Like many of you who love classic movies, I’m willing to try movies that aren’t as popular on a certain actor or actress’s resume. For instance, I love the movie, A Lady Takes a Chance, (1943) with John Wayne and Jean Arthur; its not one of Duke’s “essentials”, but its a sweet story that makes for a hidden gem of a lesser known film of his. By the same token, there are certain films with my favorite actors/ actress that I cannot watch. Every performer is bound to have a flop (or four!) within their career, and I mean everyone, even Cary Grant, had them! Read on to learn 5 movies I can’t get into despite the fact one of my favorite stars is in the lead role!
1: Dream Wife (1953, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr)- I told you Cary Grant has a flop on his filmography! In an extremely poorly aged plot, Dream Wife, co-stars Deborah Kerr as Cary’s diplomat girlfriend Effie who puts work above all, including her romance with Clemson Reade (Cary). Clemson is tired of waiting for an official engagement, so he instead marries a more traditionally minded Middle Eastern Princess. I’m not saying Cary can’t play against type, but this character Clemson Reade is such a jerk, you can’t blame Effie for putting her job over her love life! I watched this with my Mom and we were both embarrassed to see Cary play such a terrible role in a terrible film. Watch An Affair to Remember (1957) if you want something truly heartfelt and romantic!
2: Force of Arms (1951, William Holden, Nancy Olson)- I love William Holden, I love him so much I call him my “screen boyfriend” (OK, I have a few screen boyfriends, but Bill’s pic is on my wall), but this film is just terrible. It has horrible camera work, a forgettable and badly paced plot, and worst of all, it fails to capture what could have been a great romance for the two leads. Perhaps it was the odd combo of war vs romance, as the battle sequences were not naturally paced against the romance, going on for too long. The flick was later reissued under the title, A Girl for Joe, and it didn’t do anything to help matters!
3: The Girl He Left Behind (1956, Natalie Wood, Tab Hunter)- This movie is very forgettable and you can’t even enjoy Tab Hunter’s character because he has no redeeming qualities. Tab plays a spoiled rich brat who is drafted into the army. The film then follows his struggles of being knocked down a peg while in bootcamp, and his girlfriend, Susan (Natalie) coping with him being away. I’m ok with characters being jerks, however, they must have a likable quality about them, and this script didn’t provide that for Tab’s character. The pacing is also terrible creating a downright boring viewing experience. Natalie Wood, of course, is the main reason any of us attempt to watch this movie, but really, thankfully, we can look elsewhere to see her in a good movie. James Garner also had a small part in this film and later wrote in his memoirs, “the film was awful and I was awful.”
4: The Fighting Kentuckian (1949, John Wayne, Vera Raltson) John Wayne plays militiaman John Breen coming home from the War of 1812 and falls in love with a French lady Fleurette De Marchand (Vera Raltson). Conflict arises when a greedy landowner plans to steal Fleurette’s land, leading Breen to ally with the other settlers. This is one of the Duke’s lesser known films, and it is billed that way for a reason. There’s really one one reason this film flopped: his leading lady, Vera Ralston, can’t act. Vera was a pro figure skater and girlfriend of Herbert Yates, chief of Republic Pictures. Wayne later recalled he was forced to use Vera as his leading lady and (rightfully) blamed her for the picture’s failure.
5: The Girl from Missouri (1934, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Franchot Tone) Jean Harlow is such a darling and I adore her, but this movie can’t be saved by her presence. In this movie, Jean plays a girl looking for love and marriage rather than just a quick fling. While I think Jean could pull off that character, (as she was capable of playing it, she’s so talented!), it instead just feels boring watching her. I partially believe the film’s poor plot and strange character actions are due to the production code being heavily enforced. Had this film been released just months earlier, it would have been better and considered a fun pre-code. On a personal note, I don’t believe Jean and Franchot Tone had good chemistry, so it makes it hard to root for their romance, but that’s just my opinion!
AND there you have it! There are just a sampling of movies that are not for me, although they do contain actors I’m devoted to! Of course these are just my point of view about these features, and if you personally happen to love them, that’s fine and dandy too! Do you have any films of favorite actors you just can’t watch? Moreover, it makes it more interesting too, when you don’t enjoy a movie a certain actor is noted for. No matter, its all in fair opinion, and what makes talking and blogging about movies all the more amusing!