Wait... YOU are Dirk Bogarde?!

I don't know about you, but there is a certain type of actor that I don't like. For you it might be any actor who played in 1940's swashbucklers, or 1960's spy movies. For me, it's any actor who played in a B-movie crime film from the 1950's. Edmund O'Brien personified this whole genre of acting to me. They are typically heavy-set, sweaty men with slicked-back hair and oversize shoulder pads. (Before Edmund O'Brien fans jump down my throat, I'd like to point out that I think his performance in The Barefoot Contessa was exceptional -- he is fantastic as a character actor, but a romantic leading man he was not.)

So two weeks ago when I saw that Dirk Bogarde was going to be the star of the day during TCM's Summer Under the Stars, I realized I'd have to find an alternative channel to watch... Dirk Bogarde was just another 1950's American B-movie crime film star. Big shoulderpads and lousy acting was not what I was in the mood for.

Whoa! Hold the phone!! THIS is Dirk Bogarde?!?!?!

What the heck was I thinking?!

Dirk Bogarde is NOT the Edmund O'Brien type. In fact, he's the complete opposite. Dashing, handsome and oh-so-British. Unfortunately, I avoided TCM almost all day before I finally consented to watch "So Long at the Fair" around 6pm. Imagine my surprise when Dirk Bogarde finally showed up onscreen! Oh, what I had missed all day!!

As you can probably already tell by my devotion to John Mills, Trevor Howard and Alastair Sim, I have quite a soft spot in my heart for British actors. Now please add Dirk Bogarde to this list, and move him to the top, pronto!

Since I missed out on Dirk Bogarde day, I've added his movies to my Netflix queue (a pitiful amount are on DVD in America, by the way) and signed up for TCM reminders for the few films of his they are showing in the next four months.

I can't really go into a depth about how great of an actor Dirk Bogarde is, because as of yet I've only seen him in one film. But what I CAN say is that any time you have a preconceived notion about an actor or actress, give them a shot before you rule out their films for good. It may just turn out that the sweaty, greasy lug is actually quite the debonair bloke!


NoirGirl said...

Yay for the Dirk Bogarde revelation! I'm so happy you're a convert. ;) I had no idea you harbored such misconceptions about him. I would have been happy to set you straight!

I totally agree with you about Edmund O'Brien. He's simply marvelous as a character actor and in supporting roles. But he's completely preposterous in romantic roles! Have you ever seen The Bigamist (1953)? The viewers are supposed to believe that old Eddie talked both Ida Lupino and Joan Fontaine into marrying him - at the same time, no less! Needless to say, it's quite a strange film.

Mercurie said...

I have to agree that Edmund O'Brien was hardly a romantic lead. Why he would ever be cast as such, I don't know. On the other hand, I think Dirk Bogarde was born to play the lead. He was a great actor.

Anyway, it is interesting the sorts of actors people don't like. Myself, I love b-movie crime dramas from the Fifties (although I prefer the swashbucklers of the Thirties and Forties, and the spy movies of the Sixties). One thing I don't like are actors who consistently play in modern day, so called "romantic comedies." If I don't see Jennifer Aniston outside of Friends reruns, I'll be happy!

bmadron said...

I love the way Dirk Bogarde says "Darling." I also liked him in the movie Darling.LOL! You missed alot of great movies that day. The "Doctor" seris,"The Servant",and "The Spanish Gardner."
I am looking forward to watching more of his movies in the future.

bmadron said...

Edmund O'Brien is great in a movie called "DOA." Look for it on TCM. My favorite performance has to be in "The Barefoot Contessa."

Tom said...

Great post. I'm inspired to see more of his films.

Andi B. Goode said...

Oh, golly, what Dirk Bogarde does to me! And I've only seen him in a few of the Doctor films and 'Victim', too!
I've only seen Edmund O'Brien in a couple of things - I really liked him in The Killers, though. It's a fantastic film, in general.
-Andi x

Andi B. Goode said...

Oh, and I second the 'D.O.A.' recommendation. It's such a great concept for a mystery.
-Andi x

Kate Gabrielle said...

Casey- I can't believe I've liked classic film for 10 years and never ever realized who he was! I've even lamented the idea of someone like Edmund O'Brien playing Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities (which really belongs to my beloved Ronald Colman) but now (eh-hem) I actually rented the Dirk Bogarde version and I'm getting ready to watch it now! :D

YES! I saw The Bigamist with my mom and we were thinking the exact same thing! Who on earth would be crazy enough to fall for him, let alone two women! blech!

