…though i’ll never be in danger of being star-stuck ever again. sadly, none of my favorite actors are living.
i was reading a random article on a men’s fashion website, where the author ranted about the death of genuine class, style, and overall good fashion manners in regards to male movie stars today. i must say i agree. back in the days of Old Hollywood, the men attended premieres and parties dressed to the nines, in full regalia. pressed tuxedos with bow ties and clean-shaven with not a hair out of place, the men would rival the women in their glamorous gowns and jewels. today, it’s common to see a male actor show up at an event sporting a wrinkled t-shirt (if we’re lucky it’s without a generic screen-print), jeans, sneakers, and a 5 o’clock shadow. it’s a complete travesty! hollywood men present don’t hold a candle to hollywood men past and there’s really no excuse – men have so many more formal options today, compared with their past cinematic counterparts. remember the old saying, “[women] love a man in uniform“? well, i’d venture it’s less about the actual uniform, and more about looking clean and put-together. after all, one purpose of a uniform is to further efficient neatness; a slovenly man in uniform kills the desired effect. a good rule of thumb: personal style should never be compromised, but neither should be making an effort to be presentable.
the article and my thoughts on it, combined with my just watching frank capra’s “meet john doe” (1941), featuring gary cooper and barbara stanwyck, led to this post on men’s formal dress… and my favorite old hollywood gentlemen. i knew of gary cooper, but i hadn’t watched any of his films – my heart was already occupied by jimmy stewart and paul newman. watching the movie, i was impressed – so after a tiny adjustment, i’ve slotted him in 3rd place, right behind mr. newman. (although, if i were to rearrange my ranking by looks, i would have to say stewart, cooper, and newman. swoon!) allow me to introduce you…
#1: james stewart (may 20, 1908 – july 2, 1997):
my personal favorites are “the philadelphia story” (1940) and “it’s a wonderful life” (1946); he is probably best known by the current uninformed movie-going public for “it’s a wonderful life”, which plays on abc every thanksgiving, and “vertigo” (1958).
#2: gary cooper (may 7, 1901 – may 13, 1961):
loved “meet john doe”, which i just watched. hopefully i’ll review more of his work in the near future.
#3: paul newman (january 26, 1925 – september 26, 2008):
personal favorites are “hud” (1963), “cool hand luke” (1967), and “butch cassidy and the sundance kid” (1969). should be fairly recognizable, even for the current uninformed movie-going public; was the man behind “newman’s own” salad dressings, whose proceeds go to charity. most recent work included the patriarch of a crime family and tom hank’s father-figure and mentor in “road to perdition” (2002); also voiced the character of “doc hudson” in pixar’s “cars” (2006).
verdict? 1+2+3 = rawr.