Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Frank Morgan


Palmerin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Watching the pre-WIZARD OF OZ movies that were presented in the day dedicated to him I came to realize that Morgan was really quite a handsome impressive man, with bright eyes and a warm smile.

Was he a romantic leading man early in his career?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He was appearing in straight dramas as well as farces and musicals on Broadway in his twenties.  I think you could definitely say he had a romantic role in HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM, with at least one genuinely emotional scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Watching the pre-WIZARD OF OZ movies that were presented in the day dedicated to him I came to realize that Morgan was really quite a handsome impressive man, with bright eyes and a warm smile.

Was he a romantic leading man early in his career?

 

Possibly very early in his career, but by the time he got to Bombshell, where he played Jean Harlow's drunken mooch of a father, he'd already been typecast as somewhat of a buffoon.  He was only 43 in that movie, but physically he seemed more like a man in his 60's, and not exactly the Lewis Stone variety of septuagenarian.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possibly very early in his career, but by the time he got to Bombshell, where he played Jean Harlow's drunken mooch of a father, he'd already been typecast as somewhat of a buffoon.  He was only 43 in that movie, but physically he seemed more like a man in his 60's, and not exactly the Lewis Stone variety of septuagenarian.

 

Morgan played a man who was romantically involved with a younger women in When Ladies Meet (also 1933 like Bombshell),  and The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1937)  (well he tires anyhow),   but generally he did play men that appeared older than his actual age and the type of character he played was only able to attract women based on power or position.       

 

Compare that to William Powell who was younger by only 2 years but was able to convincingly attract much younger women in droves!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morgan played a man who was romantically involved with a younger women in When Ladies Meet (also 1933 like Bombshell),  and The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1937)  (well he tires anyhow),   but generally he did play men that appeared older than his actual age and the type of character he played was only able to attract women based on power or position.       

 

Right.  By "romantic" leads I'm assuming that means that the attraction was mutual and sexual, and not based on pity, "respect", or some sort of a business arrangement.  By that standard, whatever romantic leads Morgan played were in movies I've never seen on TCM, likely during the silent era.

 

Compare that to William Powell who was younger by only 2 years but was able to convincingly attract much younger women in droves!

 

Very good contrast.  You might also add Bogart / Bergman in Casablanca, or Warren William or Richard Barthelmess paired with Loretta Young and many other much younger leading ladies in movies like Employees' Entrance, Midnight Mary, or Heroes For Sale

 

And then of course there's Clark Gable, who was almost in a class by himself, false teeth and all.

 

page_po_kelly_01_0711051627_id_10712.jpg

 

"He's not just old enough to be your father, he IS your father!"

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always thought younger Frank Morgan somewhat resembled hunkster John Barrymore. Morgan had a distinct voice with great inflection along with going prematurely gray which I think changed the way he was charactorized. 

 

Ever see his less famous brother Ralph Morgan in a movie? Almost the same voice & face! They were from a large family (I think 10 kids) and he & Ralph were almost like twins.

 

Like Barrymore, I find Frank Morgan to be a sentimental rogue type of leading romantic man. But his comedic timing and vivaciousness were so great, I think he was just cast exploiting that type.

 

My group just screened BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 and in it Frank did a recurring bit of allowing his ever changing dates to wear an expensive ermine coat on the date-deftly taking it back after the goodnight kiss!

 

He was bright & brilliant as usual and received big gaffaws from the audience whenever on screen.

 

Whenever I make a martini, I toast Frank Morgan, once heir to the Angustora Bitters fortune.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morgan played a man who was romantically involved with a younger women in When Ladies Meet (also 1933 like Bombshell),  and The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1937)  (well he tires anyhow),   but generally he did play men that appeared older than his actual age and the type of character he played was only able to attract women based on power or position.       

 

Compare that to William Powell who was younger by only 2 years but was able to convincingly attract much younger women in droves!

..despite the fact that Powell was a rather homely man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..despite the fact that Powell was a rather homely man.

 

Obviously William Powell wasn't Robert Taylor or Errol Flynn in terms of matinee idol looks, but then leading men of the movies have always been able to sport a far wider range of facial and body characteristics than their female counterparts, not to mention that there are plenty of them (like Powell or Gable) whose charismatic personality adds a lot to their appeal.

 

There are a few non-Loretta Young level of beauty women (Rosalind Russell would be one)  whose engaging personalities have enabled them to play credible romantic leads on occasion, but usually they wind up as the "best friend" (see Celeste Holm in Gentleman's Agreement).

