Paul Henreid and Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca
One of the best actors from Old Hollywood… or any Hollywood for that matter… was BOTD in 1908, Paul Henreid. His filmography is FILLED with timeless entertainment and masterful performances. A few of my personal favorite Henried films are The Spanish Main, Casablanca, Between Two Worlds, and Now, Voyager.
I was recently discussing my top 10 favorite actors with someone and, as I mentioned Paul Henreid’s name between James Cagney and John Wayne, it hit me just how unique he was. I’ll get back to this in one moment, but to further illustrate my point, here are my top 10 favorite male actors:
- Henry Fonda
- James Stewart
- Buster Keaton
- Lionel Barrymore
- James Cagney
- Paul Henreid
- John Wayne
- Humphrey Bogart
- James Garner
- Jack Lemmon
When you read the names, you’ll notice that many had a lot of larger than life characters and carved out a larger than life persona for themselves. John Wayne, Buster Keaton, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon…. known for their great talent and excellent characters they brought to life.
Yet, the same can ABSOLUTELY be said of Henry Fonda, Lionel Barrymore, Paul Henreid, and James Garner. Their characters were often more traditionally calm.. oftentimes more “real.” If you ask me (and no one did, but, if I know me, I’ll probably proceed anyway), their characters would have been even more challenging to portray.
The wonderful thing is, Hollywood needed (and needs) both types of actors and actresses – all of either type of actor/actress wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable.
So, next time you watch a classic like Casablanca, Gone With the Wind (with the contrast of Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland), or any great classic for that matter, pay a little extra attention to both types of actors/actresses. I recently did this with a rewatch of Between two Worlds – again, contrasting the calm demeanor and flawless execution of Paul Henreid and the impassioned demeanor and (again) flawless execution of John Garfield. They had a similar dynamic to Henreid and Bogart in Casablanca and it simply works so beautifully.
Happy Heavenly birthday to the wonderful Paul Henried. Thanks for all of the excellent performances and films!
Between Two Worlds Lobby Card: Eleanor Parker, Paul Henreid, and John Garfield
You can find Casablanca on dvd or Blu-ray (Amazon link) or watch the movie on Prime Video.
You can also find the wonderful (and so underrated!) Between Two Worlds on video on Amazon.