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Having gotten quite a few chuckles from the ongoing sturm and drang under "The Least Sexy" thread, (especially the fights about Marlon Brando), I was wondering if there are any classic film players who have a greater appeal than the directors or scenarists may have intended.

 

Let's get the show rolling by naming my first choice for different, yet appealing:

Charles Ruggles

 

What are your choices?

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Nat Pendleton, often cast as a hooligan, bouncer, wrestler, or the mobster's second hand man; his characters (with names like Spud, Tiny, Shoots, Truck) were called upon to be blunt and gauche, but there was no denying his charm.

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I certainly have thought that supporting players sometimes run away with a film.

 

We are talking here of those not intended to be co-stars, I think, but who are the real "characters."

 

Think about those who got their own film or films because of their popularity, for instance Ma and Pa Kettle. So I'll add Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride to my list, and also Max Rosenbloom, Lionel Stander, William Frawley, and William Demarest (and, in fact, all of the Preston Sturges company), along with those already mentioned. I guess I should add actors like J. Carroll Naishe, who often played unsavory types, but was a real attention-getter.

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How about Thomas Mitchell? I'm always frustrated watching such films as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington due to the fact that, for all his flaws, Mitchell's slightly cynical, wistful character is much more appealing than the callow James Stewart, (who, imo, only became interesting later after the war and w/ Anthony Mann & Alfred Hitchcock on hand to guide him). Jean, hey, you, Jean Arthur--wake up and smell the coffee!

 

In Only Angels Have Wings and Adventure his death scene pas de deux with Cary Grant and Clark Gable respectively are wonderful. What a scene stealer.

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I always smile and say aloud "Hey Nat!" when I see Nat Pendleton in a film. Seriously. I've been a fan since I first saw him in "Penthouse" with Warner Baxter.

 

Marie Dressler is the classic "oddly appealing" actress. I think Tor Johnson is fun to watch.

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Aline MacMahon, a sublime actress created funny and touching characters throughout her long career, usually in smaller parts. I'd single out Five Star Final, Gold Diggers of 1933 and The Search, among other films that displayed her subtle appeal. She made being intelligent sexy.

 

Warren Hymer, an actor who might've played Nat Pendleton's brother, appeared in one of his best written roles with Miss MacMahon in the romantic drama One Way Passage . A dumb, but decent fellow.

 

Edward Arnold, a portly character lead best remembered for playing a vulnerable Diamond Jim Brady in a couple of movies, the Devil, (in a splendid little short called "Inflation" that pops up on TCM occasionally) and Daniel Webster, in the splendid rendition of The Devil and Daniel Webster. A very attractive guy, blessed with a marvelous speaking voice, he also did a nifty job as a blind detective in two little movies: Eyes in the Night and The Hidden Eye. I'd love to see his Nero Wolfe turns on celluloid, sometime, TCM.

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It's good to know that others like Edward Arnold too. Do you have a favorite performance of his, jdb1? I'd love to know others' opinions of his best work too.

 

I'm very keen on Come and Get It as well as The Devil and Daniel Webster.

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