Tony Curtis (1925-2010)

Posted by · 7:24 pm · September 30th, 2010

This has been such a grim week for losing major industry talents — Gloria Stuart, Sally Menke, Arthur Penn and now Tony Curtis — that I’m almost loath to mention it, lest fate be tempted. But the passing of Curtis can hardly go without at least brief notice: for many, he’ll always come to mind first in the guise of his gleeful Cary Grant send-up from “Some Like It Hot,” but he was also one of the tartest and most evasive leading men of his generation, balancing rote beefcake duty with broad comedy and excitingly off-kilter choices like “The Boston Strangler” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”

The actor’s only Oscar nod came for 1958’s “The Defiant Ones,” but his splendidly venal work in Alexander Mackendrick’s brilliant media satire, made in 1957 and still raw as an undressed wound, really should have got him there first. (If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s not as if you needed an excuse, but consider this it.) It’s hard not to wish Curtis had maintained this spirit of adventure later in his career, but his highlights reel is very high indeed.

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  • 1 10-01-2010 at 4:09 am

    Graysmith said...

    Rest in peace, Tony.

    Definitely a horrible week for Hollywood and movie geeks. The bad news just kept coming.

    Some Like It Hot is one of my absolute favourites, I think I need to rewatch it one of these days. Sweet Smell of Success are Spartacus is a fantastic films as well, and his turn in The Boston Strangler is underrated. I don’t believe I actually ever got around to seeing The Defiant Ones though.. I should get on that.