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Why we watch the actors and movies we watch

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I am borrowing this thread title idea from primos. We were discussing some things in another thread, but it seemed like a topic for a new thread.  From what I wrote:

 

There's a reason I choose to admire the stars I admire-- because there is a truth in their off-screen life and performances that resonate with me. 

 

Let me give examples of how I do this-- starting with Joan Crawford.

 

Whenever I have a problem with people who get under my skin, I always think about what I read that Bette Davis' daughter said about Crawford-- she said Joan was too smart for her mother. Then, I think what would Joan do in situation x, how would she be smarter than the Bette Davis-type person trying to bring me down. So I am relating to Joan's cleverness-- I am using my knowledge of a film star to extract a truth about the human condition and how to win over adversity.

 

I know that sounds strange but that is exactly what I do. I use the life lessons that these people bring to their films to help me with the choices I make in life.

 

Continuing with the Joan Crawford exercise-- recently I boarded a bus in my city and the driver was very abusive to me. I looked around and I could see that all the passengers were afraid of him. He probably said some abusive things to them before I got on. I should have just gotten right off at the next stop, but I was too shocked and I was also finishing a phone call. The driver tried to humiliate me again when I was getting off at my stop twenty minutes later.

 

When I got home, I called my dad and told him what happened. That was the first step in sorting it out. What had I done to offend the driver, etc. Then after I finished talking with my dad, I thought long and hard that evening and into the next morning. That's when I began to pull a Joan Crawford. I remembered I had a contact down at the transit company. A few hours later I met with him, and I told him what happened with the driver the previous day.

 

I was able to find out which days that driver worked (he had four days of ten-hour shifts). So that gave me three days right there I wouldn't have to deal with him. Then I found out which runs through my neighborhood he had on those four days. I found out that he came through my neighborhood at forty past the hour. But there is another bus/driver that comes through at ten past the hour. So on those days when that guy is working, I make sure to take a bus that I know another driver will have. I was able to be more clever and avoid putting myself into any more situations with someone that clearly had an axe to grind with me. I won against adversity.

 

Another example involves Kay Francis. There is a reason I made a Kay Francis appreciation thread in the summer. I was battling a former employer who was trying to get out of paying me what was owed on a contract. I thought about how Kay persevered when Jack Warner was trying to screw her over. And I asked myself, how can i use that lesson and make sure my contract gets paid out. As of today, my former employer is still paying off the rest of that contract. By late December, I will have gotten all the money back that was owed me. If I didn't have knowledge of Kay Francis' example, I wouldn't have felt confident that I could win either.

 

 

Since I study the lives of movie stars, I might as well learn something from them. And that is exactly what I have done. So watching classics is more for me than just being entertained. These are case studies that I can comb through and pull truth from that aids me in my own daily situations.

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Okay TB, here's MY reply to this...

 

I learned a LONG time ago how to handle jerks like that bus driver you encountered. Ya see, the actor I'VE most learned from whenever confronted by jerks like that is of course...the one...the only...GROUCHO!!! And I'll IMMEDIATELY put people like THAT in their place by thinking of a snappy come-back when they say something really really stupid OR something insulting. AND, this is ESPECIALLY effective when you'd have an audience to play to, TOO! Uh-huh, like that busload of people you talked about in your bus scenario here, OR say, on some website's forum boards.

 

Now, I DO have to admit that the ONLY time I might lose my cool is if they might call me an "Upstart"! BUT, other than THOSE times, I've found this to be a MOST effective manner in which to deal with jerks like that.

 

Saaaay...maybe you've already noticed that about me, HUH?! LOL

 

(...OH, and btw...geeeesh, don't you live in that city known for its dearth of decent public transportation, namely Los Angeles California?...and so, don't you think its about time you purchased a friggin' CAR, dude?!) ;)

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I rarely, if ever, was able to use what I've seen in movies, apply them to "real life" and have it do any good.

