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What actor can you just not "get into" even though you want to?


speedracer5
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Everyone has their favorite actors and least favorite actors, then there are those actors who you're indifferent about.  Then there are the actors who you feel like you want to like, but just can't.  There's just something about them that you don't like, but you want to.  Maybe you just need to see the "right" film to change your mind.  Perhaps you've seen a number of their films and they're just not doing anything for you and you stop trying. 

 

I don't mean this thread to be specifically about actors that you dislike unless you've tried to like them and just can't.  I mean those actors who you've made a real concerted effort to like them and each time, the actor comes up short. 

 

What actors have you tried countless times to like and can't?

 

Any actors that you used to not care for, but actually found the film of theirs that made you a fan?  What film of theirs changed your mind?

 

For me, I've tried numerous times to like Gary Cooper.  He's one of the biggest stars of Classic Hollywood and I feel like I should give him a chance to see why he was so popular.  He doesn't even provide me the eye candy factor.  If I found him attractive, I would at least have something to look at, but no.  I have tried watching him in Love in the Afternoon (terrible movie, even Paris and Audrey Hepburn couldn't save it) he was incredibly dull; Bright Leaf, I thought the addition of Lauren Bacall and Patricia Neal might spice things up, but nope, Cooper dragged the film down.  I'm still trying though.  I've been trying to watch films of his that co-star people I do enjoy, just to make the film more tolerable. 

 

Someone who I used to not "get" but have come to appreciate is Jean Harlow.  I had seen a couple of Harlow films and found her to be shrill and nothing special.  I didn't get what the hype was, only that she died young and that's why she is held up as an icon of Hollywood.  However, I have come around to appreciate Harlow's comedic talent.  The film that changed my opinion of her was Libeled Lady.  I initially recorded it on TCM to see Myrna Loy and William Powell both of whom I like and regularly seek out their films.  While watching the film, I was surprised as to how much I liked Jean Harlow's character.  A little while after seeing this film, I saw Dinner at Eight and from then on, I've been seeking out Harlow's films and giving previously viewed (and unimpressed) ones another chance.  In addition to Libeled Lady and Dinner at Eight, I've now seen: Suzy, Red Dust, Red Headed Woman and Bombshell

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Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer.

 

I really don't like Norma's voice--too high-pitched and metallic, though I like her 'tude in movies like The Divorcee and A Free Soul.  Her voice just hurts my ears, especially in emotional scenes.

 

And Joan is just seems to take herself too seriously. She has moments where a little humor peeks through, but overall, she's just too humorless. But maybe I've just seen the wrong movies...

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And John Wayne, except in 2 of the movies he made with Dietrich, Seven Sinners and The Spoilers and some of his later films like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence and The Shootist. Not sure why--too macho, maybe? Or maybe its the same problem I have with Joan Crawford--a lack of humor?

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I agree with you on Joan Crawford.  I thought she was really good in Mildred Pierce, she didn't annoy me in that film.  I've only ever seen Norma Shearer in The Women.  Which I did enjoy.  I don't think I've seen enough Shearer to form an opinion yet.

 

I've been trying to like Crawford, I think I prefer her before she got the big eyebrows and big lips. Is it bad that one of the reasons I like What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is because I get to see my fave Bette Davis torture poor Crawford?

 

I think Crawford is in the same boat as Cooper is with me.  Except I will admit that I did like her in Mildred Pierce.  I'll have to see another Crawford film and see if my opinion of her changes.

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And John Wayne, except in 2 of the movies he made with Dietrich, Seven Sinners and The Spoilers and some of his later films like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence and The Shootist. Not sure why--too macho, maybe? Or maybe its the same problem I have with Joan Crawford--a lack of humor?

My problem with John Wayne (who I don't dislike persay, I just don't go out of my way to see his films) is that he's the same person in every film.  He only has one character: John Wayne.  While I don't dislike the Western genre as a whole, I'm not a fan of Wayne's films.  I prefer Westerns starring other actors.  Though, I did like The Shootist.  I want to see True Grit and some of Wayne's more popular films.  I haven't see any of his WWII films. 

