We love a good blog, so when we can combine blogs with a bit of male swooning then we’re happy at BDV! Today Joe talks ‘Men in the Movies’ – a pretty educational yet swoon-worthy blog we say!
Old movies are fabulous. There’s something about watching a thriller in black and white that makes it ten times more terrifying, even without big budget special effects! Something about the ghastly green skin of the Wicked Witch and the golden hue of the yellow brick road makes technicolor films timeless works of art. Something about the main men and leading ladies that just cannot quite compare to today’s ‘Brangelinas’! We will be forever looking back at the glamour, beauty and sophistication of old school Hollywood, and wishing that we could just have a taste of the amazing, scandalous, brilliant and dangerous lifestyle that is now immortalised on tape.
As a die-hard Hitchcock fan, my obvious choice for a personal male movie icon of the past is the incredibly talented Jimmy Stewart (pictured below).
Whether he’s lassoing a moon, having trouble climbing up a flight of stairs or just sat in his apartment stalking neighbours through a pair of binoculars, he manages to be totally and absolutely cool about it.
He is pictured above with the beautiful Grace Kelly on the set of Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954), a film which propelled Stewart to become the most popular actor in Hollywood at that time, and also the highest grossing actor in that year. James Stewart will forever be remembered as one of the greatest men in Hollywood, especially by Hitchcock fans like me. Cary Grant spoke highly of Jimmy’s acting:
“He had the ability to talk naturally. He knew that in conversations people do often interrupt one another and it’s not always so easy to get a thought out. It took a little time for the sound men to get used to him, but he had an enormous impact.”
Stewart brought a sense of realism to the way his characters spoke, something that we see as a normal way of acting nowadays, but something that was out of the ordinary and completely groundbreaking back then. He was a truly innovative and incredible actor!
Speaking of the devil, the iconic Cary Grant (pictured below) is another one of Hollywood’s finest (and a Hitchcock collaborator; there’s a pattern emerging here, isn’t there?). It is quite shocking to see that Grant was nominated for a Golden Globe five times and an Academy Award twice and never actually won anything until presented with an honorary Oscar in 1970 – clearly he was the original Leo DiCaprio!
At fifty-nine years old, Grant starred with Audrey Hepburn in Stanley Donen’s Charade (1963), one of his final films but also one of his greatest and best remembered. Grant is often considered the textbook example of Hollywood’s sophisticated gentleman, and who can doubt it when he’s hanging around with someone as equally sophisticated as Miss Holly Golightly herself?
Sneaking a little later into the twentieth century, and also across the pond, we have the original “jack-the-lad” Michael Caine, (pictured above in Alfie 1966). It’s unfortunate that my generation probably recognises Caine in one of three roles, all of which aren’t his finest:
- The old bloke in Muppet’s Christmas Carol
- The butler in Batman
- Austin Powers’s dad
But back in his Italian Job days, Caine was a very different kind of vintage Hollywood icon (pictured below – twittwoo!) Famous for his cockney accent, Caine is one of the finest British actors who many have tried and failed to replicate. Jude Law, I’m looking at you.
My final Hollywood icon, and undoubtedly the most iconic after Marilyn Monroe, is the original rebel without a cause: James Dean (pictured twice below). Complete with teenage disillusionment and angst, incredibly timeless good looks and a premature death way before his time, he is synonymous with the word “infamy”. Put on a leather jacket and slick your hair back and you’re sure to hear someone call you a Jimmy Dean wannabe (either that or a T-Bird from Grease).
With the film (Rebel Without a Cause) released less than a month following his fatal car crash, it was his posthumous appearance on the big screen that certified James as a vintage icon. There’s something quite morbid about our obsession with big, dangerous Hollywood deaths; but when there are murders and car chases and drinking and drugs being flashed all over the cinema screen, we can look no further for the cause behind our obsession when some of it leaks out of the fictional world and into our real lives.
So there we have it folks … who’s your fav? Ours has to be the jaw-dropping, bad boy that is James Dean!
We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x
(and of course Gina)