 

I also don't wonder what my favorite actor or actress would DO in any given situation/difficulty i find myself in, because I tend to think THEY would be TOO SMART to get themselves in the same situation or difficulty.

 

We all find stuff like this in these forums.  Some people grow to like certain TYPES of movies, or some actors and actresses that others can't STAND.  And it leads some to wondering WHY these people LIKE those other, "less worthwhile" actors and actresses.

 

There have been some actors( and actresses) who remind me, either in looks or their typical screen personalities, of people I've known but didn't like.  Over time, I grew to like them somewhat, getting over my initial dislike, realizing the reason for it was not sound. 

 

For example, it wasn't EARL HOLLIMAN'S fault that the a-hole that bullied me in the 8th grade looked and sounded like HIM, nor was it SUSAN HAYWARD'S fault that the BE-YOTCH of a first wife my best friend had, that kept all his long-time friends repelled looked like HER!

 

Some actors an actresses get associated with movies we never seemed to like.  And subsequently, we tend not to like any movie these people worked in.  AND vice-versa.

 

The motives and reasons are as varied as the people who HAVE them.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Thanks, TB. And I am lifting a couple of your sentences and my response from the Cary Grant thread, see the bottom of the post, if you care.

 

I was thinking about what you said, especially as per Joan Crawford. I like her early movies, but found her h-a-r-d as she got older, and couldn't watch her movies. I never felt towards her as a I Ann Harding or Carole Lombard or Constance Bennett or Kay Fwancis, sorry Kay!

 

Nevertheless, I watched Sadie McKee this a.m. and wonder if you agree with Joan's character. She gave up a very nice Edward Arnold, worth eleven million dollars, in 1934, for a penniless, albeit pretty, Gene Raymond, for love.

 

Would you be able to learn any lessons from that Joan?

 

BTW, yet more interesting personal stories, thank you. :)

 

 

 

 

There is very little the common movie watcher can relate to about his (Cary Grant) life.

 

Then I guess this makes me an uncommon movie watcher. :)

 

Does that make sense?

 

Yes, it does. A very interesting, very fascinating approach, and a very unique one. You should start a thread on this!

 

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, we all watch certain actors in certain movies, and either linger with them or discard them. I imagine my discard list is longer than yours, but I watch based on the emotional appeal of an actor.

 

Ninety percent of my persona is made up of appreciation of the underdog, and I am in awe of those who decide on a profession where they face getting kicked in the teeth, figuratively, every-time they go for a job. And until they're successful, they have to apply for a job all the time. Therefore, I appreciate real talent in the arts, and loathe those who phone in their performances. Incomprehensibly perhaps, I base my admiration on emotional appeal.

 

Interesting topic, why we watch the actors and movies we watch.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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Interesting topic, why we watch the actors and movies we watch.

 

Thanks for sharing.

I have no idea why I watch the movies and actors I do, or even like them.  Do I want to know?   I frankly "don't give a damn". 

 

I watch, feelings resonate through me...good, bad, sad, happy.. whatever.  In the end I think all of us respond to a movie, a genre, a movie actor or whatever based on what we may need or are experiencing at the time we watch it and those first experiences stay with us and possibly are regenerated when we next experience the film and/or actor.

 

I won't argue with anyone over what is a good, bad or a putz of a movie simply because they are different than me and their experiences and resulting likes and dislikes should be different.

 

That's why we have such a variety to choose from. 

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Have we forgotten that the main impetus for cinema becoming such a major business was the depression ? People wanted escapism when they went to the theater. They wanted larger than life spectacle. Improbable outcomes. Ridiculous plot lines. There was plenty of drama right at home, no need to pay money to watch it on a screen.

 

I like fast cars that never crash make impossible turns. Guns that never run out of ammo. People who get shot in the stomach and can continue to run full speed. People who wake up in the morning with beautiful hair. Fine suits that never wrinkle or get dirty even though you've worn it the whole movie. Or is you dance around like crazy, you hever get tired. I want to sit there and just enjoy myself. Maybe even smile a bit.

