Thursday, December 10, 2009


Time for the actors, which couldn't quite fit into my last post. I had kind of run out of steam, not to mention it would have been too long. After some repose and some thought, here are some actors that I've liked lately.

Leslie Howard: He's well-known as Ashley Wilkes in 'Gone with the Wind', but I can't personally say I liked him in it. He was probably too old and so he didn't quite look like the guy who had inspired such romantic obsession in Scarlett. That aside, I don't think Ashley's an all that interesting character anyway, even in the book. Leslie Howard made more fascinating portrayals in his acting career. My favourite for the moment is his Henry Higgins in 'Pygmalion', otherwise known what came before the musical 'My Fair Lady'. He's perfectly grumpy and unlikeable until the point where he discovers he loves Eliza (Wendy Hiller, who also deserves a shout-out here). Other Leslie notables have been: 'Of Human Bondage', making use of his sensitive Englishman persona who gets tangled with Bette Davis' Mildred Rogers; 'Smilin' Through': his role is kind of supporting here, but he has great chemistry with Norma Shearer and he makes the transition from young lad to elderly man rather convincingly. Most looking forward to next: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934).

Robert Montgomery: I saw 'Here Comes Mr. Jordan' and I didn't realise then that his everyday Joe was not quite the persona he had established in his earlier MGM days (meaning maybe I should re-watch this now that I see Robert Montgomery in a newer light). Today, if known at all, he's probably best known as the father of Elizabeth Montgomery, or Samantha from 'Bewitched'. Lately I've know him most as the effortlessly classy, tall and ridiculously swoon-worthy leading man of 30s MGM actresses like Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. Having not gotten round to Joan, I've lately only been seeing the ones he made with Norma. They have quite good chemistry, even if they can't fully realise it in two out of the three films I've seen. But the film I most look forward to is the one where he got his sole Oscar nomination and cred as an actor, 'Night Must Fall'.

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