 

And if there's ever been a female counterpart to "ruggedly handsome" who's showed up as a romantic lead, I'd like to know who she might have been.  In fact it's not all that uncommon that these women (like Mercedes McCambridge) often get typecast as lesbians.

 

Even in the past, when the beauty standards weren't so rigid, and  non-glamorous women occasionally got cast in romantic leads, we often tend to look at their movies now and kind of scratch our heads about the casting.  Ruth Chatterton and Mae West* come to mind here, but they weren't the only ones.  And while the aging Stewarts and the Bogarts were allowed to grab the likes of Kim Novak and Lauren Bacall without causing too many guffaws, the second that actresses like Miriam Hopkins started putting on the old double chin, there they'd go straight into "character" roles.

 

I'm not defending this double standard, but it'd be silly not to recognize it.

 

*Though in West's case, she's much more of a conscious self-parody of a certain type of glamor queen than any real romantic lead.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's happened with other guys in movies.  Lyle Talbot, the somewhat drab and uninteresting(according to Mrs. Tone) neighbor of Ozzie and Harriet, WAS once and early on cast as the "romanitc" lead in more than a few movies.  I believe he was once cast as the romanitic lead co-starring with a young and "fresh new face" HARRIET HILLIARD, who would later be next-door neighbor Harriet Nelson!

 

Tickles me just to THINK of it!

 

 

Sepiatone

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like your entire observation, andy. But I do swoon over Bill Powell's bedroom eyes and large nose (indication of largeness elsewhere)

 

And if there's ever been a female counterpart to "ruggedly handsome" who's showed up as a romantic lead, I'd like to know who she might have been. 

 

Although I find her attractive mainly from personality, I never found Lauren Bacall to be a typical feminine beauty. In fact she comes across as somewhat homely with large uneven features. I actually prefer more unusual beauties.

 

We've also discussed Barbara Stanwyk's atypical looks on this subject at length. There's a few unconventional beauties who became big stars. 

Would you consider fave Anna Magnani in your "ruggedly handsome" category?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like your entire observation, andy. But I do swoon over Bill Powell's bedroom eyes and large nose (indication of largeness elsewhere)

 

And if there's ever been a female counterpart to "ruggedly handsome" who's showed up as a romantic lead, I'd like to know who she might have been. 

 

Although I find her attractive mainly from personality, I never found Lauren Bacall to be a typical feminine beauty. In fact she comes across as somewhat homely with large uneven features. I actually prefer more unusual beauties.

 

We've also discussed Barbara Stanwyk's atypical looks on this subject at length. There's a few unconventional beauties who became big stars. 

Would you consider fave Anna Magnani in your "ruggedly handsome" category?

 

That's an interesting question.  99% of my conscious thoughts about Anna Magnani go back to her role in Open City, where you last see her  gunned down in the middle of the street by the Germans, while she was calling out the name of her husband as the Germans were hauling him away.  About the only way I could describe her in terms of sex appeal is that she has what Kramer (in Seinfeld) would call "kavorka", an animal magnetism that transcends her "objective" physical qualities. "Roughly handsome" wouldn't be the term I'd use, but the quality she exudes would be somewhat comparable to the appeal of Robert Mitchum, who wasn't exactly Robert Taylor in the mirror, but who still managed to get his point across without too much trouble.  Whatever it is, she's got it.

 

And I agree with you about "more unusual beauties".  IMO once you get past certain subjective requirements of body type (I admit I like thinner women, but that's just a personal preference), the overriding qualities I look for are personality, curiosity, warmth, and intelligence.  I can't think of a single actress whom I'd be more likely to storm the beaches of Normandy for than Rosalind Russell in Roughly Speaking, or Barbara Stanwyck in These Wilder Years

 

Of course when it comes to leading actresses, the whole thing gets a bit surreal when you see a gorgeous woman like Barbara Stanwyck and compare her to Loretta Young or Ava Gardner, rather than to the 99% of the female population who would die to look like Barbara Stanwyck---especially in middle age or later.  It's a bit like comparing an average Major League baseball player to Babe Ruth or Willie Mays, rather than noting that when all is said and done, he's still one of the 750 best ballplayers in the world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course when it comes to leading actresses, the whole thing gets a bit surreal when you see a gorgeous woman like Barbara Stanwyck and compare her to Loretta Young or Ava Gardner, rather than to the 99% of the female population who would die to look like Barbara Stanwyck---especially in middle age or later.  It's a bit like comparing an average Major League baseball player to Babe Ruth or Willie Mays, rather than noting that when all is said and done, he's still one of the 750 best ballplayers in the world.

