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Which stars from the past would make it/fail today?

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I think we can safely say that if a young Cary Grant was starting out today in Hollywood, he would probably be just as big.

 

I don't think Marie Dressler would be a hit if she was new to modern audiences, because of her looks and age...she would be a victim of the youth craze and be stuck in character parts. There is no way Marie Dressler would be a top-earning star at any major studio today. And I love her, but I think that's the hard truth about it.

 

I think if Margaret O'Brien were starting out today, she'd be a hit. She has that perfect, timeless childlike innocence that works in any age.

 

I think Gene Tierney would be a smash hit, mostly because of her classic look, and same is true for Grace Kelly.

 

I don't know if John Wayne would hit as big today, especially since Hollywood is much more liberal now than ever.

 

Errol Flynn would be all the rage. The only difference is that instead of three wives, he would have gone through nine wives and even more affairs...and he would be the National Enquirer's favorite front cover boy.

 

Marilyn Monroe would be a hit for sure...and she'd be the only one to consistently push Errol Flynn off the front cover of the gossip rags.

 

I wonder if Spencer Tracy would be such a big star? Maybe he'd be more of a character actor instead of a lead because he's not classically handsome and he's overweight.

 

Impish Mickey Rooney would be a smash hit in any age.

 

I wonder how the more 'normal' actresses like Donna Reed or Barbara Bel Geddes would fare if they were starting out in today's Hollywood...? They are so not Lindsay Lohans, you know.

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John Wayne would definately not make it in today's world, there's NO demand for westerns, so that would probably exclude all other western stars.

 

Big stars that were known for a glamorous appearence would probaly be the most popular.

 

Spencer Tracy would do exactly as you said....probably just always be the backround guy to someone like Clark Gable or Cary Grant.

 

Now see, some of the biggest names in the Biz may have not been the biggest names in the biz if they were in today's world.

 

Edited by: charliechaplin101 on Aug 15, 2010 1:32 PM

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There are occasional westerns and war pics, so maybe a John Wayne type would have at least a marginal career in Hollywood.

 

I didn't mean to sound harsh about Spencer Tracy's weight...other overweight actors in recent decades have made a splash, like John Candy and John Goodman. But when they get cast in the lead role, it's usually in some silly comedy and they are not used as a serious romantic lead. The Tracy-Hepburn pairing would not get so much attention from today's Hollywood, they would be focusing on her and Cary Grant.

 

And back to Marie Dressler, she is truly one of my favorites. But aside from Marjorie Main and maybe Marjorie Rambeau to a lesser extent, we really have not had this kind of actress again in movies. At least not one so popular.

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I can't imagine someone like William Powell being a star today. His urbane, dapper style wouldn't cut it with today's audience -- and studios aren't making the type of movies he excelled in.

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Well Powell would be perfect on a show like Mad Men with that urbane, dapper style, but otherwise that type of style isn't found much today.

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I think we can say that some of these stars had enough raw talent that they could've adapted to genres that are popular today...I am sure William Powell could've been good in a Law and Order tv series. But the witty, sophisticated screwball comedies at the height of his career, that would not be duplicated now.

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> {quote:title=VP19 wrote:}{quote}

> I can't imagine someone like William Powell being a star today. His urbane, dapper style wouldn't cut it with today's audience -- and studios aren't making the type of movies he excelled in.

 

Agreed!

 

To be honest, I don't think several of the "greatest of all time" types would make it today because I think that actors of yesterday took themselves seriously and this showed in their acting. Of course there was the studio system to help sweep their dirt under the carpet, but for the most part the Grants, Powells, Ameches, McCreas.....they don't offer the type of scandal that one needs today to be a star. Shows like "Access Hollywood" are really only 30% about new projects, films etc and 70% gossip. The same news magazine that shows the paparazi pics of an actress that put on weight recently in St Tropez on a yacht with cellulite is interviewing them 6 months later when they are promoting their new film. I don't get it.

 

Also, the classic era seemed to be more sensitive about issues like mental illness or tragedy. Today it is often sensationalized. Actors who worked with Gene Tierney really had positive things to say about her and were helpful during her illness. Today she would be exploited, followed day in night - from Whole Foods to Starbucks to the dentist, being photographed by the paparazzi. She'd spend less time in films and most time being famous for being famous. A very sad reality about Hollywood of Today vs Golden Era.

Of course, the quality quite a bit of the scripts today are almost laughable compared to 50+ years ago.

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The unspoken question here is really about style. Would actor X, with their style of acting make it today? Some styles would, but some would not. The thing is, if any classic actor you care name had been born later, and come of age at a time that they would be acting today, surely their style would be quite different. Then the question becomes, did a particular actor have a depth and range, beyond just a popular style? I think that any who did would, given the right breaks, be recognized as a fine actor today. But, their style would likely be quite different.

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I think Cary Grant had this depth. He took his parts seriously but never himself too seriously and I think that's why he was able to execute screwball comedy so well. I could see a middle aged Grant in one of these comedies with small children that have been put out in the last decade with stars like Martin Lawrence, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy etc. His films such as MR BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE, HOUSE BOAT, AND FATHER GOOSE could all be made modernized, with Grant playing the leading role, and be a success.

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Imagine Jack Nicholson and either Kathy Bates or Rosie ODonnel doing a remake of an old Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler film. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

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Rosie O'Donnell and John Goodman doing TUGBOAT ANNIE would be a smash hit.

 

And actually, Rosie O'Donnell could remake some of Patsy Kelly's movies...Rosie reminds me a lot of Patsy Kelly.

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> {quote:title=charliechaplin101 wrote:}{quote}

> John Wayne would definately not make it in today's world, there's NO demand for westerns, so that would probably exclude all other western stars.

