Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Goodlooking? Yes. But Does He Smoulder?

Is it me? (Probably). I can't help feeling today's leading men have lost something.

I mean, they have the good looks and they work out, have biceps on their triceps (or is that the other way round?), have six packs, permatans and sparkly teeth so white you need sunglasses. But, I ask you, in all seriousness...

Do they smoulder?

You know what I mean. Gable had it. When he looked into Vivian Leigh's eyes and swept her up in his strong, manly arms, he smouldered so much women in the cinemas fainted. Has Brad Pitt ever made you faint? Didn't think so, and I do so love a good smoulder, don't you?
The one who started the Art of the Smoulder has to be the Sheikh himself, Rudolph Valentino. All across the land, wherever his films were played, could be heard the sounds of women sighing, swooning - while another sound, that of grinding teeth, emanated from their frustrated boyfriends. They couldn't smoulder. When Valentino died at the tender age of just 31, from peritonitis, thousands of women were left devastated and inconsolable. For some, it was all too much.

But in true Hollywood style, the studios lined up worth successors to his crown. Over the years, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Ramon Navarro would send female hearts (and a few male ones too) fluttering, pounding and skipping a beat. Girls would dream of a kiss with the suave Cary Grant and a night of delicious debauchery with the ever-so-wicked Errol Flynn. I can't imagine the sophisticated and thoroughly nice Mr Clooney debauching, can you?

The demise of the smouldering male lead seems to have gone hand in hand with the end of cinema's Golden Age. Not that there aren't some gorgeous looking guys up there on our screens and, as an added bonus, many of them are far better actors than their forebears. More realistic and true to the characters they are portraying and herein may lie the answer. Real men don't smoulder. Johnny Depp plays an astonishing array of larger than life characters, but he plays them for real. Brilliant, versatile actor and great cheekbones. But if I was awarding him a smoulder factor, it would be a 1 (out of 5).

Higher up the smoulder stakes (for me anyway) and deserving of at least an A- for effort come Antonio Banderas (it's the dark Latin looks and those deep brown eyes) and (one for my friend, Shehanne, here) the ever hunky Josh Holloway. These guys don't smoulder, but they are more than easy on the eye - and they can act.

So, could today's generation of hearthrob actors once again recapture those magical seductive smouldering moments? Or are they gone forever, along with Garbo's amazing eyes and Dietrich singing Lilli Marlene? I fear so. But you never know...Any candidates?


  1. Oh f^%k a duck you just made me splatter coffee all over the keyboard. Jeeso Tonia.... CLARK and Josh in one post.... Now my brain is mush. Aw my friend thank you and for the menshie.
    Going to fan myself now..... Seriously great post and I often lament the loss of the smolderer. I mean the hell with whether they can act.

  2. P the wording on the Sheik...her exultant dream of freedom ended p a helpless captive in the desert wastes...Bring it on

    1. Ah yes, they just don't write 'em like that anymore! Thanks Shehanne!

  3. This is a seriously good post, Antonia, about a damn serious subject! You are totally right. There are some hunks gracing our screens these days, but they don't smoulder. I loved Gordon McRae in the Desert Song; definitely Gable in GWTW; and who can forget Carey Grant with Grace Kelly. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. *swoons*

  4. Wow...too much eye candy in one place...I'm definitely inspired for today's writing!