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The only way I can answer that question is to think of actors who I know are good, but whom I still can't like.  Spencer Tracy may be the best example of this.  It's isn't that he's not a fine actor, but for nearly his entire career he portrayed one pigheaded, self-centered character after another with such skill that eventually I it became almost impossible for me to sit through any of his films other than Bad Day at Black Rock and Judgement at Nuremburg.  I'm sure there are other exceptions, but they don't come immediately to mind.

 

For actresses, it gets even more complicated. Katharine Hepburn is a woman I admire to no end, and in the last three movies she made with Cary Grant she's as appealing as it gets.  But while she may be the most talented actress this side of Barbara Stanwyck, her characters in nearly all of her other films I've seen just leave me flat.  In a way it's a similar problem I have with Tracy:  There's a fine line between self-assurance and obnoxious arrogance (Tracy) or condescension (Hepburn), and Hepburn's characters cross over that line too often for my taste. 

 

 

 

 

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There's a fine line between self-assurance and obnoxious arrogance (Tracy) or condescension (Hepburn), and Hepburn's characters cross over that line too often for my taste. 

It's interesting that you've singled them out individually, and yet they've worked together so often. As a team, I think they played to each other's strengths in ways they may not have with other actors. Tracy was kind of a snooze in something like "Cass Timberlane" with Lana Turner, but with Hepburn he always seemed to crackle. I always felt a wry humor in those roles which undercut the self-centeredness you spoke of. I felt like his characters (with Hepburn) were open to being taken down a peg but she was going to have to work damn hard to do it. I think Hepburn had a longer learning curve in terms of movie acting than Tracy, who pretty much hit the ground running. His compassionate toughness in something like "Boys Town" showed the flip side of the arrogance. Hepburn is like nails on chalkboard to me in "Little Women", yet she's sublime to me in late career films like "Desk Set" and "Long Day's Journey Into Night".

Normally I read a post like this with interest, but wouldn't respond. But I admire your tough stance here with these two icons. I only somewhat share your opinions, but I wholeheartedly endorse your courage in making them known.

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I suppose, with knife at throat, I'd have to say AUDREY HEPBURN, or GEORGE PEPPARD( which might explain my antipathy towards "Breakfast At Tiffany's" as BOTH of these "bore buckets" are in it.  But, to be more accurate, Peppard comes off, to me, as more of a "BOOR" bucket!)

 

Typically, if I don't care much for an actor or actress off jump, then I usually don't work up the interest in "trying to like them", and couldn't care less.

 

 

Sepiatone

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My choices:  (I really can't "get into" them and don't really want to either)

 

John Wayne

Audrey Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn

Spencer Tracey

Mickey Rooney

Victor Mature

Barbara Stanwyck

Joan Crawford

Elizabeth Taylor

Marilyn Monroe

James Mason

Charles Laughton

Cary Grant

Tom Cruise

John Travolta

Nicolas Cage

Julia Roberts

Meryl Streep

Reese Silverspoon

George Clooney

Gwenyth Paltry

Angelina Jolie

Jennifer Anistan

 

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My choices:  (I really can't "get into" them and don't really want to either)

 

John Wayne

Audrey Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn

Spencer Tracey

Mickey Rooney

Victor Mature

Barbara Stanwyck

Joan Crawford

Elizabeth Taylor

Marilyn Monroe

James Mason

Charles Laughton

Cary Grant

Tom Cruise

John Travolta

Nicolas Cage

Julia Roberts

Meryl Streep

Reese Silverspoon

George Clooney

Gwenyth Paltry

Angelina Jolie

Jennifer Anniston

 

Yikes! that's quite a list. Are you sure you're a film fan? Your list might be shorter if you listed the ones you do like :D

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With mixed emotions, I have to say Elizabeth Taylor. Her career high point was in the back-to-back "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Suddenly Last Summer", in both of which she delivered beautifully, as she did in the later "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Post-"Cleopatra", she allowed herself to be glorified in a cinematic "first lady" kind of way which was off-putting, particularly after jetsetting became her real day job and movies were sort of worked in around that. I think many people stopped taking her seriously because she stopped taking herself seriously. Her performance in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" was an oddball but sort of brilliant companion piece to her bawdy Martha in "WAOVW?", but other than that she was pretty much coasting. I don't know whether or not she realized the degree to which she'd put movie acting on the back burner. I wonder who she was getting career advice from, or if she was even open to hearing any. For a stretch, the only criterion seemed to be whether there were roles for both her and Richard Burton. I want to "get into" her films because I know what she was capable of at her best, but mostly I just watch things like "The V.I.P's" (with apologies to Terrence Rattigan), "The Sandpiper" and "The Only Game in Town" for their value as trashy camp spectacles.

