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Thursday
Aug182011

Happy 75th Robert Redford

Just wanted to get this out there before the day is up. It's the 75th birthday of Robert Redford, actor/director/producer/film festival icon. Though his work as an actor and movie star isn't as obsessed over these days as his contemporaries from 60s and 70s cinema like past costars Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway, Natalie Wood or Dustin Hoffman, that doesn't mean his star has faded. Movie stars of yore fall in and out of fashion. Who knows which 60s and 70s giants will be beloved in 2036 for example when Redford turns 100!?

Fact: The movies wouldn't be the same without him.

 Without Robert Redford there's no Sundance Festival, no Sundance Institute and without those, so many young unproven talents would not have been boosted or introduced to us in the way they were... and some probably not at all. And without Robert Redford what would have become of The Way We Were, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,  All The President's Men, Out of Africa, A River Runs Through It, Quiz Show, or Ordinary People?  The list goes on. Some of his best films wouldn't even exist without him given how difficult it is to get any film made; pull one string out and things unravel.

So this week in his honor, watch your favorite Redford film, or the one you've always been meaning to get to. At the very least, brush your hand across your significant other's forehead and hair and do your best wistful Barbra Streisand.

Your girl is lovely, Hubbell."

 

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Reader Comments (7)

Can anyone blame Barbra? Look at that hair!

I was about 12 years old in the years of The Sting, The Way We Were, Jeremiah Johnson, and The Great Gatsby. I marveled at the way he made both my sisters AND my Mom swoon. And personally, I was always happy that he was able to be the face of Utah, rather than, say, Brigham Young. ;-)

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

I like him a lot but Out of Africa was not his finest hour (IMO )

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrick

rick -- no, you're right. i was just listing some classics.

August 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

With the exception of that classic Barbra moment above, and surprisingly for such a beautiful man I think Redford's finest was behind the camera. Two words: Ordinary people.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

Yeah. As I came of age in the seventies and early eighties, he is just the actor touchstone for me. It's kind of hard to remember how different mainstream movies were in the 1970s. Adults and popular critics (there was such a thing back then) were championing movies like Nashville, Cries and Whispers, Five Easy Pieces, Last Tango In Paris, and The Last Picture Show. Those movies are amazing and deserve to be called classics, but they were kind of hard to understand if you were twelve. The teenagers I knew were crazy about Rocky, Star Wars, Moonraker, Jaws and Animal House. Again, those are great movies (well, maybe Moonraker is not), but if you gravitated to a different storytelling style, they weren't completely satisfying. To me, Robert Redford filled the gap between those two movie-types. The Sting, Butch Cassidy, The Way We Were, Jeremiah Johnson, and even movies like The Great Waldo Pepper and Three Days Of The Condor, pretty much rocked my world. They pushed me and entertained me and made me glad to be a kid growing up at that time. And then don't even get me started on Ordinary People. I have seen that movie over 25 times. I know it is infamous in some circles for taking Scorcese's Oscar for his arguably greatest film. And yeah, I get that argument. But Ordinary People really spoke to me as a closeted, upper middle class white gay boy. The story was not about being gay, but it was about being a confused adolescent in an environment that should have been perfect but wasn't. It was about not being able to say what you needed to say to your parents. And Redford made the movie in a way that was, like all great stories, universal and specific at the same time. Happy Birthday, Mr. Redford. I am going to watch Ordinary People and maybe Three Days Of The Condor (very fun, in my opinion) in your honor.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

Jeremiah Johnson, a masterpiece. Love this movie.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I've come across this post a few days after Robert Redford's 75th Birthday, so forgive me if the posting seems late. I felt the need to reply anyway.

I am 26 (yes, do the math, a 49 year age difference) and I love everything that Robert Redford has done. In fact, I almost get upset when they do a list of icons, or people who have defined our time and he is not on there.

In my opinion, Robert Redford is one of the greatest stars of all time. Not just for the directing or the acting, but for the contributions that he has made to humanity via Sundance and environmental action. He is everything the Hollywood of today should be, but isn't.

As for his films, I have seen everything from The Chase, Barefoot in the Park, and the Candidate to Up Close and Personal, The Horse Whisperer and Lions for Lambs. I have yet to see a movie that he was in where you couldn't find a scene where his charm shows through.

Take Inside Daisy Clover, for example, the scene where Wade Lewis meets Daisy Clover for the first time. Priceless. He was brilliant even back then. (He does an excellent impression of Raymond Swan, by the way ;).

As for my favorite Robert Redford film? There are just too many to choose from. So, in honor of his birthday, I will probably watch any of about 20 films.

I for one cannot wait for The Company You Keep (tentative release in 2012). I hope he continues to bless us with films for many years to come.

Oh, and for those who love his films, you may want to check out the latest biography written by Michael Feeny Callen. It gives a lot of information on his life and why he made the film choices he did (most of which tie into some facet of his life).

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin O.
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