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songbird2

They Could Charm the Birds Out of the Trees

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"He had one of the rarest qualities,"..."and it's a great shame that the word for it has been thoroughly debased by the cosmetic racketeers, so that one is almost ashamed to use it to describe a real distinction. Nevertheless, the word is charm."

 

Raymond Chandler was writing about the beauty of F. Scott Fitzgerald's prose when he wrote those words. Yet I wonder if he couldn't have been writing about that most evanescent quality that is surely part of the magnetism of golden age movies. Who do you think displayed a quality of charm in their movies--on either side of the camera?

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I believe that Cary Grant displayed an unusual amount of charm - this perhaps more than his looks is what worms its way into all our hearts. Always (almost) polished and refined with a ready and disarming smile. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bird swoon!

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I think that character actor Frank Morgan was a charming old rascal in many films. Especially in THE WIZARD OF OZ, A FREE SOUL, and many others that I just can't think of right now!

 

Sandy K

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I agree Cary Grant could be charming.

But my candidates would be Paul Newman and Humprey Bogart.

Paul's smile and of course his eye's makes me melt!

Bogie has the little puppy dog look he might look and act tough but he can come across as a little boy lost.

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Two of last week's Summer Under the Stars, both of whom were inimitable and irreplacable:

Carole Lombard

Audrey Hepburn

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TCM has two purveyors of an inordinate amount of charm on display this morning in The Charge of the Light Brigade(1936):

 

Errol Flynn, (who probably had more charm than was good for him)

David Niven, (who seemingly glided through life exercising his quieter charm on and off screen*)

 

My favorite film of the two in perfect tandem is also being shown later today--The Dawn Patrol(1938). It may contain one of Flynn's very best performances and Niven's most ebullient.

___________________________________

*The charming face that Niven presented to the world becomes even more impressive when one knows that he knew tragedy by its first name, having lost his beloved first wife to an accident involving a fall down a cellar stair during a party at Tyrone Power & Annabella's home just after the war. Niven had not had an easy war either, and his career never fully recovered its momentum after WWII. And in addition to all this, the death of his wife came while his two sons were only toddlers.

 

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songbird2

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For me, it would be any of the Barrymore's, Lionel, Ethel and most especially, John! Also, David Niven has a soft spot in my heart, I'd sit on his couch any day!

-Susan

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Jimmy Stewart, so lanky, and ungraceful. No matter what was going on, you wanted to put your arms around him and say 'everythings going to be all right.' He always got the girl with his innocent charm, and I usually wanted to pull a Barbra Streisand/Robert Redford and push the hair out of his eyes. Even tho he was over 6 feet tall, you felt like he was just a little kid who needed a watchful eye over him.

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Errol Flynn could charm me out of anything, or into anything for that matter. ;-)

 

He certainly did haveto much charm for his own good. Olivia said that he always got his way and that no one could say no to him. And that since what he wanted usually wasn't good for him, that could be a bad thing.

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Like most human attributes, the perception of "charm" in others is, of course, highly subjective. That is my scholarly pronouncement for the day.

 

In other words, many Hollywood stars who are considered suave, adorable, charming, leave me cold, and the ones I find charming may not move you at all.

 

Of the less obvious, two male stars I love who are not romantic leads, but who I find irresistibly charming, are Peter Lorre and Sabu. I've always thought Spring Byington and Thelma Ritter brought "charm" to their performances. And I find Betty Boop unquestionably charming as well. There are many others.

 

I'll tell you something: Some years ago, I was spoken of in the newsletter of an organization I belong to, and the writer said "You should contact Judith - she is charming." I was outraged. "Who the hell says I'm charming!!!" I don't know -- somehow I felt I was being patronized. In retrospect, I don't think that was the case, but at the time I felt insulted. No one had ever used that word to refer to me before. But I have mellowed since then, and I now understand that charm is an asset for anyone, not just movie stars.

JDB

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Ooh Soo Chaaarming!!

 

Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers (their feet did the talking), Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, Deborah Kerr, Robert Donat, Olivia de Havilland & Errol Flynn.

 

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zooty10

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