1940s · 1950s · A-Z of a vintage girl · Old Hollywood · Vintage icons

O is for Old Hollywood Heroes: The A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

So, the weather cannot decide what it’s doing today. Is it sunny and lovely? Is it cloudy and humid? Or perhaps a spot of rain? I have two windows in my living room – from one, I can see a very ominous looking set of black clouds. From the other, I can see nothing but blue sky and loveliness.

There’s only one thing for it. I’m going to have to sit on our (very comfy) sofa and stick on a film. I’ve had The Red Shoes on Sky+ for ages and ages and ages, so I think today’s the day that I’ll finally get around to watching it.

I haven’t watched too many old films really (unless musicals count), so if any of you have any recommendations, please do let me know! Of course, that hasn’t stopped me obsessing over old Hollywood movie stars. As some of you may remember, my very first blog post for this A-Z – Audrey Hepburn and other old Hollywood heroines – was all about the ladies.

Now we’ve reached O, I thought it was high time I talked a bit about some of my favourite old Hollywood heroes.

James Stewart

James Stewart

My favourite by a country mile has to be James Stewart. I’m sure you’ll agree he’s a very dapper looking gentleman, and as soon as it gets to December (or, if I’m honest, October), I am counting down the days until I get to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and watch him as George Bailey, surely the nicest man in Bedford Falls and beyond.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

Ah, I do love a man who can dance. When I was little, my nan and grand ad had a little summer house, which we used as a playhouse. There was a photo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers hanging up there (a copy of which I now have as a necklace), and my nan used to tell me stories about them, which turned out to be storylines to some of their films.

Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper

Renowned for his naturalistic style of acting, I’d always thought of Gary Cooper as a western star (not my usual film-watching cup of tea), but after doing a bit of research for this post, I’ve discovered he appeared in all manner of genres, which of course I’m now going to investigate.

On a side note, before I got married, my surname was Cooper, and when people used to ask if my name was Carrie or Carrie-Ann, I used to tell them it was Carrie-Ann, because Carrie Cooper sounded too much like Gary Cooper (I vaguely remember my mum saying something along those lines to me when I was about five). Actually – I’ve just discovered his family was originally from Bedfordshire. I wonder if we’re related?

Cary Grant

cary grant

And while we’re on the topic, let’s take a moment to consider Cary Grant, a rather dashing looking chap who starred in – among many, many others – The Philadelphia Story, which has also been on my Sky+ for an age. If this weather doesn’t behave itself, today may be an old Hollywood move marathon sort of a day.

Gene Kelly

Gene Kell

With my penchant for musicals, and love of all-singing, all-dancing actors, it was perhaps a given that Mr Kelly would appear on this list. I can’t be the only one who contemplates swinging around lampposts with my brolly every time it rains (now there’s an idea if the weather doesn’t make its mind up…) in a poor imitation of ‘Singing in the Rain’, can I?

Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier

An incredibly talented actor, Laurence Olivier is probably one of the first people I think of when people are talking about classic cinema. I need to watch more of his stuff, but I think he’s pretty darn marvellous in what I’ve seen so far (next on the list is Wuthering Heights. The Boy will be thrilled, as it’s his favourite book).

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

When I was 16, I made the discovery – love. All at once and much, much too completely. I studied ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, and as a treat, our teacher let us watch the 1951 film version, and I don’t think I was the only one in the class who was a bit in love with Marlon Brando (all the more surprising, as his character’s a bit of a rotter). In fact, I loved the play so much that I used one of the monologues for my drama school audition (see first sentence of this paragraph).

At least, I was going to, until a week before when I realised the monologue had to be a contemporary piece. I scrabbled around, found a different one (I think from a play by Willy Russell), which I practiced as much as I could, and promptly forgot all the words to during the terrifying group audition.


So, that’s my whistle-stop tour of some of my favourite old Hollywood heroes. I’m sure there are plenty I’ve missed, so tell me who you’d add in. Clark Gable, perhaps, or Humphrey Bogart?

While you’re here, please – tell me which films of theirs I should watch immediately!



5 thoughts on “O is for Old Hollywood Heroes: The A-Z of a Vintage Girl in a Modern World

  1. C-A – top on my list would be the likes of noble Gregory Peck (to Kill a Mockingbird) and the badboy Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear). Fave films for a rainy Sunday North by Northwest, Key Largo, Gilda…


  2. My favourite classic films are ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ with David Niven, ‘Move Over Darling’ with Doris Day and ‘Tiger Bay’ with Hayley and John Mills. Of your favourites, ‘The African Queen’ with Humphrey Bogart, ‘His Girl Friday’ with Cary Grant and ‘Harvey’ with James Stewart. Plus I think you’ll love ‘Wait Until Dark’ with Audrey Hepburn.


  3. Here are my recommendations. My favourite classic films are ‘Move Over Darling’ with Doris Day, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ with David Niven and ‘Tiger Bay’ with Hayley and John Mills. Of your favourites, I would recommend ‘Harvey’ with James Stewart, ‘His Girl Friday’ with Cary Grant and ‘The African Queen’ with Humphrey Bogart. You may have seen some of those though. Plus I would recommend ‘Wait Until Dark’ with Audrey Hepburn.


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