"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthdays Today

Today's only notable birthday is also one of Hollywood's biggest stars ever, Clark Gable, born in 1901.   I was talking with someone recently about the new version of True Grit and I gave them my take that while the script of the new one is better, the acting is better, the cinematography is better, etc., the 1969 version is still the classic version because Jeff Bridges is a terrific actor, but John Wayne is a Movie Star.    There is something about a Movie Star that transcends acting, that jumps off the screen.   It's magical, and you either have it or you don't.   Gable had it too, like only a handful of actors ever -- my short list would be Gable, Cooper, Stewart, Tracy, Bogart, Cagney, Wayne, Fonda, Heston, Brando, Lancaster, Kirk Douglas (but not his son Michael), Newman, McQueen, Redford.   Later great actors like DeNiro, Hoffman, Pacino and Duvall are close, but no cigar; they are artists, but not Movie Stars, in my book.   Of that later generation, probably only Jack Nicholson quite measures up.   Of the next generation, Clooney, Pitt, Cruise, etc.... I just don't see it.   They couldn't do this scene and not have it look like a shadow of the original:

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