 

Wow, sorry Andy, but while I think Babs was one of truly great film actresses of all time, I personally never thought of her as being "more beautiful than 99 percent of the general population of women" out there. In fact, I think the fact that she was actually rather "plain looking" or at least "average in appearance" contributed to her vast abilities to believably "morph" into a wide spectrum of characters, and from the overly made-up "sirens" to the tough as nails "working girl" type.

 

(...nope, sorry, but as I've said, Babs was a GREAT actress, but a "beauty" in the classical sense?...never...and regardless the "yardstick" you may wish to use)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I find her attractive mainly from personality, I never found Lauren Bacall to be a typical feminine beauty. In fact she comes across as somewhat homely with large uneven features. I actually prefer more unusual beauties.

 

I've always found myself drooling over the Bacall of To Have and Have Not and Dark Passage, indifferent to the Bacall of How to Marry a Millionaire, and very enamored of Bacall as she got into her 40's and older.  Maybe it's just that I like those first two movies and not the third one, but maybe it's just the hair styles.  Bacall in her early 20's seems older than that, but in a good way, while Bacall in her late 20's and early 30's seems much older than that in a not-so-good way.  And Bacall in her 40's up through the time of her passing seems to have aged better than almost any actress I can think of.

 

Does any of that make sense?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously William Powell wasn't Robert Taylor or Errol Flynn in terms of matinee idol looks, but then leading men of the movies have always been able to sport a far wider range of facial and body characteristics than their female counterparts, not to mention that there are plenty of them (like Powell or Gable) whose charismatic personality adds a lot to their appeal.

 

There are a few non-Loretta Young level of beauty women (Rosalind Russell would be one)  whose engaging personalities have enabled them to play credible romantic leads on occasion, but usually they wind up as the "best friend" (see Celeste Holm in Gentleman's Agreement).

 

And if there's ever been a female counterpart to "ruggedly handsome" who's showed up as a romantic lead, I'd like to know who she might have been.  In fact it's not all that uncommon that these women (like Mercedes McCambridge) often get typecast as lesbians.

 

Even in the past, when the beauty standards weren't so rigid, and  non-glamorous women occasionally got cast in romantic leads, we often tend to look at their movies now and kind of scratch our heads about the casting.  Ruth Chatterton and Mae West* come to mind here, but they weren't the only ones.  And while the aging Stewarts and the Bogarts were allowed to grab the likes of Kim Novak and Lauren Bacall without causing too many guffaws, the second that actresses like Miriam Hopkins started putting on the old double chin, there they'd go straight into "character" roles.

 

I'm not defending this double standard, but it'd be silly not to recognize it.

 

*Though in West's case, she's much more of a conscious self-parody of a certain type of glamor queen than any real romantic lead.

I vaguely recall a contemporaneous critic of Mae West referring to her as "your grandfather's sex symbol".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always found myself drooling over the Bacall of To Have and Have Not and Dark Passage, indifferent to the Bacall of How to Marry a Millionaire, and very enamored of Bacall as she got into her 40's and older.  Maybe it's just that I like those first two movies and not the third one, but maybe it's just the hair styles.  Bacall in her early 20's seems older than that, but in a good way, while Bacall in her late 20's and early 30's seems much older than that in a not-so-good way.  And Bacall in her 40's up through the time of her passing seems to have aged better than almost any actress I can think of.

 

Does any of that make sense?

Makes sense to me. Bacall is another of those actresses I have mentioned here, like Ann Sheridan and Linda Darnell, whose adoption of fhe shorter hairstyles of the late 40s and the 50s ended up detracting from their looks, making them look older than their actual age. I agree that Bacall later in life looked quite good.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I vaguely recall a contemporaneous critic of Mae West referring to her as "your grandfather's sex symbol".

 

I kind of imagine Mae West as James Finlayson's ideal woman.

 

968full-feed.jpg

 

Have you seen my corset, dear?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Makes sense to me. Bacall is another of those actresses I have mentioned here, like Ann Sheridan and Linda Darnell, whose adoption of fhe shorter hairstyles of the late 40s and the 50s ended up detracting from their looks, making them look older than their actual age. I agree that Bacall later in life looked quite good.

 

One might almost say that those ubiquitous "Which twin has the Toni?" ads were one of the more pernicious attacks on the entire concept of natural female beauty in the entire 20th century.  It's no coincidence that this campaign began in 1948 and ran all through the 50's.

