For, Friday, April 10, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: My inner (nowadays outer) grumpy old man came out in this Dec. 17, 1995, column in the Deseret News, with the headline ‘Hollywood’s star power seems dim these days,’ comparing current movie stars (20 years ago) with the Golden Era.

Recently, Warner Bros. gathered its biggest stars for a group photo, to show off their star power, if you will, which included Jim Carrey, Clint Eastwood and even a pair of stars from an earlier time, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, among others. Impressive.

But in truth, it's almost a parody of a similar, classic picture taken in the 1930s by MGM to illustrate the studio's tag line, "More Stars Than There Are in Heaven." That photo included Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Spencer Tracy, Joan Crawford, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland and many others (including Lassie, front and center).

Now, you tell me which set of movie stars are the real movie stars?

Oh, I know. You're probably tired of me harping on about stars of yesteryear vs. stars of the present — but bear with me.

Another example comes with the first-time video release of a 1989 television mini-series, "Around the World in 80 Days."

"Star-studded," the ads for the video say. And, coincidentally, the 1956 theatrical adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel also touted its "guest-star" lineup.

But even taking into consideration that this later version has TV roots, the contrast is quite startling:

— "Around the World in 80 Days" (1989) stars Pierce Brosnan (yes, our boy Bond), Eric Idle and Peter Ustinov. The guest stars include Lee Remick, Jack Klugman, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Darren McGavin, Pernell Roberts, James B. Sikking, Roddy McDowall and Christopher Lee.

 — "Around the World in Eighty Days" (1956) stars David Niven, Cantinflas and Shirley MacLaine. Among the guest stars are Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Ronald Colman, Red Skelton, Trevor Howard, Peter Lorre and Noel Coward.

'Nuff said.