Sunday, July 18, 2010

Handsome Directors: A Brief Visual List

Last night the Siren attended a swell dinner marked by good conversation, good wine, and the best damn roast chicken ever. Since the guests included a number of film writers, naturally the discussion long lingered over the most esoteric, enlightening and intellectual corners of film love...

But after a while we ditched all that and got down to brass tacks: Who was the best-looking director of all time?

We didn't come up with many names. One host ventured that the last time he broached this topic, the one most often mentioned was Francois Truffaut. Well, the Siren loves Truffaut's movies--a lot--but, nah. Then the Siren got up this morning and remembered all sorts of names, most them not mentioned last night.

Thus this mischievous exercise in the most superficial kind of auteurism imaginable.



Frank Borzage


John Cassavetes. How on earth did we forget him?


Vittorio de Sica


Joseph Mankiewicz (on right). Numerous affairs included Linda Darnell, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford and Loretta Young.


Leo McCarey. Frequently cited as a huge influence on Cary Grant's screen persona.


Vincent Sherman. Had affairs with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Lived.


Luchino Visconti


Raoul Walsh. Pre-eye-patch Walsh, in full Mexican bandit regalia, was our host's pick.


Orson Welles. The most beautiful depraved baby face of all time, and as a bonus, you get that voice. Precisely the kind of voice you want to hear saying, "Good morning."


William "Wild Bill" Wellman. The Siren's pick until she was reminded of Welles' youth.

148 comments:

Tony Dayoub said...

Doesn't Cassavettes' inclusion open the door for Redford and Beatty to be included?

The Siren said...

You think like my husband. :) I say no. Cassavetes' career as a director is more extensive than as an actor, something the other two can't claim. Although Redford and Beatty both came up last night.

The Siren said...

Eh, extensive is totally the wrong word...his more lasting fame rests on his directing, is what I was trying to say.

Tony Dayoub said...

Okay, how about Frankenheimer or Pollack?

The Siren said...

Frankenheimer yes...Pollack, I say no but of course this is strictly a matter of personal taste.

Vanwall said...

No Jean Vigo? His picture on Mubi is almost elegant, but I prefer his face on shot - even with his unruly locks he had an intensity of soul that was seductive.

Salty Dog (Bill) said...

Victor Fleming? Pictured here with Clara Bow: http://www.whosdatedwho.com/couples/photos/victor-fleming-and-clara-bow.htm

Jesús Cortés said...

In his youth, Victor Sjöström recalls the future Orson Welles.
Vittorio Cottafavi, Emeric Pressburger...

VP81955 said...

Mitchell Leisen was certainly stylish and handsome, even though he wasn't 100 percent heterosexual. (Then again, that wasn't a prerequisite for this, was it?)

Simon said...

Cassavettes...

Gloria said...

My personal picks would be Charles Laughton, Jean Renoir and Eric Von Stroheim... All right, personal taste, but the first two I find oh-so-cuddly, and the third, well, has got all that monocle-wearing, austrian-cavalry-champagne-drinking-cad-in-Montecarlo thing that a goil just can't resist

Mythical Monkey said...

I second Victor Fleming, who David O. Selznick called "the most attractive man, in my opinion, who ever came to Hollywood." Apparently he had affairs with Clara Bow, Norma Shearer and many others, too.

Although to be honest with you, I'd rather be looking at directors like Anne Fontaine, Julie Taymor, Amy Heckerling, Lone Scherfig ...

Lou Lumenick said...

No Howard Hawks? How about the young Capra, Negulesco and both Vidors?

DavidEhrenstein said...

Patrice Chereau is Smokin' Hot!

DavidEhrenstein said...

Todd Haynes (seen here with an admirer) is Babe-a-licious!

DavidEhrenstein said...

Gus is pretty cute


But his boyfriends(s) are cute. (Note plural: T.J. is one of a set.)

DavidEhrenstein said...

George is of course cuteness itself.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Jacques Demy was very handsome.

Yojimboen said...

Did you really think us grunting, hairy-chested, meat-eating knuckle-draggers would let this pass?

“Handsome is as handsome does.”

In no particular order:

Alice Guy-Blache the first female film director.

I submit Frances Marion deserves a place here; though she only directed a couple of movies, she wrote 168, including The Champ, Camille and Dinner at Eight.

Ida Lupino. Lovely actress/better director.
(Still don’t like the hair-do.)

Ida stood on the shoulders of Dorothy Arzner, who it must be said, directed neither like a man or a woman – she directed like Dorothy Arzner.

The caption here reads “While Alain Resnais and Jacques Demy argue about who really started the Nouvelle Vague, Mme Demy (Agnes Varda) smiles quietly, heads home to start dinner, thinking, “My work here is done.”

I’d love to meet the person who seated Katherine Bigelow directly in front of ex-old man James Cameron at the Oscars®.

Jane Campion, auteuse of Bright Star.

I was once lucky enough to meet Shirley Clarke, a sweet, brilliant woman, who died way too soon.

Marguerite Duras, the link to our collectively dreamed-of romantic past.

Knock-out looks, author, activist, totally intimidating intellect; film-maker Susan Sontag strode the land in seven-league boots.