 

I saw The Big Heat the other day for the millionth time. Glenn Ford against this mob boss who controls the police force and a mafia empire. The mob boss knows Ford is gunning for him. He could take Ford out at anytime. But, that would make a very short film. I like to believe a guy with cool suits and overcoats and a gun can accomplish anything lol.I can suspend disbelief.

 

I will never watch films like Schindler's list or Amistad. I don't find real death and destruction entertaining at all.

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Have we forgotten that the main impetus for cinema becoming such a major business was the depression ? People wanted escapism when they went to the theater. They wanted larger than life spectacle. Improbable outcomes. Ridiculous plot lines. There was plenty of drama right at home, no need to pay money to watch it on a screen.

 

 

 

I agree with you whole heartedly.   Cinema in the depression was for escape.  I believe we need that escape now but no one will let us. 

 

I cannot go to modern movies as they are so contrived.  I am looking forward to seeing Christmas in Connecticut and Scrooge in the theatre and then the next weekend White Christmas (which was mostly composed of clothes in red) is at the theatre.  What fun...I am a child through teenager again when I didn't have to read the ratings and could escape from Leave it to Beaver.

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Wow! Sorry you two, but THAT is NOT me.

 

Ya see, while I LOVE the zany antics of Marx Bros and other "light entertainment", I ALSO have to admit that movies which attempt to delve into the darker aspects of the human condition AND those I believe are especially insightful and done "well" AND which attempt to keep from hitting me over the head with their "message" AND which make me THINK about that sort of thing, I feel might make help me see the world in a more "circumspect" manner.

 

(...BUT, as I said at first, I'm ONLY speaking for myself here)

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Why we watch the actors and movies we watch

 

To be honest I never analyzed why I like certain actors and actresses. I like all sorts of Stars, some that others may think silly but I enjoy them.

 

Examples:

Doris Day, I like her singing and she makes me laugh and I'd prefer to laugh than cry.

 

Maureen O'Hara, I think she was the most beautiful lady ever on the screen and I loved all her movies. I think she was good at her job.

 

Cary Grant, I liked his acting and he was extremely handsome.

 

James Garner, I liked his acting and he reminded me of my father.

 

Elizabeth Taylor, Just because I enjoyed most of her films.

 

Don Knotts and the rest of the cast of TAGS just because they made me happy, enjoyed the small town southern charm and silliness of it all.

 

James Stewart, Loved his acting and his voice.

 

Ma (Marjorie Main) and Pa Kettle (Percy Kilbride) because I watched these growing up and they were just fun.

 

Cast of the Blondie movies, same as previous answer.

 

Audrey Hepburn because I thought she was a good actress.

 

John Wayne because I grew up watching him and I truly enjoy his films.

 

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn because I enjoyed the films they made.

 

I watch a LOT of old films, there are just far too many for me to list, these are just a few but in the end my reason is simple. I enjoy them. :D

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Why we watch the actors and movies we watch

 

To be honest I never analyzed why I like certain actors and actresses. I like all sorts of Stars, some that others may think silly but I enjoy them.

 

Examples:

Doris Day, I like her singing and she makes me laugh and I'd prefer to laugh than cry.

 

Maureen O'Hara, I think she was the most beautiful lady ever on the screen and I loved all her movies. I think she was good at her job.

 

Cary Grant, I liked his acting and he was extremely handsome.

 

James Garner, I liked his acting and he reminded me of my father.

 

Elizabeth Taylor, Just because I enjoyed most of her films.

 

Don Knotts and the rest of the cast of TAGS just because they made me happy, enjoyed the small town southern charm and silliness of it all.

 

James Stewart, Loved his acting and his voice.

 

Ma (Marjorie Main) and Pa Kettle (Percy Kilbride) because I watched these growing up and they were just fun.

 

Cast of the Blondie movies, same as previous answer.

 

Audrey Hepburn because I thought she was a good actress.

 

John Wayne because I grew up watching him and I truly enjoy his films.

 

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn because I enjoyed the films they made.

 

I watch a LOT of old films, there are just far too many for me to list, these are just a few but in the end my reason is simple. I enjoy them. :D

I know, Patti, neither did I until TB prodded the leetle grey cells.

 

I like dark and dreary, always have. I cut my eye teeth on Bergman, no not Ingrid. Too dark now even for me. Ingmar, not Ingrid.

 

I like UK detective shows, love when the bad guys get it. Hate when women or animals do.

 

I was trying to think back to how far I've loved Grant and it goes all the way back to Million Dollar Movie, which of course never programmed my future husband Warren William.

 

Good points, GGGGerald, but I love happening upon a good foreign movie on an overpriced pay channel, and those almost always end badly!

 

I guess this is why I disregard all the critics, since their criteria usually has nothing whatever to do with my criteria.

 

Ever so interesting a topic. This especially, Patti:

 

To be honest I never analyzed why I like certain actors and actresses. I like all sorts of Stars, some that others may think silly but I enjoy them.

 

I never analyzed the why either. I don't like 'stars', per se, and can only ascribe my constant, unrelenting criticism of what I watch and read to one parent who never ever stopped, and another parent who loved Tyrone Power (blech) and Mario Lanza (double blech)! :D 

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Thanks everyone for the replies so far. And Dargo, I never learned to drive (long story) so I have always relied on public transit. I think the driver I had the difficulty with was having an extremely bad day. And I do mean extremely. At one point when I sat down to finish my call and figure out what had just happened when I got on and he started barking orders, I looked up at him. He got all paranoid and told me not to look at him, then readjusted the mirror so he couldn't see me and I couldn't see him. Like I said, I was in shock, because I've seen passengers behave rudely to drivers but never drivers be so rude to passengers. 

 

I just figured that I don't want to chance any more bad days with him and now that I know his work schedule, I can avoid him. The other variable here is that I know myself. I know that if I get on the bus with him driving again, this is going to eat away at me and I will be tempted to say something to him, and it will escalate. So I have to completely extricate myself from the kind of potential trouble. This brings me back to Joan Crawford.

 

I read an article where Ruth Warrick had been interviewed. The reporter asked Ruth if Joan had been difficult to work with on the set of DAISY KENYON. She said Joan was the model of composure, professionalism and order. The reporter also pointed out that Otto Preminger, the director, had a reputation for being difficult on sets. But Ruth maintained that he was a perfect gentleman too, and that she felt Preminger and Crawford got along so well on the set, because they both understood their own volatile natures and stayed away from those kinds of confrontations with each other. That is what I am doing with the bus driver. It is better to recognize that he is volatile, that it could make me volatile and reactionary-- but then to be smarter than him and know how to avoid the situation. Joan Crawford knew how to do that. That's what I've been learning how to do. It's not muscle that wins an argument, it's brains, because you can outthink and outmaneuver your opponent.

 

The Kay Francis situation helped me, because I had read an article where she said that even if Jack Warner had handed her a broom to sweep the studio, she still would have shown up for work, for what they were paying her. When I was having trouble with my former employers and they were trying every trick in the book to break the contract, I knew I had a similar issue on my hands. At one point, a supervisor told me to take the next day off (with pay, supposedly) but I went to human resources and that guy told me to go into work the next day as if there was no problem. So that's what I did. I didn't care how awkward or uncomfortable it would be. I didn't care if the supervisor suddenly changed my duties and handed me a broom, I would do what Kay Francis did, I would soldier on.

 

I am glad I did that. Shortly after that when they actually did try to break the contract, because I had reported for work that day, I had gone into a new cycle of the contract and now I was owed all this money in the new cycle. Their next trick was to get me to quit, to forfeit all that money. I knew when they called me, they were recording the conversation and had their lawyer listening in. I specifically said that I had no intention of quitting. Again, they were stymied, and again they tried to set up meetings where I would tender my resignation. I led them on and made it seem like I was going to show up to those meetings, but I never went to them.

 

That meant I remained on the payroll and they had to keep paying me. What ended up happening was that I kept getting my salary, I didn't have to go back in, and then when they broke the contract, I held them accountable to get the rest of the money. I found out later that on top of paying me off they had to pay my replacement, plus benefits for both of us. Talk about a dumb management decision, just because someone decided one day they didn't like me and I had to go. But they are the ones who paid for that.

 

I ultimately was paid quite a bit for doing a fraction of the work I was originally paid to do. But if I had let them steamroll me the way Jack Warner tried to mess with Kay Francis, I would have seen my career wrecked at a cost to me. That day I went back in to work, they sent all these intermediate supervisors around to check on me, for eight hours that day they were all hovering around and breathing down my neck. They just wanted me to get frustrated and walk off, so they could document me as insubordinate. I did not give them the satisfaction, because I was pulling a Kay Francis.

 

It probably would have been easier to take a broom and sweep a floor somewhere. But for those eight hours of torture, I wound up making a bunch of money. I knew the value of my contract, I knew what I had signed, and because of Kay Francis, I knew that I did not need to back down and run. 

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Interesting topic.  It sank down in the message board, I didn't even see it until now.  It's taken me a couple days to catch up on everything after having not been on the board at all for a day and a half.

 

I love reading biographies/autobiographies.  I find reading about people's lives to be fascinating.  Of course, I have to be interested in the subject to start reading it in the first place.  I've read about many Classic Hollywood stars' lives and have found that while knowing more about someone's personal life won't cause me to avoid them or dislike them, I have found that an actor's childhood or some type of struggle they went through to get to Hollywood has endeared me to them further. 

 

Lucille Ball, for example, had the childhood dream of being an actress.  She put on plays for the neighbors and appeared in plays at school.  When she was in high school, she kept running away to New York City.  Finally, her mother enrolled her in the John Murray Anderson acting school in New York.  One of Ball's classmates was Bette Davis.  The teacher actually wrote to Lucy's mother telling her that "[ball] had no future in acting." Undeterred, Lucy took any job she could to survive and keep working toward her dream.  She worked as a model and took jobs in chorus lines on Broadway.  Finally, her hard work paid off when an agent for Sam Goldwyn spotted her during one of her modeling gigs and brought her out to Hollywood to appear as a slave girl in Eddie Cantor's Roman Scandals.  From then on, she took any role, no matter how small, even uncredited, just to gain experience.  She rose up the ranks to get small credited bit roles and eventually gained supporting roles with major stars-- her appearance in Stage Door with Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers was her big break.  The rest is history...

 

While I can't relate to Lucille Ball's childhood and hard work to get to where she did, I can appreciate what she went through and her persistence to not give up on her dreams.  Knowing her back story makes me like her more.  There are many other stars who went through similar plights to achieve success. 

 

If an actor "grabs" me onscreen and I enjoy watching them, then nothing about their personal life would ruin that for me.  I can really only judge someone on what they do on screen.  Usually I will have had to see them onscreen first to even want to read about their life in the first place, and I'll only want to read about someone I like and am interested in.  I probably won't read a Brando biography, because I am not a fan.

 

There are many things that attract me to a particular performer: looks (male eye candy and the ladies dripping in glamour), sound of their voice, the personality they convey on screen, how well they speak (can't stand mumblers), talents they may have, the types of movies they make and the effect they have on me.  I can't say what it is that someone does to make an impression on me, but when they do, I will try to see all their films that I can.

 

Here are some of the actors I enjoy and why:

 

ERROL FLYNN- I'll get this out of the way first, he was super hot.  He might be one of a handful of leading men that actually distract from the leading lady.  I've found myself distracted by his hotness and have forgotten to pay attention to the plot unfolding. He has a beautiful speaking voice; appeared in a variety of genres that I enjoy and is simply captivating on screen.  I can't say what it is about him (aside from my shallow statement about his looks) but I just can't get enough.

 

WILLIAM POWELL- I love his voice and sophistication.  His 14 pairings with Myrna Loy are fantastic.  I wish they had been a real life couple.  I am a sucker for whodunit movies and Powell excels in this genre.  He should always have his mustache, however.  When he shaved it off in Love Crazy, it was terrifying. 

 

GENE KELLY- I love how imaginative he is in his dance routines.  I love the amount of athleticism he displays in his dancing.  I also enjoy how his dances are part of the plot and help move the plot along or provide some character development.  I also love how he always looks to be enjoying himself so much during his routines.  He is doing something he is passionate about and good at.  Plus, I am a sucker for dancing movies.

 

ORSON WELLES- I love his voice.  I also appreciate how he always tries something new with his films.  Even if the film isn't entirely successful, I can appreciate that he tried to be different.

 

AUDREY HEPBURN- She is so charming and so fun to watch on screen.  I love that she collaborated with Hubert de Givenchy for most of her films.  He designed some beautiful costumes for her.  She seems like such a class act and true humanitarian.  It's a shame that cancer took her from the world at such a young age.

 

CARY GRANT- I already discussed him quite extensively on the Cary Grant thread.  I'll just say that I love his "Cary Grant" persona and how sophisticated, debonair and funny he is.

 

BETTE DAVIS- She is amazing.  She is so versatile.  She can play everything from the vulnerable to the shallow to the Bronx housewife to batshit crazy.  I love her.

 

There are so many other actors that I love: Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy, Lauren Bacall, William Holden, Montgomery Clift, just to name a few.  There is just something about them that draws me to them.

 

Thanks to TCM I have discovered some "new" actors recently that I'm beginning to appreciate too: Jean Arthur, Edward G. Robinson, Claudette Colbert, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Claude Rains, just to name a few. (Note: prior to having TCM, I had heard of some of these people, I just hadn't seen any of their films until I started watching TCM). 

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Interesting topic.  It sank down in the message board, I didn't even see it until now.  It's taken me a couple days to catch up on everything after having not been on the board at all for a day and a half.

 

I love reading biographies/autobiographies.  I find reading about people's lives to be fascinating.  Of course, I have to be interested in the subject to start reading it in the first place.  I've read about many Classic Hollywood stars' lives and have found that while knowing more about someone's personal life won't cause me to avoid them or dislike them, I have found that an actor's childhood or some type of struggle they went through to get to Hollywood has endeared me to them further. 

 

Lucille Ball, for example, had the childhood dream of being an actress.  She put on plays for the neighbors and appeared in plays at school.  When she was in high school, she kept running away to New York City.  Finally, her mother enrolled her in the John Murray Anderson acting school in New York.  One of Ball's classmates was Bette Davis.  The teacher actually wrote to Lucy's mother telling her that "[ball] had no future in acting." Undeterred, Lucy took any job she could to survive and keep working toward her dream.  She worked as a model and took jobs in chorus lines on Broadway.  Finally, her hard work paid off when an agent for Sam Goldwyn spotted her during one of her modeling gigs and brought her out to Hollywood to appear as a slave girl in Eddie Cantor's Roman Scandals.  From then on, she took any role, no matter how small, even uncredited, just to gain experience.  She rose up the ranks to get small credited bit roles and eventually gained supporting roles with major stars-- her appearance in Stage Door with Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers was her big break.  The rest is history...

 

While I can't relate to Lucille Ball's childhood and hard work to get to where she did, I can appreciate what she went through and her persistence to not give up on her dreams.  Knowing her back story makes me like her more.  There are many other stars who went through similar plights to achieve success. 