>

> Big stars that were known for a glamorous appearence would probaly be the most popular.

>

> Spencer Tracy would do exactly as you said....probably just always be the backround guy to someone like Clark Gable or Cary Grant.

>

 

>

> Edited by: charliechaplin101 on Aug 15, 2010 1:32 PM

 

I don't know about Spencer Tracy. Everytime I think of him, I think of Tom Hanks. He might have that everyman kind of appeal.

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> {quote:title=ClassicViewer wrote:}{quote}

> Rosie O'Donnell and John Goodman doing TUGBOAT ANNIE would be a smash hit.

>

> And actually, Rosie O'Donnell could remake some of Patsy Kelly's movies...Rosie reminds me a lot of Patsy Kelly.

 

 

Very much so. Tone of voice, appearance, sarcasm, everything. Wonder if Rosie knew about Patsy Kelly and consciously or unconsciously patterned herself after her?

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Unless it's just their shared Irish heritage. I love both of them. And I wish Rosie's film career hadn't tanked. I'm hoping she makes a comeback...she's an excellent character actress.

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I have to disagree with those who think John Wayne could not make it today. Although westerns are not being spit out left and right today, if a young John Wayne were working today and made a western people would go see it. Why? It might have something to do with the characters John Wayne always played being bigger than life. He also did military roles convincingly, as well as having a flare for light comedy. Donavan's Reef, and Trouble All the Way, for instance. As far as those who think there is no call for his type today, I have a feeling little ole Johnny would make a place for himself in today's film world just as he did in the '30's, and hit his stride soon afterward, just like he did in the '40's, and stay on top or near enough to the top just as he did throughout his career. And, believe it or not, I am not a real big fan of John Wayne. I just know a man when I see one, and when they make films I like to look at them!

 

Now, on to William Powell. He personified sophistication on screen, and I have to agree, they just aren't making the kind of movies he was noted for, and more's the pity for it. But, let me ask you, IF they were to make the Thin Man today, or Philo Vance Mysteries who in today's gaggle of actors could play either character with the wit and sophistication as our boy Bill. The only person I could think of was George Clooney. Can you think of anyone?

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I have to disagree with those who think John Wayne could not make it today. Although westerns are not being spit out left and right today, if a young John Wayne were working today and made a western people would go see it. Why? It might have something to do with the characters John Wayne always played being bigger than life. He also did military roles convincingly, as well as having a flare for light comedy. Donavan's Reef, and Trouble All the Way, for instance. As far as those who think there is no call for his type today, I have a feeling little ole Johnny would make a place for himself in today's film world just as he did in the '30's, and hit his stride soon afterward, just like he did in the '40's, and stay on top or near enough to the top just as he did throughout his career. And, believe it or not, I am not a real big fan of John Wayne. I just know a man when I see one, and when they make films I like to look at them!

 

Now, on to William Powell. He personified sophistication on screen, and I have to agree, they just aren't making the kind of movies he was noted for, and more's the pity for it. But, let me ask you, IF they were to make the Thin Man today, or Philo Vance Mysteries who in today's gaggle of actors could play either character with the wit and sophistication as our boy Bill. The only person I could think of was George Clooney. Can you think of anyone?

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> {quote:title=kybabe3 wrote:}

> Now, on to William Powell. He personified sophistication on screen, and I have to agree, they just aren't making the kind of movies he was noted for, and more's the pity for it. But, let me ask you, IF they were to make the Thin Man today, or Philo Vance Mysteries who in today's gaggle of actors could play either character with the wit and sophistication as our boy Bill. The only person I could think of was George Clooney. Can you think of anyone?{quote}

 

I think Michael Fassbender would do well in this, based on the character he played in last year's Inglourious Basterds (plus, he just looks better in period clothing than in anything else).

 

INGLOURIOUS-BASTERDS-MICHAEL-FASSBENDER-

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I wonder if Warner Brothers actors like Bogart, Cagney, Robinson and Garfield would make it?

 

How about musical stars like Astaire and Kelly? They don't make musicals anymore.

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> {quote:title=kybabe3 wrote:}{quote}

>

> Now, on to William Powell. He personified sophistication on screen, and I have to agree, they just aren't making the kind of movies he was noted for, and more's the pity for it. But, let me ask you, IF they were to make the Thin Man today, or Philo Vance Mysteries who in today's gaggle of actors could play either character with the wit and sophistication as our boy Bill. The only person I could think of was George Clooney. Can you think of anyone?

 

Clive Owen, and Daniel Day Lewis.

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I don't think Astaire would make it today. He's not enough of a hunk. I think Gene Kelly would do fine today, because he worked in several genres and became a noted director.

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I think Pierce Brosnan could do mystery comedies, like the type Powell did. I think Brosnan could also do roles that Basil Rathbone did, like Sherlock Holmes for instance.

 

In fact, if we were to reverse the question and ask which stars from today would've made it in the past, I would put Pierce Brosnan at the top of the list. I think his style would've worked very well in the 30s and 40s.

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This is actually a very interesting question!

 

Two of my all-time favorites are Greta Garbo and Myrna Loy. I am not sure that either one of them could make it in films today. Maybe Myrna could if she could shake the perfect wife image. But I am not to sure if Garbo could. Especially with how invasive media is today and how much of a private person she was.

 

My two favorite leading men are Clark Gable and Cary Grant. I think that Grant could make it today because he was able to play a wide variety of roles. However, Gable never seemed comfortable playing anything besides a macho role. Today, stars have to be versatile to stay on top. I really do not know if he could make it today. That is a tough one to figure out!

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I would actually pay to see Rosie O'Donnell and John Goodman in Tug Boat Annie, or Minn and Bill. But John lost alot of weight and looks so handsome.

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