Happy 100th Birthday Jimmy Stewart

(5/20/1908 - 7/2/1997)

My pick (and I’m sure a lot of others’) for most likeable screen actor of all time. Also war hero, snappy dresser, and to a generation gone by at least, prime male role model.

What are your favorite Jimmy Stewart performances?

his IMDb page

Seeing *Destry Rides Again * in a classic movie palace was the first time I really “got” why people loved Jimmy Stewart. Growing up, I’d seen him on TV, reading his kind-of-lame poetry to Johnny Carson, and I thought he was just some old guy. When I was in college our local 1920s theatre ran a series of old movies and I went to see Destry. It was a terrible print and it broke several times, but that just did it for me. I was a goner.

My husband took me to see *It’s a Wonderful Life * at the same theatre on our first date. One week from today is our 13th anniversary.

Elwood P. Dowd: I’d just put Ed Hickey into a taxi. Ed had been mixing his rye with his gin, and I just felt that he needed conveying. Well, anyway, I was walking down along the street and I heard this voice saying, “Good evening, Mr. Dowd.” Well, I turned around and here was this big six-foot rabbit leaning up against a lamp-post. Well, I thought nothing of that because when you’ve lived in a town as long as I’ve lived in this one, you get used to the fact that everybody knows your name.

I think the first time I became aware of Stewart as an actor was in Spirit of St. Louis (1957), although I’d probably seen him in a western or two prior to that. He was such an engaging character on screen, and I seem to recall him coming to Anchorage and giving a talk at a school assembly, dressed in his uniform.

I liked his interview with Dieter on Sprockets.

Seriously, It’s A Wonderful Life, but then again that’s one of my three favorite movies. (The other two are Bride of Frankenstein and A Clockwork Orange- how’s THAT for eclectic?)

Also from Harvey, just a few minutes before silenus’ quote:

And then this scene from The Philadelphia Story:

I never, ever liked It’s a Wonderful Life, and I disliked Jimmy Stewart because of that. Then I saw him in Vertigo and Rear Window and was creeped the fuck out. I disliked him even more.

Then I saw him in The Philadelphia Story, and I absolutely fell in love and repented for my earlier sins. There’s not a single moment of his performance that I don’t adore.

The ‘Groundfloor’ scene in It’s a Wonderful Life - looking at Mary and talking on the phone - then saying ‘I dont want any’groundfloor’ and I dont want any ‘plastics’…oh Mary’ They kiss the kissingest kisss in kissdom.

In honor of this birthday, the theme of the crossword puzzle in Saturday’s Chicago Tribune was James Stewart and his movies.

I’d probably go with Harvey, too. It’s a Wonderful Life is overrated, but that’s not Stewart’s fault, and he was quite good in Rear Window and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

I also loved seeing him in After the Thin Man, for reasons I cannot explain (I know why, but you’ll have to discover it for yourself).

Mr. Smith goes to Washington

Holy shit he was young. I caught it for the first time a few months ago. While some of it is extremely cheesy these days I think it held up very well. And damn, Stewart was great in it.

Definitely Harvey. It’s the only movie of his I have on tape. Yep, tape.

more quotes:

Elwood P. Dowd: Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

Elwood P. Dowd: *Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” - she always called me Elwood - “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me. *

I did. :slight_smile:

My favorite memory of Stewart is him reading the poem he wrote about his dog on the Carson show.

He was an outspoken and staunch Republican, but was so well-liked in Hollywood because of his stellar personality and character that very few people held this against him. The closest anyone came was probably Henry Fonda - the two came to blows over some sort of political discussion, and then maintained their lifetime friendship by never discussing politics again.

Stewart seems to have been typecast in good-guy roles. Did he ever play a villain or a total bastard?

His roles in the Hitchcock movies were complex ones in which he wasn’t ever a classic good guy.

Bell, Book, and Candle

Once again, Kim Novak is completely edible.

I really liked when he surprised Carol Burnett on her show. She was a HUGE fan, and completely out of the blue during her opening monologue the curtain opened to Jimmy Stewart playing “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” at the piano. She was speechless.

I think he was a right bastard in Vertigo. Oh sure, there are moments when you can feel sorry for him because he seems like a pawn, but at the same time…that character was one fucked up dude.

I believe the only villain he ever played was in After The Thin Man, 1936, before he became typecast as a good guy.

This thread makes me tear up. God, I miss him.