 

E3611.jpg?size=67&uid=%7B3872601E-29B6-4

 

"Haunted by ghosts?  We'll scare 'em all away!"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously William Powell wasn't Robert Taylor or Errol Flynn in terms of matinee idol looks, but then leading men of the movies have always been able to sport a far wider range of facial and body characteristics than their female counterparts, not to mention that there are plenty of them (like Powell or Gable) whose charismatic personality adds a lot to their appeal.

 

There are a few non-Loretta Young level of beauty women (Rosalind Russell would be one)  whose engaging personalities have enabled them to play credible romantic leads on occasion, but usually they wind up as the "best friend" (see Celeste Holm in Gentleman's Agreement).

 

And if there's ever been a female counterpart to "ruggedly handsome" who's showed up as a romantic lead, I'd like to know who she might have been.  In fact it's not all that uncommon that these women (like Mercedes McCambridge) often get typecast as lesbians.

 

Even in the past, when the beauty standards weren't so rigid, and  non-glamorous women occasionally got cast in romantic leads, we often tend to look at their movies now and kind of scratch our heads about the casting.  Ruth Chatterton and Mae West* come to mind here, but they weren't the only ones.  And while the aging Stewarts and the Bogarts were allowed to grab the likes of Kim Novak and Lauren Bacall without causing too many guffaws, the second that actresses like Miriam Hopkins started putting on the old double chin, there they'd go straight into "character" roles.

 

I'm not defending this double standard, but it'd be silly not to recognize it.

 

*Though in West's case, she's much more of a conscious self-parody of a certain type of glamor queen than any real romantic lead.

Powell is about the homeliest actor I can think of who was a leading man considered a ladies'  man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Powell is about the homeliest actor I can think of who was a leading man considered a ladies'  man.

You obviously aren't a very good judge of such things. Most  all of William Powell's leading ladies (some of Hollywood's most desirable) enjoyed working with him, Carole  Lombard married him, Jean Harlow was ready to marry him, and Powell's last wife stayed married to him for 40 + years.  God, why couldn't I have been so homely? ;)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You obviously aren't a very good judge of such things. Most  all of William Powell's leading ladies (some of Hollywood's most desirable) enjoyed working with him, Carole  Lombard married him, Jean Harlow was ready to marry him, and Powell's last wife stayed married to him for 40 + years.  God, why couldn't I have been so homely? ;)

Nothing you said has anything to do with his looks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So looks have nothing to do with how appealing a person is?  No one  suggests that William Powell was an exceptionally handsome fellow (maybe  an ordinary Joe would be a good description) but "homely" seems rather harsh. All of these women, and the public at large, seemed perfectly willing to accept him as a romantic , leading man type.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Powell is about the homeliest actor I can think of who was a leading man considered a ladies'  man.

 

 

 

Even in the past, when the beauty standards weren't so rigid, and  non-glamorous women occasionally got cast in romantic leads, we often tend to look at their movies now and kind of scratch our heads about the casting.  Ruth Chatterton and Mae West* come to mind here, but they weren't the only ones.  And while the aging Stewarts and the Bogarts were allowed to grab the likes of Kim Novak and Lauren Bacall without causing too many guffaws, the second that actresses like Miriam Hopkins started putting on the old double chin, there they'd go straight into "character" roles.

 

I'm not defending this double standard, but it'd be silly not to recognize it.

 

*Though in West's case, she's much more of a conscious self-parody of a certain type of glamor queen than any real romantic lead.

About double standards,Lilian Gish said about Lionel Barrymore.' When i started he was my grandfather,then my father,later my husband,i'am sure next time i would have been his mother...'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So looks have nothing to do with how appealing a person is?  No one  suggests that William Powell was an exceptionally handsome fellow (maybe  an ordinary Joe would be a good description) but "homely" seems rather harsh. All of these women, and the public at large, seemed perfectly willing to accept him as a romantic , leading man type.

I have gone on record as saying that I'm not a big fan of his. I also am a bit befuddled why he was often cast in romantic leading man roles. If I was a female, his appeal would have been lost on me. Again, I thought he was perfect in his LIFE WITH FATHER role.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have gone on record as saying that I'm not a big fan of his. I also am a bit befuddled why he was often cast in romantic leading man roles. If I was a female, his appeal would have been lost on me. Again, I thought he was perfect in his LIFE WITH FATHER role.

 

I assume most of the audiences at the time,  both men and women,   felt he had a very charming screen persona.   He was smooth as silk.    That is the reason he is one of my favorite actors.    But too each his own of course. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...