Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mel Ferrer: The Luckiest Actor in Film History

MEL FERRER is probably not a household name unless youre a cinephile or an audrey hepburn fan. however, during his nearly 50 year career on film and stage, he worked with such great directors as jean renoir, king vidor, reiner werner fassbinder, anthony mann, and fritz lang and kissed some of the most beautiful leading ladies of the 20th century (marlene dietrich, audrey hepburn, leslie caron). and oh yeah, he was also on falcon crest.

was mel ferrer a good actor? no. he lacked any sort of talent or charisma and despite his many leading roles, he is the most boring and uninteresting actor that has ever lived.

as i watched the decent but unmemorable fritz lang western, RANCHO NOTORIOUS, i really took a good look at mel ferrer's performance. not only was he bad and completely unemotive, but when he was on screen, i thought of things i could due to kill time before the scene was over. writing this blog was the top thought.

who was mel ferrer? he was born extravagantly wealthy and bedded and married audrey hepburn. yes, THE audrey hepburn. they stayed married for 14 turbulent years and during their marriage, she made all of her greatest films and a bunch of crappy ones too. the crappiest of which, GREEN MANSIONS deserves a special mention. mel ferrer directed this debacle in which hepburn as a wild jungle woman who gets seduced by an adventurer played by anthony perkins (the star of psycho...yes). i think harvey fierstein would have made a more convincing adventurer than the mild mannered, effeminate perkins.

during their marriage, perkins also roped hepburn into starring in king vidor's disasterous, horrific, nearly unwatchable take on war and peace. this film featured henry fonda as a pierre and ferrer as prince andrei, two roles that should have been either reversed or recast, as both actors were woefully miscast. has anyone out there read war and peace? the casting was one step up from casting robin williams and billy crystal. it was a film of the highest cringe values.

still, hepburn made funny face, roman holiday, sabrina, a nun's story, wait until dark, breakfast at tiffany's -- all of her famous ones -- during this period. it seems that her only missteps were on ferrer's recommendation. so basically, hepburn became a star despite ferrer's best intentions.

mel ferrer was a tall strapping good looking guy but that should only take an actor so far. the fact that he kept getting decent work for 50 years is a complete mystery. maybe people owed him a lot of favors or he talked his way into roles. either way, his fame was completely undeserved.

sadly, mel ferrer passed away last year but he paved the way for actors to be getting good work despite lacking talent. just throwing it out there, but i think chris evans, channing tatum, and paul walker, and countless others need to send a thank you card to mr. ferrer's estate for making it possible for them to be incredibly rich. send some flowers too.