Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Guest Post // Carla's Leading Men...


Guest blog today courtesy of the beautiful and exceptionally talented Carla, best Friend & Twee Towers wine night regular! Today Carla shares her love and lusts for the finest leading men from Hollywood's Golden Era, swoon...


Nostalgia’s big right now. We’re living in fast and shiny modern times, yet despite the gadgets and gizmos, it seems we’re hankering to trip down memory lane in almost every other outlet. Music, TV, even the models at this month’s New York Fashion Week looked like they’d skipped straight out of every decade since the ‘20s. Which got me thinking, whilst we leading ladies are donning our 1940s tea-dresses and desperately trying to conjure a 1950s hourglass figure out of thin air, where the heck are our classic leading men? The resurrection of the golden-era Hollywood hero is something I could most certainly get behind, and the following would be my three of choice. Modern beings take note:

Let’s start with Humphrey Bogart. Never conventionally handsome- short, receding, craggy faced- what he did have going for him was a killer delivery of the lazy wisecrack; a tactic liberally borrowed by Bruce Willis in the 80s. Chiselled swoonboat he may not have been, but Bogie had buckets of charisma and gravitas. He acted small, packing tons of emotion into minute facial expressions, or an exhalation of smoke. Of course, he’s best known for his portrayal of cinema’s most lovelorn anti-hero Rick in Casablanca, but many will agree that his greatest performances came when he was cast opposite his future wife, Lauren Bacall. The pair positively sizzle, despite a voluminous gap in age (and height). But, that said, who couldn’t love a man that fabulously named?

I, along with every other heterosexual female in existence, have an awful attraction to a bad boy, and Steve McQueen was one of the very baddest. Regularly heroic on the big screen (if you still haven’t watched him jump a flimsy German fence on a moped then, honestly, what are you doing with your Boxing Days?), it was always with an edge of rebellion. The off-screen McQueen regularly went AWOL from his military duties, used drugs prolifically, and was addicted to adrenaline. This guy had a need for speed back when Tom Cruise was merely a twinkling dollar sign in his orthodontist’s eye.
In the latter part of his career, he began to polish his roughness into the image of a rogueish gent, in films such as the Thomas Crown Affair (forgive me father for I have sinned, I actually prefer the Pierce Brosnan version). But he was at his finest- in all senses of the word- blonde and rugged and smirky, escaping (and being recaptured by) the Germans multiple times a day. There are criminally few clips of The Great Escape on YouTube, so here he is being badass in Wanted Dead or Alive instead:

James Stewart was never really cool (although he was a real-life war hero. You win some…), and, like Bogie, he was never going to be a pretty-boy matinee idol. What really gave him leading man status was his utterly unique ability to be just so damn endearing. Like a 1940s Tom Hanks, filmgoing America loved him. A stammering monologue and a flash of those puppy dog eyes… people would’ve straight up handed him their kids. If you’re in doubt, just look at It’s a Wonderful Life- a film that has you reaching for the hard spirits and wishing you’d hidden the knives, such are the depths of misery it plunges its audience into. You wouldn’t be so miserable if you hadn’t fallen for Jimmy so hard. Seriously, if you don’t immediately want to become Mrs (or Mr) Stewart at the end of this clip, your heart is a cold dead fish flapping around your chest cavity.


Hope you enjoyed Carla's post today... isn't she a peach!

Much love,
L&R xx


Anonymous said...

you got a genuine giggle out of me for that "back when Tom Cruise was merely a twinkling dollar sign in his orthodontist’s eye" line. where's clark gable though? even though rhett butler was a complete git, you still find yourself wanting to have his pipe and warmed slippers ready for him when he comes home!

xx Sooz

Carla said...

You're right, Clark Gable's a bit of a glaring omission! But I was already running to a fair few words and had to include my faves! I even cut Sinatra...

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