October 24, 2003
TT: Rogue maleOGIC and I tend to like the same movies. I can't remember whether she was the one who first told me about Twilight, or vice versa.
I do feel I should point out, however, that we've been inadvertently drawing attention to the same actor, since Twilight and Support Your Local Sheriff, about which I recently posted, are both graced by the presence of James Garner, who belongs in the category of Famous but Underrated Artists. He's been around forever, and everybody knows who he is from TV--my parents watched him in Maverick, I in The Rockford Files--but for reasons not entirely clear to me, he never quite had the film career he deserved. (One reason was that in Garner's day, it was taken for granted that you couldn't move from small screen to large. In fact, it's usually the other way around.) Yet I can't think of a better romantic comedian, not least because he has the gift of doubleness, the ability to be charming and suspect at the same time.
Cary Grant was like that, too, which reminds me to yield the floor briefly to the ever-relevant David Thomson, who reminds us that Garner was on TV
an hour a week for twenty-six weeks a year for ten years. That is the equivalent of well over one hundred movies--and if any actor could claim one hundred movies made with the wit, narrative speed, and good-natured ease of Maverick and Rockford Files he would be...Cary Grant?
If you don't know what to do with yourself this weekend, you could do a whole lot worse than renting Twilight, Support Your Local Sheriff, and maybe Hour of the Gun (in which Garner plays Wyatt Earp completely straight) or Marlowe (not the best Raymond Chandler movie, but Garner is marvelous as Philip Marlowe) or even the film version of Maverick. You won't be sorry.
Posted October 24, 2003 9:49 AM