Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Jimmy Dean & Heath Ledger & Monty Clift

You know the obsession with James Dean. Or Jimmy Dean - as they call him in the Robert Altman movie I just watched. (It's an old film with Cher and Kathy Bates and is called Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.) It's something really weird. The strange thing is that he's so unlike most of the young big stars now - watching his films I just can't stop thinking that he had a great gift for acting and it's real sad that his career and his life were cut short. Most people in my acting class (and even my professors) think that it's his early & tragic death, which made him a legend. But I don't think it's really a relevant explanation. It's rather this raw style of acting, which is so natural and so unlike everything at the time. And it's the fact that he wasn't the big macho guy most actors were or pretended to be. Just watch an old movie. They're all big, raw, unemotional guys. And Jimmy Dean is all about this natural gift of honesty in acting, which is what great acting is all about, I think. If I think of a nowadays actor, who I could compare Jimmy Dean to, it's Heath Ledger. And again - not because of his tragic death, but because of his great gift. When I watched Brokeback Mountain two years ago, I was really blown away by his performance. It was in the year when I started studying theatre acting & I felt that I'd like to give a performance like that. I didn't like Jake Gyllenhaal's performance, but Heath was really the soul of the film. It was exactly a performance the way Jimmy Dean would have played it - natural and unforced. And of course - both were incredibly good-looking guys, but in a mysterious way, which helped their acting a lot. These guys just didn't fit the Hollywood stereotype even though they had everything they needed to succeed. But anyway, thinking about other Hollywood actors like that, I can't stop thinking of Monty Clift. Up until a year ago, I didn't even know who he is. I have seen classic movies on TCM, but never ever something he was in. And then we watched A Place in the Sun in class and it was a really great experience. He's a reallyt sensitive actor. And I did some research and read a lot about his life. His sexuality was probably the reason for him feeling uncomfortable and never finding his place. It's sad that such a tragic personal life actually helped him create some great roles. Check these guys' film roles. Really impressive. And sad.


  1. Clifton??? (in the title of the post) - a misprint?

    I am really annoyed by the way Montgomery Clift played the main character in I Confess, I should say. There is no soul attached, just the Method...

  2. I made a mistake! Thanks for the correction!

    About I CONFESS - I haven't seen it. Just bought the Hitchock collection & I'm going to watch it today. Anyway, I adore Clift in A PLACE IN THE SUN. And I just recently watched SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER. But I'll watch I CONFESS and I'll write about it.

  3. I am looking forward to your post about it! :-)