List o’ the Week: Stars I Don’t Care For
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!
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.
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.
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 ) 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
So whaddya think of my list? And who are the stars you don’t care for? C’mon, give!!