A quintessential male … four examples

This is a post on a topic quite different from most of the 500 plus I have had the pleasure, but I am constrained to write it to express my well-considered views on a grave matter, which concerns  the identity of  my ilk.

The issue arose out a disagreement between me and a colleague one night – as we were returning home from work – on the question of who serves as the model of the quintessential male. My colleague put forth Rhett Butler, the hero in the US Civil War romance “Gone With The Wind” and I strongly disagreed. How could I accept as representative a character with the looks of a fop and a dandy (that ridiculous moustache!),  the behaviour of a cad (well most of the time, until he redeems himself with a strong resolve towards the film’s end.

But, on reflection later, I reasoned that it was the choice you would expect that particular section to make. For a class that goes all ridiculous over what they refer to as chocolate boys – boys is a correct tag for those chinless wonders trying to masquerade as proper men, or those scruffy layabouts, you cannot even dream of the prospect of them having the proper idea, which I feel will be well alien to their natures.

I will not fall into the trap of even trying to list these characteristics to avoid getting embroiled in a gender war – of which many examples are currently around  as I gather from the mostly inane chatter in professional surroundings which I am inadvertently and often subject to… well, I will just confine myself to sharing my idea of the model for the quintessential male, or alpha male you prefer, from the realms of films only, so as to furnish some examples which most of you might be familiar with…. well the discerning ones, of course.

I will go in for four…ummm, five, no on second thoughts, four will be better. Of this, the best is that three of them figured in one picture which I was first saw when young and is still my favourite, and two others (including the one left out in the above) starred in another which is another abiding favourite.

Lets start with Юлий Борисович Бринер, ooops I mean- in your language and script, Julij Borisovič Briner or as he is much better known, Yul Brynner.

Noted for his deep, rich voice and for his shaven head (which he kept since his success  in his first substantive role, that of Thai King Mongkut in The King and I on both the stage and film adaptations of  Anna and the King of Siam), Brynner was the characteristic “tough guy” as seen his varied roles as varied as Pharoah Ramses inThe Ten Commandments,  the Cossack chief in the eponymous Taras Bulba, Gunslinger in Westworld, and as Chris Evans, the leader of The Magnificent Seven… which is the most memorable by a long shot.

Next would be the gravelly-voiced, white-haired Lee Marvin, who began his career with supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers and other hardboiled characters, but after winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual roles in Cat Ballou, landed more heroic and sympathetic leading roles. His role as Major Reisman in The Dirty Dozen is exemplary.

Playing a most efficient but certainly unencumbered by many convictions and a  most cynical and un-officerlike officer, the good Major’s contempt for military niceties and the cerebral qualifications of his superiors’ are well evident. It is clear that the only things he cares about are his own back and the men under his command, and he goes out all out for them till the very end. A tough b****** but blessed with humour, some self-doubts and even some self-disgust, Reisman engages our respect without recourse to sentimentalism….. That is a worthy man, ladies and gentlemen, not the milksops and blackguards that you all seem to prefer. 

To be continued…..

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