After doing four films for Rivette (actually the total screen time was 21+ hours, which is equal to about ten films) where she watched, listened and learned, Juliet Berto surprised a lot of people with her talent as a director.

Mai Zetterling never got a dinner!

For about a decade there in the 70s Lina Wertmüller seemed to be the only female film director working. She’s in the Guinness Book for her lo-o-o-ong titles.

Let’s face it, Leni Reifenstahl has to be on the list, not just because she was the best documentarian filmmaker (of either sex) who ever lived, but also, which male H’Wood director, no matter how cute, appeared in one of his own films like this?

DavidEhrenstein said...

Your taste in les demoiselles is superb, Yojim!

Kathy Bigelow is a TOTAL KNOCKOUT!
When I first met her she was going with Todd McCarthy. Amazed to learn that she was a director rather than a leading lady.

I knew and hung out with Shirley Clarke back in the day, as I worked as a publicst on Portrait of Jason. She was a wonderful woman and a very original filmmaker whose work cries out to be rediscovered by the current generation.

eva said...

What stimulating dinner table conversation! haha. Love you comment on Vincent Sherman, although I personally think he's pretty ugly!

Orson Welles FTW

VP81955 said...

Hate to say it, but the angle of that Wellman photo makes him look an awful lot like Conan O'Brien.

hamletta said...

Preston Sturges was a quite handsome fella. And King Vidor had an adorable, boyish, boo-boo face, even when he was old.

For the gorgeous, I go with y'all's nominations of Wellman, Cassavettes, and Frankenheimer.

Welles is in a category all his own. Not much bone structchah, but that voice! And the first time he shows up in "The Third Man," the look on his face is all Rock You Like a Hurricane.

dinazad said...

De-lurking here to propose Federico Fellini. In his younger years he was a sort of slightly heavy-set young Byron. Sighh...

The Siren said...

Oh my. So often it's the whimsical-mood-at-10-am posts that I toss up that gather the most chatter.

Yojimboen, what can I say...your list is awesome. Although to my eyes Arzner was more stylish than goodlooking. I'm reminded of Joan Crawford's celebrated remark that all her directors fell in love with her: "I know Dorothy Arzner did."

VP, absolutely not! Observe Visconti, who has a strong case for being the most devastatingly attractive of the lot. In fact my husband was arguing that the Italians should have some sort of golf-handicap thing going on due to innate genetic advantage (re: Fellini also--thanks for delurking, Dinazad!--although even in his youth he's not entirely to the Siren's taste).

Leisen has immense elegance in photos but lacks...smolder. I was going for smolder here.

Lou, I named Howard Hawks at the dinner party but he got bumped at the last minute. Ditto King Vidor. If Hawks had made it I was going to scan the picture in McCarthy's bio where he's playing croquet without his shirt. :D

Mythical Monkey & others who named Fleming, it's possible that the Siren's personal feeling that he was kind of uncouth influenced her unduly.

Hamletta, LOL, that picture of Wellman is AWFUL but it was one of the few I could find where he was young. He is much handsomer in other pictures I've seen.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Vincent Sherman in his later years

The Siren said...

Oh David...poor Vincent. Time and chance happeneth to them all, saith the Preacher...

StyleSpy said...

Wish I had something erudite to contribute, but all I've got is: Dayum, Cassavetes was hot.

The Siren said...

StyleSpy, yup. Painfully hot.

X. Trapnel said...

Y, how could you leave out Larisa Shepitko (Dorothy Arzner? C'mon), the most beauteous director ever.
I note the absense of Chantal Ackerman who I suppose falls into the "handsome woman" category.

Glad to see you're coming around on Ida L. We really do need a Siren post on the splendeurs et miseres of hairdos.

Another possible subject is how directors SHOULD look. Before I saw his picture I imagined Ophuls to be tall, white elegantly gaunt, not unlike Rohmer. Imagine my surprise at seeing a bald Peter Lorre.

X. Trapnel said...

Arrgghh

Ophuls WHITE HAIRED

pvitari said...

A young Fritz Lang?

http://img831.imageshack.us/img831/5853/lang.gif

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/5649/lang2.jpg

Trish said...

How about Edward Burns and William Friedkin? And do they have to be good directors? How about John Derek...? (I'll duck now).

I thought Bigelow looked incredible at the Oscars. She showed up women half her age.

The Siren said...

Absolute thumbs down from the Siren on Friedkin--though he certainly did well with women. And Edward Burns and John Derek...you're right, I didn't say they had to be good directors but it helps, doesn't it?

Fritz Lang--that isn't smolder, that's menace. Crazy about his films though, as y'all knew already.

The Siren said...

Oh lord this is a Monday. I called VP81955 "Hamletta" in my comment above. Apologies to you both. Bad scroll button, bad bad scroll button...

Vanwall said...

“Handsome is as handsome does.” Whither go-est though, Hitch?

Alas, to late to die young for so many.

The Siren said...

VW, if it's of comfort, up above you'll see Gloria suggesting Jean Renoir, and I happen to know that she is completely serious. If "handsome does" were the theme, surely Renoir would top the list.

