Classic Hollywood Actor: Robert Montgomery

Now don’t get me wrong, I am definitely more of a Tyrone Power type girl when it comes to looks, and more of a Joel McCrea girl when it comes to charm, so I was just as surprised as you may be when I fell head over heels with the Robert Montgomery in Private Lives as the tough talking divorcee intent on re-winning Norma Shearer. Fresh on a hunt for all things Robert, I found Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which I had seen before, but didn’t fully appreciate at first. The way Carole Lombard carried on was almost too reminiscent of My Man Godfrey to impress me as the new way to approach the role. And in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Robert played the sulky husband-that-never-was just like he played the husband-that-never-may-be as Sherry opposite Joan Crawford in No More Ladies. Ready to throw in the towel, as Robert seemed doomed to the life of the suave, smooth romancer, I found Night Must Fall. Opposite Rosalind Russell, Robert Montgomery plays a suave neighborhood chap of an English Village with a strange fetish for carrying around a hatbox. Rosalind Russell is the only one who actually gets past his looks and charm, to exercise some healthy suspicion in the direction of the debonair leading man, when a headless corpse is found in the nearby woods. That Rosalind Russell always was a sharp gal. Breaking his often typecast role of the smooth and handsome man about town, Robert Montgomery was actually nominated for the 1937 Oscar as Best Actor in Night Must Fall. The appropriate feeling aroused as a result of this particular film rings only of the phrase, “ Wow, he can act!” And while I don’t usually require such varied talents in the Classic Hollywood Men of old, or find myself reveling in a good thriller, I was glad that Robert took a role that helped redefine his career a bit, even if it did mean shattering a few of those “he must be perfect in real life” beliefs of mine.

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