 

If an actor "grabs" me onscreen and I enjoy watching them, then nothing about their personal life would ruin that for me.  I can really only judge someone on what they do on screen.  Usually I will have had to see them onscreen first to even want to read about their life in the first place, and I'll only want to read about someone I like and am interested in.  I probably won't read a Brando biography, because I am not a fan.

 

There are many things that attract me to a particular performer: looks (male eye candy and the ladies dripping in glamour), sound of their voice, the personality they convey on screen, how well they speak (can't stand mumblers), talents they may have, the types of movies they make and the effect they have on me.  I can't say what it is that someone does to make an impression on me, but when they do, I will try to see all their films that I can.

 

Here are some of the actors I enjoy and why:

 

ERROL FLYNN- I'll get this out of the way first, he was super hot.  He might be one of a handful of leading men that actually distract from the leading lady.  I've found myself distracted by his hotness and have forgotten to pay attention to the plot unfolding. He has a beautiful speaking voice; appeared in a variety of genres that I enjoy and is simply captivating on screen.  I can't say what it is about him (aside from my shallow statement about his looks) but I just can't get enough.

 

WILLIAM POWELL- I love his voice and sophistication.  His 14 pairings with Myrna Loy are fantastic.  I wish they had been a real life couple.  I am a sucker for whodunit movies and Powell excels in this genre.  He should always have his mustache, however.  When he shaved it off in Love Crazy, it was terrifying. 

 

GENE KELLY- I love how imaginative he is in his dance routines.  I love the amount of athleticism he displays in his dancing.  I also enjoy how his dances are part of the plot and help move the plot along or provide some character development.  I also love how he always looks to be enjoying himself so much during his routines.  He is doing something he is passionate about and good at.  Plus, I am a sucker for dancing movies.

 

ORSON WELLES- I love his voice.  I also appreciate how he always tries something new with his films.  Even if the film isn't entirely successful, I can appreciate that he tried to be different.

 

AUDREY HEPBURN- She is so charming and so fun to watch on screen.  I love that she collaborated with Hubert de Givenchy for most of her films.  He designed some beautiful costumes for her.  She seems like such a class act and true humanitarian.  It's a shame that cancer took her from the world at such a young age.

 

CARY GRANT- I already discussed him quite extensively on the Cary Grant thread.  I'll just say that I love his "Cary Grant" persona and how sophisticated, debonair and funny he is.

 

BETTE DAVIS- She is amazing.  She is so versatile.  She can play everything from the vulnerable to the shallow to the Bronx housewife to batshit crazy.  I love her.

 

There are so many other actors that I love: Rita Hayworth, Myrna Loy, Lauren Bacall, William Holden, Montgomery Clift, just to name a few.  There is just something about them that draws me to them.

 

Thanks to TCM I have discovered some "new" actors recently that I'm beginning to appreciate too: Jean Arthur, Edward G. Robinson, Claudette Colbert, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Claude Rains, just to name a few. (Note: prior to having TCM, I had heard of some of these people, I just hadn't seen any of their films until I started watching TCM). 

Another excellent post, speedracer. This (is that what youts say?) to this:

 

 I have found that an actor's childhood or some type of struggle they went through to get to Hollywood has endeared me to them further. 

 

Have you tried James Gleason and Edna May Oliver as a movie couple? Not only, imo, were they terrific together, but both had voices you might like too

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Another excellent post, speedracer. This (is that what youts say?) to this:

 

 I have found that an actor's childhood or some type of struggle they went through to get to Hollywood has endeared me to them further. 

 

Have you tried James Gleason and Edna May Oliver as a movie couple? Not only, imo, were they terrific together, but both had voices you might like too

I have heard of both actors; I think I've seen Gleason in a couple films; but I haven't seen Oliver in anything.  What film(s) do they appear in together?

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I have heard of both actors; I think I've seen Gleason in a couple films; but I haven't seen Oliver in anything.  What film(s) do they appear in together?

