Last weekend, I watched my very first Alfred Hitcock movie – North by Northwest – about a Madison Avenue ad executive caught fighting for his life at the hands of an international ring of spies out to do him in. Lead actor Cary Grant exuded a sense of cool that I’ve simply never seen before. He was a force, someone you can’t help but notice and take stock of on screen. Well spoken, impeccably dressed, tan and suave, Grant looked like a true ladies man and I’m sure did quite well for himself back in Hollywood’s golden age.
I decided to indulge in another Hitchcock classic this weekend and watched The Birds. While I admittedly enjoyed North by Northwest more, I couldn’t help but notice how leading man Rod Taylor followed the same path as Grant, and stole the screen from the second he walked into the bird shop in the opening scene.
It’s dawned on me that actors these days just don’t have the same gusto. I hate to say it, but maybe there is some credence to that saying, “They just don’t make them like they used to.” Neither of these films employed wild special effects or intense CGI, they were simply bolstered by the fine performances of their lead actors (I should mention that the actresses were quite good as well, and incredibly beautiful).
To me, Grant and Taylor proved why great movies are great, quality acting and nothing more.
Cary Grant – North by Northwest
Rod Taylor – The Birds