Eye Candy Part 1: Hollywood’s Classic Hunks

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.

Burton, Brazzi, Mitchum, Taylor and Granger

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.

Robert Mitchum

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.

Rock Hudson

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.

Rossano Brazzi

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:

A younger Rossano Brazzi in Little Women

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.

Cary Grant

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).

Stewart Granger

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.

Gregory Peck

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.

Robert Taylor

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.

Richard Burton

9. Laurence Olivier: Great actor, too. What a combination!

Laurence Olivier

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.

George Peppard

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.

Clint Eastwood

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.

John Wayne

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.

Christopher Plummer

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56 thoughts on “Eye Candy Part 1: Hollywood’s Classic Hunks

  1. Ah!!! What a list :-)

    Cary Grant is pure gorgeousness. And the comparison between him and Clooney drives me mad. All comparisons are an insult — Clooney doesn’t even qualify as a rough draft. Besides, God broke the mold and burnt the blueprint. Phew, sorry…but it’s really preposterous.

    Gregory Peck, well, I fell in love with him when I saw To kill a mockingbird. And Rock Hudson is umm…too good for words.

    But, where is Paul Newman? The Adonis!

  2. Thank you! I think of all the posts I’ve created ever since I began blogging, this one’s my favourite. ;-)

    Paul Newman? Ah, yes – I had been wondering whether I should or shouldn’t include him in my list, but then finally decided not. I don’t know why – perhaps just because he wasn’t looking that gorgeous in the most recent film I saw of his – Torn Curtain. But I’m hoping to see him feature on your list!

    Agree completely re: Grant-Clooney. I like Clooney, but hey, there is no comparison between the two. Grant was sui generis.

  3. O my! So many hunks!!!! :-D Love them all (except for Olivier whom I cant forgive for butchering my beloved Pride And Prejudice!) though I still have to see a Rossano Brazzi movie. And yay to Christopher Plummer – I am absolutely sure my liking him had everything to do with The Sound of Music but he is great in a lot of other movies too (I vaguely recall a thriller with Sydney Poitier but cant find info on imdb).

    It strikes me that 30s-50s Hollywood had waaaaay more gorgeous guys than Bollywood of the same period. I dont think I could come up with a list of ten hunks from Hindi movies of that period. The 60s and 70s were different though.

    Cant wait to see the rest of your lists!

  4. Thank you! I suppose I’m right now in liking-Olivier mode simply because I’ve recently seen Rebecca (and Pride and Prejudice, which I agree was criminal – but I do think he made a very handsome Darcy!)

    Oh, I must try to find the Plummer-Poitier film; I like Poitier a lot too, he’s such a superb actor. And a thriller? Any day. Do let me know if you recall which one it was.

    Hindi film hunks from the 30’s to 50’s? Prem Nath. Probably Prithviraj Kapoor too, though all I recall is a couple of shaky frames I’d seen loooong ago from Sikandar. But that’s it; I really wouldn’t put Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, or any of the earlier actors in the `hunk’ category. But thankfully, since my scope extends to the 60’s (and the late 50’s, by which time people like Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor were lighting up the screen), I don’t think I’m going to have too much trouble creating that list.

  5. Great list!
    but missed paul newman though. his cold blue eyes, they still make my legs wobbly. Cary Grant though fun, I still prefer Gregory Peck to him, Hamara apna Dev looks so much like him.
    *What a pity this guy was gay* Why that? You could surely have compared chikan embroidery patterns with him ;-) Women’s loss, gay men’s gain!
    Don’t know many, who featured in your list: Stewart Granger, Robert Taylor, Rossano Brazzi. Thanks for introducing.
    Was irritated to see George Peppard. But tastes differ, don’t they?

  6. And the same to you! BTW: watch out for my Easter post ;-)

    Yes, tastes do differ – the eye of the beholder, you know… but I do think nostalgia has something to do with it; George Peppard was one of the first actors I recall seeing onscreen (in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – a bunch of us girls saw the film on VHS at a neighbour’s home, and we swooned over him!)

