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Thursday, June 09, 2005

In Praise of Bad Behavior
So, Russell Crowe's been at it again. This time, assaulting a hapless hotel desk clerk with a telephone. He's been in trouble for brawling, drinking and generally making a spectacle of himself before. I don't hold that against him - he's part of a great acting tradition.

Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn were Hollywood's first infamous hell-raisers, running through women and wrecking hotel rooms, but always performing when the job called for it. They were followed by Orson Welles (probably the world's first high-profile hotel-wrecker for a spree in New York in the 30's) and then by inneumerable rock stars in the 60's and 70's. Three of my favourite actor/personalities, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed and Peter O'Toole were also as famous for their drinking and brawling. (Harris was once found riding the luggage carousel in Heathrow, passed out; Reed died in a drinking and armwrestling contest with Maltese sailors, and O'Toole, among other things, was arrested in Casablanca for making a spectacle in a bar celebrating the end of Lawrence of Arabia.) It's telling that Richard Harris and Crowe actually shared the screen near the end of the former's career, in Gladiator. Their scenes had an extra layer of meaning for me, as I saw the torch being passed.

Of course, it would have all been for naught had these men not been superb in front of the camera, which they must assuredly were. In today's world of sanitized, green tea-drinking scientologist stars, it's refreshing to know that some celebrities are still impatient with the constraints of their world. I for one welcome Crowe's bad behavior and hope it continues. Someone needs to keep being famous fun.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 6/09/2005 Comments (1)
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