I recently bought a new television set, and along with it I got the digital box so I could get more channels. I love watching old, classic movies. To me, they are a real art form. And I love the classic movie stars. They were a completely different breed than the movies stars of today. They had a magical quality about them -- a patina -- that movie stars seems to have lost. I don't know, call me a prude, but I don't want to watch a movie, and then the next day see the star of the movie exposing her pregnant belly with her belly-button sticking out. Yes, pregnancy is beautiful, but cover up the belly-button, please. It just detracts a bit from the mystique. When I watch the classic movies, and see the elegant actresses who played in them, I sometimes wish the actresses of today could try to emulate them -- just a bit.
Most of the women from the so-called golden era of movies were real people in their private lives. Greer Garson was married three times, once to a man who played her son in "Mrs. Miniver". Deborah Kerr was known for her raucous sense of humor and her bawdy jokes, and all of her leading men fell in love with her for that reason. She had romantic affairs with Stewart Granger, Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum, who called her a "great broad", and he regarded that as the highest form of compliment. So do I. You can see the chemistry between them in "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison". That was my mother's favorite movie, and she always used to say, "Those two are in love with each other -- you can see it."
Ingrid Bergman was known for her classic beauty and her amazing talent, but in 1950 she became notorious for her affair with Italian director, Roberto Rossellini. This resulted in a huge scandal in the United States. Democratic Senator Edwin C. Johnson from Colorado referred to her as "a horrible example of womanhood and a powerful influence for evil". She was declared persona non grata and was forced in exile to Italy, where she eventually married Rossellini. In 1957 she returned to the United States and won an Oscar for her role in "Anastasia".
Grace Kelly was, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful actresses who ever lived. Her beauty was astonishing, and she was equally as talented. One can only imagine what her career would have been like, had she not married Prince Rainier and retired to Monaco as Princess Grace. I think she often wondered that as well, and I could sometimes detect a far away look in her eye -- "what if...". But she, too, was known for having affairs with her leading men, including Cary Grant (he got around, didn't he...?), William Holden and Ray Milland, who referred to her as having a "great ass".
Great ass? Great broad? Yes, these actresses had active private lives -- just as many of the actors and actresses have now. But, they had all that and more. They had style, elegance, enormous talent, and a star quality that actresses of today sadly lack. I love settling down with my new TV and watching some of these old classic movies.
"Here's looking at you, kid..."