Sunday, August 24, 2008

Entry for July 27, 2008 ~ You May Quote Me...

I know I already posted about my all-time favorite actor, Cary Grant, but I do have other favorites, nearly as high on my scale of one to ten as he was, and one of them here, James Stewart, had quite a repertoire himself.
There were so many movies, all great, that I can barely begin to list them all, and to love the old black&white flicks as I do is a real blessing ~ it makes the older actors of Hollywood so available to a person who loves movies as much as I do.
James Stewart was accomplished in both drama and comedy, with his dry wit, self-effacing manner and dead-pan delivery ~ his way of getting even the most skeptical observer on his side by the end that would make even a non-movie person (like my husband Mike) a truly dedicated fan.
Jimmy Stewart was born in Indiana, PA, in 1902. He actually started out to become an architect (excelling at airplane design and winning a scholarship) but was drawn to acting at Princeton University (joining the famed Triangle Club) and later, as he became known in Broadway plays, finally making his way to Hollywood...there he left his mark in many different types of films.
As he was in his movies, he was most likely in his real life ~ also gaining the rank of Brigadier General in the US Air Force. By the time he died, in 1997, he had attained the prestige of being named the third greatest actor (as listed by the American Film Institute), after Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant ~ grand company indeed ~ and had won at least two Oscars, one for a movie, one for lifetime achievement.
As far as my own favorite Stewart movies, I hardly know where to begin: "Harvey" is probably my all-time favorite, followed closely by "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "It's A Wonderful Life," "Rear Window," and "The Man Who Knew Too Much."
In his classic "Harvey" Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd, a kind-hearted man who is befriended by a 6-foot-tall invisible (but very wise) Rabbit, one who tells him that his name just happens to be his own favorite name ~ Harvey. The two become the best of friends, and Harvey does not leave his side from that moment on...except for a brief sojourn with another man who can also see him, yet loses his company when Harvey decides that he "prefers Elwood."
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from the scene, when Elwood explains, ''In this world we must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant...well, for years I was oh, so smart, but...I recommend pleasant! ...You may quote me...''
As in my post about Cary Grant, I have pictured here all the favorite movies I can think of, leaving the "Harvey" pictures, one in color, as the most represented.
There are so many moments in movies that he made, I can only surmise that any other fan may have completely different memories than my own, but that doesn't matter. The fact that he was the favorite of so many is no surprise to me!
The next ones that come to mind are "Mr. Smith," "Rear Window" and "It's A Wonderful Life." All three of these, to me, are a draw...I cannot choose a favorite among them. And what makes that nice is the fact that each one is a different genre ~ drama about the corruption of politics and the American dream, drama about a murder mystery and a drama/comedy about a man who finds out what would have happened if he had never been born. with a little bit about Christmas thrown in.
"Rope," "Vertigo" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much" were also suspense-types, directed by Alfred Hitchcock...and each in its own way is a masterpiece.
And then there was "Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation," about a man who, unhappily, takes his family for their yearly sojourn to the beach and very nearly succeeds in alienating each and every member of the group, much to the delight (and chagrin) of his long-suffering wife, played by the ever-beautiful Maureen O'Hara.
And there you have it. My "Jimmy Stewart List" ~ my favorite movies of my 2nd favorite actor of all time.
I could sit and watch these movies any time, all day long if possible, and more than once I have done just that, ever since breaking my leg.
There were so many good actors to come out of the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, but for me, there were only a couple who stood out over and above the rest. Yes, one was Cary Grant ~ that's a given ~ but Mr. James Stewart comes in with a VERY close second!
If anyone were to ask me, I would simply take that quote from Elwood P. Dowd...and you can quote me on that!

No comments: