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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Movie Heroes

(If you must have politics, please scroll down. Some lively discussions going on!)

Sad but true (hat tip to Beamish, who entitled his post "Gunslingers Vs. Gumflappers"):


  1. Ah, Clint Eastwood, one of my favorites. And, in another dated fashion, John Wayne. Yes, good old John Wayne. His last film, The Shootist (1979), is an incredible reflection of his age and where he was at that stage of his life. All the aches and pains he showed in the film were true.


  2. I take a hammer to Tea-stablishment gumflappers for Romney in today's creatively destructive post

    Cheers :)

  3. Jason Bourne would kick Dirty Harry's ass.

  4. I have to say that Jason Bourne is a good trilogy and Matt Damon brilliant actor.

    Having said that, there was something more tough, straight (whatever that means these days) and simply dramatic about the Charles Bronson, Humphrey Bogart and Steve McQueen of our days.

    Mind you, each era produces something new. Even in the recent years, the vampires of say Interview with a Vampire had class in comparison to the wimpy, psuedo-sexy if-not-completely-gay vampires of now...... Somehow they confused vampires with 90210 or Glee and look what you got!

  5. I'd love to see a movie with John Wayne and Lisbeth Salander. A True Grit that's really truly gritty ;-)

  6. Ah, how I wish I had grown up in those days- as movies now, and many books, are insultenly lacking of real characters, plots, or basic intelligence. Twilight of course being the best example...

    The only recent movie that measures up are the LoTR movies, but that doesn't count!


  7. Wow. I agree with Charles.

    I think the reason Lee Marvin, Bronson, Eastwood, et al were more "real" is because they were real men who worked real jobs and/or served in the military and fought in wars before they became stars.

    I just don't know how much privation today's stars have faced.

    Charles Bronson's coal mining family was so poor he had to wear hand-me-down dresses from his older sisters. If growing up in a coal mining town wearing dresses don't make you tough, I don't know what will.

  8. Have to disagree about Bronson, never had much range.

    Otherwise some of the best actors in American cinema and you forgot the best of them all - Robert Mitchum.

    One of the toughest accents for an actor is Boston and Mitchum went to it effortlessly in "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" (the old Boston). Nicholson didn't even bother to try in "The Departed".

    Always felt that there was an important seam in the culture between Steve McQueen and "Bullitt" in 1968 (best car chase in history and no computer bank) a cop still trying to do his job in the corrupt cesspool and "Dirty Harry" the vigilante.

    Ah the 60's those were the days. They were even tougher in France.
    Alain Delon in "Le Samouroi", Lino Ventura (check out Gu Manda in "Le Deuxieme Souffle"). We've got Godard and "Breathless" to thank.

    Ah, the days when they knew how to make films. Now, it's true, with a couple exceptions look what passes for a screen tough guy.

  9. wow that sure does say it alll AOW! It's a snowy weekend here in NYC!:)

  10. A Partial List of Genuinely Heroic Figures Portrayed in the movies:

    Ronald Coleman - A Tale of Two Cities
    Judy Garland - The Wizard of Oz
    Michele Morgan - Joan of Paris
    Humphrey Bogart - The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, Key Largo, Dark Passage, The African Queen*
    Joseph Cotton - Gaslight
    Robert Cummings - King's Row
    James Stewart - The Spirit of St. Louis, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
    Spencer Tracy - Bad Day at Black Rock, Inherit the Wind
    Paul Scofield - A Man for All Seasons
    Richard Burton - Becket
    Mel Gibson - Braveheart
    Jim Caviesel - The Passion of the Christ

    ~ FreeThinke

    PS: I included The African Queen, because anyone who could put up with Katharine Hepburn's grating voice and vinegary personality and pretend to fall in love with her deserves a medal. - FT

  11. real men - Navy Seals-in the movie-I believe it is Acts of Valor-

  12. http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/act-of-valor-actors-are-navy-seals.html

  13. There is no good young male leads today. Sad.
    Add Paul Newman in Exodus to the list of heroic men...
    I find it difficult to think of Newt as a heroic figure because he's too erratic. Real heroes are dedicated and stoic. Although he says things I find very satisfactory to hear, I have reservations about Newt.
    --sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

  14. Often, a girl's idea of manliness is related to the kind of father she has. My dad bore an uncanny resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. Just sayin'.

