When it comes to classic movie star leading men, it’s too easy to say I quickly fall for them upon seeing a movie they are in. From Cary Grant, to William Powell, to Clark Gable, to John Wayne- there are so many to adore and admire, and then there’s William Holden. Contrary to my statement above, I actually didn’t fall immediately for Bill.
My first ever William Holden film I saw was Sabrina, and honestly I only wanted to watch because of Audrey Hepburn. I knew Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca (I’d seen in in high school film class) but I didn’t know anything about William Holden. Looking up Sabrina on IMDB, I noticed a lot of reviewers commenting on the chemistry between Audrey and Bill but I didn’t know why- who was this “William Holden” guy and why were people crazy over him? Cut to actually watching the movie- and I did notice the chemistry with Audrey, but I didn’t fall for Bill. I was, however captivated by his deep, raspy, very sexy voice- that I was hooked on, but I didn’t consider him one of “my guys” as I call them.
The next movie on Bill’s filmography I watched was, The Country Girl, but again, I was watching it for another lady, this time Grace Kelly. I was motivated to watch it because it was Grace’s Oscar winning performance. When viewing this film something shifted with the way I saw Bill. His scenes with Grace were pulling me into looking at him, and wondering about his character motives- was he out to sabotage Frank (Bing Crosby) or was he really doing his job as director? Hmm. The scene that changed it all for me was the kiss between Bill and Grace. IT WAS SO ELECTIRCFYING. It came out of no-where and it made me realize that Bill is someone I should notice. His character of Bernie Dodd went from romance to confusion to regret all with seconds- and it was done so quickly yet effective, I’d never seen an actor do that before so brilliantly. From that picture on, it changed the game for me.
With two Holden pictures down, for some reason I didn’t seek out more until Born Yesterday and it was a good 2-3 months after watching The Country Girl. This was really the movie that made me completely “Ga-Ga” over Bill. Two factors overall sealed the deal. One: the elevator scene with Judy Holliday- that just made me completely utterly fall for him. Two- was the fact he was wearing glasses- BILL IN GLASSES IS A GOOD THING. Overall, for me Born Yesterday was the first time I saw Bill being the true romantic lead and right then and there, it made me a fan and admirer of his for life.
In the end, I believe I love William Holden because he was a great human being as well as an amazing actor. He had his demons with alcohol that ultimately, sadly got to him in the end, but he never let that stop him from giving his all to a performance. He never gave a poor performance, even if the movie itself was terrible (Force of Arms being one of them). Lastly, I guess I could mention he is a handsome gentleman (on top of being a conservationist, World War II veteran, Oscar winner- he has good looks too! 😉 ). Whenever we watch a William Holden movie my Mom always makes a point to say, “He was such a handsome man”- right you are Mom, right you are!
It has now been 38 years after his death, and yet he still has legion of fans- including “new” ones like me, who weren’t even on the planet when he died- and that fact alone speaks to why he is so beloved as an actor and as a person. Happy Birthday Mr. Holden!
GINNIE, MICHAELA, and to all the Holden Lovers- Thanks so much for writing and doing this blogathon, and showing Bill some love! Special thanks to Ginnie for inviting me to co-host, its always a pleasure!