Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Way They Were

(... she said, borrowing a phrase)

I watched two movies last night, Spellbound and Barefoot in the Park. The first I'd never seen before, the second I hadn't seen in at least a decade. I was struck by how two very well known leading men evolved.

Spellbound and Gregory Peck. I saw this 1945 Hitchcock thriller for the first time with my classic movie group. I was surprised to see Gregory Peck, who would so indelibly play the heroic Atticus Finch, be by turns duplicitous and vulnerable and always very hot. This was only his fourth movie, just two years into his career, and he had yet to become the embodiment of all things noble that I love so in To Kill a Mockingbird.  I guess because Atticus is the ideal father figure, it never occurred to me that Peck was a fine piece of eye candy.

Barefoot in the Park and Robert Redford. TCM is featuring Redford on Tuesday nights in January and this 1967 romantic comedy was on when I got home from Spellbound. I always rather dismissed this as lightweight, and it is. But seeing it last night was revelatory because Redford is so physically deft and funny. Yes, it's the part he originated on Broadway and played for more than 1000 performances, so it shouldn't surprise me that he was comfortable in the role. But I'm far more familiar with the cinematic Redford, the cool Golden Boy, the unattainable object of desire at the center of  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Out of Africa, The Natural and, of course, The Way We Were. Last night he was geeky and buttoned down and, when drunk, literally bouncing off walls. I wish he'd done more straight up comedy. There's a winning Jack Lemmony quality on display in Barefoot in the Park that we very seldom saw.


  1. I need to see Barefoot.

    I didn't see Mockingbird until just a few years ago, so I only knew Peck as a hottie.

  2. I haven't seen either of those films, but now I want to!