X. Trapnel said...

Anatole Litvak was said to be quite a dashing chap (contintental division) and a great favorite of the ladies.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Here's John Derek at his most dashing in Don Weis' The Adventures of Haji Baba, rescuing the equally lovely Elaine Stewart (a particular obession of mine.) This YouTube clip is apparently from a print that was dubbed in French. Quite appropriate as Don Weis, along with Joseph Losey, Otto Preminger, Raoul Walsh and Vittorio Cottafavi was in the Upper Pantheon of the MacMahonists -- that most rarified of all Gallic movie cults (so-called because their headquarters was the "Cinema MacMahon")

The Siren said...

EEEEK! David, I've seen that one! And had forgotten of its existence until you posted that Youtube clip, with its nicely succinct summary for search purposes ("Elaine Stewart is hanged by her wrist") and an, ahem, extremely blunt first comment. Between that and the French dubbing I can barely focus on Derek one way or another.

Gloria said...

Of course I am serious about Renoir I would totally be Lisette to his Octave, all the while flirtyng with Carette, of course.

(and I'm serious about the other two, too).

Vanwall said...

Siren, I was vastly amused by Gloria's inner soul being bared so nakedly - brutal honesty, altho in that spirit, I surmised Laughton's endearment well ahead of time, and Renoir has a kind of joie de vivre simply in his very face. My Borsalino goes off to her aplomb.

Her choice of Eric Von Stroheim, however, other than being the exception to the rule of aging here - the man was evidently born bald, in a Viennese hussar's full dress uniform and with a monocle - mayhap says more about Gloria than about handsome directors; but then again, the man was a perfectionist about riding crops and fine leather boots.

Yojimboen said...

Dunno X, I always found Arzner’s looks at least striking, and in some cases (here with her companion, dancer Marion Morgan), quite beautiful.

My favorite image of Shepitko (beauteous, sans question!) is this one.

In my fantasy, the lovely Larisa escapes the (for her, lethally) oppressive Mosfilm world of gloom, doom and no elbow room, and makes it to America in time to audition for Funny Face.

X. Trapnel said...

Y, that picture is the russkaya intelligentka I've dreamt of since my Pushkin/Tolstoyevsky/Chekhov/Pasternak-saturated youth.

Arthur S. said...

Surprised Nicholas Ray didn't make the list...
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2934008&id=1022472220
I thought it was generally agreed that he was at the height of auteurist cool. His close competitor being Fuller
Here's them together.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2899099&id=1022472220

Great choice on Borzage.

The young Bernardo Bertolucci isn't a bad choice,
http://www.moviecrazed.com/outpast/bertolucci.html

And I also thought Antonioni was good looking,
http://www.mirroredmind.com/blog/Antonioni/Antonioni.jpg

And people here forgot Barbara Loden among good-looking women film-makers.

Gloria said...

Miss Shepitko is a looker! may I think of her as a behind-the-camera Tereshkova?

X. Trapnel said...

Alain Resnais, Christian-Jacques (Fr. division)

David Lean, James Whale (Br. division)

Nora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D Cairns said...

I'd include Keaton and Chaplin, two of the most beautiful figures of any gender. Perhaps some see them as primarily performers, but I don't see how the distinction can be made here.

Alexander Mackendrick: http://www.lfs.org.uk/images/alexander_mackendrick.jpg A regular dreamboat!

Nicholas Ray, in his early directing days, looks like a movie star to me.

And the very young Kubrick has, I don't know, a certain sickly aura I find not unattractive...
http://whatzinaname.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/sk2.jpg

Yojimboen said...

“I'd include Keaton and Chaplin, two of the most beautiful figures of any gender.”

Thanks for the reminder, Mr C., we should all hang our heads. Though personally I could never see past Charlie’s teeth, it is undeniable that Keaton was the most ethereally beautiful of them all. So beautiful, Buster transcends any list.

Henry said...

I too thought of Victor Fleming. This picture of him playing trombone attests: http://www.acephotos.org/c10400219/victor-fleming-photo.html.
Michaelangelo Antonioni, no question. And Godard was not conventionally handsome, but he belongs...and was a style icon.
Henry Dreher

X. Trapnel said...

Where does John Huston fit in here?

Sergei Eisenstein was not conventionally handsome.

Now, how about an All Ugly Team. Along with S.E., I'll start it off with Paul Leni.

Trish said...

His films are wonderfully atmospheric and hypnotic, but Val Lewton is not the best looking pup in the litter...

Gloria said...

X., Shall we add Paul Wegener?

The Siren said...

Mackendrick was bonny indeed, Mr. Cairns. Nicholas Ray, all right, I can see it.

But some of these other names...well, gentlemen, let no one say the Siren doesn't appreciate gender solidarity when she encounters it. And she hopes you'll all have the same thought when someone somewhere does a "Most Beautiful Actresses" list and the Siren pops up to demand why Mildred Natwick didn't make it.

Karen said...

Of the photos provided, I'd have to go with Borzage, actually: the curly hair, the beautiful eyes, the fabulous nose, the cleft chin. That's a lot to work with.

Now, Welles...well, Welles is a tough one. Difficult to dissociate the knowledge of his voice from his face.

Yojimboen said...

With respects, chère Madame, you’ll need a better analogy. There are many kinds of beauty; Mildred Natwick had all the important ones.

Sondermann said...

If we take 'handsome' to mean "This is what I'd want to look like myself" I'd definitely go for David Lynch.
Apart from that I'm surprised no one mentioned von Sternberg.

The Siren said...

Ah, you see, I did say "handsome" and not sexy. To me, Huston, Godard & Von Sternberg are not objectively handsome--at all--but in their heydays they sent the "sexy" meter skittering right up to the maximum.

Yojimboen, you know I worship Mildred so I will concede the point. Otherwise she might give me the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle.

Yojimboen said...

No, no, I'm certain Mildred would vouchsafe for you the flagon with the dragon and the brew that is true.

(Now try getting that out of your head the rest of the day.)

Karen said...

I, too, find Mildred Natwick quite lovely, especially in her youth. Not Hedy Lamarr lovely, granted, but striking in the extreme.

Meanwhile, sign me on the Keaton fan club train: I think he was absolutely stunning to look at.

On the sadder end of the director scale, I submit for your consideration this photo I found of W.S. van Dyke, whose ears put Der Bingle's to shame. I hope the former never directed the latter; the winds stirred up by their on-set movements would have been gale force.

George Cukor was never anything for me to get worked up over, either--nor the great Ernst Lubitsch. Their films, yes; their looks--not so much. I should note that while Rouben Mamoulian wasn't much to look at, he shows up with surprising frequency in Tijuana Bibles, which makes me wonder if he wasn't famed as a swordsman in his day.

Meanwhile, Michael Curtiz had an interesting face, if not a particularly handsome one. And Billy Wilder was simply adorable. Norman Foster looks quite attractive here.

And Costa-Gavras was quite fetching, indeed! As was Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Mostly what I noticed, though, as I perused the photos at this site, is how staggeringly ordinary-looking most directors were. No one you'd give a second glance to on a street. Like your high school biology teacher--or worse.

Nora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Nellhaus said...

Here's my idea of a handsome director.

this one could give me direction as well.

Karen said...

Apologies to all for the mess above. Blogger kept telling me my comment had been rejected as too large. Not only did it publish it each time I tried, but it published each time I tried to publish it in parts.

Chere Sirene, if you can delete all those "Comment deleted" posts, please do, I entreat you!

Yojimboen said...

A vaguely on-topic Tip: when dealing with a comment with several embedded links, it’s best to right click on the link, then left click on “Open in New Window”.

When you’ve finished looking at the picture (or watching the Youtube clip), simply close that window and poof, you’re back the main blogsite without having to go the long way round.

(Of course, this is only for Windows, you Mac-istas are on your own.)

Thombeau said...

Great post, and I'm in total agreement!

gmoke said...

Joan Chen is directing her third movie.

Ingmar Bergman had a good face which merits consideration from the female eye.

Peter Nellhaus said...

How did I forget Joan Chen? And Sylvia Chang is still smoking hot.

Fredrik said...

Doesn't anyone like David Lean, the Paul Newman of directors and the very definition of dashing. Sofia Coppola is not exactly bad either, neither is Lasse Hallström.

DavidEhrenstein said...

I chaired a panel discussion at "Outfest" last week on which Kimberly Pierce appeared. She's currently pitching a romantic comedy about the Butch/Femme dynamic to

(wait for it)

Judd Apatow.

X. Trapnel said...

Karen,

A better haircut might of minimized the outcroppings from One-Shot Woody's head.

Only slightly off topic: Walter Wanger had the look producers aspired to (cf. Bickford in ASIB and Mitchell in SITR).

Trish said...

Yojimboen, no worries for us Mac-istas. The process is the same. I always keep two windows open to access links without leaving the comments page.

Clint Eastwood, anyone?

estienne64 said...

A couple of Frenchies

1) Robert Bresson, who appears to be some kind of angel.

2) Catherine Breillat. Can't find any pics of her as a youth, but she's still 'striking' (as I believe the term is) and as a young woman must have been similar to her gorgeous elder sister, the actress Marie-Helene Breillat. (Aren't both sisters in Last Tango in Paris?)

DavidEhrenstein said...

Robert Bresson was drop-dead-gorgeous well into his adavanced years.

As a young man he was briefly a gigolo. Consequently Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne is an apologia pro vita sua. Knowing of his past Maria Casares tried her best to twist Bresson around her little finger. Not only was she unsuccessful, as a result of that encounter he swore off using professional actors ever again.

DavidEhrenstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Siren said...

Bresson. Okay, now there y'all got me. Big time. He belonged here.

Catmommie said...

Oooh! Juzo Itami.

Yojimboen said...

Sit down, ladies...
Deep breath...
Bruce Robinson.

Robert Avrech said...

Director Rex Ingram was a pretty good looking guy. He turned to acting when his directing career at MGM sputtered. Ingram quarreled with L.B. Mayer, bitterly resenting the studio system. Ingram was a true auteur. Watch him in "Sahara," with Bogart and you'll see what I mean. He had a lavender marriage with his main leading actress, Alice Terry.

DavidEhrenstein said...

I was waiting for that. You've just turned us all into Adele H.

DavidEhrenstein said...

While I adore the entire film this scene is why for me at the last Truffaut is a great director. He could be uneven at times, and tkae the easy way out (eg. The Last Metro) but when the cards were down he could kick ass.

Bruce Robins's Pinson is precisely the sort of guy I kept fallign for in high school back in the 60's (New York was rife with thm). Never lost my mind over any of them. But Adele's insanity is genuinely heroic.

Yojimboen said...

As much as Bruce Robinson caught your eye, David, I was even more flattened by my first sight of Isabelle Adjani – I didn’t think such beauty existed anywhere.

But to stay on-topic, I was referring to Robinson the writer-director (Killing Fields; Withnail and I) etc., who gave up acting as a lost cause. Word is, next to Bruce Robinson, J.D. Salinger was a media whore. The producer of Still Crazy parked outside his front door for days before he’d even talk to her. It still took her weeks to persuade him to come out of acting retirement to play, I think, the part of his life. Robinson is one of a kind.
Bio link here.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Truffaut said of Adjani "She's James Dean come back as a girl!"

He really had it bad for her, but she wouldn't give him a tumble. And I for one think it only served to help his filmmaking.

Lou Lumenick said...

Robert, there were TWO Rex Ingrams: the silent film actor/director and the African-American actor who appeared with Bogart in "Sahara'' (as well as "The Thief of Bagdad,'' "The Green Pastures'' etc). Legend has it that the second one, whose original name was Clifford, changed his name to Rex in homage to the silent actor/director.

Peter Nellhaus said...

And in reference to Lou's comment, how is it that Michael Powell never wrote at least one line about how he worked with two guys with the same name?

Back to the subject at hand, I'm not sure if Powell would have been described as handsome, but if his autobiography is to be believed, he certainly had a way with some of his leading ladies.

DavidEhrenstein said...

He most certainly did. Mr. Powell was a very Naughty man. Never more so than during the shooting of Black Narcissus in which his attentions turned from Kathleen Byron to Deborah Kerr.

TALK ABOUT SUB-TEXT!!!!!!!

Yojimboen said...

Yes, Mr P was well known back in the his Pinewood days as a randy bugger.
(Or maybe that was his porn name?)

Buttermilk Sky said...

Franco Zeffirelli was dishy as a young man. Too bad he wasn't much of a director.

Trish said...

Off topic here, but I just finished watching the beauteous Mildred Natwick in The Trouble with Harry.

Is it only I who thinks Kenneth Branagh sounds a bit like Edmund Gwenn when he speaks?

DavidEhrenstein said...

Mildred Natwick is brilliant in Minnelli's ultra-bizarre Yolanda and the Thief. My firend Jerry Hiler used to dare people to see it on acid.

In her later years Natwick appeared on Boradway in what has become a dearly-beloved Kander & Ebb flop . It was a musical version of Make Mine Mink. She had two big numbers, both about Death: "Where Did The Elphant Go?" and "Say Yes." The latter was delivered by her character post-mortem as she floated across the stage on a cloud.

The Siren said...

I'm sorry, did any of y'all say something? I'm staring at Bruce Robinson.

DavidEhrenstein said...

There's some vey funny stuuf about Zefferelli in Farley Granger's memoir "Include Me Out." During the shooting of Senso Visconti had pretty much had it with Franco as a boyfriend. Zefferelli was convinced that he was going to drop him and run off with Farley. That didn't happen, but Zefferelli's rages and pouts greatly amused the star. But things got really out of hand when Zeferelli tried to get Fraley's hair dyed blonde as a last-ditch effort to get him thrown off the picture.

DavidEhrenstein said...

For some reason I forgot to mention that Kander & Ebb flop. It was called 70 Girls 70.

And here in all it's glory is The Vessel with the Pestle

Gloria said...

Iciar Bollaín
http://biblioteca.uam.es/derecho/imagenes/exposiciones/cine/mujer/img3.jpg

Andrei Tarkovski
http://amatekim.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/tarkovski.jpg

Trish said...

Angela Lansbury is a knockout in green!

Marilyn said...

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/images/yang.jpg
Edward Yang

http://de.academic.ru/pictures/dewiki/79/Olivier-Assayas-L_Heure.JPG
Olivier Assayas

http://static.tvguide.com/mediabin/archive/cms/61481B4F-7364-43F4-8136-2748171419C0.jpg
Barbara Kopple

http://img.siol.net/08/162/633487261690220311_kozole.jpg
Damjan Kozole

Laura said...

Oh my. I must say I'm sorry to be the party pooper around here, but most of the directors mentioned above and in the comments aren't doing anything for me at all. Not at all. But for all it's worth, the following are who I consider handsome:

John Frankenheimer, Buster Keaton, Bruce Robinson, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Edward Burns, John Derek, Francois Truffaut, and Clint Eastwood.

The rest, well, I'm glad that many of them are talented. Otherwise, I wouldn't give them a second look in real life.

X. Trapnel said...

Handsome screenwriters? One French actress clearly could not resist. Who could? Could you?

storage.canalblog.com/20/41/576512/44003314.jpg

Karen said...

It's funny to think about what "handsome" means, especially in light of Laura's very justified comment, above.

So many of the actors we think (erm, I think of) as attractive aren't conventionally handsome at all. Sure, everyone goes gaga over the yound Gary Cooper or Cary Grant, and would do if you saw them on the street today, but how to account for the--to me--very real attractiveness of William Powell or Melvyn Douglas? I'd wager that the average modern woman, looking at this photo wouldn't think "Hot-cha!" But I do--I think it's a stunning photo of Powell and reminds of all the reasons I find him attractive (well, all the reasons that can be conveyed without the active example of his considerable charm and fabulous voice).

Likewise, pre-eyepatch Raoul Walsh or Vincent Sherman may not, at first glance, and by today's standards, do much for anyone. But I look at those photos and I try to see them talking, moving, smiling, and I suspect that the attractiveness was very real.

Doesn't work for Mankiewicz, though. Guy must have had an awesome personality, is what I'm saying.

And I'm afraid this Bruce Robinson fellow does absolutely zero for me. Of course, I work on a university campus, so see guys who look like that hourly. More than I wish to, frankly. Further of course, I'm the gal who finds the young Jimmy Cagney utterly irresistible, and had this photo (via our beloved hostess) as her desktop wallpaper for over a year....

Vanwall said...

The key words were "Handsome is as handsome does" - especially the "does" part. The proof of the haggis is in the eating, altho the element of fatal attraction can be a goodly fraction of partaking. You could substitute beautiful for handsome, and the parameters remain the same. The rules of attraction are certainly not confined to physiognomy, as well, altho sometimes it takes a striking peek-a-boo, such as in say, Joi Lansing's case, just to stay on message here.

X. Trapnel said...

I agree with Vanwall but the rules of attraction differ (beyond the obvious ways) with respect to film and reality. The former offers an excess of physical beauty so we may choose by our own lights who has charm, character, etc.; reality does not offer such and we may fall prey to imagining character in some beautiful personage where there is none. The subject, of course, of innumerable films.

bitter69uk said...

I'd have to add the young Kenneth Anger on this list.He was a real beauty, as seen in his debut film Fireworks. Plus Pasolini (another Italian!). Nicholas Ray was very handsome.

DavidEhrenstein said...

A more recent picture of Little Kenny Angerim

bitter69uk said...

Yes, Kenneth Anger is in pretty good nick for a dissolute 80-something! Worshipping Satan seems to have paid off! I saw him give an onstage interview at the British Film Institute a few years ago and he was on great form.

Yojimboen said...

Karen, do me (and yourself) a favor and see Still Crazy, then come back and tell us Bruce Robinson does nothing for you. If you’ve already seen it, see it again. Be advised though, Robinson’s character, the vanished rocker Brian, has always loved and been loved – hopelessly, tragically – by a woman named… Karen (played by Juliet Aubrey, whom I’d never seen before, and would almost prefer not to see again, so brilliantly, heart-breakingly definitive is her performance here).

Still Crazy (obviously an obsession with me) is probably about 50 years away from finding its place in the Pantheon of Neglected Masterpieces. Columbia financed it, a comparatively high-budget Brit indie, then decided – over strenuous objections from the filmmakers – to market it as “The Real Spinal Tap”.

The campaign failed and (IMHO) the best rock n roll movie ever made went straight to the remainder bin.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Agreed with Yojimboen about Still Crazy. I've been thinking about doing something on director Brian Gibson's two rock films that bookend his career, pending getting a functioning blog again.

Karen said...

Well, I had not seen Still Crazy, but I've now watched the first 20 minutes online. I can tell that I will love it--despite the presence of Juliet Aubrey, who was well-nigh ruined for me by her laughably ridiculous character in the laughably ridiculous series Primeval.

But Bill Nighy makes everything better. As does Timothy Spall.

I've only seen Robinson in the flashbacks so far but still: not doing much for me.

Trish said...

I realize Nicholas Ray was once handsome and dashing, but when I think of him deflowering Natalie Wood, I can't help but see a leather-faced eye-patch kind of guy. :O

Vanwall said...

Trish -

Charismatics often seem to have trouble keeping their pants on. Eyepatch or no.

DavidEhrenstein said...

And not just deflowering Natalie. He was fucking Sal Mineo too.

AND Gavin Lambert.

(For the skinny read Gavin's "Mostly About Lindsay Anderson." The non-"Mostly" part deals with Nick Ray.)

Trish said...

Good lord! Sal Mineo was 16. That's child molestation.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Oh yeah, like Sal Mineo was "taken against his will."

In what Alternate Universe?

Trish said...

Oh cripes - I didn't say that. Because he was an actor young Sal probably had the emotional maturity of a 12-year old. Ultimately it doesn't matter if he consented any more than it matters if Samantha Geimer consented. Sex with a minor - even in the Hollywood universe - remains morally reprehensible, and in 1955 was, if I'm not mistaken, a crime.

Yojimboen said...

I believe Natalie Wood was also 16 when Nicholas Ray began “an affair” with her. She had her 17th birthday on the set of Rebel (her 72nd birthday was two days ago).

‘Statutory rape’ is what it’s called, no matter how experienced or willing the minor is, the law is there for a reason.

Trish said...

Thanks for the clarification, Yojimboen. I wrongly assumed Natalie was 18. Ray certainly got around, didn't he?

