Of all the movies I like, one that I’ve seen several times is Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). It’s one of my Top 10 Favorites. In fact it’s number 7 on that list. It stars Jimmy Stewart, an actor I have always greatly admired. And starring alongside with Mr. Stewart is Grace Kelly, the most elegant and dazzling actress of all.
I have to admit that she is my big movie crush, the woman I’d say is the most beautiful to ‘grace’ (pun intended) the silver screen. Watch her in Rear Window, High Society, The Country Girl, Mogambo, or To Catch a Thief and tell me you don’t agree.
Grace Kelly appeared in less than a dozen films. Then at the age of 26 she left Hollywood to become a real life princess by marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
It was 33 years ago, on September 14th, 1982 that Grace Kelly died. She was 52 years old.
As I said, she is the most captivating actress of all. But she wasn’t my first movie crush. I’ll get back to Grace in a bit.
Many of you are probably too young to remember the days before DVDs, or even what it was like before VHS tapes. Back then, pretty much the only way you saw a film was in a theater. Or, a movie might show up several years later as a special network presentation such as ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ on one of the ‘big three’ ABC, NBC and CBS.
As I was growing up major studios would also once in a while re-release one of their big hit movies into theaters several years after the original release. It was a way for the studios to bring in a few more dollars to add to their overall profits.
No one did this better and more often than Disney Studios. They regularly reissued their animated classics, something like every seven years, along with their popular live action films.
My first movie crush was Hayley Mills. I was about 12 years old when I saw her in The Parent Trap. It was when Disney re-released the movie into theaters.
When I was a kid theaters had double features. When the movie ended you wouldn’t get chased out of the theater. You could stay and watch it over again. I may have seen The Parent Trap eight to ten times over a couple of weeks.
Then, several years later, I can’t quite put my finger on when, I discovered Grace Kelly. It was most likely from one of the three Alfred Hitchcock films that she starred in. After a few smaller parts Grace quickly became a star when she appeared in her first Hitchcock film, Dial M for Murder. Over her short career she was in less than a dozen films. Grace retired from acting and married Prince Rainier III in 1956.
All this happened in Grace Kelly’s life before I was even born.
Now of course there are many cute, and even sexy actresses. Many are pretty, very pretty to be sure. But none before or since, no one approaches Grace Kelly. In my mind she stands alone as the most enchanting of all. For me she is the standard by which all others are measured.
Now you may have noticed that both of these screen crushes of mine are blonde. Maybe like Hitchcock, you could say I have a thing for blondes. But that is all Hollywood. That is all infatuation of a star struck boy. As we we all know, most men in some ways never grow up.
Truth be told, it was a real life flesh and blood brunette that captured my heart. A beautiful brunette, can you believe it? Yes, a beyond words beautiful brunet walked into my life.
I was struck by both her outward, and inward beauty, on the night we met. That evening I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with this beauty. My life had been changed.
I determined that, although I was just your average Joe, this was a gift from heaven and I figured, when you’re blessed with such a gift you had better grab hold and never let go.
Yes, Hollywood beauties come and go. They always have and they always will. Still, I say that Grace Kelly is the Queen (or should I say princess) of celluloid beauty.
But she isn’t my brunette!