Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Actors: Mr Peck

One of the 'People We Like' here Gregory Peck is always a pleasure to watch. One could say he was the ideal post-war male: that new breed of actors who came along in the mid-40s as the second world war drew to a close. Along with William Holden, Peck was the cream of the crop, along with young Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum, and Glenn Ford. 

Peck (1916-2003) from La Jolla, California, was always serious, but there was a sense of humour there too. One of the best-looking men of his era (just how many mothers' favourite actor was Gregory Peck?). Like Cary Grant and a few others Peck also looked great teamed with those leading ladies: Audrey in ROMAN HOLIDAY (where he got the billing changed to put her name above the title), Ava in ON THE BEACH, Ava and Susan in SNOWS OF KILLIMANJARO, Jean Simmons in THE BIG COUNTRY
Bacall in DESIGNING WOMAN (where he has that hilarious scene where Dolores Gray tips the plate of ravioli into his lap in the restaurant), with Sophia in ARABESQUE etc, and of course DUEL IN THE SUN in '46, the original CAPE FEAR in '62, Hitch's SPELLBOUND and THE PARADINE CASE - yup, he looked great with Ingrid and Valli too, and with Deborah Kerr in BELOVED INFIDEL as Scott Fitzgerland, if only the film had been worthy of them. He also did those adventures like GUNS OF NAVARONE, HMS HORNBLOWER etc. 
 1962 proved his Best Actor year with his perfect Atticus Finch in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD - they should though have had 2 best actors that year - with O'Toole for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA also winning. Sophia Loren presented him with his best actor award, and he returned the favour presenting her with her second in 1993. 

One of his best later roles was in THE SCARLET AND THE BLACK (review at Peck, war labels) in 1983 as the Irish priest at the Vatican during World War Two, rescuing Jews from the Nazis, he and Christopher Plummer have two great roles here, along with John Gielgud as Pope Pius XII. It often pops up on tv and is worth watching.  Then there is his hilarious portrayal of Joseph Mengele in the 1978 THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL with Olivier equally hilariously miscast or over the top.  
THE OMEN with Lee Remick in 1976 was a surprise hit too, even those who did not like horror films went to this one. THE STALKING MOON was a good western, as was that space opera MAROONED, and I WALK THE LINE
He was an actor who took chances and didn't just rely on his looks to coast through movies, vis his Captain Ahab for Huston's MOBY DICK. His signagture roles (apart from Atticus Finch) are surely his journalist in ROMAN HOLIDAY and that sea captain out west in THE BIG COUNTRY, where he had a producer credit but apparantly Greg and Wyler fell out, as the director was going to do it his way whatever his star suggested ...

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