Saturday, June 20, 2009

"You said no rules, Colonel."

Hollywood Dreamland just posted a marvelous series of posts detailing his ten favorite actors, all amazing actors with great films under their belts. He had a little segment in each where he listed the first movie he saw for each actor, and his favorite movies for each of those actors. Made me really curious which was the first movie I'd seen my own favorite actors in. So, I thought I'd jog my memory and record it for myself here. I'm woefully behind in posting movie reviews and other things, so I'll ease myself back into posting this way. Favorites are always interesting to me because they're so subjective, and sometimes quite fickle. It's always intriguing to see how lists change over time.

Writing these out also made me realize that with the exception of William Holden and Dana Andrews, the movies I love my favorite actors for are all made in the 1950's on. Which then naturally led me to contemplating which 1930's and 1940's stars would be my favorites, without considering any of their films made after 1949. I'm still thinking about that, actually, and will post a list of those later.

  • William Holden
First Movie I saw him in: The Horse Soldiers when I was a kid. Really, if I'd never seen him in another movie, it wouldn't have mattered. This is the William Holden movie for me, the one that imprinted on me and gave me the cynical, charming, smirky William Holden I love above all his other characters.

Three Favorite Movies: The Horse Soldiers, Sunset Blvd., Alvarez Kelly
Honorable Mention: Texas

  • Lee Marvin
First Movie I saw him in: No idea. This could be any one of a dozen when I was a kid. It was probably a Western like The Comancheros or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, or possibly Donovan's Reef. There's no moment where Lee Marvin's movies aren't in my memories, where his name wasn't known and his face and voice and swaggering walk not instantly recognizable. He always stood out from the crowd for me.

Three Favorite Movies: The Dirty Dozen, The Professionals, Paint Your Wagon
Honorable Mention: Cat Ballou

  • Dana Andrews
First Movie I saw him in: No idea here either. Probably Battle of the Bulge or In Harm's Way or Airport 1975 when I was young... but he was just a guy with a name I really liked back then. The first movie I saw him in where I sat up and paid attention was Best Years of Our Lives in Sept 2005.

Three Favorite Movies: Fallen Angel, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Swamp Water
Honorable Mention: Best Years of Our Lives

  • Ralph Meeker
First Movie I saw him in: The Dirty Dozen when I was a kid. But I never saw him as more than the guy with the funniest, most-quotable lines in one of my favorite movies until I saw Kiss Me Deadly in April 2008. Then he leaped from the just plain cool balcony, to the oh wow, where have you been all my life center stage.

Three Favorite Movies: The Dirty Dozen, Kiss Me Deadly, The Naked Spur
Honorable Mention: Jeopardy

  • Sam Neill
First Movie I saw him in: The Hunt for Red October, 1990, which launched the biggest (and still unrivaled) movie actor crush of my life.

Three Favorite Movies: The Hunt for Red October, Dead Calm, Jurassic Park
Honorable Mention: Reilly: Ace of Spies

  • Ewan McGregor
First Movie I saw him in: The Phantom Menace, 1999

Three Favorite Movies: A Life Less Ordinary, Brassed Off, Revenge of the Sith
Honorable Mention: Young Adam

  • Joel McCrea
First Movie I saw him in: Sullivan's Travels, Sept 2008

Three Favorite Movies: Ride the High Country, Ride the High Country, and Ride the High Country. Really, I should drop McCrea off my favorite actors list, because despite the fact that I've been hunting down all his movies (a requirement to make my favorite actor list), really, no other movie of his has yet come close to matching his performance in Ride the High Country. In his early days, he made a ton of romantic comedy movies, and those just aren't my thing. They're fun for a one-time viewing, but they won't make a repeat viewing list for me, and favorite movies are ones you watch over and over.
Honorable Mention: Dead End - There I named something else!

  • Aldo Ray
First Movie I saw him in: The Green Berets, sometime in childhood, but David Janssen was the guy who stood out at the time. First movie I paid attention to Aldo in was God's Little Acre, Dec 2005

Three Favorite Movies: Battlecry, We're No Angels, What Did You do in the War, Daddy?
Honorable Mention: Nightfall

  • Richard Boone
First Movie I saw him in: It was either The Alamo or Big Jake, sometime in childhood. I remember waiting through The Alamo just to get to his big scene towards the end, cuz I liked him so much.

Three Favorite Movies: Big Jake, Have Gun-Will Travel series, The Alamo
Honorable Mention: The Tall T

  • Vic Morrow
First Movie I saw him in: Combat! back in the early 90's. Not a movie, but that's okay. I knew his name because of his tragic death long before I actually saw him in anything. I didn't sit up and take notice until I started re-watching Combat! in 2004.

Three Favorite Movies: Combat!, Men in War, Cimarron
Honorable Mention: King Creole


  1. Nice list.

    Joel and Dana are both on my top ten actors list!

  2. Interesting list, Deb!

    I'm fascinated by what movie people first became familiar with, or fell in love with, a certain favorite actor.


    Have I mentioned my brother-in-law looks just like Ewan McGregor?

  3. That is a coooool list. Just for comparison, here are the first things I saw all these guys in.

    WH -- that "I Love Lucy" episode... I had no idea who he was, but I sure could see why Lucy was so crazy about him.

    LM -- undoubtedly "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." He still somewhat gives me the creepycrawlies because he's soooo mean in that.

    DA -- "State Fair," in which he played 'that guy with Dick Tracy hair,' of course :-)

    RM -- Oh, probably some western. No idea. Probably "The Naked Spur."

    SN -- "The Hunt for Red October," definitely.

    EM -- Also "Phantom Menace," though I knew who he was before that because I'd read an article in either Time or Newsweek about "Transpotters" and thought he was so cute in the picture, I cut it out and kept it, even though I'd never seen one of his movies.

    JM -- "Foreign Correspondent."

    AR -- "We're No Angels," which was the only thing I ever saw him in until you fell in love with him.

    RB -- either "Big Jake" or "The Alamo." Probably "Big Jake," since that's what cemented my image of him as Evil Mister Crabby, lol.

    VM -- the "Combat!" episode, "The Walking Wounded." Have cherished him ever since.


  4. Millie -- yay!

    Ginger -- your b-i-l looks like Ewan McGregor? Nice! Hee.


    Rachel -- How cool! I love reading your list. It is fascinating what people first saw actors in. That's so funny that you saw WH first in the I Love Lucy ep!! I wish I knew what the first ep of Combat! was I saw back in college. I have a vivid memory of them walking through the woods (gee, that narrows it down), and then I only remember how amazingly handsome Hanley was, but that he kept disappearing and there's be whole episodes without him, and that completely puzzled me at the time. He's a lead character with his name in the credits, how can he not be there?? ROFL! I do remember when I rediscovered the series a few years back, the first ep I caught on tv was "Evasion," in which I was reminded of exactly how handsome Hanley was in his Albanian uniform. Probably a good thing too, because if he hadn't caught my eye all over again, I might not have stuck around for more eps, and watched "Break out" a couple days later and noticed that resourceful blond sergeant guy...