List o’ the Week: Stars I Don’t Care For

Yawn.

Yawn.

I think we can all agree that anyone who writes or reads a classic movie blog is more than fond of classic movie stars, right?

Still, it also can’t be denied that every classic movie fan is not a fan of every classic movie star.

With that in mind, this week’s List o’ the Week (yes, I know that a whole lot of weeks have gone by since I last posted a list!) focuses on those actors and actresses who just don’t do it for me. I know that my list is bound to include some of your favorites – but remember, some of my favorites may not do it for you, either! In any event, I hope you won’t be too offended by my choices – and that you’ll share your non-faves in the comments!

John Boles

I’m not positive how John Boles got into the movies. I feel like he must have been the son of Carl Laemmle’s favorite sister or something. I’ve seen Boles in a number of films – Back Street (1932), Only Yesterday (1933), The Life of Virgie Winters (1934), and Stella Dallas (1937) come to mind, and in each one, he’s got women falling all over him like he’s got charm and panache oozing from every pore. And I’m like . . . what? It’s not that he’s not attractive, in a button-down, stiff-upper-lip kind of way. It’s just that when it comes to acting, he’s no Marlon Brando, if you know what I mean.

Meh.

Meh.

June Allyson

June Allyson makes my teeth hurt. I really only like her in one film – The Shrike (1955), where she portrays a completely horrible woman who nearly drives her husband completely bonkers. But other than that one flick, she totally gets on my nerves. I’m not sure if it’s her voice, or her whole vibe, or what, but I’ve never cared for her and I suppose I never will. Wait, let me take that back. I actually kinda liked the Depends commercials she used to do. So, there’s that.

Jennifer Jones

First off, I have to say two things about Jennifer Jones. One, I love her in Duel in the Sun (1946), which is so ridiculous how can you not love everything about it, and Cluny Brown (also 1946), in which Jones displays a rare comedic flair. And, two, I recently finished reading a book that focused on Jones’s relationship with her first husband, Robert Walker and her second, David O. Selznick, and let me say that she didn’t exactly come out of the pages smelling like a rose. I suspect that my exposure to her rather shabby treatment of Walker (who was the bomb diggety in Strangers on a Train [1951]) may be part of the reason why I’m not feeling the Jones love right now. In fact, it’s probably a big part. But even without the inside scoop on her personal life, I’m simply not a big fan.

Nope.

Nope.

Loretta Young

Let me clarify. I adore pre-Code Loretta Young, when she was all cute and feisty and whatnot. (Have you seen Platinum Blonde (1931)? Midnight Mary (1933)? Born to be Bad (1934)? Boy, she was something else.) But after 1934? Not so much. She’s just a little too The Farmer’s Daughter for me. In everything. BO-rinnng.

Van Johnson

I’ve tried to like Van Johnson. Really tried. And he was okay in The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954). But on the whole, there’s not a lot of THERE there.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr is one of the screen’s great beauties and I love the fact that she helped invent a secret communications system that formed the foundation for cell phones, fax machines and other wireless technology. But as an actress, she leaves me completely cold.  COLD. She’s all accent and hair and eyebrows. That’s about it.

Um.

Um.

George Brent

In a post I read once, a blogger likened George Brent to Irish lumber (I wish I could find the post – it was a positive scream. I’ll keep looking). I don’t think he’s as wooden as, say, John Boles, but I can appreciate the comparison. Still, George Brent is such a likable guy, I hate to even include him on this list – but as an actor, I have to admit that he’s a bit on the bland side.

Claudette Colbert

I was a little torn about including Claudette Colbert here; there are several Colbert movies that are among my all-time favorites: The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), Three-Cornered Moon (1933), Midnight (1939), and The Palm Beach Story (1942). But there are as many – if not more – where I can’t stand her. She’s got this thing about biting her lip to convey emotion that makes my eyes roll involuntarily, and basically, I don’t think her acting is all that. The bottom line, I’ve realized, is that while she’s more than palatable, and even enjoyable, in comedies (especially the pre-Code or screwball variety), I cannot abide her in dramas. She’s just too, too.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Honorable (Dishonorable?) Mentions:

I’ve only seen the following performers in one movie each, if that, so I didn’t think it was quite fair to include them in the full-blown “don’t care for” category. Still, I’ve seen enough of them to have decided that I don’t need to see any more:

Randolph Scott

Stewart Granger

Kathryn Grayson

Ronald Reagan

Esther Williams

So whaddya think of my list? And who are the stars you don’t care for? C’mon, give!!

~ by shadowsandsatin on June 23, 2016.

31 Responses to “List o’ the Week: Stars I Don’t Care For”

  1. I agree with almost all your dislikes EXCEPT Claudette Colbert — what about Torch Song or Sign of the Cross or Imitation of Life? I like Kathryn Grayson in Seven Sisters …

  2. I have to say, your list is pretty swell.
    But, poor George Brent.

  3. The boring Wendell Corey pops to mind. Not all that crazy about Lee Tracy or Faith Domergue either. Robert Taylor’s not high on my list. I’m sure there’s others, I’ve just mentally blocked them out and enjoy my favorites!

  4. Can’t disagree with you on Jennifer Jones , Loretta Young and Hedy Lamarr .My biggest disappointment with your list is Randolph Scott but I guess you have to like 50s westerns to appreciate Randolph.
    It’s all so personal, isn’t it.
    Someone who leaves me cold is Herbert Marshall.