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Yikes! that's quite a list. Are you sure you're a film fan? Your list might be shorter if you listed the ones you do like :D

 

Iavenderblue took the words right out of my mouth.

 

Newclassicfilmfan, I don't know how "new" you are to classic films (or, judging by some of the names on your list, even recent films), but maybe you ought to give some of those actors and actresses another chance.

Either that, or you're joshin' us all to get a reaction.

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Was that a slip ----Freudian or otherwise?

 

And speaking of "Freudian"...

 

I could never "get into" Ava Gardner.

 

(...but ONLY 'cause I was never lucky enough to have made her acquaintance)

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Iavenderblue took the words right out of my mouth.

 

Newclassicfilmfan, I don't know how "new" you are to classic films (or, judging by some of the names on your list, even recent films), but maybe you ought to give some of those actors and actresses another chance.

Either that, or you're joshin' us all to get a reaction.

 

Good point here, MissW.

 

Considering as how Speedy's original post also touched upon actors who we have changed our opinions about over the years and to the more positive viewpoint about them, I know in many cases I've had this happen to me after viewing more of a particular actor's film work on TCM over the years...the work of Eleanor Parker and Joan Fontaine come immediately to my mind as prime examples of the change of heart I've had about those two actresses, and after TCM had placed their spotlight upon them at one time or another.

 

And now to name one who I JUST could never get into somehow, I guess I'd have to say....Errol Flynn.

 

(...JUST kiddin', Speedy...JUST kiddin', Errol was great...and btw, give Coop a chance to win you over by watching more of his earlier work...back in the day I too couldn't see why he was considered such-a-much, but the more I saw of his "understated" manner of acting, the more I've come to like him)

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I don't get it. If you can't get into them, why would you want to? Maybe if a woman I was after was a big June Allyson fan.  Then again, why would I be after such a woman?

 

I understand your question.  What I intended by this thread wasn't just for people to make lists of people they dislike and don't try to like them (I, myself, am not a fan of Kathryn Grayson, Esther Williams, and many others who were popular during their time).  What I intended was for people to discuss people they've tried to like because they feel like they "should." While obviously, nobody has to like someone just because everyone else does, there are stars who over the years have been held up as a great star/actor/actress/comedienne/etc.  People like Spencer Tracy and Marlon Brando are often mentioned as two of the greatest actors of all time.  Based on the constant high regard for their work, it seems like one should be in awe of their work and seek their films out.  Or, maybe I'm just crazy and as a movie fan, I want to appreciate these people, I want to like their work, I want to understand why they're held up in such high esteem.  I want to "get them."

 

I agree with Andy's assessment on Spencer Tracy.  Tracy is regarded as one of the best actors that ever graced the silver screen.  I've tried watching him in films where he's the sole draw to the film.  He leaves me cold.  I want to understand why he was so great, but I just haven't found the right film yet.  However, in films where he co-stars alongside people I do like, then he's fine and doesn't bother me.  I am a fan of Katharine Hepburn (I think she only got better as she got older.  Her 40s & 50s work is my favorite in her career), and I think the Tracy/Hepburn combination was perfect.  I love their films together.  Their personalities work together so well. 

 

I've also tried to like Marlon Brando.  He's supposed to be one of the greatest actors ever, but I don't get it.  While I don't go out of my way to avoid him and do try to watch his films, he is just "meh" to me.  I can't stand his mumbling, it is irritating.  I did like A Streetcar Named Desire and The Godfather, but not specifically because of Brando.  I liked Guys and Dolls but didn't like Brando in the role of Skye Masterson.  Brando is just whatever to me.

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Good point here, MissW.

