I love Robert Redford. Yes, I said it. I. Love. That. Man. It’s no secret that Redford has long been my favorite actor – I’ve seen nearly every single one of his 40+ films (there are still 2 early ones that I haven’t been able to get my hands on) and I’ve seen everything he’s ever directed. Every time I see him on a screen big or small I’m mesmerized. He is simultaneously charming and mysterious, both serious and a practical joker. Not only is Redford a noted actor, but also a storyteller, an environmental activist, a shrewd businessman, a champion of independent filmmaking, and a cultivator of the creative spirit. I am in awe of him.
I remember the first time I saw BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, the 1967 romantic comedy penned by playwright Neil Simon in which Redford stars alongside Jane Fonda as a newlywed couple struggling to keep it together after only 6 days of marriage.
I was 12 or 13 years old when my mother suggested that we watch the film, which was a staple on cable television networks like Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and American Movie Classics (AMC.) I’ve seen it at least two dozen times since then and even wrote a college term paper analyzing Simon’s original stage play and the process of adapting it for film. I give Barefoot and Redford’s performance my highest marks.
And then there’s THE WAY WE WERE. Redford and Barbra Streisand are electric in the 1973 romantic drama directed by frequent Redford collaborator, Sydney Pollack.
“Memories, light the corners of my mind / Misty watercolor memories of the way we were…” **Sigh**
Oh, how I love that film. Oh, how I always wish it could end some other way. Every time I watch it I secretly hope that one day Katie and Hubbell will work it out.
My favorite scene is the one where Hubbell is celebrating with a beer after selling his first story, but he tells Katie he’s celebrating because he got her to cross the street. Then he ties her shoelace. **swoon**
But the film that propelled Robert Redford into superstardom was the 1969 comedic western, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. With Paul Newman as Butch, the talkative visionary of the train-robbing Hole in the Wall Gang, and Redford as the quiet Sundance Kid, always brooding and quick with a shot, it’s no wonder the film is a classic.
“Who are those guys?”
When Redford’s last film, LIONS FOR LAMBS premiered at the 2007 AFI Fest, I shelled out $75 for a ticket to the screening, which also included entrance to the after party. (Oh yes I did.) Unfortunately I didn’t bump into Redford that night, but I had a blast getting all dressed up for my first Hollywood film premiere.
His next film is THE CONSPIRATOR, a historical drama about Mary Surratt, the only female co-conspirator charged in the assignation of President Abraham Lincoln. (Theatrical Release Spring 2011)
It’s definitely on my Life List to visit the Sundance Resort, to dine in the Tree Room, swap stories at the Owl Bar, hike through the forest and take horseback riding lessons in the shadow of the Utah mountains. Perhaps I’ll even run into Mr. Redford.
The Essential Redford Collection: