Ken Bruce DJ versus James Stewart Actor
On his BBC Radio Two show this morning (9th January 2013) Ken Bruce asserted that various actors always played the same character and then sited John Wayne, Hugh Grant and James Stewart.
In that John Wayne played a lot of tough guy roles, cowboys and soldiers and the like I can see that argument. Hugh Grant has played a lot of hesitant, bumbling Englishmen, is he in fact acting one could even wonder?
James Stewart, however, the great James Stewart, who played roles as diverse as the eccentric Elwood P Dowd conferring with his imaginary giant rabbit called Harvey (a role Stewart played on stage as well as on film), through the altruistic nice guy in It’s A Wonderful Life and the determined naïve politician in Mr Smith goes to Washington, to a series of hard nosed western characters, is a different proposition altogether.
Stewart undertook, comedy, drama and horror with the same consummate professionalism. There are too many movies in his filmography to list them all, but many horror aficionados regard Hitchcock’s Vertigo as that director’s finest, starring Stewart alongside Kim Novak. I’ve already mentioned his foray into the world of the mind in Harvey, but he also played a hot tempered soldier, pleading insanity in the critically acclaimed movie Anatomy Of A Murder.
He played straight westerns and parodies of the genre such as Destry Rides Again. He was somewhat famous for playing American heroes, it’s true, but Charles Lindbergh and Glenn Miller are very different kinds of American heroes. I suggest that such versatility is beyond many actors and further suggest that Stewart’s distinctive voice did not come between him and the many and various characters he portrayed! Sorry Mr. Bruce but there it is!
Malcolm Snook – Jimmy Stewart fan