 

Considering as how Speedy's original post also touched upon actors who we have changed our opinions about over the years and to the more positive viewpoint about them, I know in many cases I've had this happen to me after viewing more of a particular actor's film work on TCM over the years...the work of Eleanor Parker and Joan Fontaine come immediately to my mind as prime examples of the change of heart I've had about those two actresses, and after TCM had placed their spotlight upon them at one time or another.

 

And now to name one who I JUST could never get into somehow, I guess I'd have to say....Errol Flynn.

 

(...JUST kiddin', Speedy...JUST kiddin', Errol was great...and btw, give Coop a chance to win you over by watching more of his earlier work...back in the day I too couldn't see why he was considered such-a-much, but the more I saw of his "understated" manner of acting, the more I've come to like him)

Lol.  I think all the Cooper films I've seen were made in the twilight of his career-- the 1950s.  What earlier film of Coop's do you recommend?  I'd like to like him.  I feel that the more people I can like and appreciate, it'll only just increase the number of films I'm going to seek out to watch/DVR on TCM.  I usually watch/record films based on who is in the film or how highly regarded the film is (based on either what I've heard or recommendations here on the board). 

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With mixed emotions, I have to say Elizabeth Taylor. Her career high point was in the back-to-back "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Suddenly Last Summer", in both of which she delivered beautifully, as she did in the later "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Post-"Cleopatra", she allowed herself to be glorified in a cinematic "first lady" kind of way which was off-putting, particularly after jetsetting became her real day job and movies were sort of worked in around that. I think many people stopped taking her seriously because she stopped taking herself seriously. Her performance in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" was an oddball but sort of brilliant companion piece to her bawdy Martha in "WAOVW?", but other than that she was pretty much coasting. I don't know whether or not she realized the degree to which she'd put movie acting on the back burner. I wonder who she was getting career advice from, or if she was even open to hearing any. For a stretch, the only criterion seemed to be whether there were roles for both her and Richard Burton. I want to "get into" her films because I know what she was capable of at her best, but mostly I just watch things like "The V.I.P's" (with apologies to Terrence Rattigan), "The Sandpiper" and "The Only Game in Town" for their value as trashy camp spectacles.

I felt this way about Elizabeth Taylor too, but I think I'll have to now lump her in with Jean Harlow in my "used to not understand why she was such a big star, but now I do" category.  In fact I just bought the "TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Elizabeth Taylor" collection with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Father of the Bride, Butterfield 8, and The Sandpiper.  I really only bought it because I wanted Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Father of the Bride, and because I found it used for $5.99.  I thought it was a good deal.  Lol. 

 

Anyway, I always knew of Taylor, mostly from years of seeing her "White Diamond" commercials and her work for her AIDS charity.  She always looked so beautiful and glamorous, it was hard to believe she was 60+ years old and a star from the Golden Era.  Then, unfortunately, she started making the news for health problems and she began to look like a 70-something year old star from 60+ years ago.  It was sad.  I was really sad when she passed away, but I wasn't sad because she was some great movie star whose work I enjoyed.  I really wasn't familiar with her work.  I decided to start trying to seek it out. 

 

I saw Little Women made when Taylor was a teenager.  I wasn't a fan of Taylor or the film.  Back to square one with Taylor.  I saw Father of the Bride again recently with Taylor and Spencer Tracy.  Taylor's character was a little too mousy or something, I don't know how to describe how I felt about her character in this film, she was fine but unremarkable.  Remarkably I liked Spencer Tracy much better.  In fact, I watched this film after I made a claim on another thread regarding remakes, stating that Steve Martin was better in the role.  In fact, I'll have to retract that, and while both men were good in their respective films, I actually found that I prefer Tracy's less frantic portrayal, even though Martin was funny.   Anyway... back to Taylor.  She didn't impress me with Little Women or Father of the Bride.  Finally, the film that did change my opinion of her was Suddenly Last Summer.  I initially recorded it because it had two of my favorites: Montgomery Clift and Katharine HepburnWhile definitely a strange film, I thought Taylor was excellent and I liked her portrayal of the tormented woman who was the last to see Hepburn's now-deceased nephew. 