Sadly, they only made three Hildegarde Withers films together before she died, too young, at age 59. Their chemistry was palpable. Gleason went on to three other HW films with other actors, but it was never the same. Their films:

 

The Penquin Pool Murder (1932) Murder on the Blackboard (1934) and Murder on a Honeymoon (1935). 

 

Meanwhile, my first exposure to Edna May Oliver was in a caricature in a Bugs Bunny cartoon!

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Excellent subject, TB.

 

I’ve occasionally wondered this myself.

 

On the whole, I appreciate and rank actors based on their past performances, how they push themselves to grow as artists, the kinds of roles they choose over the course of their careers, and how prolific they are.

 

If they’ve given what I thought were good-to-great performances in the past, of course I’m more inclined to want to see them again in something else. We can all think of actors who fall into this category.

 

If they push themselves into roles they’re not used to playing, even if they fail (according to my tastes), I put one in the win column for them. They’re trying; they’re growing; they’re exploring and perfecting their abilities, chops, and craft: they’re not willing to be stagnant. That’s not to say that I might not prefer them in a particular type of role. I might. But I’m willing to go along with them and see how they do. Either way, I’ll give them an A for effort. Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro are two examples for this category.

 

As I am sure others have found, the actors who regularly turn in the better performances are also the ones who are the more versatile in the roles they play.

 

The other side of that coin is that I quickly grow weary of primarily one-dimensional actors who just trot out their same old tired chops, Harrison Ford for example.

 

I suggest that over the course of an actor’s career, the kind of roles he or she chooses might begin to shed some light on who he or she is as a person: values, preferences, aspirations, worldview, etc. That’s not always the case, of course, but if I see a pattern that I like, and it seems intentional, the actor, as a person, is ameliorated at bit in my estimation. James Stewart is an actor who springs to mind for me here.

 

Finally, I admire the actors with a strong work ethic, the die-hards, the ones who make movie after movie after movie after movie, and keep honing their craft. Robert De Niro is a good example here.

 

Coming from another angle, I do not confuse the actor with the roles he or she plays. The actor’s name may conjure a specific persona or brand, but I am disinclined to think that the persona or brand is the person. The persona or brand may hint at who the person is, but that is all. John Wayne and his lack of war participation (as others have mentioned) is an example here.

 

To buttress this in another way, I’ve also had the opportunity to date a few actors – actresses, technically -- in my time (not famous ones, but there was at least one who made it into a few movies, did some TV and a little Broadway), and I have to say that they did not particularly impress me as people -- decent actors, but meh people. Of course, that’s hardly a representative survey, but in my mind it did make a first-hand distinction between the role and the person playing the role.

 

An actor’s personal life doesn’t particularly diminish the quality of any performance he or she has given. Once it’s in the can, it’s a fait accompli. Anything they’ve done, or might do in the future, is a separate issue.

 

That said, however, an actor’s personal life does influence how I think about him or her as a person, and to some degree, as an actor. If he or she has done something to lessen my esteem for them as a person, then I may be less inclined to want to see them in the future as an actor. But if they’re in a movie that looks good, I’ll probably watch it regardless of what they may have done.

 

On the other hand, if an actor is a great person in his or her personal life, but I don’t like his or her acting, I probably won’t watch their work.

 

In the case of fiction, if anything is going to have an influence on me as a person – how I view the world, how I assess my life, etc. – it will primarily be the writing, not the actor, or the actor’s performance. The actor may enhance the writing, but in the end, I suggest that without the writer, the actor would have nothing to portray. In the case of non-fiction, then it is the deeds of the actual people upon whose lives the story is based that may influence me.

 

Regarding why I watch the movies I watch, viz. new movies, I would say that it is primarily because of the subject matter, director, actors, or genre. If I have very little knowledge of anyone associated with the movie, then it would be because of the genre, something I saw in the trailer that I liked, or because someone, whose opinion I respect, recommended it to me.

 

I re-watch movies because there was something in them I liked the previous time I saw them.

 

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