by maryann johanson, liberal movie person
Mon Jul 21 2014, 10:07pm | 4 comments
I hadn’t thought to gaze at James Garner until he was no longer with us.
Jim Rockford, all-American private eye:
A very handsome man:
(If you have a suggestion for someone we should female-gaze at, feel free to email me with a name or a link to a particular photo. But check to see whom we’ve already gazed at.)
He was great in Support Your Local Sheriff…he & Bruce Dern were classic together! Still one of my favourite comedies & he wasn’t too bad on the eyes either :)
One of my favorite movies of the 1980s was Victor/Victoria. He was so good in it, and supported Julie Andrews excellently. Also, I loved the chemistry between him and Alex Karras, who played his bodyguard.
I read Alan Sepinwall’s tribute to Garner yesterday, and he pointed out that in a movie he did in the 1990s with Paul Newman, he actually acted Newman off the screen just by being even more laid back and natural than Newman, who was a master of the laid-back acting style.
Oh, and he was definitely extremely gorgeous! I had a big crush on him back in the 1970s, when I was a fan of The Rockford Files.
Victor/Victoria has to be one of the best-acted movies of all time. Performances that would have been the highlight of any other film weren’t even the best acting in Victor/Victoria.
Any time I saw James Garner onscreen, even very briefly, I thought of him as one of our major natural resources: “The world may be a terrible place, but at least we have James Garner.” Sadly, we don’t anymore.
Thank you, MaryAnn, I’m so glad you did this. I loved this man through his whole career. I loved Maverick, I loved Jim Rockford, and I loved so many other things he did. You can’t compare him to most other great actors because while they may disappear into their roles, he seldom did. But what he brought through his roles was marvellous, a sweetness, a sense that he was comfortable in the character and he believed what the character was all about. He was terrific in Grand Prix, playing a character based on the Formula 1 racing champion Phil Hill. Everything that made Hill a champion was there in Garner, written on the face of a man you believed from the first time you ever saw him. (And heard in that wonderful voice.)
And then there’s he was gorgeous all those years as well…
He did something I’ve considered important, too, in terms of comedic evolution. He was the master of the snappy comeback, which was always a mark of comic talent. But back in the early 70s, I’m pretty certain in Support Your Local Sheriff – thank you, Colleen, for reminding me of the title – there was a scene in which he and another man were desperately evading some adversary or situation. The man he was with had the line (sorry for the imperfect quote) “You hit the mayor!” Garner replied, “Just as hard as I could!” without skipping a beat, and they carried on the scene like two desperate men fleeing the bad guys. It’s a standard now, but back then it was a big surprise to hear rapid-fire banter like this, no waiting for the laugh, no obvious reply like, “Yes I did – and I hit him as hard as I could, too.” It was magnificent. I have no idea if it was scripted like that, but Garner had comic timing that made it perfect.
He made it all seem so easy, even though I know it wasn’t always. How I wish I had known him.
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