Wednesday, May 13, 2015

the brothers bridges

In one of her many reviews, Pauline Kael once wondered exactly what Lloyd Bridges fed his two sons, Beau and Jeff.  I guess she speculated because they both seemed so hearty as young men and so natural as young actors. You could never catch either of them "acting."

Not even for a second.

I like both, although my alligance has always been with Beau who seems a tad less ambitous and more freewheeling than Jeff who has accumulated a trio of Oscar nominations (plus one win) throughout his career.

The boys acted together only once - in Steve Kloves' "The Fabulous Baker Boys" in 1989 - but their careers crossed paths many years before that.  Both of them played essentially the same role earlier in their careers - the struggling, wannabe writer - in two striking, underrated period films.

In Norman Jewison's ”Gaily, Gaily” (1969), based on the book by Ben Hecht, Beau played Hecht's alter ego, Ben Harvey, a farm boy who hightails it to bustling Chicago, lands a job on one of the city's dailies and falls in a disreputable lot (Brian Keith and Melina Mercouri, both memorable, among them) who take the cub reporter under wing.

Meanwhile, in Howard Zeiff’s "Hearts of the West" of 1975, Jeff plays the author of dime novels about the Old West who finds himself among movie people who actually make films about the Old West, working with an impatient director (Alan Arkin) and a jaded older actor (Andy Griffin).
Note in Passing: Jeff's leading lady in "Hearts of the West" is Blythe Danner who, coincidentally, had acted opposite Beau a year earlier in Sidney Lumet's (also underrated) "Lovin' Molly" (1974), which contains Danner's most luminous screen performance to date, hands-down.


Nick said...

Sounds like an ideal double-bill for the Castro!

Sheila said...

I admire the fact that they seemed unspoiled by their early fame as kid actors and while their careers went on different trajectories they are both underrated.

Alex said...

Don't forget that Beau and Jeff made a wonderful film together - "The Fabulous Baker Boys."