Jess and I went downtown on Thursday night for the screening of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Michigan Theater. We both love the book and movie, but hadn’t seen the movie in probably seven or eight years. It turns out that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those movies that just gets better as you get older – more sad, more affecting, just more everything. And of course, Gregory Peck just gets more handsome. Peck as Atticus Finch is one of my favorite all-time screen men, both character-wise and looks-wise (the floppy hair, the nerdy glasses, the three-piece suits – all of this adds up to perfection in my mind).
In honor of our recent swoon-fest, I’ve decided to re-tool a post from my previous incarnation of this blog. The post is from July 2008 and is titled “Five Movie Men Worth Loving” (you can read the original version if you desire by clicking the link). I left Atticus off this list not because he doesn’t fit the sexiness requirement (I’d boot Captain Von Trapp for him in the category), but rather because Atticus Finch just seems like too noble a character to put on such a shallow list. However, random scientists and humanitarians show up on People‘s “Sexiest Man Alive” list alongside George Clooney (double swoon!), so maybe my logic is misguided. Consider Atticus number six.
Five Movie Men Worth Loving
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
When it comes to pure, classic charm, George Clooney ain’t got nothin’ on Carey Grant, and Carey is at the height of that charm as C.K. Dexter Haven, the rich playboy ex-husband of Tracy Lord (Katherine Hepburn). Besides having a most excellent name, C.K. Dexter Haven is handsome, witty, clever, and just a lot of fun all-around. Who wouldn’t love him?
On the Waterfront (1954)
Terry Malloy is the complete opposite of C.K. Dexter Haven in everything except good looks. Where Dexter is rich, Terry is poor. Where Dexter is a suave society man, Terry is a washed-up boxer working on the docks. Dexter mingles with socialites, Terry mingles with the mob. So what’s so great about Terry Malloy? He is the ultimate brooding, misunderstood, trying-to-make-it-right guy you’re going to find in the movies. Plus, where Dex is handsome, Terry Malloy is sexy. It makes watching Marlon Brando’s later movies that much harder.
Let me start by saying that Captain Von Trapp is not sexy upon his first appearance in The Sound of Music. He is kind of weird looking, and an asshole, AND has seven children to boot. This does not add up to sexiness. But Captain Von Trapp grows on you. Maybe it’s the singing. Maybe it’s that whole not-giving-in-to-the-Nazis thing. Maybe he just looks good in a fedora. All I know is every time I get to the end of The Sound of Music, I’m pretty much willing to escape to Switzerland.
Gone With the Wind (1939)
If you don’t think Rhett Butler is sexy, well, you’re just dumb. Yes, he is pompous and selfish and arrogant…and witty and passionate and did I mention extremely good-looking? Bonus points for wearing a cape and having a mustache and still being sexy. And underneath it all, he turned out to be a fairly decent guy. He sweeps women off their feet – literally.
Like Captain Von Trapp, Rick Blaine is not the most classically handsome man in the world – but he is one of the best dressed. Watching Casablanca can cause one to think that white dinner jackets are overdue for a comeback. Whether in his dinner jacket and bowtie or his trench coat and fedora, Rick Blaine is always dressed for the occasion and tailored to the max. Personality-wise, he’s got it going on as well: the brooding “why-me” of Terry Malloy; the dapper society outlaw-ishness of Rhett Butler; some of C.K Dexter Haven’s witty comeback ability, and just enough of Captain Von Trapp’s “do the right thing” moral standard to be appealing rather than annoying. Plus, he owns a bar and that’s just cool. Also, Rick made smoking look hip and classy, a definite no-no in today’s movie-making atmosphere. All of these attributes add up to unequivocally give Rick Blaine the number one spot on this list.
I limited this list to older movies – there are definitely modern movie men worth loving (I could write a whole post on how much I love the character Indiana Jones alone) but these are movie men who stand up to the test of time.
Which movie characters do you love?