Saturday, June 26, 2010

THE Five Coolest Actors of the Forties:

SOME people think that coolness + film started with James Dean, Steve McQueen, and all those French guys in the 60's.


It actually started in the forties.

Well, actually, it POSSIBLY started back in silent film, but since I can count all the silent films I've seen...with my hands (don't hunt me down and torture me) and since I'm going to be talking about cool actors of the forties right now, we're just going to accept that as fact (until another post where I talk about cool actors of the thirties).


I finally decided upon the five single coolest actors of the forties; but since I didn't give this much thought, you probably shouldn't accept this as a definitive list! ;-D

Cary Grant

Cary Grant and coolness are kinda synonymous. They go together like soy sauce and tofu. THEY JUST FIT. Cary Grant is cool really just because he's Cary Grant. Of course he was cool in every decade, but the forties obviously have the coolest Cary. I was going to mention the fact that he wore polka dots and stripes at the same time, but that of course is why Cary was cool in the fifties.

Coolest Moment: His Girl Friday. He plays the most selfish, arrogant jerk. If anyone else played Walter Burns...he would seem like a selfish, arrogant jerk. When Cary played him, he seemed like the most charming guy ever. That's a talent for coolness!

Charles Boyer

I'm almost certain Charles Boyer invented accented coolness. Because he was cool...and he had an accent. He was effortlessly cool, and really he was someone who technically shouldn't have been cool at all. (Okay, this is making no sense.)

My choice for Coolest Moment is Together Again. Which, I suppose is a rather odd choice. But, he seems even cooler in comedy. Really, I'm gonna move on, because I simply CANNOT EXPLAIN BOYER'S COOLNESS. He just was.

Dana Andrews
Dana was cool in a very understated way. One doesn't even realize how much his coolness is making the film cooler. BUT, try imagining ANY Dana movie...without him. It would change everything.

Coolest Moment: Laura. Dana + the little toy + "A doll in Washington Heights once got a fox fur out of me" = Serious coolness.

Bob Hope
Bob Hope is so stinkin' cool. He could do/say the most ridiculous things and make it not only seem not abnormal, but actually awesome; like, someone you want to be. Every time he ad-libbed his way out of trouble (and usually into bigger trouble) it's impossible to look away. And DON'T EVEN THINK about putting him with another actor (besides Bing), he'll steal the whole thing.

Coolest Moment: The Ghost Breakers. No one takes down zombies as cool as Bob does. I'm not even going to debate on the subject.

Tyrone Power
There are two reasons Ty is on this list. One: To make Kate extremely angry. And Two: Because he stupendously amazingly cool. HE'S STINKIN' ZORRO. I mean, REALLY.

Coolest Moment: A Yank In the RAF. This isn't my most favorite Ty film, but I do think it's probably his coolest. It's at his most charming, swaggering, and pre-fighting in WWII best. The fact that he spends most of the movie being a cowardly jerk doesn't really matter THAT much. The coolicity (I'm running out of ways to describe "cool") he gives his character is what makes him a sympathetic character (also his extreme gorgeousness! ;-D).

Well, here they are: The five coolest actors of the forties. I started this post, with brilliance in mind, but soon I drifted away and started taunting Kate with Ty photos on Tumblr and labeling the links with Oskar she kept clicking on them (MWAAHAHAHAHA!). This is the reason why the post is sadly lacking in brilliance and rather disjointed. Please excuse this, it was for a good cause! ;-D

These are my choices for the five coolest actors of the forties! Who's on your list?



Kendra said...

Laurence Olivier, Laurence Olivier, Roger Livesey, David Niven, and Laurence Olivier :P

Millie said...


Oh no! I'm getting list-maker's regret. ;-D

Kate said...

"They go together like soy sauce and tofu. THEY JUST FIT." LOL This is why I love you Millie.

And I have to second what Kendra said -- Laurence Olivier, Roger Livesey and David Niven all belong on this list too :-D

And I was AMAZED to see Charles Boyer <3 on this list! I didn't know you liked him!!! He seriously is coolness personified. I can't really choose a favorite, but I love his intensity in All This and Heaven Too, and his combination of comedic brilliance and romantic AHHHness in History is Made at Night.

Um, now about Tyrone Power. Ok, I know you like him but there are SO many more awesome 40's actors (like the three Kendra mentioned!) that I'm afraid they definitely shove him off this list ;-D

Oh, and I'm not that schooled in silent film either (SERIOUSLY WHY IS MY BLOG NAMED SILENTS AND TALKIES) but when you make a 30's list, Robert Montgomery totally has to be at the top.

Millie said...

It's truth. ;-D

I agree about Laurence, I'm not too familiar with Roger, and I haven't seen a BUNCH of David in the 40's (I put him more 60's cool, cause I ADORE him in that decade)!

Of course I adore Boyer! He's COOLNESS personified! If I wasn't limiting my Coolest Moment to the 40's I would have also included his ILL appearance. BRILLIANCE!

History is Made at Night?! Is it on DVD?! I'll check my library!

He ALMOST didn't make the cut, but then I thought how angry that would make I left him on! ;-D

Heh heh heh, we are failures! ;-D


Sophie said...

Walter Pidgeon was excessively cool during the '40s too! :D

But I agree with all your choices too! Especially Cary. Cary IS the coolest person ever. And I totally agree about His Girl Friday.

I can't decide which decade he was coolest in though. He oozed so much coolness in The Grass is Greener, which makes him late '50s/'60s cool. But he was soooo cool in the '40s. Now I've confused myself. Gah. HE WAS ALWAYS COOL!! :'D

Millie said...


He was a coolicity mutant! Haha!

Sophie said...

Cary the Mutant Ninja Coolman. They could have made a lot of money with that...

Millie said...

HECK YEAH! I would pay money to see that! ;-D

Leah said...

Cary Grant - oh yeah - definitely tops! Ever watched 'Destination Tokyo'? Totally cool.

David Niven - definitely cool.

Well, what about William Powell? That guy was DEFINITELY coolness personified.

I love Tyrone Power. Ever watched any of his movies with Sonja Henie? Oh, and that pirate movie that he did with Maureen O'Hara (which I cannot remember the name of!) was
so cool!

I think I shall stop now, as I haven't watched very many old movies lately.


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