 

Finally, I was on to something with Taylor.  I then saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Crazy movie and a completely different Taylor than I had seen.  This was a great movie and Taylor was capable of heavy drama and being more than just some glamorous sex pot, or the sweet girl next door.  This movie was a revelation to me in regard to Taylor's acting talents.  I liked her much better than Richard Burton whom I haven't "gotten" yet.  I also saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and loved it.  I also saw A Place in the Sun and thought it was excellent as well. 

 

I've found that I'm not a fan of Taylor during the child part of her career, I prefer her once she was an adult and started getting sexier roles or more serious fare.  Taylor was at her peak in the late 50s-mid 60s definitely.

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Lol.  I think all the Cooper films I've seen were made in the twilight of his career-- the 1950s.  What earlier film of Coop's do you recommend?  I'd like to like him.  I feel that the more people I can like and appreciate, it'll only just increase the number of films I'm going to seek out to watch/DVR on TCM.  I usually watch/record films based on who is in the film or how highly regarded the film is (based on either what I've heard or recommendations here on the board). 

 

Just a few of my favorites of an earlier Coop's are:

 

THE WESTERNER (1940)...his interactions with Walter Brennan's Judge Roy Bean(Best Supporting Actor winner for this) are especially good.

 

SERGEANT YORK (1941)...won the Best Actor Oscar for this, and I think he deserved it.

 

PRIDE OF THE YANKEES (1942)...still one of the greatest films about Baseball ever made and is perfect as Lou Gehrig.

 

 

...and in his comedic turns where I always thought he succeeded well in playing the "lovable doofus" type...

 

 

BALL OF FIRE (1941)...played great off of Barbara Stanwyck as her nerdy love interest.

 

ALONG CAME JONES (1945)...not a great film, but Coop always has me laughing at just the right places in this one.

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I felt this way about Elizabeth Taylor too, but I think I'll have to now lump her in with Jean Harlow in my "used to not understand why she was such a big star, but now I do" category.  In fact I just bought the "TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Elizabeth Taylor" collection with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Father of the Bride, Butterfield 8, and The Sandpiper.  I really only bought it because I wanted Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Father of the Bride, and because I found it used for $5.99.  I thought it was a good deal.  Lol. 

 

Anyway, I always knew of Taylor, mostly from years of seeing her "White Diamond" commercials and her work for her AIDS charity.  She always looked so beautiful and glamorous, it was hard to believe she was 60+ years old and a star from the Golden Era.  Then, unfortunately, she started making the news for health problems and she began to look like a 70-something year old star from 60+ years ago.  It was sad.  I was really sad when she passed away, but I wasn't sad because she was some great movie star whose work I enjoyed.  I really wasn't familiar with her work.  I decided to start trying to seek it out. 

 

I saw Little Women made when Taylor was a teenager.  I wasn't a fan of Taylor or the film.  Back to square one with Taylor.  I saw Father of the Bride again recently with Taylor and Spencer Tracy.  Taylor's character was a little too mousy or something, I don't know how to describe how I felt about her character in this film, she was fine but unremarkable.  Remarkably I liked Spencer Tracy much better.  In fact, I watched this film after I made a claim on another thread regarding remakes, stating that Steve Martin was better in the role.  In fact, I'll have to retract that, and while both men were good in their respective films, I actually found that I prefer Tracy's less frantic portrayal, even though Martin was funny.   Anyway... back to Taylor.  She didn't impress me with Little Women or Father of the Bride.  Finally, the film that did change my opinion of her was Suddenly Last Summer.  I initially recorded it because it had two of my favorites: Montgomery Clift and Katharine HepburnWhile definitely a strange film, I thought Taylor was excellent and I liked her portrayal of the tormented woman who was the last to see Hepburn's now-deceased nephew. 

 

Finally, I was on to something with Taylor.  I then saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Crazy movie and a completely different Taylor than I had seen.  This was a great movie and Taylor was capable of heavy drama and being more than just some glamorous sex pot, or the sweet girl next door.  This movie was a revelation to me in regard to Taylor's acting talents.  I liked her much better than Richard Burton whom I haven't "gotten" yet.  I also saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and loved it.  I also saw A Place in the Sun and thought it was excellent as well. 