X. Trapnel said...

And Ray was so aghast at Gloria Grahame marrying his son

Karen said...

Sixteen is actually the age of consent in many states, including the one where I lived when I turned 16. And I would imagine that those who grow up in show business are actually often more worldly than the average 16-year-old.

Laura said...

Karen dearest,

Of course I agree with much of what you've said. For me, finding someone handsome and finding someone attractive are two very different ball games. I would like to think I can be quite objective when it comes to someone's physical attributes, but attraction, ah, now that requires a little something extra! For instance, I can say that Bruce Robinson is a very handsome man, no question about it. But do I think he's attractive? Personally, not really. Same with Buster Keaton and Edward Burns. I would rather go for the John Frankenheimer types.

DavidEhrenstein said...

" wrongly assumed Natalie was 18. Ray certainly got around, didn't he?"

He was the Roman Polanski of his day.

Yojimboen said...

Correction: Natalie Wood was 16 throughout the production of Rebel; shooting ended on May 25th 1955, her 17th birthday was two months later on July 20th 1955.

The age of consent in California is 18. The crime is actually defined as “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor”. It was and is a felony; maximum penalty four years in State prison. If Nick Ray was having his way with both Wood and Mineo, he dodged eight years State time.

Vanwall said...

Another face in a pillow, off the next bus in town.

hamletta said...

The campaign failed and (IMHO) the best rock n roll movie ever made went straight to the remainder bin.

Dude, are you really prepared to say it was better than "Spinal Tap"?

Them's fightin' words!

I actually majored in music bidness in college, and ST came out right before I graduated.

We made a pilgrimage to Nashville to see it and worship at the altar of Christopher Guest. His work on National Lampoon's "Goodbye Pop" album had sustained us through many an encounter with the entertainment industry.

We laughed and laughed at the travails of the band.

And then I graduated, and wound up working as a day-of-show runner for hair-metal bands. Spinal Tap wasn't a joke.

Back to the OT: Christopher Guest: Director! Cute! He has an armadillo in his trousers!

Yojimboen said...

I’ll meet you half-way.

One of these people is very, very cute.

(I LOVE Spinal Tap.)

Karen said...

Well, I've now watched Still Crazy. And I liked it. But I can't honestly say it's better than Spinal Tap.

And Bruce Robinson--nobody mentioned he doesn't show up for over an hour into the film!--was more attractive to me by dint of his character than inherent charms.

But I'm glad I watched it--so thanks!

Trish said...

I love Spinal Tap too. I once saw an interview with the great Tom Waits, who claimed that it wasn't funny because it made him cry...

Alright, I'll bite. I'll have a look at Still Crazy.

Christopher Guest is a wonderful actor. I particularly like his Harlan Pepper and Corky St. Clair. Both are brilliant characterizations.

Vanwall said...

As a slight aside, very pre-Spinal Tap, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and David L. Lander were once part of satiric comedy group called "The Credibility Gap", and they released a number of sharp, funny record albums (you know, those big, flat, black plastic discs with lines on 'em that played on something called a 'record player') back in the day. Check out "Where's Johnny" on Shearer's website:

Credibility Gap

They were already wickedly lampooning pop culture.

Yojimboen said...

Granted, Spinal Tap is at bottom a brilliant, superb comedy, but it doesn’t quite make the leap to real greatness for me. This is a sub-topic for another day, but I have a personal bugaboo about American actors attempting British accents. Not that Chris Guest’s accent isn’t flawless, it is (as befits someone who owns a seat in the House of Lords), but the others aren’t quite there. I admit my standards are ridiculously, impossibly high, many a great performance and movie has been – if not ruined - certainly tarnished for me by tinny accents. So few American actors come even close. It sounds snobbish, but it isn’t really, British actors aren’t necessarily more skilled than Americans, it’s just they’re exposed to American accents from infancy and have more practice.
I will now duck.

Maya said...

I love this post. Perhaps because lately I've been enjoying "the most superficial kind of auteurism imaginable" with my Hunks in Horror sidebar and my Strong Silent Types sidebar, which is primarily an excuse to set up eye-candy galleries.

Which is, of course, incidental to what I consider a very important aspect of online film commentary: vintage photographs. I love these photos you've selected. The one of Borzage, especially, is downright beautiful.

I'm surprised, however, that when you pose a question of who might be the best looking director "of all time" and ignore the present?

X. Trapnel said...

Y, you've never heard my imitation of Trevor Howard, Wilfred Hyde-Whyte, and Bernard Lee in simultaneous conversation. It could fool Henry Higgins.

Trish said...

Yojimboen, I trust you go positively apesh*t at the sound of Kevin Costner's Robin Hood... :D

X. Trapnel said...

Costner has the perfect voice for silent film

Yojimboen said...

And a perfect face for radio! Badaboom, try the veal!

Semi-seriously, Trish, I mind less the instances where Studios cast a foreign story with mostly American talent who make not the slightest effort to conceal their origins – Kostner’s Robin Hood a case in point – I just watch those movies for the condescending crap they usually are.

No, I get shirty when supposedly serious films are cast with stars who a) have absolutely no talent for regional speech or b) worse, believe they have but don’t: For me, hearing Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin & Sherlock Holmes is like biting tinfoil. (And please, please don’t get me started on Johnny Depp.)

