Sunday, July 7, 2013

Battle Royale #16: Battle of the Sensitive Studs

Welcome to the sixteenth Battle Royale here at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World.   It is an ongoing series that will pit two classic cinematic greats against each other - and you can vote for who is the greater by  clicking your choice over in the poll at the top of the sidebar.

This time around we are tossing two heavy hitting he-men into the metaphorical, cyber-ring, but these are not your typical he-men.  Yeah, these guys could kick anyone's ass on screen (one of 'em kinda did that off-screen as well), and both could dominate any cast, and yes, both of these men were first-class racing champs both on and off screen, but these guys also had something more than just your typical macho attitude.  These guys could bring you to veritable tears with their acting.  These guys were definitely your first class sensitive studs.  But exactly how does one compare such actors as Paul Newman and Steve McQueen?  Like this.

Both actors hail from the Midwest (McQueen from Indiana, Newman from Ohio), and both served stints in the US military (McQueen as a Marine, Newman in the Navy), and both were avid racing enthusiasts and owned a slew of classic cars between them, and eventually, both men starred together in the 1974 disaster flick, The Towering Inferno (a movie which had the two battling producers and each other for top billing), but that is where the similarities end.  While Newman played the intellectual in life, always honing his craft on stage and screen, McQueen was a ruffian, getting into trouble with the law on numerous occasions, from being tossed in the brig while a Marine to having one of the most famous mugshots of any celebrity.  Newman was a man who went to bat for the left on many occasions (the actor says being placed nineteenth on Nixon's enemies list was one of his greatest accomplishments).  McQueen was a man who had problems with drugs and paranoia and the establishment.  But on screen, both actors brought an intense humidity to their respective roles, and both men brought an utter coolness along with that heat.

After several years on the New York stage, Newman made his big screen in 1954, in the infamously derided biblical film, The Silver Chalice (one of my own so-called guilty pleasures - though I feel no guilt whatsoever), and he followed this up with two decades of fabulous, career-building roles in such classic films as The Long, Hot Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting.  He would later go on to star in The Verdict and The Color of Money, for which he would finally win his long-overdue Oscar for Best Actor.  Newman also starred in lesser-known, but still great films such as The Left-Handed Gun, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, and Road to Perdition.  Oh yeah, and there's his salad dressing and popcorn too.

Meanwhile, after several stage roles in NYC, and after a move to L.A. and many TV appearances, McQueen made his big screen debut in 1956, in a small uncredited part in Somebody Up There Likes Me (a film starring Paul Newman, no less), and followed that up with his first starring role in The Blob in 1958.  After this McQueen starred in such classics as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, Nevada Smith, The Sand Pebbles, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillion.  Due to cancer, McQueen's career never lasted as long as Newman's, but during the height of these two actor's careers (late fifties through the mid-seventies), there was not anyone better at what they did  than either Paul Newman or Steve McQueen - and no one cooler either.  Which brings us to your part in all of this.

All you need do is to go on over to the poll, found conveniently near the top of the sidebar of this very same site, and click on who you think is the greater and/or the cooler of these two legends of the screen - these two sensitive studs.  And remember, you can comment all you wish (and please do comment - we can never have too many of those) but in order for your vote to be counted, you must vote in the actual poll.  After doing that, then you can come back over here and leave all the comments your heart desires.  Who knows, maybe we will get some sort of lively cinematic discussion going.  And also please remember to tell everyone you know to get out the vote as well.  I t would be great to see us reach triple digits this time around.  Voting will go until midnight, EST, the night of Monday, July 22nd (just over two weeks from the starting gate).  The results will be announced the following day.  So get out there and vote vote vote.

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