Men…at the halfway mark

The 20 actors meme…genderfuck edition:

Burgess Meredith- The most fascinating presence, and the most communicative actor who seems to have the least faculty for it.

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Robert Walker- I’ve already discussed my love for him, however I must add that he’s about as shaky in his adoption of masculine ideals as it gets—which is a beautiful thing to watch, especially in the context of a wartime film.

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Edward G. Robinson- Escapes masculinity in the way he displays emotion.

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Herbert Marshall- Ambiguous sexy

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Harold Lloyd- The most sensual of the silent comedians. He is not averse to objectifying himself–in fact one suspects he rather likes it.

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Ramon Novarro- For beauty which precludes masculinity.

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John Gilbert- Too passionate to be accepted within the standard masculine canon

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Bob Hope- Insecurity breeds the most interesting kind of comedy—especially where gender is concerned. It doesn’t hurt that he often is paired with the butchest love interests of all time (Jane Russell, Betty Hutton etc.)

Robert Montgomery- By far the most physically comfortable actor in Hollywood–which gives him leave to expose, explore, and generally play around with the feminine aspects of his personality. He one of the only actors who can give the impression of being in drag while in dinner clothes.

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Oscar Levant- The wallpaper for some of the best films–tending to lend them the sensitivity that they lack.

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Ricardo Cortez- He has the most fascinating vanity. Not averse to playing throwaway roles (they comprise the larger part of his career, in fact) but when he gets a choice one (i.e. Sam Spade in the 1931 Maltese Falcon) he comes out of left field and becomes a genius at it.

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Lee Tracy- The most innovative actor in Hollywood. Natural in a way that seems studied, it’s that good.

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Al Jolson- God knows it’s not for his acting. But being in his presence is like watching someone in the throes of an identity crisis.

James Murray- The most gluttonously expressive actor in the silents.

James Cagney- The way he moves is freeing simply to watch—he has a knowledge of his body which is unabashed, and somewhat feminine.

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Harry Langdon- For never feeling the need to be explicit about his sexuality.

Jack Oakie- For being consistently awesome…and close at hand.

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Lew Ayres- The perfect innocent.

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Edward Everett Horton- The pansy in its most decadent form.

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Eddie Cantor- Gynandrous icon #1 of the 20th century. And the regality with which he wears the title.

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~ by levantor on January 17, 2009.

3 Responses to “Men…at the halfway mark”

  1. All the while I was wondering why Eddie hadn’t made the list…only to find that he’s at number one. I’m surprised. Glad my friend and I aren’t the only ones. I was just watching Palmy Days…

    I especially agree with Edward G., Cagney, Gilbert, and Montgomery. On a personal note, I would have had Chaplin and Keaton somewhere on the list, along with Claude Rains, Bogart, Lorre, Karloff, and possibly William Powell, among others, but that’s me. Interesting idea for a meme. I love it. Beautiful journal, as well.

  2. I just noticed that you did indeed include Rains, even got his own follow-up post. Well-deserved. That man was a mystic.

    • Ah, palmy days! What a film.
      You’re right about Chaplin and Keaton, they definitely did groundbreaking work with gender, I just figured they went without saying.
      And yes, Rains is totally the man. Highly under appreciated.

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