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Who's your favorite classic movie actor?


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Hard to choose! So many glorious actors, so many handsome ones, so many charismatic ones, so many terrific character actors. Of the character actors, Claude Rains would be the one I'd run to see. Of the leading men, Valentino really gets to me; then Errol Flynn.

 

The problem is the material they were given. Some actors were great because they got great parts. Others didn't flower because they didn't get good roles. Valentino was good in the Sheik pictures, but better in the more sophisticated movies where they didn't expect him to do the broad dramatic gestures and looks. If he'd lived to be in the talkies I think he would have been a really fine actor. He had a beautiful, sweet smile, but he was very well-built and muscular and could have done action, as Flynn did.

 

As far as Rains was concerned, he could do anything. I particularly liked him in the Henreid/Davis movie "Deception." He played it as though he WERE the maestro he was portraying.

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I remember when Rocky and Bullwinkle show{ long before "Laugh-In} had the running gag when Bullwinkle's autographed picture of Sonny Tufts was stolen by Borid Badenov.

He tried hard {by going on the wagon} to land the role of Jim Bowie in John Wayne's "The Alamo" but lost out to Richard Widmark..

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Wow, impossible to narrow down to just one but my short list includes:

Cary Grant, Robert Taylor, William Powell, Barbara Stanwyck and an actor who doesn't get enough recognition, Edward Arnold, who's really played some great characters.

 

Of course Cagney, Stewart and Gable are up there, too.

 

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Judging by the number of times I've sat through his films - Steve McQueen. It may just be attributed to the year I was born, 1949. I was about 10 when I thought he was great on Wanted: Dead or Alive and even had a toy gun modeled after the one he used in the series.

 

Saw "The Magnificent Seven" when I was eleven and very impressionable but Steve had his biggest effect on me when I saw "The Great Escape" three years later. I spent half of high school trying to be The Cooler King and even looked forward to detention.

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> I was about 10 when I thought he was great on Wanted: Dead or Alive and even had a toy gun modeled after the one he used in the series.

 

 

Yep Gorch, I had that very same "Mare's Laig" toy gun as a kid back then, too.

 

 

27-1.jpg

 

(...hmmmm...I wonder what that little bit of Boomer memorabilia would go for now days?)

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Male: Alec Guinness, Jack Lemmon, James Garner, James Stewart, James Cagney, Ward Bond, Gene Kelly

Female: Angela Lansbury, Myrna Loy, Maggie Smith, Barbara Stanwyck, Thelma Ritter, Mildred Natwick

 

I know I forgot a bunch of people but that's who came to my head just now :)

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Errol Flynn. One of the most exciting and charismatic actors in screen history, always underrated as a talent, the most versatile action star of the studio era, as he performed convincingly in swashbucklers, westerns AND war dramas. As a human being, he was a fascinatingly complex and contradictory person who, ultimately, became a self destructive tragic figure.

 

Having said that, I also regard James Cagney as one of the great personality stars of all time who was also one of the greatest actors.

 

Actresses? I like a lot of them but no one really leaps out as a particular favourite, though I do have a special affection for Ann Sheridan in her prime.

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Now that's a very good question: Although I appreciate the classic filmworks of Basil Rathbone, Robert Ryan and Boris Karloff, I'd have to say that my favorite classic film actor is none other than the English classic stage and silver screen artist from Hollywood's Golden Age Leslie Howard (April 3rd, 1893-June 1st, 1943). I've loved, admired, respected and ardously appreciated his life and film career for various reasons including: a) all of his classic films make up the majority of my constantly updated treasure trove via my DVD and book collections, B) I've viewed more of his films than any other classic film star to date and c) there was just something about LH, whether it was his ingenuity, intelligence, compassion, empathy, benevolence, respect for his peers and craft or the way in which he carried his sensitive, debonair, witty and charming prsona onscreen, reminded me so much of my father and the way in which he carried himself selflessly...to this day, I'll always be eternally grateful for his presence in my life and the films that are showcased on Turner Classic Movies!

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Dargo2, that is just amazing! Now that I see the packaging, I can recall ripping the gun out of it and loading the white plastic bullets. I received it for my tenth birthday and my folks also gave one to my younger brother, obviously for self defense reasons.

Thank you for sharing that image.

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My mother's boss Congressman Billy Connery worked with him. I found this in a Kennedy biography by Laurence Quirk: One night at a party Joe Kennedy was talking with Powell, and Billy's name came up. "I played in stock with Billy," Powell said. Kennedy (a strictly management-side businessman) said "I wish to hell he'd stayed in acting. Then we wouldn't have all of this labor ********."

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