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 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   fmfan1   (Member)

As I re-watch the James Bond series - this time, with my daughter - I am noticing something about Sean Connery's bearing, maturity, and/or gravity that makes it seem like he is older than 32 years (as he is in Dr. No). Certainly, Matt Damon, at around 32 years old in The Bourne Identity, comes across as more youthful.

This has not been an isolated case in my experience. I am surprised, again and again, at the relatively young age of actors of the past. Jonathan Harris was only 51 when he portrayed Dr. Smith in Lost in Space. It is inconceivable that I'm about the same age as Dr. Smith - at least when I look in the mirror it is!

Sure, I know, make-up and all, and of course I'm cherry-picking examples. But I think there's something more to it.

Shatner was about 35 when he first portrayed Kirk, and Chris Pine is older than that in his last Star Trek film. Still, season 1 of original Kirk seems more mature than film 3 of new Kirk. Could this be the result of a different acting approach (more like stage acting) in yesteryear?

Is there something to this, or am I seeing something that's not really there?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 7:27 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

As I re-watch the James Bond series - this time, with my daughter - I am noticing something about Sean Connery's bearing, maturity, and/or gravity that makes it seem like he is older than 32 years (as he is in Dr. No). Certainly, Matt Damon, at around 32 years old in The Bourne Identity, comes across as more youthful.

This has not been an isolated case in my experience. I am surprised, again and again, at the relatively young age of actors of he past. Jonathan Harris was only 51 when he portrayed Dr. Smith in Lost in Space. It is inconceivable that I'm about the same age as Dr. Smith - at least when I look in the mirror it is!

Sure, I know, make-up and all, and of course I'm cherry-picking examples. But I think there's something more to it.

Shatner was about 35 when he first portrayed Kirk, and Chris Pine is older than that in his last Star Trek film. Still, season 1 of original Kirk seems more mature than film 3 of new Kirk. Could this be the result of a different acting approach (more like stage acting) in yesteryear?

Is there something to this, or am I seeing something that's not really there?


it was generational. People of that era lived through the Depression, Jim Crow, WWII, the Holocaust, the Atom Bomb. Age was a badge of honor in many ways.

It was the Baby Boomers who tried to ignore death and usher in the asthetic of perpetual youth.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 8:29 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Actors certainly looked older back in the day, booze & hard living maybe. These days it's all wheatgrass & fruit juice & personal trainers & moisturizing. I think everyone does act younger than they used to, I'm 70 in a few months & I live in jeans & t-shirt & continue listening to my favourite seventies pop/rock albums. My god, I'll be three years older than Spencer Tracy was when he died, & ten years older than Gary Cooper. It is different now, but us baby boomers (born 1950) do die, I know that well enough. I suppose with all these Hollywood stars looking younger, it doesn't look quite so jarring seeing them with their wives half their age (or even younger!).

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

No, I don't think actors acted older in the old days. I think Hollywood started to cast younger in the mid 80's. It started with Tom Cruise. Pre 80's actors were older and more rugged looking. They look mature and age appropriate for their roles. After the 70's they started to cast "pretty boys". It's bothered me ever since.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 8:52 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

It's amazing that Robert Vaughan was only three years older than David McCallum.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Angela Lansbury had the right idea. When she was young she played much older women. For example, she was only 37 when she played Lawrence Harvey's (age 35) mother. As she aged she could continue playing the same types of roles for years.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:34 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

No, I don't think actors acted older in the old days. I think Hollywood started to cast younger in the mid 80's. It started with Tom Cruise. Pre 80's actors were older and more rugged looking. They look mature and age appropriate for their roles. After the 70's they started to cast "pretty boys". It's bothered me ever since.

Oh I dunno, Errol Flynn was only 29 when he made The Adventures Of Robin Hood, & John Wayne was only 32 when he made Stagecoach. It seems like people did look & act older then.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   fmfan1   (Member)

It's amazing that Robert Vaughan was only three years older than David McCallum.
Perfect example! At 32 years old at the start of U.N.C.L.E., his "bearing" was certainly on the mature side. He was a serious, responsible, seasoned pro. At 32 years old today (and recent remake of U.N.C.L.E. aside), you're more likely to play a high school senior or the cocky newbie breaking all the rules, but getting the job done with the help of a deux ex machina!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:54 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

In the F.W. Murnau version of Faust, the makeup used to make Gösta Ekman into an old Faust was very convincing

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 10:24 AM   
 By:   Midnight Mike   (Member)

As far as looking older, I think a big part of it had to do with smoking. Everyone smoked back then, and if you didn’t, everyone around you was. That ages you right up.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

The following is tangentially related to some things that a few of you have already mentioned. In "olden times" people (in real life anyway) weren't really "allowed" to have an adolescence or young adulthood. For them it was straight out of school and short trousers and into the coal mine, or an office. I'm going back a bit here, but I have photos of my grandfather aged 18 and 80, and he's wearing the same style of old man suit.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 7:47 PM   
 By:   Nightingale   (Member)

I have always wondered about this same phenomenon myself. People just looked older, more mature back then at the same age. George Lazenby turned 30 during the production of OHMSS! Does he look like any 29 year old you have ever seen?

