Sunday, March 27, 2022

Happy Birthday, Sterling Hayden

Yesterday marked the 106th birthday of reluctant movie star Sterling Hayden.

I don't think it's a huge surprise that I'll pick any of a number of female stars from the mid-20th Century as a perfectly good reason to watch a film, but the number of male stars who push a movie to the top of my watch pile is smaller.  Up at the top of that list is, and always will be, Sterling Hayden.

Hayden didn't seem to think much of acting, I guess, but it was how he made his living when he wasn't running off on a boat.  He has an insane war record that includes lying about who he really was (he wasn't famous yet) and winging up in the OSS where he was basically a Howling Commando.

In films, Hayden always plays someone reflecting his presence, but it's cops, thieves, cowboys, pirates and eventually General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove.  He's better than he probably ever gave himself credit for, and while not every film he was in was a homerun, he was never the issue.

Anyway, if you haven't ever see a Sterling Hayden film (and you have, he's the policeman in The Godfather who Michael takes care of in the restaurant.  Spoilers, I guess.), I'm happy to suggest a few.

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