Re: RARA-AVIS: Still on muscles and Dick Powell

From: Mark R. Harris (
Date: 27 Mar 2008

Powell was a twinkle-eyed cutie in his Thirties musicals; ladies loved him, he had pep. As he aged, I don't think he lost his handsomeness altogether -- that is subjective, of course, but I'm gay and I wouldn't kick him out of bed -- but one begins to discern a pain in him that certainly wasn't apparent earlier. One sees it in Murder My Sweet, I'm told one sees it big-time in Pitfall (which I'm dying to see), one sees it in Cry Danger, one sees it in The Bad and the Beautiful. It is an intriguing quality that is attractive in its own very different way.


On 3/27/08, Juri Nummelin <> wrote:
> John Lau:
> "guys, especially actors look different now than they did back then."
> Yes, sure, but still I insist that Powell isn't convincing in that scene.
> Okay, he is (since he is convincing as Marlowe in the whole), but why the
> hell did they make the dame come to him and say he's really good-looking
> when he really isn't? All that I really ask is that the dame says
> something
> else. (And you don't have to tell me that men back then didn't look like
> Stallone - there must be some golden middle or whatever. If it were Bogart
> in that scene (thanks for the photo!), I wouldn't be complaining.)
> But as much as I like the film (as a Chandler film, it really is better
> than
> THE BIG SLEEP), I've never understood Dick Powell. He has a weak chin and
> his eyes are not very attractive. I see him always as Marlowe, a bit
> shoddy,
> his chin unshaven, temporarily blind, and certainly not as a cheerful guy
> who makes ladies swoon in high society films.
> Juri
> PS. As for realism in hardboiled, just see SIN CITY. The Hammer myth is
> still very much alive. Sadly, some seem to equate hardboiled (and pulp)
> with
> SIN CITY and think they can approach with a campy smile (or smirk) on
> their
> face. And aren't Dan Simmons's novels (HARD AS NAILS etc.) also near
> Spillane? Based on the cover, David Schow's coming Hard Case novel moves
> along in similar veins.

Mark R. Harris
2122 W. Russet Court #8
Appleton WI 54914
(920) 470-9855

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