 

I've found that I'm not a fan of Taylor during the child part of her career, I prefer her once she was an adult and started getting sexier roles or more serious fare.  Taylor was at her peak in the late 50s-mid 60s definitely.

You might want to add a few more to the list you should see, only adding the ones I think you might enjoy. I get the sense that musicals and light comedies are not your thing.

 

Giant

National Velvet

Jane Eyre (small part as a very young child, but very touching)

The Last Time I Saw Paris

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Just a few of my favorites of an earlier Coop's are:

 

THE WESTERNER (1940)...his interactions with Walter Brennan's Judge Roy Bean(Best Supporting Actor winner for this) are especially good.

 

SERGEANT YORK (1941)...won the Best Actor Oscar for this, and I think he deserved it.

 

PRIDE OF THE YANKEES (1942)...still one of the greatest films about Baseball ever made and is perfect as Lou Gehrig.

 

 

...and in his comedic turns where I always thought he succeeded well in playing the "lovable doofus" type...

 

 

BALL OF FIRE (1941)...played great off of Barbara Stanwyck as her nerdy love interest.

 

ALONG CAME JONES (1945)...not a great film, but Coop always has me laughing at just the right places in this one.

Thank you for these recommendations Dargo! I've heard of a few of these.  I'll definitely want to check out Ball of Fire because Stanwyck is one of my favorites.  I do love sports movies, so I'll definitely check out Pride of the Yankees.  Knowing the story of Lou Gehrig, I will go into this movie expecting it to end sad, I'll be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't.  I'll keep an eye out for these in the TCM schedule!

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You might want to add a few more to the list you should see

 

Giant

National Velvet

Jane Eyre (small part as a very young child, but very touching)

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Thanks Lavender.  I've seen Giant too, but like I said, I think I need to re-watch it, because I can't remember anything about it other than it was long.  I'll look into National Velvet, I think this was the film that basically started her career isn't it? Is this Jane Eyre the same one with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine? I've also seen The Last Time I Saw Paris on the TCM schedule a few times and have never thought of recording it for whatever reason, now, at least, I have Taylor as a reason to record it.  I'm going to keep an eye out for her in the schedule, I've heard about her campy performances as well, and sometimes camp can be very entertaining. 

 

I also got the Furious Love book about her relationship with Richard Burton and I look forward to reading that while I try to discover more of her films as well.

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Thanks Lavender.  I've seen Giant too, but like I said, I think I need to re-watch it, because I can't remember anything about it other than it was long.  I'll look into National Velvet, I think this was the film that basically started her career isn't it? Is this Jane Eyre the same one with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine? I've also seen The Last Time I Saw Paris on the TCM schedule a few times and have never thought of recording it for whatever reason, now, at least, I have Taylor as a reason to record it.  I'm going to keep an eye out for her in the schedule, I've heard about her campy performances as well, and sometimes camp can be very entertaining. 

 

I also got the Furious Love book about her relationship with Richard Burton and I look forward to reading that while I try to discover more of her films as well.

Yes, it's the same version of Jane Eyre that I recommended to you when you posted about Welles. She did do a few other films like Lassie Come Home I think before National Velvet, but yes Velvet really made her a star. (btw, I've posted this before, I met Taylor in the mid 1960's and her eyes really were purple, and yes she was unbelieveably beautiful, gracious and was so sweet to me) :)

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Yes, it's the same version of Jane Eyre that I recommended to you when you posted about Welles. She did do a few other films like Lassie Come Home I think before National Velvet, but yes Velvet really made her a star. (btw, I've posted this before, I met Taylor in the mid 1960's and her eyes really were purple, and yes she was unbelieveably beautiful, gracious and was so sweet to me) :)

Thanks.  Jane Eyre is on Netflix Instant right now, so it'll be easy to watch.  I'll have to give her childhood career another chance, I can't base it on one film like Little Women.  I love your story about meeting her.  I love hearing nice stories about stars that I admire.  Taylor seems like she was a genuinely nice person, evidenced by all her humanitarian work through her AIDS Foundation.  Aside from all the tabloid fodder she was involved in, she went through a lot in her life and came out on top in spite of it.

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