    As I think back, the first screen stars that I had a crush came from the small screen: James Arness (Gunsmoke) and James Garner (Maverick). Back in those days, we had all those Westerns on television. Even Steve McQueen had a stint on the TV Western (Wanted: Dead or Alive) as did Clint Eastwood, too, of course.

    Let's see, whom do I consider the manliest stars from way back when? Clark Gable and John Wayne, I guess.

  15. D Charles,
    Yes, each era does produce something new. But for a long time, nearly a century, rugged men were the movie and television idols.

  16. FreeThinke,
    Quite a list there!

    Really does bring back memories, huh?

  17. Duck,
    Ah, Robert Mitchum and his distinctive walk! He had a great singing voice, too.

    Ah, the days when they knew how to make films.

    I will agree with you on that but also add that wonderful movies were made in the 1940's, too.

  18. Wildstar,
    I don't go to the movies much anymore -- and not only because it's difficult taking Mr. AOW out and about. There isn't much I want to pay that kind of money to see on the big screen! Oh, sure, occasionally something comes along with special effects best experienced on the big screen. But even special effects have become a kind of contest, and we're becoming inured to being surprised or "shocked" by them.

    lacking of real characters, plots

    All too often, movies today fail to involve the audience in a personal experience, vicarious though it may be via celluloid. We always know that we are watching a movie instead of "living it."

  19. Woman Honor Thyself,
    A bit of snow here overnight on Friday night and into Saturday morning, but mostly crusty ice; it's very treacherous getting out to the car, and it took me over an hour yesterday to get one car thawed out for a run to the convenience store. Today and overnight, we may get the worst of all -- freezing drizzle.

    As long as the electricity stays on, I don't mind. This winter has been nearly precipitation-free, except for a few drenching rains. In fact, we've barely had any frost at all this winter.

  20. BZ,
    The Shootist is an excellent film and one that explores the inevitability of mortality. I knew at the time that it was released that John Wayne's days were coming to an end. You could see his frailty (the John Wayne version, of course) on the screen.

  21. Christian Soldier,
    Now, THAT looks like a movie worth seeing! Thanks for posting the video.

  22. BTW, one of the best memories I have from my movie-going days were the car-chase scenes. Loved those!

  23. Is this even a debate? I mean really is anyone serious suggesting that the virtues of being a real man are anything more than a punch line in today's culture? If you work, go to Church, and believe in family values you are a redneck even if you have never worked a day on a farm. Fellow men we have been neutered, collared, and ultimately silenced.

    If you are actually open minded then I encourage you to read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Truly an inspiring book that will open your eyes or you can go to Starbucks and have a mocha frappo latte with your fellow metrosexuals. That's the beauty of America its called freedom its messy, sometimes dirty, willing to pick up a weapon and storm a beach to defend others.

  24. Interesting the no one questioned by naming of Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ or Joan of Paris as authentic heroes.

    My point, of course, was that you don't have to be a "macho" man brilliantly performing violent acts to be a hero. Anyone who stands on principle and has the courage "to speak truth to power" in service to a genuinely good cause is a hero or heroine.

    Naturally, I don't include troublemakers whom I uniformly despise.

    Other examples of female heroism in the movies:

    Rosalind Russell as Sister Kenny
    Bette Davis as Miss Moffatt in The Corn is Green
    Ingrid Bergman as Joan of Arc

    ~ FreeThinke

  25. I'm a big Mitchum fan.

    METROSEXUAL just never seems very manly or exciting or gritty to me...plucked brows and fluffy hair...do it, but it's not my type, that's for sure.