  7. Heads up: Sabrina Mathew has also done a top ten list of gorgeous actors. Hers is a more wide-ranging list, both in terms of time and space, but I’m wishing I’d remembered Marlon Brando for my own list! How could I have forgotten?! Well, maybe by next year this time I’ll have seen some more old films and discovered (or rediscovered) some more handsome heroes…

  8. Yup, I’m kicking myself about leaving out Marlon Brando (and my husband has since also reminded me about James Dean!) As for James Stewart: I’d classify him as the nice guy types; I don’t really think of him as hunk quality. Even in some of his early films (like The Shop Around the Corner) he’s sweet, not precisely hunky, in my opinion.

  9. actually, I’m not really into classic movies..And Christopher Plummer isn’t a familiar name to me (You see, I wasn’t even born when he began being famous..).
    It wasn’t until I’ve seen “The Sound of Music” just the other day and I was like, “Whoa, that’s what you call handsome!!!” :) I think his face was one of the most handsome I’ve ever seen.. oh well.. so much for the sharing. :))

  10. I wasn’t born until after one of these men (Robert Taylor) had died – and of course, until way after most of them had passed their prime! ;-)

    But I love classic films anyway… and Plummer, too, I’ve so far seen only in The Sound of Music, and he is just so gorgeous in that.

  11. Good thing I found this blog. :) Nowadays not many people of my age, especially here in my place, are into classic films, and so it’s somehow hard to tell stories about these films to someone who couldn’t even relate to you.. :)) that’s all for now. ^_^

    • I think I must make some corrections about my previous statement on that comment posted more than two years ago, haha. I mean, I thought wrong, after all. A lot of people are still in to classics up to now. Most of them are from the earlier generations of course; those who were able to see the films in cinemas themselves. But fortunately, I’ve been able to know some from the younger generations (our age bracket, :D) who are getting hooked with the classics. Oh well, who can even resist falling for these great classics? I’m glad that even at these times, some of us still manage to see the beauty of these previous films.

      And BTW… I’ve just mentioned a comment about Tyrone Power in your other top ten post about him. :D Yes, he is indeed gorgeous. :D

      • Oh well, who can even resist falling for these great classics?

        That’s why they’re called ‘classics’, right? :-) They have a certain timeless charm about them that endures. I know a number of people from my generation who do love these old films. I’ve even manage to begin (slowly!) chipping away at the resistance put up by my teenaged nephew and niece – even they’ve started watching some old films now, and like them as much as I do. :-D

  12. Love this… Cary Grant, Stewart Granger, Richard Burton… all gorgeous. Olivier and Peck don’t do it for me – I like their acting but not so much their looks. I am on the fence with Robert Mitchum – I find him interesting-looking but perhaps not so handsome.

    Rossano Brazzi was so gorgeous in ‘South Pacific’ (he had that mature, debonair thing going that Grant and Granger also had), but I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else. I am not a big fan of westerns, but I agree with you on the charms of Eastwood (those eyes!) and the Duke.

    Marlon Brando was absolutely gorgeous in his prime, as you and others have noted – I was spellbound by his looks in ‘Guys and Dolls’. Paul Newman would be very close to the top of my list if I had one – I think he was gorgeous. I think Henry Fonda was very handsome in his prime, but I know many would disagree! Other I find very good-looking: Sidney Poitier, Yul Brynner (yes, seriously), Victor Mature and Louis Jourdan.

    PS Which Robert Mitchum films are your favourites?

  13. Oh yes, I agree with you on Yul Brynner and Louis Jourdan – both were very good-looking. More than Sidney Poitier, I find Harry Belafonte gorgeous… I remember when I was a kid and records were the norm rather than CDs or even cassettes, we had a Belafonte album which had his photo on the cover, and I wanted to rip it off and paste it on the wall of my room, he looked so good!

    P.S. You’ll be seeing a list of my favourite Mitchum films pretty soon – I’ll be celebrating his birthday (August 6) with Mitchum week. Four films, various photos, and more, including my favourite Mitchum roles.

