The Leading Men Who Made Me the Woman I Am

I could as easily say fictional men who warped my ideas about love, romance and relationships.

A few weeks ago, I talked Rob into watching the old Rex Harrison/ Gene Tierney movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It’s about a young post Victorian widow who falls in love with the ghost of a sea captain who died in the house she rents for herself and her young daughter. Tierney is a cipher. Blank and suitably malleable. But Harrison is a stitch. And a man.

Rob’s favorite line now is from the movie,

“I’ve lived a man’s life, and I am not ashamed to admit it.”

After the movie was over, he pressed me to explain why I would have loved such an odd film. It was a favorite long before I was widowed or even married for the first time. And it’s not really all that hopeful because in order for the characters to be together, the widow has to grow old – alone – and die – alone.

But it wasn’t her. It was him. Unabashedly male and yet in a charmingly rakish way that wasn’t overwhelming and still allowed the tender aspects to show.

Of course he was a later influence. My early teachers were soap opera characters. Like Dr. Jeff Webber on General Hospital or Beau Buchanan on One Life to Live. Good guys if a little bit wishy-washy.

But there is something about the old time movie stars that make those today pale in comparison. Clark Gable. Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.

Have you ever seen Hellfighters with John Wayne and Jim Hutton? Or the Sons of Katie Elder with Dean Martin? Or how about the final shootout between Robert Mitchum and Martin in Five Card Stud?

Oh, and Yul Brynner!? How could I forget him? When the king and Anna dance, does it get more romantic than that? Or the scene where Ramses informs Nefertiti that she will be his just like his horse but,

“I will love you more and trust you less.”

It a far cry from Tom Hanks and John Cusack. Perhaps we can blame Oprah for that?

6 responses to “The Leading Men Who Made Me the Woman I Am

  1. How about A Lion in Winter with Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn?

    Eleanor: I adored you. I still do.
    Henry II: Of all the lies you’ve told, that is the most terrible.
    Eleanor: I know. That’s why I’ve saved it up until now.

    Yeouch. Such passion…

    Gosh, I forgot them. I love that movie.

  2. I am still a fan of this charming movie about love that can’t be explained. As a girl, my favorite leading man was Cary Grant. His gentle nature and sense of humor appealed to me.

  3. I loved the series (starring Hope Lange) and then discovered the movie. I, too, adore the movie.

    As a girl with an absent, unloving father, I think I was really drawn to the protective, charming rake.

  4. i’m with you on the “manly” but sensitive dudes… and the only “dancing man” that could ever spark me? Gene Kelly – he was smokin’ seductive hot in “American in Paris”. Fred Astaire? Lame. Very.

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