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Leading Man Tournament Week 4: The 1960s

To start, I don’t know what happened but the blog exploded yesterday (in a good way).  There were over 915 unique hits setting a new blog record (the last being 300 back in November).  I don’t know if my TCM book review did something but thanks to everyone who just discovered the blog and I hope you visit again!

Anyway, on to week 4 of our Leading Man Tournament as we enter the 1960s, we’re officially halfway home!  The 1960s were a turning point in many ways but if you compare the leading men of last week and this week…there’s a distinct difference in appearance and roles these men took on.  The five actors here epitomized the new breed of “cool.”  Masculinity became a staple and all these men are examples of “Men” (yes with a capital M).  Again, asterisks next to the movies indicate they’ve been reviewed on the blog.  Voting for the 1960s closes June 17th!

SEAN CONNERY

Films That Secured His Nomination: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Marnie, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Well…I’ve never seen Connery as Bond.  Before you inundate me with hate mail just know that by the time the new Bond movie comes out I will have seen them!  I promise!  Anyway, I do know that many people (including my family and friends) cite Connery as the best Bond and I won’t argue with them.  I’ve read books about the decade that cite Connery as the definition of machismo and all that it implies (I’m interested to see if those things about misogyny in his films are true).  Either way James Bond is the definition of leading man so it would be blasphemy to not include him.

GREGORY PECK

Films That Secured His Nomination:  The Guns of Navarone, Cape Fear*, To Kill a Mockingbird

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  I must thank Ruth over at FlixChatter for reminding me to include Peck.  I originally had Peck in the 1950s but when Ruth suggested (very kindly lol) that I needed him I decided to include in during the 1960s and I think that’s a better move.  The 1960s boasted one of his most iconic works, the adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, and also one of the best thrillers with Cape Fear.  I can easily see Peck being the dark horse of this competition.

PAUL NEWMAN

Films That Secured His Nomination: The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

My Thoughts on the Nominee: My Paul Newman knowledge is scarce to say the least.  I don’t know what it is about Newman, his movies just don’t grab me but I know they grab others.  Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy are two of the more identifiable movies of the 1960s and I know people who quote them endlessly!  Newman’s moniker as Old Blue Eyes also makes him worthy of being here because we all know, once you get a moniker…you’re fast-tracked for these things!

STEVE MCQUEEN

Films That Secured His Nomination:  The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Love With a Proper Stranger, The Thomas Crown Affair*, Bullitt

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  Steve McQueen is my definition of “cool.”  I mean the man had swagger, he could play any genre, and he just had that vibe about him.  From playing a smooth-talking thief in The Thomas Crown Affair to a decent guy trying to get a one-night stand out of trouble in Love With a Proper Stranger (GO WATCH IT), McQueen is versatile.  Not to mention he made one of the best films that shows off San Francisco best with Bullitt.  Oddly enough he’s one of two nominees known for having gorgeous cars in their films (the other being Connery…I’m a car girl).

SIDNEY POITIER

Films That Secured His Nomination:  Lilies of the Field, A Patch of Blue, To Sir With Love, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  The 1960s were obviously the key decade for the struggle for Civil Rights so it’s no surprise that Sidney Poitier is one of a key figure in propelling African-Americans to the A-list.  He’s cited as one of the first, prominent African-Americans actors and it’s representative in two of his films, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.  My first year of film class I saw two of Poitier’s works, Dinner and the underrated A Patch of Blue, another key Civil Rights film in my opinion.  It’s been sad to just now see an African-American actor enter this tournament but there’s no one more identifiable than Mr. Poitier.

Good luck to all our nominees!

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

8 thoughts on “Leading Man Tournament Week 4: The 1960s Leave a comment

  1. It’s gotta be Poitier for me. In The Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner are probably my top two film out out of all of these actors combined.

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