  14. BTW, I’ve also seen Robert Taylor in some parts of “Camille” (it was the movie that they watched in “Annie”, when they went to the Radio City Music Hall) and I think he is good-looking indeed.. But I’d still go for Christopher Plummer. :)

  15. A few of my personal favourites are Marlon Brando, James Dean and Sal Mineo. Robert Taylor was alright in the 30s too.

  16. Sam: I haven’t seen Annie, but I have seen Camille – in fact, I even reviewed it on this blog, here. Robert Taylor does look very dishy in it, though perhaps a little of a wuss!

    Some_random_person: I definitely agree with you re: Brando and Dean. Haven’t seen any of Sal Mineo’s films, but from the photos available on the Net: yes, I’d say he’s a good looker too!

  17. i love old movies like posted above..the best looking men from English films today Hollywood’s Classic Hunks…i got Robert Pattinson gets shirtless shots on Twilight saga: New Moon.

  18. Of the current actors, I’d probably list Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Ewan MacGregor among my favourite hunks… Robert Pattinson just doesn’t appeal to me, somehow!

  19. Hey, it’s me again. :))

    It’s only lately when I became familiarized with Rock Hudson (he was Julie Andrews’ leading man in Darling Lili). I must agree that he’s HOT! Still, Christopher Plummer is on the top of my list… Oh, I’ve already mentioned that. :)

  20. WOW!!!! This is such a yummy post! What good-looking men they all were!
    I fell in love with Christopher Plummer when I first saw The Sound of Music .
    Cary Grant is so gorgeous and so is Stewart Granger! I haven’t seen a John Wayne movie yet, but his pic here somehow reminded me of our apna Bhaarat (Manoj Kumar). Missed Paul Newman though.

    “Richard Burton: Any man who can look good in a tunic has to be classed as good looking. Burton qualifies.” :P

  21. Thank you! I’m glad you liked the post. It’s pretty old by now, and I’ve seen many more films and discovered many more gorgeous men (including, as you can see, Tyrone Power), so I think version 2 is needed now! ;-)

    John Wayne, by the way, is nice looking only in his very early films – which were mostly pretty awful films too. The only god one I can recommend, in which he looked good too, is Stagecoach – that is definitely worth watching.

  22. Oh, unfortunately I haven’t seen The Battle of Britain yet. But I’ve read that there was a scene wherein he was topless. Oh MY GOSH! Lol

    I LOVE Ewan McGregor! He’s one of my favorite actors, too. And just the same, I also don’t find Rob Pattinson as totally handsome. I just can’t. ;)

    I must take back what I’ve mentioned in one of my early comments. I must say I am now hooked into classic movies. (I’m dying to see Gone with the Wind Fiddle-dee-dee!)

  23. Yes, he is barechested in one of the scenes in The Battle of Britain, and he’s gorgeous!

    I am so glad you’re now hooked on classic movies! I love them! :-) True, there are plenty that aren’t that great (but isn’t that true of just about every era and every place?), but still – there’s a charm and a pleasantness to so many of the movies from that period that it’s impossible to resist!

    My newest crush is the absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Tyrone Power. I happened to see one of his films – The Mark of Zorro – a couple of weeks back, and drooled so much, I decided I had to see more! Since then, I’ve seen 8 more Tyrone Power movies, and have decided I’m going to celebrate his birthday (May 5) with Tyrone Power week! He deserves it!

  24. Oh, there were so many that it is impossible to make an exhaustive list … ^^ Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Tyrone Power, John Derek, John Phillip Law, Tony Curtis and, the one who – in my very personal opinion – surpasses them all, the most undervalued actor Jeffrey Hunter.

    Nice list !

  25. I have just had a look at some photos of Jeffrey Hunter, and my goodness – he’s awesome. I must go search out some films of his!