    • It is personal — it’s so funny how classic film lovers have such widely varying tastes! I’ve actually never seen Randolph Scott in a western — just that movie with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant (that I’m too lazy to look up the name of — you know the one), and I just remembered one more — it was a pre-Code with Nancy Carroll. Do you have a good western you could recommend?

  5. Fun post. The more I read other classic film blogs and see who they deem worthy of applause or even blogathon, the more I boggle at taste. Some of it relates to the types of roles and persona the studio insisted upon for their stars, and others are just the personality and how it hits us.

    I’ve never liked Colbert (the Attaboy Clarence podcast oozed over her and I just shook my head) or Alyson — though she was my dad’s favorite. I like more dangerous and less apple-cheeked darlings. William Holden bores me silly, and Olivia de Havilland is dullsville too. Al Jolson makes me cringe, even if he was the Elvis of his day. Not a big fan of Spencer Tracy either.

  6. I’m not sure there are performers I dislike in general, but there are performances I don’t particularly care for. I know it will shock many of my classic movie chums, but I’ve never been fond of Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BLVD. I know she’s supposed to be melodramatic, but I still think she goes too way far.

  7. Love Randolph Scott! Sad you put him on your “Honorable Mentions” list. I know my daughters can’t stand Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, but I don’t mind them. Poor George Brent! You’re not the first classic movie blogger I’ve read who labels him bland and wooden; I kind of agree. A few of mine that I just don’t get their acting qualities: Miriam Hopkins, Paulette Goddard(still find it hard to believe that she was in the running for Scarlet O’Hara until Vivian Leigh came along), Billie Burke(except she’s tolerable as Glennda the Good Witch), Margaret Sullavan(boring to me), Mae West(weird!),and probably a shocker, Grace Kelly-yes she’s beautiful, but I think her acting was bland. For the actors side: George Brent, Preston Foster(maybe because he usually played baddies?), Colin Clive(too hammy for me),Franchot Tone, Wallace Beery(read how he was a bad husband to Gloria Swanson and how he was rude or grumpy to Jackie Cooper in their two movies that they starred in together), and two who may get me hate mail-Clark Gable(He just doesn’t do it for me) and James Dean(too much mumbling and histrionics in his few movies).

  8. The stars whose performances I love to miss would also include Elvis Presley (you laugh but TCM loves to show his shows on their classic movie line-up, for what reason, I can not imagine), Robert Wagner (fortunately he’s not in many old movies), Herbert Marshall is rather stiff but I read that he had a wooden leg after the war, so I’m more tolerant, I’m not a big fan of Richard Widmark (his nasty guys are almost too nasty) though I think he did an admirable job in “Judgment at Nuremberg.” And Peter Lawford can generally be counted on to turn in a paper-thin performance!

    Great list you’ve got there, Satin!

  9. I’m with you on a lot of these. Some of them I truly cannot understand how they came to be stars. While I am sure there are other stars I can’t quite stomach, the one name that comes to mind is Don Ameche. Something about that guy drives me crazy.

  10. John Wayne, Victor Mature, Paul Douglas, Judy Holliday, Jean Harlow, Frederic March, Lee J. Cobb, JACK LEMMON, Katharine Hepburn

    On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 4:53 PM, shadowsandsatin wrote:

    > shadowsandsatin posted: ” I think we can all agree that anyone who writes > or reads a classic movie blog is more than fond of classic movie stars, > right? Still, it also can’t be denied that every classic movie fan is not a > fan of every classic movie star. With that in min” >

  11. I think your list is right on, except in 1 case, June Allison, who really was great in just about everything she did, except the Shrike, which had her casted against type. But I do get the thing about her voice.😀

  12. We are SO IN SYNC! Loathe June Allyson and intensely dislike Loretta Young and Kathryn Grayson. Thanks for this!

  13. When I was 12 or 13 years old I used to play with the name Jones and I said to me: “Jennifer Jones, Shirley Jones, Carolyn Jones, too many Jones”

  14. John Boles and George Brent, never heard of them. June Allyson was always on TV due to the LUX promotion. I remembered her in Little Women. Jennifer Jones always in melodramatic roles, Loretta Young had a show on TV, Van Johnson singing in Europe by night (another TV show), Hedy Lamarr i don’t know how but I related her with sex and scandal, and finally Claudette Colbert and her role in It Happened One Night with Clark Gable.

    • George Brent was in a lot of popular films — have you ever seen Jezebel, Dark Victory, Baby Face, 42nd Street, The Old Maid, or The Spiral Staircase? He was in all of these.

  15. Two of my favourite Scotts are SEVEN MEN FROM NOW and HANGMAN’S KNOT. If you see either and don’t like them , don’t tell me!

  16. I am SO GLAD Stewart Granger made this list, even if only as an honorable mention. His only tolerable film is “North to Alaska”, in my opinion.

  17. uh …I have to ponder this a bit …..I’m sure there are actors I simply don’t ‘get’ ……..but of course I disagree right off the top with most of the choices ….Except June Allyson…

  18. OMG!! You are right on point with June Allyson and Van Johnson. They irritate the HELL outta me. I could never stand them. They seemed like two people that should have bee married to each other. How could Dick Powell stand to be married to her. Poor Thing….I feel sorry for him.

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