Hollywood just prefers casting more "boyish" looking actors in the last 4 decades? Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are good examples of men in their mid-50's that still have a boyish quality to them, but a great hair dye job doesn't hurt. I don't see anyone in life or the media that has more manly, chiseled features like a Glenn Ford or Robert Mitchum or William Holden.

I really think there is something to this observation that maybe even genetics related? I think this observation is true of women as well.

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2020 - 9:12 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Emma Watson is thirty years old, yet still gets cast as high school and college students. Hell, she was playing SIXTEEN in Little Women. Meanwhile, Lauren Bacall was only nineteen when she made her first movie, yet looked and acted about forty-five.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 3:37 AM   
 By:   fmfan1   (Member)

Emma Watson is thirty years old, yet still gets cast as high school and college students. Hell, she was playing SIXTEEN in Little Women. Meanwhile, Lauren Bacall was only nineteen when she made her first movie, yet looked and acted about forty-five.

Carrie Fisher was 19 when she began work on Star Wars, but look at her poise as she meets Tarkin on the Death Star and makes the comment about him holding Vader's leash and having a foul stench. I would not have been surprised if you had told me that she was 30 or 32 years old in this role.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 5:32 AM   
 By:   Tobias   (Member)

Emma Watson is thirty years old, yet still gets cast as high school and college students. Hell, she was playing SIXTEEN in Little Women. Meanwhile, Lauren Bacall was only nineteen when she made her first movie, yet looked and acted about forty-five.

That reminded me of Ralph Macchio who was a lot older than his character in The Karate Kid.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 5:33 AM   
 By:   Tobias   (Member)

Angela Lansbury had the right idea. When she was young she played much older women. For example, she was only 37 when she played Lawrence Harvey's (age 35) mother. As she aged she could continue playing the same types of roles for years.

Or Sean Connery who played the father of Dustin Hoffman in a movie. And it is in real life a 7 years difference.

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 5:55 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

No, I don't think actors acted older in the old days. I think Hollywood started to cast younger in the mid 80's. It started with Tom Cruise. Pre 80's actors were older and more rugged looking. They look mature and age appropriate for their roles. After the 70's they started to cast "pretty boys". It's bothered me ever since.

Oh I dunno, Errol Flynn was only 29 when he made The Adventures Of Robin Hood, & John Wayne was only 32 when he made Stagecoach. It seems like people did look & act older then.


Perhaps the classic actors look older because I was so much younger when I saw their films. But I still believe they cast younger nowadays. Imagine if they made Towering Inferno or Jaws today? They'd pick a very young Cruise or Pine for the lead roles.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 6:00 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Angela Lansbury had the right idea. When she was young she played much older women. For example, she was only 37 when she played Lawrence Harvey's (age 35) mother. As she aged she could continue playing the same types of roles for years.

Or Sean Connery who played the father of Dustin Hoffman in a movie. And it is in real life a 7 years difference.


The best one I've read is Kate Nelligan (who played Lucy in the '79 Dracula), she played Nick Nolte's mother in The Prince of Tides (1991), but in real life she's actually nine years younger than he is.

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 11:36 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)


The best one I've read is Kate Nelligan (who played Lucy in the '79 Dracula), she played Nick Nolte's mother in The Prince of Tides (1991), but in real life she's actually nine years younger than he is.


True, but that's a bit like Crispin Glover who played Michael J. Fox's father in Back to the Future even though Glover is younger than Fox. They played also the younger counterparts of their roles in Flashbacks, so they used younger actresses and actors because it's easier to age people on film then it is to make them look younger.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2020 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)


The best one I've read is Kate Nelligan (who played Lucy in the '79 Dracula), she played Nick Nolte's mother in The Prince of Tides (1991), but in real life she's actually nine years younger than he is.


True, but that's a bit like Crispin Glover who played Michael J. Fox's father in Back to the Future even though Glover is younger than Fox. They played also the younger counterparts of their roles in Flashbacks, so they used younger actresses and actors because it's easier to age people on film then it is to make them look younger.


Ah, I never saw the film. A good one is The Vikings. Ernest Borgnine plays Kirk Douglas' father even though he's a year younger, & he's not made up to look older, apart from having a big beard.

 
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