“Rating The Romeos” by Maude Gerald – Movie Show – March 1947
Much has been written about the fads and phobias of feminine movie stars. And never doubt that these often stir up plenty of tempests. But what about the Romeos? They have ideas, too. And can they be fussy! Their gripes and delights follow the entire range of masculine life, and they are definite, with few inhibitions, when expressing their opinions.
Men are clothes-conscious whether they’ll admit it or not, but for screen stars the subject becomes exaggerated and every actor is fussy about how he looks. This isn’t a case of vanity, it’s a vital part of his business. So, whether he’s a Great Lover or a dress extra, he frets over his glad rags.
The picturesque ERROL FLYNN, star of Warner’s, is one of the few actors who can slide into costume dramas and give the impression that he belongs. He takes to the environment of cad or cavalier, and can toss a velvet cloak with a gay flourish that makes the adventures of the past centuries live again.
Anything that threatens Errol’s liberty brings a stormy protest. His freedom is his cherished possession. Sentimental, emotional and gaily adventurous, he yearns to touch every experience life can offer. Believes every man is a hobo at heart. Regrets his quick temper. Loves a thunder storm and the sound of wind and rain, and gets irritated when asked how he feels.
Fights at the drop of a hat, yet when his pet Schnauzer Arno fell off the yacht and was drowned, Errol wept. Vowed he’d never have another dog. But today, Moody, a friendly Schnauzer, trots happily at his heels. Says he’s fought fear all his life and isn’t ashamed of it. The shame comes in not having the courage to subdue it.
Rabid about anything dismal and gloomy, the first thing RAY MILLAND does on entering a room is to fling open the windows and run up the shades. Likes to waken with the sun streaming in his face. Sleeps in a huge bed with a radio, phone and book shelves on the headboard. He doesn’t bother with pajamas but reaches for his slippers the second he’s out of bed for he hates to take a single step in his bare feet.
He’s a thunder cloud when he awakens and won’t speak until he has coffee. Admits he’s moody and temperamental. Dislikes parties where everything is planned out for he believes pleasures should be spontaneous. Dislikes blasé people. Keeps a pile of travel books and the latest maps by his bed and takes imaginary trips, plus all the thrills.
Likes fame but doesn’t want it to curtail his freedom. A bit daunted by the acclaim sweeping over him because of his triumph in “Lost Weekend.” As in that film, his character studies for roles in Paramount’s “ California,” and “Golden Earrings” are all important to him. It’s no small jump to go from drunk, to cowboy to gypsy.
BILL EYTHE, gay and colorful, passes up girls without a sense of humor for he is convinced this is absolutely necessary for happiness. Is fussy about how his breakfast eggs are cooked, doesn’t like fish of any kind but adores garlic. Always striving to be less tense in his acting and is cruelly critical of himself. Suffers agonies when he muffs dialogue, and gets jittery when he meets famous stars.
Gripes him to see girls primping in public and sees no need of the perpetual powder and lipstick routine. Dislikes table hoppers in cafes and believes this encourages bad manners. He abominates intrigue, discord, gossip and anything bordering on the cynical gets him down for he thinks life and all it stands for is – wonderful!
That joyous redhead, VAN JOHNSON, won his terrific following through the warmth of his friendliness. He likes people – all people, has few grudges, few hates, and lets nothing disturb him for long. Being a rabid picture fan his pet peeve is having people talk while viewing a film. Dislikes telephones, baby talk, malicious gossip and too much makeup on a girl.
An idealist, he doesn’t believe in love at first sight and says beauty isn’t necessary but intelligence is. He’s susceptible to a girl’s voice and is always hoping to catch a heart-throb quality that means she is sympathetic, understanding, warm and gentle. These are essentials in his appraisals. (Van fans... keep those voices low)
Dutifully washes his woolen socks each night. Wants a girl to dress quietly and in good taste and prefers them without hats. Hates a stuffy room and is irked when somebody rushes to close the windows.
Kids and jokes between scenes but once before the camera he is all actor, a trouper who appreciates his responsibility to the picture. And Van seldom loses his cheery grin. His next is MGM’s “High Barbaree.”
GUY MADISON can’t get used to people being interested in his likes and dislikes. Says he has plenty of them. Shuns onions and wishes everybody did. Takes him half an hour to get fully awake in the morning and he insists on being let alone during this period. Sleeps on his back, without pillows, and never dreams. He’s an outdoor guy, shy in crowds. Has a mop of tousled hair, loves movie business. His new film is “Honeymoon,” with Shirley Temple.
It’s baby talk that sets CARY GRANT on edge. He thinks girls who indulge in “Itsy-bitsy” and such things, should be banished to a desert island. Violently opposed to the color purple, especially in women’s clothes, and is annoyed when gals comb their hair in public. Sleeps in gaily colored pajamas, both parts. Hates set rules and can’t see why one doesn’t eat when hungry instead of at stated hours. Likes to see a woman look crispy and admires white gloves but they must be spotless.
Cary, starring in RKO’s “Bachelor And The Bobby-Soxer,” thinks it is bad-timing tardiness, nagging and insincerity that drive men away from girls. Being exciting, sweet tempered, honest and blessed with a sense of humor form magnets that draw men to them. He’s sentimental but tries to hide it, and he’s impulsive, impetuous and gay with the joy of living. He’s forever battling the element of Time. But never catches up with it.
ROBERT WALKER’S chief gripe is being universally acclaimed as shy. He is shy, but he likes to believe it’s his film roles that create that impression. Boldly announces he prefers brunettes to blondes. Admires an arrogant woman and envies her confidence, but he emphatically declares that femininity is the most alluring quality a woman can have. They must be sincere and modest, too, to win his okay. He hates gossip and jealousies with the same zeal that he hates cabbage.
Consumes two quarts of milk a day, devours pie a la mode and chocolate sundaes, and never gains an ounce. He wears woolen socks the year around, doesn’t like jewelry but loves his grand piano. Struggles through the latest swing because this peppy rhythm supplies a pleasing excitement. The thing he resents most about fame is being asked personal questions. About romance, for instance. Insists there is none. Has a deep respect for acting, the theatre, and the screen, these fill his heart and he’ll talk about them for hours. Someday he hopes to direct as well as act. Likes his role in MGM’s “Till The Clouds Roll By.”
Laughing with his favorite comic, “Terry and the Pirates,” starts BOB MITCHUM’S day off gaily. Admits he’s not orderly but insists he’s amiable. He dislikes aggressiveness, conceit and smugness. Remembers faces but names elude him, and he gets a bang out of wearing evening clothes, saying it brings an emotional uplift that heightens pleasures. His host of fans are in for a treat when they see him in Warner’s “Pursued.”
Seeing how many shaves he can get with one razor is GEORGE BRENT’S pet economy. Detests crowds and the gold fish bowl existence Hollywood demands of its players. His chief aversions are milk, people who ask needless questions, and restless women who must be doing something every minute. Hates hurried meals and makes an event of his dinner, with candles, flowers and music from the radio or victrola. Favors white flowers for the table, likes garlic and his favorite dessert is chocolate cake piled high with thick frosting.
Admires vitality and emotional control in women. Believes straight romantic roles are deadly for an actor, but when he does play them, he imbues each scene with an enveloping tenderness. Has a flair for comedy. Will next be teamed with Joan Blondell in Columbia’s “The Corpse Came C.O.D.”
Despite his tense roles, HELMUT DANTINE relaxes completely except regarding punctuality. He goes through agonies fearing he’ll be late. His personal eccentricity is brushing his teeth and he does this five and six times a day. Likes girls to wear high heels except with slacks. He’s a slave to his little black book. Yes, it contains Hollywood’s best phone numbers, but it also contains a list of reminders of things he must do. That’s why Dantine never forgets anything. His last film for Warner was “Shadow of A Woman.” Wants to produce, write and direct.
Young BILL WILLIAMS always puts on his socks and shoes first when dressing, and his special “hates” include confusion, discord, and people who make a habit of being tardy. Wishes he could wear blue jeans all the time. Likes girls to dress simply and modestly, with little makeup. And he abhors ruffles and a lot of clanking
jewelry. Putters around his home workshop. Is co-starred with his cute wife, Barbara Hale in “Lady Luck.”
