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William Holden


Sepiatone
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After seeing *Golden Boy* the other day, then seeing *Toward The Unknown* yesterday, two things became clear;

 

 

1. Holden's hair got better over the years

 

 

2. Holden's ACTING got MUCH better over the years.

 

 

After doing some bit of research, I discovered he died reletively young(64), but looked much older than his years. In fact, being just into his 50's when making "THE WILD BUNCH", he LOOKED 64 years old!

 

 

Anyway, I always liked Holden, although he seemed, like John Wayne, one dimensional. And in spite of it, like with Wayne, you were never disappointed.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Well Sepia, if by that "one-dimensional" adjective you're attempting to ascribe to Holden you might mean he was often cast as the prototypical "world-weary and cynical American male", then maybe you have a point here.

 

(...but for my money, few were ever better at fleshing out that type on screen than was Holden)

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William Holden's acting did improve a great deal in his first ten years as an actor. The fifties was definitely his prime time as an actor and in his appearance. While he certainly maintained his acting chops in his later years he did "age" considerably. Sadly I guess his lifestyle had a lot to do with that, he looked considerably older than his 64 years at his death. The circumstances of his death were very tragic, but it shouldn't detract from his terrific career. My favorite Holden film is *Bridges At Toko Ri* . Great film and one of his finest performances.

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I've always liked Holden, too, although I never thought of his acting as one-dimensional. Yes, he seemed appropriately one-dimensional when the character called for it, as when playing the irresponsible younger brother in SABRINA. But I guess he never struck me that way in other movies -- for example, I thought he showed a lot of feeling in APARTMENT FOR PEGGY, playing the young married ex-GI who has to struggle with school, home life, and a family tragedy.

 

Maybe you're right, though. When I think about his characters in SUNSET BOULEVARD, THE COUNTRY GIRL, and BORN YESTERDAY, there is a certain similarity in the way they're played, but then, I'd probably say that about Clark Gable's performances -- and yet I almost always enjoy the performances of both. Maybe it's the difference between being a great actor and being a great movie star. Some performers are both (e.g., Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn), but some are primarily great movie stars (e.g., Holden, Gable, Cary Grant), while others are primarily great actors (Frederic March, Charles Laughton).

 

I well remember watching the TV news report of Holden's untimely death in 1981. It seemed pretty shocking, not only because it was unexpected but because of the tragic circumstances -- alone and intoxicated in his apartment, he fell and hit his head on a table, and bled to death. Poor guy.

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Oh my, Holden and Wayne in the same sentence?

 

Holden was no Grant or Cagney, but imo, he was on a par with Mitchum and Lancaster.

 

 

Wayne was on a par with, well, a box of Cheerios. The box, not the Cheerios.

 

 

Can you see Wayne as Joe Gillis? :0 Or as Mark Elliott? :0

 

 

Better yet, can you see Wayne with Stefanie Powers? :0 :0 :0

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Just for the decade of the '50s, no male star was in as many well-known films as Holden........Just off the top of my head: BORN YESTERDAY, SUNSET BLVD, THE COUNTRY GIRL, SABRINA, EXECUTIVE SUITE, PICNIC, STALAG 17, THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI, LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING, THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI......Wow, and I've probably left out a few well-known '50s films.

 

Edited by: finance on Oct 16, 2012 2:08 PM

 

Edited by: finance on Oct 16, 2012 2:28 PM

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I've always liked William Holden...

 

Many moons ago actually bought (I'm a cheapskate) the Holden biography "Golden Boy: The Untold Story of William Holden" by Bob Thomas.

After I'd finished it, donated it to a library where I assume it's still on the shelf...

 

 

 

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I always liked Holden too. His list of films in the 50s is quite impressive. He played sarcastic as well as anyone. Recently saw him on the big screen in "Bridge on The River Kwai." One of my favorites is "Escape From Rt. Bravo." Too bad his 60's films didn't fare as well.

 

I think he had a drinking problem which likely aided his looks before his age. If I remember correctly he fell in his home and hit his head on a table. The story was that he wasn't completely sober at the time.

 

 

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I agree with Sepiatone, that William Holden's acting got better as he aged. He was perfect in many of his films but I really like him in "Sunset Blvd."

 

In the 1939 film "Golden Boy" IMHO only Barbara Stanwyck and Adolphe Menjou were believable and did a good job in the film. Lee J. Cobb was way too "stagey" and over acted in his part, as was the actor who played Siggy the taxi driver.

 

This was William Holden's first film and it shows in his acting. The producers were initially unhappy with Holden's work, and tried to dismiss him, but Stanwyck insisted that he be retained.

 

Thirty-nine years later, when Holden and Stanwyck were joint presenters at the 1977 Academy Awards, he interrupted their reading of a nominee list to publicly thank her for saving his career.

 

Barbara Stanwyck was right speaking up for William Holden because he turned out to be a very good actor. (His appearance on the "I love Lucy" show is one of my favorites.)

 

However he was not ready (IMHO) for the principle lead in Golden Boy. That part should have been played by the actor for whom Clifford Odets originally wrote the part for. Again, this is just IMHO.

 

Thanks

 

Lori

 

Edited by: Lori3 on Oct 16, 2012 3:14 PM

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Yep, Bill is one of my favorite actors too and he pretty much owned a large

chunk of the 1950s. What a great decade for Holden. I don't think he was a

one-dimensional actor. He happened to be typecast as the handsome,

somewhat charming cynical semi-bastard in many of his films, and he did

play that role to perfection, though he could do other things too.

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I just checked my SUTS list and noticed William Holden hasn't been honored since 2007. Maybe 2013 would be a good year to end that drought. I haven't checked the SOTM list, but maybe that would be another honor he should be considered for. And let me once again suggest "The Remarkable Andrew" from 1942 and "S.O.B." from 1981 as a couple titles to include in the tribute.

 

Edited by: aimalac on Oct 16, 2012 6:12 PM

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I'd like to see Holden in "The Earthling" again. It's a little-remembered Australian film from 1980 in which his dying character tries to teach a lost young orphan (played by Ricky Schroder) how to survive in the outback. It was one of Holden's last films.

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I think what I liked about Holden's movies was that even when his character was supposed to be a bastard, he still came off as likeable. Oh, and another thing...

 

 

I haven't seen ALL his movies, but I don't recall him doing parts as anything else but as an American. No accents, made up to look older, or anything on that order.

 

 

Am I wrong?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Just now scanning over his filmography on Wiki, it appears you're correct about Holden's roles being exclusively American....though I'd say the idea of him being "made up to look older" is rather moot.

 

(...'cause similarly to Errol Flynn's choices in life, by the time Bill was in his forties HIS hard drinking pretty much made his apparence look at least 10 years older than he actually was TOO, so what would've been the point?!!!) ;)

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