It works both ways, mind you; S Connery as an arab in Wind and the Lion is risible.

But for my money, in the history of commercial cinema the only worse accent than Bette Davis’s in “Of Human Bondage” is Kim Novak’s in the remake.

(word verification: Actrick)

Trish said...

Y., you named a couple of genuine culprits, Downey Jr. and Depp, and I'm in total agreement with you. Bad accents are distracting -- best not to use one at all if you can't do it right. If the studio system still existed, we would have actors/actresses who could speak in that transatlantic sort of way that Joan Crawford et al were so good at. It may not be perfect but it's a lot classier than just winging it.

My pet peeve is Carrie Fisher in Star Wars. Her hideous british accent (which disappears halfway through the film) is as distracting as her unflattering grandma boobs.

X. Trapnel said...

Y, I don't possess your ear but Eleanor Parker's cockney sounded pretty good in her Mildred. I think this is the best OHB despite its reputation. Any filming is problematic because Maugham's enormous novel is held together, just barely, by a passive, uninteresting hero. Goulding's version is great on Edwardian atmosphere and magnificent Korngold score. Paul Henreid is ridiculous with his Austrian general staff accent and manner.

Speaking of ridiculous, the most irritating fake British accent I recall is Gwynneth Paltrow in a horror called Sliding Doors. Shoulda been called Slipping Accent.

X. Trapnel said...

Trish,

I've never seen Star Wars, but was struck by your reference to Carrie Fisher's "grandma boobs." In my hazy memory of posters, stills, etc, she seemed to be wearing a couple of NY pretzels on her breasts.

Trish said...

X., She wears the pretzel bra in Return of the Jedi, and was a lot thinner in that film.

Here she is in Star Wars, though I couldn't find a really good clip of her running/bouncing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5Qs5ttqER0&feature=related

Trish said...

I should clarify that George Lucas wouldn't allow her to wear a bra because it showed throw the fabric of her costume...

MrsHenryWindleVale said...

@Trish I just finished reading Carrie Fisher's "Wishful Drinking" -- highly recommended, btw -- where she talks of these matters. Including her "joy bags" (a phrase I learned from CF).

According to Fisher, and she's gained a lot of comic mileage from this anecdote, apparently George Lucas wanted her sans brassiere in the first "Star Wars" because -- and this was handed to CF as an unquestionable law -- there's no underwear in space. ("I'm not making this up," as Anna Russell used to say.) Which meant that her breasts had to be taped into place under the white garment.

She also speaks disparagingly of the on=again, off-again British accent.

DavidEhrenstein said...

During the first Star Wars she was carrying on so flagrantly with Harrison Ford, that once when Lucas asked "Where's Carrie?" Someone said "You mean she's not in Harrison's trailer?"

I was watching "The Rotten Tomato Show on Al-Gore-o-vision (aka. "Current") and they asked George A. Romero (the man who made the world safe for zombies) about his favorite films, and Number One was the Powell-Pressburger Tales of Hoffman

Trish said...

Mrs. HWV - that was pretty dumb of Lucas. But I guess he made it up to her with the pretzel bra.

Trish said...

David, your gossip beats Celebitchy any day! Bring it on...

Can't go wrong with a P&P film. They are superb, and each one very unique.

Lou Lumenick said...

Imagine my surprise to see Frank Borzage turn up as himself, directing Jeanne Eagels in a silent film in the bio-pic with Kim Novak. Which somehow miraculously turns into a musical called "Forever Young'' after she dies, with Jeanne revealing a hithero unsuspected vocal talent, belting out "When You're in Love,'' a ditty composed several years after her death, while Jeff Chandler tears up in the audience at the Paramount. Ah, Hollywood!

Lisa G said...

My comments: Victor Fleming (quite the ladies man - as mentioned before Norma Shearer and Clara Bow), John Frankenheimer, John Farrow, Jacques Demy, Francois Truffaut. These would be added to the post that is already there.

hamletta said...

"No underwear in space," my Aunt Fanny. He just wanted her boobs to bounce around. Bastard. That sh*t hurts!

Yoj, I know what you mean about bad accents. My brother and I inherited the ear, if not the tongue, of our mother, who could give Meryl Streep a run for her money.

Bad Southern accents make me stabby. As did the brilliant Jennifer Jason Leigh's faux-Hepburn in "The Hudsucker Proxy."

The mere memory of it makes me grind my teeth. Reading somewhere that she was shooting for Roz Russell makes me want to shoot somebody.

Rozsaphile said...

" Connery as an arab in Wind and the Lion is risible."

But surely there was an element of send-up in that one. Besides, as the John Huston character reminds Brian Keith's wonderful TR: "The Raisuli is a Berber, Mr. President."

Noel Vera said...

Got a Filipino candidate: Mario O'Hara.

He had on a poorly applied leper makeup, so don't count his skin complexion against him.

Here's a different shot of the same performance.

He's a stage actor too. Still acting, in fact.

Here he is a theater production.

And a recent photo

Duncan said...

Bernardo Bertolucci. Pure hotness.

tlrhb said...

His voice alone should qualify John Huston, eh?