Saturday, May 22, 2010

Laurence Olivier, 1907-1989

Laurence Olivier in 49th Parallel

Today marks the birth anniversary of Laurence Olivier. I note that I haven't recommended all that many of Olivier's movies, and I'm not quite certain why. I briefly recommended Alfred Hitchcok's Rebecca in a post on Daphne du Maurier back in 2008. Also, his smaller parts in 49th Parallel and Bunny Lake is Missing have been subjects of posts. But that's about it.

To be honest, part of the problem is that his greatest movies are ones that I don't particularly care for. Not that it's his fault, of course. But I just in general find Shakespeare movies a bit tough to get into, for the most part. Olivier made quite a few of those that are generally highly praised; they're just not up my alley.

Then, there's Wuthering Heights. Olivier does a perfectly good job as Heathcliff, but I find the story almost nausea-inducing. And Merle Oberon's death scene at the end is over the top and even more obnoxious than Bette Davis' similar scene from Dark Victory the same year.

Still, it's not Olivier's doing that explains why I don't care for the movies, so he shouldn't be overlooked. And, I'm sure, there are a lot of people who highly enjoy the Shakespeare movies or even the chick-flick romances.

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