    Mitchum, EG Robinson (no beauty but what an actor), Gary Cooper, Joel McRae, ... so many yummy actors who looked like men. then

  26. Gregory Peck was the perfect hero to Robert Mitchum's anti-hero in the original Hitchcock rendition of "Cape Fear." Peck was the quiet hero in "Guns of Navarone" and I think his role of Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird" counts as heroic.

    Don't forget Charlton Heston as a another movie hero either:

    The Greatest Show on Earth )Brad Braden)
    The Presidents' Lady (Andrew Jackson)
    The Big Country (Steve Leech)
    The Buccaneer (Andrew Jackson again)
    Ben-Hur (Judah Ben-Hur)
    El Cid (El Cid Redrigo de Bivar)
    Diamond Head (Richard 'King' Howland)
    55 Days at Peking (Maj. Matt Lewis)
    Major Dundee (Major Amos Dundee)
    The Agony and the Ecstasy (Michelangelo)
    Khartoum (Gen. Charles Gordon)
    Will Penny (the same)
    Midway (Capt. Matt Garth)
    and of course, Soylent Green (Detective Green)

  27. FT,
    If I had a graphic for heroines, I'd have used that graphic.

    BTW, Sister Kenny is a movie I haven't seen in ages. I recall that it used to be on television quite frequently. Not in many years now, though.

    BTW, I've always liked Bette Davis as an actress; Joan Crawford, not so much. Crawford always seemed "off" to me. Something about the expression in her eyes, I think.

  28. Blogginator,
    Is this even a debate? I mean really is anyone serious suggesting that the virtues of being a real man are anything more than a punch line in today's culture.

    I call the denigration of a strongly male image as "wimpification." I recall some discussion of that after the VA Tech murders a few years ago.

  29. Alligator,
    Yes, Charles Heston was a man's man in those films. Not so sure about his acting ability per se, though. I freely admit that I do enjoy watching many of his films. Great settings, great videography, great messages.

  30. Z,
    plucked brows and fluffy hair

    I agree with you about that look. Ick.

    Those men look too much like dandies who don't have a good work ethic.

    To each her own, though.

  31. I've got to say, Chuck Hestons' roles in the historical epics actually spurred in me as a kid an interest in archaeology and history that I carry to this day.

  32. Excellent graphic! Who wants a simpering wuss?

    I personally find a man far more attractive with some facial hair!

  33. While we're mentioning under rated actors, can anyone name a bad Burt Lancaster film?

    The Train is one of the great neglected films of its era.

  34. Good catch on Lancaster Ducky. 'The Train' was an excellent war film quite unique from the usual guy in the trenches movie. Not too many films about the resistance movement that was out to do something besides kill Germans, although Burt ended up doing that.

    I liked his character in 'Valdez is Coming' the transformation from a meek and mild constable into a hardened tracker, picking off the bad guys with his .69 Sharps buffalo gun from a half mile away. The only problem was Burt wasn't quite believable as a Mexican peasant.

    He was excellent in 'Seven Days in May' as the treasonous General Mattoon Scott. Which also leads us to another good heroic actor Kirk Douglas. A little known film that I thought was pretty good was 'The Devil's Disciple' featuring both Lancaster and Douglas.

  35. Duck,
    can anyone name a bad Burt Lancaster film?

    Elmer Gantry and From Here to Eternity, of course!

    I haven't seen The Train. Maybe Netflix has it.

  36. AOW, right ...as I said "that's not my type"..but WHATEVER!

    I adore Burt Lancaster and The Train is amazing.
    AOW, you don't mean ELMER GANTRY and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY are 'bad' Lancaster films, right?
    I've always thought Deborah Kerr was badly cast in that, by the way. Donna Reed, too, for that matter.

  37. Z,
    you don't mean ELMER GANTRY and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY are 'bad' Lancaster films, right?

