Archive for the ‘10 Favorite Actors of 1930’s’ category

1 ~ Clark Gable ~ Gone With the Wind

February 25, 2007

Clark Gable was dubbed the “King of Hollywood” in the 1930’s, a title that would remain until his death in 1960. For over 40 years his face and masculinity hit the big screen and he became one of the first “Superstars” before that name was ever coined. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Gable among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at No. 7.

His role as Rhett Butler, the man who tried to tame Scarlett O’Hara is now legendary. One of the greatest film roles to ever be made, and no one else but Gable could have pulled it off. Decades later, Gable would say that whenever his career would start to fade, a re-release of Gone with the Wind would instantly revive everything, and he continued as a top leading man for the rest of his life.

Some say that his last film role in the Misfits with Marilyn Monroe was his finest, but His role as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind is by far the most memorable.

2 ~ Jimmy Stewart~ Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

February 21, 2007

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON is my favorite Jimmy Stewart movie and was nominated for eleven Academy Awards in 1939, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart), a small town patriot, gets appointed to the U.S. Senate by the political machine in his state whose masterminds think they can control him. Upon arriving in Washington, the new senator is so enthralled at his first visit to the nation’s capital that he decides to go sightseeing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so thrilled in my whole life, and that Lincoln Memorial! Gee Whiz! And Mr. Lincoln, there he is. He’s just lookin’ right straight at ya as you come up those steps. Just, just sitting there like he was waiting for somebody to come along.”– Senator Smith.

Jimmy Stewart was the best actor to paly the “aww shucks” naive charecter better than anyone else. A close second was Gary Cooper in Seargent York. But this movie Jimmy really shinned. The ultimate “do-gooder” finding out the reality of not just his job as senetor, but life.

3~ Spencer Tracy ~ Captains Couragous

February 14, 2007

This is the first movie that I remember made me cry. I fell in love with Spencer Tracy, the sea-wary fisherman, with a heart of gold.
When a young rich kid is accidentally thrown overboard a luxury liner and is found by a fishing boat a relationship ensues that changes both the young boy and Tracy’s character, Manuel Fidello.
Tracy had that look and appeal to carry off being rough around the edges but pure of heart, better than any actor that has ever graced the big screen. He was the guy that you wanted as a father or a close uncle. And he showed it in this film more than any other. His Oscar winning performance has endured over 7 decades.

4~James Cagney ~ Angels with Dirty Faces

February 13, 2007

“Angels With Dirty Faces” (1938) is perhaps one of the truest classic gangster films and has been a favorite among classic film fans. The story begins with Rocky Sullivan ( James Cagney ) and Jerry Connolly (Pat O’Brien), kids who grow up in Hell’s Kitchen, a rough part of New York, and who have to become tough to exist. Cagney received his first Best Actor nomination for his performance in this film, one of the film’s three unrewarded nominations (Best Director – Michael Curtiz, and Best Original Story – Rowland Brown), and he lost to Spencer Tracy’s performance in Boys Town.

5 ~ Ray Bolger ~ The Wizard of OZ

January 25, 2007

He starred in only 4 movies prior to his stint as the Scarecrow in the now classic Wizard of Oz. However he had started years earlier in vaudville and moved to Broadway. Wizard would be his shot to stardom. He never garnered an Academy Award nomination, or even a Golden Globe, but his face and his dancing style would become legendary.

As a kid I loved the Scarecrow and even as a teen and later as an adult anytime I saw or heard ray Bolger on TV or in magazines I would be immeresed in it. There was no one else that could be the scarecrow. He was the scarecrow. His dancing, his acting and his screen presence in this movie was undeniably one of the best performances of the classic.

6 ~ Leslie Howard ~ Gone With the Wind

January 14, 2007

Who ever heard of a man named Ashley? Today, Ashley is more suited for females, but in 1939 the name Ashley was one of the top names in America for little boys born that year. Why? Because of Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind, played by Leslie Howard.

Howard had been around the theater and film for sometime, but this role would ultimately be the one everyone would remember. The patient, loving, compassionate Ashley. Always the gentleman, and Scarlett’s first love. Even though Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler had more screen time, and was the leading man, Leslie Howard’s Ashley Wilkes was the true hero of the film.

Leslie Howard played this role the way William Powell played his in the Thin Man, perfectly. Leslie would not even be granted an Oscar nomination for his Gone With the Wind role, even though every other role received one. Actually Leslie Howard was only nominated twice in his career, both for leading roles, and he never won.

7 William Powell ~ My Man Godfrey

January 11, 2007

William Powell was one of the 1930’s best Actors. With the always suave, effortlessly funny Powell in a picture you know it was going to be good. Mostly known for his role in the movie “Thin Man” Powell I think is his best as the reverese pygmalion story of Godfrey. A tramp known throughout the twon who becomes the suave and dashing debonior gentleman. Powell provides the film’s conscience and its model of decency. One of the great “screwball” comedies, William Powell is great.

8 ~ John Garfield in The Four Daughters

December 27, 2006

John Garfield was one of the most under-rated and overlooked actor in Hollywood mainly due to the Red Scare that McCarthy waged in Hollywood in the 40’s. But in his debut film The Four Daughters, Garfield hit the screen with a powerful punch. As Mickey Borden, a jaded and cynical songwriter Garfield caused havoc to a once quiet peaceful family and their four daughters. Soon romantic and tragic complications ensue.
Garfield, a handsome yet roguish looking man continued to play heavy hitters and roughnecks, but of all his roles, this one is the one I remember the best. Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, John went away empty handed and within a few short years he would die, some say of a broken heart.

9 ~ Walter Brennen in Come & Get It and Kentucky

December 18, 2006

As a child, I remember Walter Brennen in many Disney movies, and as an old cowboy in westerns that my father would watch. Once I became fascinated with cinema and the older movies I realized that Walter Brennen was much more than just an old TV star and Disney actor. In the late 1920’s through the 40’s Walter Brennen was the most prolific character actor of his day, maybe ever.

In 1937 & 1939 he won Oscars for his Supporting roles in Come and Get It and Kentucky. He won again in 1941 and was nominated a 4th time in 1942. Brennen was the ultimate character actor, playing just about any role imaginable. His role in Kentucky is unforgettable. A dedicated actor and from all accounts, just a good guy all around, actors like Walter Brennen are hard to come by today.

10 ~ Wallace Berry in The Champ

December 10, 2006

Wallace Beery is mostly identified with the character of Richard, the Lion-Heartcd, which he played in “Robin Hood” and also in a picture of the same name. He is a brother of Noah was also a great character actor in the 30’s & 40’s. Wallace was the first husband of Gloria Swanson.

But what I remember Beery for was his portrayal in the 1931 film, The Champ. I watched this film a few weeks after I had saw the re-make with Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder. I must say the original was much better. Beery was a powerful presence on the screen, and he made you feel his pain and passion.

Beery plays the alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy “Champ” Purcell and despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions his son, Dink (Jackie Cooper) still adores his father and would do anything for him. Enter the long lost mother, who is now married and has money. Dink goes to live with his mother, but misses his father immensely. Andy, wanting to prove his worth to his son enters one more time in a boxing match.

Directed by one of the best director of the day, King Vidor was beautifully shot, and the intimate closing scenes were by far some of the best directing and acting on screen. Wallace Beery went on that year to tie for the Best Acting Oscar with Fredrick March and Frances Marion won a writing Oscar.

After watching this film, anytime I would see an old Wallace Beery film on TV I would have to sit down and watch it. He was one of the great under-rated actors of his time.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers