A discussion on one of my recent posts culminated in a promise to do a series of `eye candy’ posts: one each for Hollywood and Bollywood men and women who were, way back in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, awesome to look at. So here goes: the first of the posts, featuring some of the best looking men from English films (which includes Hollywood and British cinema) from the good old days. These are ten men who just need to be in a film for me to want to see the film; they may or may not be excellent actors (though most of them are Oscar winners or at least nominees). This list is more or less in order, starting with my favourites.
1. Robert Mitchum: Mitchum once said, “I came back from the war and ugly heroes were in.” I beg to differ; if that had been the case, Mitchum wouldn’t have been a hero. I adore this guy, sleepy eyes, delicious voice and interesting walk (though he insisted he was trying to hold his gut in). Mmm.
2. Rock Hudson: What a pity this guy was gay. What a sheer waste of knee-weakening, pupil-dilating, drool-worthy male gorgeousness. `Nuff said.
3. Rossano Brazzi: I’ve been congratulating myself on a bit of serendipity ever since I discovered Signor Brazzi in South Pacific (1958). He didn’t act in too many Hollywood films, but when he’s onscreen, I end up not paying much attention to anyone else.
And Brazzi, like a good Chianti, seems to have improved with age. Here he is in Little Women (1949), not looking half as attractive as he was a decade later:
4. Cary Grant: Aaaah. Despite recriminations from an irate reader, I hold that casting him opposite an aging and less-than-beautiful Mae West in I’m No Angel was a crime. Worthy of capital punishment, I may add.
5. Stewart Granger: Like Cary Grant, a Brit by birth. And like Grant, so very easy on the eyes. Plus he wields a fine rapier (or whatever—he’s done some superb swashbucklers, including one of my favourites, Scaramouche).
6. Gregory Peck: Though he got a bit gaunt later on, Peck was very good looking in his earlier films; not boyish, but definitely attractive.
7. Robert Taylor: `The Man with the Perfect Profile’ is an example of someone whose looks changed considerably over the years. In one of his first major films, Camille, he’s heartbreakingly handsome, flawless and almost beautiful. Fifteen years later, in Westward the Women, he’s rugged, craggy—and still wonderfully handsome in a completely different way.
8. Richard Burton: Cardinal rule of an `eye candy’ list: Any man who can look good in a tunic has to be classed as good looking. Burton qualifies.
9. Laurence Olivier: Great actor, too. What a combination!
10. George Peppard: The only actor on this list for whom I’ve not yet reviewed a film (though I have seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Operation Crossbow). I love his boyishness, with that lopsided grin and shock of blond hair.
And now for some of the also-rans; men who didn’t quite make it to my top ten list, but are eye-catching enough in some of their films.
Clint Eastwood: I don’t much care for his dirty, unshaven avatar in the many Spaghetti westerns he starred in, but as Lieutenant Schaeffer in Where Eagles Dare, he’s handsome in a tough, hard-bitten way.
John Wayne: Another of those who went downhill with a vengeance, though he continued to be leading man even with sagging jowls and a paunch. Watch him in one of his 30’s Westerns (Stagecoach is recommended), and he’s quite an eyeful.
Christopher Plummer: It’s probably got something to do with my loving The Sound of Music, but I think Plummer as Captain Georg von Trapp is very attractive—especially at the ball.