Today would have been Steve McQueen‘s 77th birthday and I’m using it as an excuse to post some photos of him since he’s one of my favorite actors and I’ve got a lot of photos of him stashed away on my computer for a day like today. Steve was very photogenic and he took a lot of great photos. He also made a lot of great films.
Some of my favorite Steve McQueen movies are The Blob (1958), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), Love With the Proper Stranger (1963), Baby, the Rain Must Fall (1965), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Sand Pebbles (1966), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Bullitt (1968), Le Mans (1971), The Getaway (1972) and Papillon (1973), which are all worth a look. I believe all of the McQueen movies I mentioned are easily available on DVD except for Love with the Proper Stranger and The Sand Pebbles which has been discontinued, but The Sand Pebbles is getting re-released by 20th Century Fox later this year.
It’s a shame that Love with the Proper Stranger hasn’t been released on DVD yet since it teams up Steve McQueen with Natalie Wood, and they’re a a perfect movie match. It’s hard to think of a cuter couple that Hollywood could have brought together in 1963. Steve worked with a lot of great leading ladies including Lee Remick, Ann-Margret, Tuesday Weld, Candice Bergen, Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Bisset and real-life partner actress Ali MacGraw, but I think Steve & Natalie have really fantastic chemistry together on screen. Love with the Proper Stranger is a thoughtful film that deals with the complex subject of abortion and Steve and Natalie are both terrific in it. I suppose the subject matter might have something to do with why it hasn’t seen a DVD release yet. Hopefully Love with the Proper Stranger will find it’s way onto DVD soon since I think it’s a great movie, but at least you can still find copies of the film on VHS.
Steve McQueen was the quintessential ’60s American actor. There may have been better performers but I don’t think there have been many other American actors that can match McQueen’s charisma when he’s on screen. McQueen didn’t like to perform. He didn’t have to. He was natural actor and the roles he took became part of who he was, who he wanted to be and who he was running from. When you watch him you can sense that he was genuinely dangerous, but when he smiles he can light up the screen. I think he was an irresistible combination of bad boy and little boy lost. That volatile mix somehow appeals to both men and women. Lots of men want to be Steve McQueen and lots of women want to be with Steve McQueen. His last years were troubled, but I think he’ll always be remembered as a great icon of American ’60s cinema.