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Classic cinematic representations of the "himbo"


tomorrow
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I've been thinking about the history of the himbo on film and wanted to ask the community if they could think of some early examples.

 

If you're not familiar, the definition of a himbo from Urban Dictionary:

Generally, a large (broad, tall, or buff) attractive man, who tends to be not very bright, but usually extremely nice and respectful. Think Kronk from The Emperors New Groove, or maybe a golden retriever.

 

I also like this definition (source):

A himbo isn't /just/ a stupid man. There implies a level of emotional maturity and emotional intelligence.

Just a beefy idiot is usually a jerk, someone with little empathy.

A himbo is often oblivious and a clutz, but he cares and aims to do right.

 

(Note: The "himbo" is not simply a male version of the "bimbo" because the term has positive connotations rather than more negative ones.)

 

There are two actors that come to my mind when thinking about this type of persona: Buster Crabbe and George O'Brien. I watched WE'RE RICH AGAIN (1934) w/ Crabbe and he spends the entire movie in swim trunks surrounded by people with much more clothing on as pure eye candy. He only communicates in grunts, nods, and enthusiastic smiles and doesn't say a single line until the last 3 minutes in the movie. Billie Burke asks why Buster has no clothes on and another character explains to her that he doesn't like to wear clothes because they make him feel "all choked up."

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I think this is the best example I can give for Buster but he has this "hunky but gentle" energy in a handful of his films, especially in his precodes.

I don't have any specific examples for George O'Brien (partially because I've seen way less of his films) other than maybe PARK AVENUE LOGGER (1937)? He plays a sort of stuffed shirt who secretly moonlights as a wrestler who gets shipped off to logging country by his father. He's the good guy who is able to easily best the bad guys in the film with his physical prowess and save the day.

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Anyone have any other examples? I'd especially be interested in personalities pre-1950s or even before these two guys. The characters Douglas Fairbanks played in his romantic comedies preceding his swashbucklers slightly fit the mold but Doug wasn't as beefy and as objectified as them (although he still, clearly, had an excellent body).

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It's usually the beefy, goofy/dim non-threateningly objectified boytoy characters in any female romantic comedy.   (And the fact that they have to mock/flip a female sexist slur to describe one pretty much sums up the entire reason why said movies hypocritically put one in every film.)

Chris Hemsworth has been in particular genre demand, after the '16 female Ghostbusters remake, but he can't be in every chik-flik.

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George of the Jungle was a classic himbo:

George-of-the-Jungle-brendan-fraser-2307

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins:

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Jeff Bridges in Starman:

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George Hamilton in The Light in the Piazza is essentially a himbo, subverting the stereotype of the agenda-driven Latin lover:

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One could even argue that many screen representations of Tarzan turn him into more or less of a himbo: spends all day with his shirt off, blissfully unaware of his own physical awesomeness, sweet, sincere, somewhat socially awkward.

Note that many of these examples are magnified by the himbo having somewhat of a language barrier--which gives him both an intriguing "otherness" and adds to his overall adork-ableness.

Of course, the whole premise of the himbo is predicated on a sort of too-good-to-be-true, have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario: the guy in question is beautiful to look at, totally devoted to you, idealistic in a childlike way, completely unthreatening yet physically more than able and willing to protect you, and with no trace of vanity whatsoever.

Rock Hudson's character in Pillow Talk famously pretends to be a himbo, making Doris Day all the more outraged when she discovers that he emphatically isn't (and in fact doesn't even exist).

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

What about Clark Kent, played by Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain:

Screen Shot 2021-05-29 at 7.15.23 PMScreen Shot 2021-05-29 at 7.17.00 PM

 

Dunno about Cain, but Reeve's Clark Kent was not a himbo.  Wimpy, beta male, but not dumb.

 

 

****

 

The example that springs to my mind is William Hurt's dimwit anchor in "Broadcast News".

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Although maybe not "buff" but still a reasonably physically imposing sort, I'd say Ralph Bellamy played this type more than a few times early on in his career, and such as in the film His Girl Friday here...

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Back then, he seldom ever ended up with the girl by the end of these pictures and in which he'd play the second male lead, and was usually because his character was portrayed as being a little slower on the uptake and not quite as bright than was the first male lead.

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4 hours ago, Herman Bricks said:

Vincent Price as Shelby Carpenter in LAURA

See the source image

No, he's too close to gigolo territory, since he's kind of smart and sleazy.   I would say Douglass Montgomery in  Music in the Air.   I never saw anything cuter in leiderhosen.

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13 hours ago, rosebette said:

No, he's too close to gigolo territory, since he's kind of smart and sleazy.   I would say Douglass Montgomery in  Music in the Air.   I never saw anything cuter in leiderhosen.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.imdb.com%2Ftitle%2Ftt0025536%2F&psig=AOvVaw1wvICFhW2b2CQ24PP_jHWy&ust=1622509811535000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCJDLxZne8vACFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

Vincent Price is miscast in LAURA. But that's another discussion.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Vincent Price is miscast in LAURA. But that's another discussion.

William Eythe might have been better -- younger, more handsome, definitely "himbo" type.  That was actually his role in Royal Scandal with Tallulah Bankhead.

 

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Good Lord, how could I forget Kevin Kline in "A Fish Called Wanda"?

 

"Now let me correct you on a couple of things, okay? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'. And The London Underground is not a political movement! Those are all mistakes, Otto! I looked them up."

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1 hour ago, Vidor said:

Good Lord, how could I forget Kevin Kline in "A Fish Called Wanda"?

"Now let me correct you on a couple of things, okay? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'. And The London Underground is not a political movement! Those are all mistakes, Otto! I looked them up."

Kline's Otto was not "himbo", he was Neurotically Phobic/Stereotypic John Cleese-written Depiction of Americans, while Jamie Lee Curtis got the good version.

That, and "I saw him do comedy in Pirates of Penzance, and nobody else did yet in 1988."

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1 hour ago, rosebette said:

William Eythe might have been better -- younger, more handsome, definitely "himbo" type.  That was actually his role in Royal Scandal with Tallulah Bankhead.

Perfect casting choice. So with you on this. 

Plus Eythe as a real-life homosexual would have added an energy that Clifton Webb did not have (as a less masculine real-life homosexual).

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