Appreciation: Joel McCrea

joel mccrea

Some actors are simply talented: Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lawrence Olivier. Some are just pretty to look at, like Victor Mature and Tyrone Power.



And some are a combination of the two.



Ladies and gentlemen: allow me to present Joel McCrea.



McCrea was an actor who worked mostly in the 30s and 40s and 50s. He had a nice body and a handsome face with a big kissable nose. He did leading-man work for a while, mostly for Preston Sturges, but he decided (apparently) that he preferred Westerns, which is a shame, because he was especially adorable in non-Westerns.



Three of my favorite movies – “Sullivan’s Travels,” “The Palm Beach Story,” and “The More the Merrier” – star Joel McCrea.



In “Sullivan’s Travels,” he’s a Hollywood director who loses touch with his audience. He goes incognito, ends up becoming an outlaw, and learns how to be a Man of the People.



In “The More the Merrier,” he’s a serviceman waiting to be shipped overseas, living in a New York apartment which he shares with millionaire Charles Coburn and ingénue Jean Arthur. There’s a scene in which Joel and Charles Coburn are up on the roof, lying on their stomachs, reading comics, which is just sublime.



In “The Palm Beach Story,” he’s married to Claudette Colbert, who decides that she could do better (and earn more money for Joel) if she were married to someone else. There’s an adorable scene in this movie in which Joel crushes Claudette in his arms and kisses her neck, and –






Apollonia tells me that a friend of hers saw him shirtless on a beach once, and – well, she nearly passed out.



We need to keep the memory of Joel McCrea alive.



Although, now that I think of it: Channing Tatum is big and cute and youthful and charming and innocent and funny, and . . .



See how Hollywood repeats itself?


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