Over the weekend I was hunting for inspiration for a character in the upcoming Blood Unleashed (Blood Stone III), and crawling through a lot of film star sites and image galleries looking for just the right face to build a character from.
I tripped over a tribute page for Robert Redford and ended up spending about thirty minutes scrolling through a full biography and resume.
I’ve never been a huge Redford fan. I’ve seen his iconic movies: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and The Sting, and have even sat through his version of The Great Gatsby (ugh, that pink suit!). I never did get around to watching All the President’s Men, but I’ve watched Sneakers a few times because it’s one of Mark’s favourites (it’s also very dated — Mary McDonnell’s hair and clothing is so 1980’s stylish it makes you wince).
I became aware, on the weekend, that Redford evicts big time ardour in female hearts and I’m not really sure why. I’ve liked the movies I’ve seen that he’s in, and he’s not in any way offensive, but he’s not someone I would drool over, either.
Except, as I was scrolling, I tripped over his credits for Out of Africa, and actually blinked in surprise.
Out of Africa is in my top ten romantic movies — well, top ten movies at all (so long as I get to bundle all the LOTR movies as one, and ditto, all the Wolverine movies, and a few other trilogies and franchises). So, it’s way up there in my personal rankings…and I had completely forgotten Redford was in it.
He was great in that movie. But he so wasn’t playing himself, and maybe that’s the difference. He faked a British accent, and he was playing a real person…and he was opposite Meryl Streep, who I suspect has the ability to extract more out of actors she works with than even they thought they had in them.
In an earlier edition of this blog (before it got yanked by mean Nazi site hosts who will remain nameless), I had a post that featured the romance in Out of Africa, and it may even have been a pulse pause post, because there were three or four heart-stopping romantic moments in that movie. (I’m talking myself into sitting down and watching it all over again, here…)
But the moment that always gets me is the one when Finch-Hatton comes back. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the moment I mean. Karen Blixen has put herself and her heart on the line. She went on safari with Finch-Hatton, a known womanizer and also, incidentally, one of the best hunters in Africa (her husband was also considered one of the best), and a loner, and let herself be seduced, deliberately and with the knowledge that a long term relationship with Denys was most unlikely.
A week or so later, he turns up at her house, pulls her into the bedroom…and the relationship solidifies and becomes a real one.
When he shows up–that’s the moment. Even Karen Blixen catches her breath in surprise and emotional upheaval.
Yeah, I’m going to have to go watch it again. <sigh>