Mercurie- I like the B-Movie crime dramas, I just don't typically like the actors that play in the main roles. It seems like no matter how low budget the film was, the girls were pretty - but if it was a b budget film they had much lower standards for the men :(

I completely agree with you about those stupid romantic comedies! My grandmother has Netflix but no computer, so I'm in charge of adding movies to her queue, and this is all she picks. Even having to look at the descriptions (ridiculously sappy meets teenage humor) is stomach turning! It's a shame w/Jennifer Aniston, because I actually like Friends, too.

bmadron- Hi! Yes, I missed all of the Doctor series!! I could kick myself now! I do have Darling on DVD, which I recorded because I like Julie Christie - I'll have to go back and watch that now! I caught a tiny bit of The Servant, too, but only the end :( I can't wait to catch up though :D My favorite Edmund O'Brien role was in The Barefoot Contessa, too. I think the role suited him very well.

Tom K- Thanks! I hope you like them :)

Andi- :D Me too! I've only seen that one film and already I have a huge crush! I have to see the Doctor films, from what I've read it seems like they're from his peak.

I actually haven't seen The Killers yet - I know I should, it seems like a great movie!

Kate said...

The Doctor series is great fun, though the films are fairly slight. Besides Dirk Bogarde they're generally padded out with wonderful British character stalwarts, most notably James Robertson Justice (Doctor at Sea, bizarrely, features both JRJ and Brigitte Bardot). Dirk is also very good in Ill Met By Moonlight, a lesser known Powell and Pressburger film and one of the few war movies I can tolerate (mainly because it's not very war-ry).

NoirGirl said...

I didn't even know there was a Dirk Bogarde version of Tale of Two Cities! How exciting!

Raquelle said...

Excuse me? You be dissin' on Edmund O'Brien?! I heart him.

Preconceived notions just get in the way of the enjoyment. It's a lot more fun keeping an open mind about classic films. I'm glad you gave Bogarde another chance.

DKoren said...

hahaha! My sister and I watched
So Long at the Fair a few months ago and we both went, hey, who's this cute British fellow looking after her? We looked him up afterwards and, while he's a name I'm familiar with, I hadn't actually seen anything he'd done, other than A Bridge Too Far. I wasn't particularly inspired to search out more, but he definitely caught the eye in that movie.

Edmund O'Brien, on the other hand, I heart, too. And after seeing The Killers and DOA, I liked him so much I did go searching out his other movies. But I always did prefer my men... solid. ROFL!

Neat post! Always cool to find an actor you'd dismissed for various reasons. I have a similar post coming up soon myself.

Kate Gabrielle said...

Kate- Oh, I can't wait to see them now! I love British character actors :D I hope I can find Ill Met by Moonlight, I'm a huge Powell/Pressburger fan!

Casey- Yes, there is, but I didn't get to see it. UGH! The DVD was broken! It kept freezing every few seconds so I have to send it back and wait for a new one :(

Raquelle- Sorry! I agree about preconceived notions, that's why I wrote the post :)

DKoren- LOL!!!!! I've always had a thing for skinny guys :) It's funny how personal tastes in men dictate who our favorite actors are! (and same thing for the guys, and which actresses they prefer) Gah! I guess I have to see The Killers, everyone keeps recommending it!

Wasn't So Long at the Fair great?! It had the same plot as a Hitchcock Presents episode that I like, so I had an idea of what was going to happen, but I thought it was fantastic! And Dirk Bogarde's role was so fun, I like it in movies when a stranger (who happens to be extremely dashing and handsome) swoops in and helps the girl solve a mystery! I always wish that would happen to me! (Well, I'd prefer if that thing didn't happen to my brother but you know what I mean!) ;)

DKoren said...

Yeah, I figured out where So Long at the Fair was going early on, but it was still a lot of fun. I'm not a Jean Simmons fan, but I thought she was perfect in her role. It is funny how the physical often determines which actors we watch, and how different we all are. It's like as much as I adore William Holden, I'd much rather watch him in his later movies when he's filled out, and not when he's a skinny (albeit, still cute!) young guy.

Kate Gabrielle said...

I'm not usually a big Jean Simmons fan either (I owe that mostly to her performance in Guys and Dolls)but thought she was pretty good in this film too!

I like William Holden best in the 1950's -- like Picnic, Stalag 17 and Sunset Blvd. In Golden Boy he just still looks like a little kid!

movieclassics said...

Must say I found 'The Bigamist' a fascinating film to watch, though I agree it is extremly odd (it's one I reviewed a while back at my blog). Although Edmond O'Brien wouldn't strike me as a handsome leading man either, I think he is a good actor anyway... great as the policeman who goes undercover to befriend James Cagney in 'White Heat' - I haven't seen D.O.A. yet but really want to.

I love Dirk Bogarde as Sydney Carton in 'A Tale of Two Cities' - I'd agree he is a lovely actor and also great in films where he was older and had lost those beautiful looks, like 'Death in Venice'.

Ramses (the Great) said...

Beautiful, and he played a PERFECT Sydney Carton. Unfortunately not interested in women, but beautiful...