    They were good films, but I can see how my comment was misleading.

  38. "Those men look too much like dandies who don't have a good work ethic."

    Shades of Leslie Howard as the Scarlet Pimpernel!

    Appearances CAN be deceiving, AOW, as I'm sure you know.

    I thought From Here to Eternity was wonderfully well acted, but for some reason I have never been able to stomach Montgomery Clift. On the other hand, Sinatra, whom I always liked as a singer, but could never see as a "teen idol," turned out to be one of the most gifted character actors in Hollywood.

    What a shame John Garfield was not available to play Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt! No THAT would have been a PERFORMANCE.

    Clift always seemed "miscast" in whatever role he played. Scrawny body, poor posture, bad accent, dull personality. Of course Monty came along JUST when the movies were starting to feature weirdly un-American types.

    The minute Marlon Brando roared onto the scene I knew we were in BIG trouble. Elia Kazan made iconclasm fashionable and brought the celebration of grossness, grit, grime and what-I-call "The Heroic Loser Ethos" to American films. James Dean and Montgomery Clift were part of the movement that eventually soured, perverted and debased American popular culture.

    ~ FreeThinke

  39. Burt Lancaster was great at portraying dour, sullen, boorish, monumentally unsympathetic characters. In my never humble opinion the best and most appealing thing he ever did was The Birdman of Alcatraz. I've seen it twice, and admire the sensitivity and great craftsmanship that went into making it, but I never want to see it again -- too depressing.

    ~ FreeThinke

  40. FT,
    How could I have forgotten Birdman? Great performance by Burt Lancaster!

    Of course, the truth about Robert Stroud wasn't sweetness and light.

    BTW, back in 2000, I spend hours on Alcatraz Island as I limped around a few months after knee surgery and "drank in" everything; Mr. AOW finally gave up on me and went back down the hill to wait for me. Lancaster's film has a positive impact on tourism there. Almost all the visitors wanted to know which cells were Stroud's -- and Al Capone's too, of course.

  41. FT,
    Leslie Howard as the Scarlet Pimpernel

    Hideous, IMO.

    We agree on Montgomery Clift. And some of his films were very strange, too. Remember Suddenly Last Summer?

    I just read this at Wiki:

    In 1958, he turned down what became Dean Martin's role in Rio Bravo, which would have reunited him with John Wayne.

    Thank goodness! The movie would have been terrible with Clift in that role. Dean Martin played the role perfectly, IMO.

    He did make one movie I liked, however: I Confess.

    James Dean and Montgomery Clift were part of the movement that eventually soured, perverted and debased American popular culture.

    Glorification of the anti-hero and of the anti-establishment.

    BTW, I've never cared for Marlon Brando. Mumble, mumble, mumble -- and obviously acting too.

  42. Amazing how well in tune our tastes in movie actors turns out to be, AOW!

    One of the most irritating things about Brando was that he knew how to present himself in a less obnoxious manner. His performances in Julius Caesar and The Young Lions gave proof of that.

    I have compassion for those who don't know and can't do any better, but an intense dislike for those act willfully perverse just to create a sensation.

    ~ FreeThinke

    PS: Hope you look into the life and findings of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, as I suggested on the Gabriele Giffords thread. I think it might prove a great inspiration to you and Mr. AOW. - FT

  43. Who is that sissy lookin kid opposite Clint on this post ? Fact is todays Hollyweird girlie boys don't hold a candle to the actors of yesteryear. Willam Holden, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, Robert Mitchum, and of course "The Duke " The one i like the least is Brad Pitt. He's a girl singer if i ever saw one !

  44. Paladin,
    Thanks for mentioning Jack Palance. He was indeed another manly man.

    Brad Pitt? Pfffft.

    Fact is todays Hollyweird girlie boys don't hold a candle to the actors of yesteryear.

    Agreed. So often, gender lines are blurred now. Frankly, I think that it's deliberate on the part of today's Hollywood.


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