Odd, but CESAR ROMERO who spells Romance – with fun and laughter – is called “Butch” by his intimates. Has sunny disposition but can go into a rage if anyone attempts to straighten up his desk. He exults in its confusion and knows exactly where everything is. Sentimental and romantic, he looks upon marriage very seriously. There will be but one for him. Worships beauty in any form, is differential to all women, and adores the girls.
Objects to them being late for engagements. Cooling one’s heels while the girlfriend does extra primping lessens a man’s enthusiasm. Maintains that femininity, graciousness and sincerity are what make women alluring, and he detests seeing them fuss with their hair and makeup. Like all the other Romeos, he wishes they’d do this at home. Says that while all actors kick about their work at times, none would give it up for it offers the chance to live, vicariously, the adventures and romances of which all men dream. He’s starred with Vera-Ellen in 20 th’s “Carnival In Costa Rica.”
ROBERT TAYLOR must have his breakfast eggs turned over and very well done. He likes steaks and chops but will pass up chicken if there’s no white meat available. Holds a grudge against spinach but goes for home made pastries. Clothes are his extravagance. Favors blue and brown for suits and has a big collection of sweaters and dressing gowns. Likes to wear a tux. Says it speeds up anticipation and excitement to leave the ordinary clothes at home when stepping out for fun. Doesn’t care for night clubs or dancing, but likes to dine out with his wife, Barbara Stanwyck. He’s a flying enthusiast and an all round sportsman. He’s teamed with Katharine Hepburn in MGM’s “Undercurrent.”
ZACHARY SCOTT’S phobia is that he can’t ignore sealed envelopes on his desk. No matter how rushed he is and even if he knows they contain ads or circulars, he can’t rest until he’s torn them open. Is a crank about keeping his shoes polished to the last glisten. He’s an expert cook, specializing in Mexican and East Indian dishes. When the Scotts entertain, they give the cook the day off and Zachary prepares the menu. He loves formal dress but says it drives him crazy to see a fat lady rolling out of a backless evening gown.
And heavy perfume makes him ill. His next film is Warner’s “ Stallion Road,” with Alexis Smith.
Lanky GARY COOPER, starring in Warner’s “Cloak and Dagger,” with Lilli Palmer, raises carnations on his ranch. City life irks him, he loves the wide open spaces. Thinks he must be part Gypsy or perhaps, Indian, for he gets such a thrill sleeping out under the stars. Coffee and a “stack o’ wheats” comprise his breakfast the year around.
Rejoices in faded western regalia around home and spends hours shooting at a tin can target. While he never forgets he’s the “strong, silent type,” Gary is no hermit, he likes people but he prefers listening to talking. When chided for his silence he merely grins and he’s sternly adamant in refusing to be fenced in by anybody or anything.
Indifferent to clothes he cheerfully wears whatever the wardrobe department gives him for his screen roles. Today, Gary Cooper can wear tails, topper and Bond Street suits with utmost ease. But he’s still the cowboy at heart.
BOB HOPE keeps a dictaphone by his bed to capture the bright ideas that come in the night. He has a perfect disposition, never cross, never argues, and seldom admits he’s tired. His amazing concentration is the reason he accomplishes so much. His pretty wife is his best critic and she frequently adds gags of her own. Bob’s idea of a gala celebration is to take his wife out to a quiet spot for dinner, go to a picture, then top the evening off with a big dish of ice cream. He says he plays his screen love scenes straight as this makes them funnier because wholly unexpected. He’s again teamed with Dorothy Lamour in Paramount’s “My Favorite Brunette.”
The agitating quirk in PETER LAWFORD’S makeup is his morning cereal. The oatmeal must be just so-so. The oats are poured into simmering milk, stirred, then taken from the fire and served. Never must they be “cooked.” He’s a fun-loving tease. Quick with an answer. Likes girls with long bobs. He’s an amateur photographer, crazy about travel and outdoor sports. Has a terrific appetite and goes for pastries. He’s currently starred in MGM’s “My Brother Talks To Horses.”
So there you are, kids, how does your favorite Romeo rate?
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