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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Real ___

by C. J. Chase


Years ago, I had a coworker who didn’t like it when an actor would age out of a long-running movie/TV series and be replaced. “Sean Connery was The Real James Bond,” she would say. Or “Johnny Weissmuller was The Real Tarzan.”

Fortunately, I knew her weakness, so one day I called her on her “Real” claims. “And who was The Real Superman?” I asked. Despite the fact she was of an age to have seen the George Reeves Superman TV series, she flashed a sheepish grin and admitted to her well-known crush on the young version of Christopher Reeve.

Regina, wherever you are now, this is for you:


For most of us, our first visual exposure to a favorite character often becomes the yardstick by which we measure future portrayals. Not always, but it usually works that way. We even had a post right here at Inkwell on The Sherlock Holmes.

I thought about taking this in some deep, theological direction, but you know what? It’s Monday, and the calendar says August for one more week. The summer movies – including a few remakes and new installments to long-running series (Planet of the Apes? Really???) – are still in the theaters, so let’s just stick to light-hearted foolishness. Give us your list of The Real __. Who is The Real Scrooge? Mr. Knightly? Sabrina? Hawkeye? Grinch? Be prepared to back up your choices because you're almost certain to find someone who disagrees.

Here are some of mine:

The Real Fitzwilliam Darcy: Colin Firth (Go ahead. Try to argue that one.)
The Real Scarlet Pimpernel: Leslie Howard (But I still love you, Anthony Andrews.)
The Real Ivanhoe: Anthony Andrews. (See, I do love you!)
The Real Cruella de  Vil: Betty Lou Gerson
The Real Henry V: Kenneth Branagh
The Real James T. Kirk: Chris Pine (Yep, I'm going with the new-and-improved, not-as-campy Kirk. But I'll grant you Leonard Nimoy for Spock.)
The Real Horatio Hornblower: Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Peck, you were 99 degrees of hawt-ness in your day, but…no.)


Oh, and Deanna, I love you too (even more than Anthony Andrews – and not just because you’re more likely to read this than he is), but The Real Sherlock Holmes is Benedict Cumberbatch.


After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at www.cjchasebooks.com

15 comments:

  1. I think I'll agree with those (except I don't know who Gerson is, and I have to go with Cartoon Cruella (maybe Gerson was the voice?)).

    Leslie Howard irritates me in almost every movie he's in (he was SO wrong for Ashley Wilkes), but he was PERFECT for the Pimpernel. Perfect. I do love Andrews in that, too, though.

    Howard was also in a WWII movie called "Pimpernel Smith," where he was basically a Nazi-fighting Pimpernel, and he was great in that. I wish I could find that on DVD.

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    1. Yeah, I have to agree that Leslie Howard in GWTW just didn't seem like the kind of guy a woman would have a life-long obsession with. Was he selected for the part because of his star-power at the time?

      Pimpernel Smith sounds familiar. Don't know if I've ever gotten to see it, but it sounds like something I'd really enjoy.

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    2. Actually, HE didn't want to play the part either. He said he was wrong for it and too old (right on both counts) but the studio wanted him (can't imagine why) and they said he could direct his next movie (Intermezzo, I think) if he'd do it, so he agreed.

      It's bad when even the actor thinks he's wrong for a part. :D

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    3. So, DeAnna, who would you have cast for the part? Since it's all hypothetical, you can use an actor from any era -- I'm just curious to see how you visualize the role.

      I've never really read the book. I skimmed through it, so I know there are differences (like the kids she has in the book that aren't in the movie), but I didn't read it closely enough to really analyze the characters.

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    4. Well, I wrote a long thing about Ashley, and the site ate it.

      Anyway, what I said was that, first off you should read the book. It's got some awful language, but it's well worthy of it Pulitzer Prize win.

      Ashley is described as tall and blond. I don't remember reading an actual age for him, but I got the impression he's in his young 20s at the first of the book. Older than Scarlett, but by no means twice or three times her age.

      He's definitely a southern gentleman, athletic as far as hunting and other country gentleman pastimes, but he's also well educated, indecisive, not always practical, not well adapted to the hard changes post war.

      As far as actors who might play him, I'm fairly ignorant about current actors, but solely based on looks, maybe Dan Stevens, Nick Carter or William Moseley. Acting/personality wise, I don't know about them, but looks, I think they'd work.

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  2. I haven't thought about the Scarlet Pimpernel in aeons! For me it's Anthony Andrews, because the first time I saw it I was in HS and we watched it in my French class. *sigh*

    I have to disagree for Cap'n Kirk... I just can't get past the original (William Shatner.) Childhood memories and all that.

    And as for James Bond, I love 'em all. Timothy Dalton was probably my least favorite, and I'm still adjusting to the new guy, but he's OK. Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore both get a thumbs up... Sean Connery, too, but I like him better when he plays a Scot. :)

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    1. Niki, several years ago, we decided to watch all the versions of Pimpernel we could find. It was kind of fun to compare them.

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    2. Part II (since I was interrupted by children at the time and ended up with a very short response).

      For some reason, I've never cared for Shatner. Part of it may be the (above mentioned) campiness of the original series. Whatever the reason, when the latest movies came out with the original characters, I liked the Kirk character so much more than the original.

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  3. I have to agree with Anthony Andrews. I listened to the book on audio and pictured him. He does such a good dandy!!!

    Christopher Reeves - Superman Colin Firth - Mr Darcy ( but I love them all. All Darcys)
    Chris Pine vs William Shatner? that's a tough one!

    I am sure I had this conversation with someone recently. I was debating the "Real_________" but now I can't recall who we were discussing. I'll be back with the info some day...
    I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more opportunities here.

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    1. Haha, Deb. My favorite Andrews role has him as a bold and dashing medieval knight. Not very dandyish, for sure. I know a lot of it comes from the script. The original "Ivanhoe" (with Elizabeth Taylor/Robert Taylor) was just awful as an adaptation. It was like some writer put together a script, then stuck the name of a classic novel on as the title. The one with Andrews is much closer to Scott's novel, and Andrews is a much better depiction of Scott's golden-haired hero. (Yeah, I read the novel before I saw any of the movies. Kind of like that Last of the Mohicans discussion we had a while back.)

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  4. For me Basil Rathborne is Sherlock Holmes - too many Saturday mornings watching the old black and whites I guess. I haven't seen the new Star Trek movies, so Kirk is still William Shatner (even though he annoys me now - his young self though? my tween heart swooned over his looks). Sean Connery is James Bond. Christopher Reeve is Superman. Jury is still out on who the real Batman would be. I actually thought Michael Keaton did pretty good there, but since Hollywood can't seem to keep a batman for more than a couple of films, I'm not really sure there is a real Batman.
    Um, sorry to say I've never seen a Pimpernel. My filmography is woefully lacking on the "real" side. Ask me about animation and I'm much better.

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    1. Deb, I wrote a movie review here a couple years ago for The Court Jester. Basil Rathbone spoofs his Guy of Gisborne role from the old Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie. (Errol Flynn, of course, is The Real Robin Hood.) The Court Jester is very family friendly, so you might have fun watching it if you haven't seen it already.

      And Batman wears a mask, so who knows who The Real Batman is!

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  5. No, CJ, can't agree.

    I'm afraid Doyle would absolutely not recognize Cumberbatch's Sherlock. If you want true to the author, there is ONLY Jeremy Brett.

    Cumberbatch is brilliant and wonderful and, though I've had time to see only the first season, his version of Sherlock (with Freeman as Watson) is amazing. But Doyle wouldn't know what to make of him.

    Cumberbatch may be your favorite of the Sherlocks, and there's nothing wrong with that, but he is not true to the author's vision. He's not the REAL Sherlock Holmes.

    As much as I love Basil Rathbone (and I really, really do) he did too much Nazi fighting as Sherlock to be the REAL one.

    ONLY Jeremy Brett is true to Doyle.

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  6. CJ - i OWN the Court Jester (I LOVE Danny Kaye). It is a great movie and even children can enjoy it.

    DeANNA - I have to admit I've never seen Jeremy Brett as Sherlock - but if he is as true to Doyle as you say, once I see Jeremy Brett in action, I may change my mind. I'm sort of a stickler for actors being true to author's vision.

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  7. Yes, Deb, as far as I have ever seen, Brett is the only one to do the stories (especially early in the series) that are very faithful to what Doyle wrote. With a couple of bizarre exceptions, they're uniformly well done. I think if Brett hadn't gotten so sick towards the last, he would have (like Suchet's Poirot) wanted to film all of the stories.

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