Ronald Colman

January 31, 2009

Ronald Colman…. Where to begin?

Ronald Colman ties right now with Charles Boyer as my favorite actor. It is tough to put into words how great I think he was. Do you think Cary Grant was suave and debonair? He had nothing on Ronald Colman. Do you think Laurence Olivier was the best actor of the 20th century? Nope…. Colman. He had all of the great characteristics of the outstanding actors of the 30’s and 40’s all rolled into one. And boy did he make good films.

Gosh, I don’t even know which one is my favorite. I mean, he made really good movies. Random Harvest, A Tale of Two Cities, Talk of the Town, Lost Horizon… I could go on and on. I think for this particular post I will just focus on Random Harvest, one of the best love stories that has ever been made… ever.

The movie starts by introducing Ronald Colman, playing a World War I shell shocked soldier who can’t remember who he is, or where he is from and has particular difficulty with speech. When he accidently roams off of the hospital grounds he finds himself caught up in the WWI victory celebrations taking place all over this tiny little village. Enter Greer Garson, who takes him under her wing and nurses him back to health—he still has no memory of his previous life, but he is no longer damaged from the war. The story takes an awful, unexpected turn and it is the rest of the movie that is so captivating and romantic. I seriously do not think that any actor, ever, could play this role with the same emotion and fragility that Ronald Colman did. You can see the lost memory etched on his face, and when he has trouble speaking early in the film, his speech pattern is exquisitely voiced.

Perhaps Ronald Colman felt close to this role because he was in fact a shell-shocked soldier in World War I. His rehabilitation included acting, which led to his future career. In this role, perhaps he saw himself years earlier and through that was able to convey a real sense of mental anxiety and emptiness.

He had a voice made for radio and a face made for movies. If you’ve seen his movies or heard his radio shows you know why I am gushing so terribly much—if you haven’t seen his movies or heard his radio shows you will know why I am gushing so terribly much as soon as you see for yourself!

1 comment:

Sibely Silva said...

I'll be the firts to comment after so many time? No problem, I liked this article, I really do love Colman and his movies. I totally agree with this line: "He had a voice made for radio and a face made for movies." He was terrific, his my favorite actor ever.