    As for the others: yes, James Dean and Marlon Brando were two people I regret having forgotten (I am increasingly beginning to think I need to do version 2 of this post). Tony Curtis looks fabulous in films like Some Like it Hot and Who Was That Lady, but acquired a sort of loose-lipped loucheness later that I don’t like. Montgomery Clift: well, poor guy… yes, he was beautiful, but after that accident, it was sad to look at him.

    Derek, Law and Fairbanks have somehow never been favourites of mine.

    But Tyrone Power? The only film I’d seen of his till just over a month back was Witness for the Prosecution, in which he looks his age (perhaps more than his age), and plays such a vile character that I didn’t like him one bit. Then, last month I saw three Power films: The Mark of Zorro, Captain from Castile and The Black Swan. Am a out-and-out devotee now!! :-)

  26. Let’s talk about Rossano Brazzi-if you want to see a to-die-for drop dead gorgeous, sexy man, you have to see Summertime (1955). The first scene he’s in, in the Piazza de San Marco–well let’s just say i TIVO’d it and watch it over and over. He’s checking out K. Hepburn’s legs…hot looks that must have scorched her even though she didn’t know he was there at the time. Then his seduction of her..he is something else (but it makes you wonder how he put up with her)! Then when he’s dancing with her, singing to her quietly in her ear. uuumhh. All that talk about gondolas at night, too. I had no idea! The movie is great to watch too for the stunning views of Venice. True, you do want to shake Hepburn and say “are you crazzy?” but then I guess the movie would have been real short!! Check it out if you haven’t seen it–you’ll be glad you did.

  27. Luly, I’ve been discussing that scene somewhere else on this blog (I’ve forgotten which post triggered it off, but there were the two of us – me and a reader – going on and on about Rossano Brazzi in Summertime)! He looks absolutely awesome in that scene – as well as the other scenes you’ve mentioned; I’ve seen them on youtube, though I haven’t seen the film… I’m not much of a Hepburn fan, but then – if she’s opposite Brazzi, I probably won’t be looking at her anyway. ;-)

  28. I’ve just seen Roman Holiday last night. It was wonderful! And one of the firsts that I’ve noticed was GREGORY PECK… He was just GORGEOUS! :))

  29. I’ve never yet seen Roman Holiday, simply because I read somewhere that it has a realistic end, not a happy one. But yes, Gregory Peck does look absolutely gorgeous in some of his early films. He’s also yummy in The World in His Arms and Captain Horatio Hornblower! :-)

  30. Yes, the ending wasn’t really a happy one… But it suited the plot. It was the appropriate ending for it. :) Just try and see it for yourself. ;)

  31. I will!

    Actually, I’ve seen a few of these royalty-falls-for-commoner films, and I’ve noticed that the ones with the most appropriate (and believable) endings weren’t necessarily the ones with the happiest endings. I just saw The Swan last week, with Grace Kelly as a princess and Louis Jourdan as a poor young professor… not a happy end, but the only end there could have been. On the other hand, Princess O’Rourke (Olivia de Havilland and Robert Cummings) was all happily ever after, but found myself wondering: “But how will they manage? What happens now?”

  32. I JUST WANTED TO SAY THERE IS ABOUT FOUR ON YOUR I REALLY LIKE AND A COUPLE WHO WERE REALLY MY KIND OF GOOD LOOKING AND COULD REALLY HANDLE THEMSELVES IN A FIGHT. STEWART GRANGER, CARY GRANT, ROBERT TAYLOR AND ROBERT MITCHUM. BUT FAVORITES WERE GRANGER AND GRANT SINCERELY VIRGINIA

  33. wheres tyrone power he was better looking than robert taylor just watch JESSE JAMES 1939 AND BLOOD AND SAND 1941 when he was at his peak and i also love alan ladd his between 1942 to 1953

    • This post had been written a good while back, when the only Tyrone Power film I’d seen was Witness for the Prosecution (which, though a superb film, hardly has him at its best). Here’s something that proves your point, and which I later did – an entire week of Tyrone Power:

      https://dustedoff.wordpress.com/tyrone-power-week/

      (And as you’ll see, there’s a rather gushy eye candy post there too).

