Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Edward Arnold


Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Edward Arnold, born February 18th, 1890!

Isn’t this just the most adorable picture you’ve ever seen of Edward Arnold? The answer is yes. Yes it is.

Beyond being a very smart actor, Edward Arnold was also a very smart man. Because, let’s admit it, being very smart is not exactly a pre-requisite for being a talented actor. Now, you’re probably wondering why I consider Arnold to be so smart. Well, just look at what he did once he was labeled box-office poison. You see, before Arnold became the character we all know and love, he was originally a leading man whose name would appear above stars such as Cary grant.

Isn’t this the second cutest picture of Edward Arnold you’ve ever seen? Quite the looker in his younger years.

Once labeled box-office poison, however he knew that had to change. So what did he do? He gained weight. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do health-wise, but career-wise it proved to be a daring but successful move. He moved from leading man to character actor, specializing in staunch authoritative roles. The more weight he gained, the more successful he seemed to be. This most likely will not work for you, FYI. So, while others may wallow in box-office poison defeat, Arnold actually did something about it. Successful, yes; healthy, no.

Edward Arnold, gaining weight and career success in You Can’t Take it With You. (1938, Frank Capra director)

Another reason I consider him to be a very smart man is his political stance. It’s not so much his personal politics I find to be smart, but his understanding of how political thought need not feed into mass paranoia. Arnold was a life-long Republican and fervent anti-communist. The two kind of go hand-in-hand. However, unlike his fellow Republican peers, he was both an early and fierce opponent to the suspected communist blacklisting in Hollywood during the 1950’s. To me, this demonstrates a man of principle; a man who understands the danger of the dogmatic following of one political party. To me, this demonstrates a very smart man.


Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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