when the writing is not calling for that. 

About a year ago I watched a few made-for-television movies he did in the 70s and I felt he was over-egging the pudding to show people that he was still a "star."

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1 hour ago, txfilmfan said:

I don't know that it's really an excuse, but just an acceptance of the fact that, for most of us, as we age, pop culture moves beyond us.  At least that's true for most people.  It has nothing to do with the talent level of today's actors.  It's just that they become less relevant to most people as they grow older.   Saw it happen to my grandparents,  and then my parents, and despite my attempts to "keep up", it's happening to me.

Interesting point of view. Maybe it's not so much things moving past a generation...but that a new generation has voices to represent their concerns and experiences. However, if those experiences are universal in scope, then they will still appeal to other generations of consumers. If not, then none of us would find classic film from the 1930s or 1940s relevant.

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31 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I disagree, respectfully of course. I don't want to bash him since he has a lot of fans and as I said earlier I don't mind most of his film performances...but sometimes he exaggerates his characters, even when the writing is not calling for that. 

About a year ago I watched some made-for-television movies he did in the 70s and I felt he was over-egging the pudding to show people that he was still a "star."

I have to agree with you that at the end of his career he seemed to be mimicking Rich Little mimicking him. Like he was trying to be as Jimmy Stewart-ish as he could. 

But his 30's and 40's work IMHO were outstanding.

You know who I think was given waaaay more credit than he was due? An actor who, no matter what the vehicle, always came off as exactly the same way. Humphrey Bogart.  Just me...sorry to the many who likely disagree.

I will now put on my blindfold and light a cigarette.

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30 minutes ago, MrMagoo said:

I have to agree with you that at the end of his career he seemed to be mimicking Rich Little mimicking him. Like he was trying to be as Jimmy Stewart-ish as he could. 

But his 30's and 40's work IMHO were outstanding.

You know who I think was given waaaay more credit than he was due? An actor who, no matter what the vehicle, always came off as exactly the same way. Humphrey Bogart.  Just me...sorry to the many who likely disagree.

I will now put on my blindfold and light a cigarette.

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I find Jimmy Stewart a bit too over-the-top in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939), which is arguably his most famous role. No subtlety whatsoever. But I fault Capra for that really, for not reigning him in. I think Jean Arthur gives the better performance.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.39.34 AM.jpg

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8 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.49.27 AM.png

I find Jimmy Stewart a bit too over-the-top in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939), which is arguably his most famous role. No subtlety whatsoever. But I fault Capra for that really, for not reigning him in. I think Jean Arthur gives the better performance.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.39.34 AM.jpg

I agree with you.   I also assume Capra wanted an animated performance by Stewart as a way to really drive home the message of the film.   

Nice photo of Arthur and one I don't recall ever seeing.

 

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My belief is that there are "stars" who were very competent, but also lucky in getting into movies with good directors, screenwriters and supporting casts.  Having been successful once, they could leverage that into similar good roles.

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54 minutes ago, MrMagoo said:

I have to agree with you that at the end of his career he seemed to be mimicking Rich Little mimicking him. Like he was trying to be as Jimmy Stewart-ish as he could. 

But his 30's and 40's work IMHO were outstanding.

You know who I think was given waaaay more credit than he was due? An actor who, no matter what the vehicle, always came off as exactly the same way. Humphrey Bogart.  Just me...sorry to the many who likely disagree.

I will now put on my blindfold and light a cigarette.

 

25 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.49.27 AM.png

I find Jimmy Stewart a bit too over-the-top in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939), which is arguably his most famous role. No subtlety whatsoever. But I fault Capra for that really, for not reigning him in. I think Jean Arthur gives the better performance.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 7.39.34 AM.jpg

 

14 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I agree with you.   I also assume Capra wanted an animated performance by Stewart as a way to really drive home the message of the film.   

Nice photo of Arthur and one I don't recall ever seeing.

 

Re: James Stewart.

I would agree with this.  I have seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington exactly once and after seeing it, I didn't feel the need to watch it again.  I thought both Jean Arthur and Claude Rains were excellent, but I got tired of Jimmy Stewart's character when he was on screen.  To me, he really milked the famous filibuster scene. I know that his Oscar for The Philadelphia Story is seen as consolation for losing the Oscar for 'Mr. Smith.' I would agree with this consensus only because in 'Mr. Smith' he gave the type of performance that Oscar loves to reward.  I like Jimmy Stewart, but I find that he never even ranks my top 10 when I make a list of favorite actors. It's a Wonderful Life doesn't usually rank among my must see Christmas films either.  The film is fine and I like it, but I can take it or leave it.  I do like him in The Philadelphia Story, but I really liked him in The Naked Spur and Rear Window.  He seemed to take on a darker persona in his 1950s roles that I found interesting.  I also liked him as the out of touch father in Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation and Take Her, She's Mine.

I think I find Jimmy Stewart's "aw shucks" persona tiresome at times.  But I don't dislike him.  But it could be that he benefited from appearing in a lot of movies that I like, not particularly because he gave such a great performance that he made me like the film. 

Re: Humphrey Bogart's persona

I agree that he does always play the same type of person.  I guess that doesn't bother me though because I love that persona that he conveys. I guess if one were to rank actors on versatility, then Bogart would probably fail.  Though, while he seemed to play the same person, that personality seemed to work in a variety of genres.  However, at that time, a lot of actors had a specific personality (whether it was real or manufactured by the studio) and they basically played the same type of person no matter what the film was. 

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Stewart will always be a GOAT for me just because of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. A SHOP AROUND THE CORNER as well.

I was never overwhelmed by his westerns. I've never heard Ron Howard talk about the fact that he was in a movie with John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Lauren Bacall and Richard Boone (in fact, Ron Howard shoots Richard Boone!). THE SHOOTIST.

I did not find THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALENCE all that convincing. He was too old to be the young Ransom Stoddard. Likewise, in HOW THE WEST WAS WON, he seemed oddly old to be wooing Karl Maulden's daughter (Carrol Baker). But then so was Gary Cooper to Grace Kelly in HIGH NOON.  Again, I know I'm preaching blasphemy. 

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, his Hitchcock work, and I just saw BORN TO DANCE (cuz I love Eleanor Powell and Buddy Ebsen ) are all part of my favorite JS films.

 

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