  34. Okie me totally totally drools over Rock Hudson and Robert Taylor (I just couldn’t take my eyes off him as the soldier in Waterloo Bridge). Cary Grant is suave and smooth. George Peppard ko I’ve only seen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and loved. How come you don’t like Clark Gable?!?!? :(

    • I don’t like Gable’s moustache, somehow. And I remember having read somewhere about what horribly bad breath he had… that puts me off.

      Isn’t Robert Taylor gorgeous in Waterloo Bridge. But he’s even better in the 1930s, in films like Magnificent Obsession. That one, by the way, is on Youtube. Here’s the link to part 1:

      • Super super super. My next watch I’m sure :)
        And Madhu, even if Clark had bad breath, not like we will be kissing him ! ;) We will just watch and drool!! Ha ha ha

  35. Oh Madhu! The only man that ever made me go weak in the knees, you call him ‘gaunt’!!! I find kindness, gentleness and decency attractive – so Peck and Grant absolutely do it for me, but as much as I love Archie Leach he was just a little too smooth and suave, but Peck was a man you could count on, and it showed. However, he did the bad-boy to perfection in Duel in the Sun.
    Also, ‘decent’ and good-looking was Henry Fonda, not quite ‘dashing’ but oh so attractive in his righteousness.
    I found Jimmy Stewart ‘cute’, too, but he did get better after he returned from fighting in WWII.
    As for eyes – give me Anthony Quinn and Peter O’Toule – mesmerizing! (neither was eye-candy in the traditonal mold, but could those eyes bore into you, esp off the big screen).
    James Dean was the best bad boy there was, ever!!

    • Ah, well. If all of us had the same likes and dislikes, what a boring world this would be. (and, while I do love Peck in films like Spellbound or Twelve O’Clock High, I definitely find him very gaunt in something like Cape Fear).

      Actually, come to think of it, this list is pretty old – it’s been some years since I drew it up. I’d probably change it a bit now. Maybe remove Laurence Olivier, and replace him with Tyrone Power. Maybe remove Rossano Brazzi (I think the European men in Hollywood deserve a separate list all their own – or maybe there should be a list of non-Indian, non-English-speaking actors. Which will allow me to add Toshiro Mifune to the list!). And in the Hollywood list, I’d almost certainly add a young Marlon Brando – of the Guys and Dolls days. :-)

  36. What, no Tyrone Power?! That man was beautiful! Also love Bogart, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart. The first and the last were not hunks but attractiveness to me is more than just beauty. Apparently Robert Mitchum was a huge racist which forever spoils him for me, ugh. I agree with you on Peck, Grant, and Christopher Plummer. Also Richard Burton, very sexy man. Montgomery Clift as well. Anthony Perkins? Though he was more ‘Mod’ than the others, I think. Steve McQueen? I’d put Marcello Mastrioanni there if this list extended beyond Hollywood.

    As I said, ‘boo’ to Robert Mitchum. :-( I wish there were more men of colour to choose from. Ick to John Wayne and George Peppard as well. :-(

    To be honest unlike with Indian cinema I struggle a lot more to come up with Hollywood actors from that era that I find really, really sexy. I just think their brands of masculinity don’t do it for me. Newman, Brando and James Dean, who are very much liked by many women, really don’t do it for me at all – I find Newman’s all-American blond hair, blue eyes to be very bland – to be honest I think he looked more attractive when I was a little older and greying.

    I think it’s also overexposure, to a certain extent. Old Hollywood is *everywhere* on the internet.

    • “What, no Tyrone Power?!

      Well, this post is quite a few years old. If I had to compile this list again today, Tyrone Power would probably be #1 on the list (if you notice – at the top of the blog page – there are a set of links to ‘special weeks’ that I’ve done; one was for Tyrone Power, a post a day for one week. And one post was devoted to Ty candy. :-)

      • I did notice! Obviously you changed your mind, yes. My response was rather tongue-in-cheek – I was wondering why the absence. :)

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