In another age, it might have been a great thing to be Robert Redford.

Unfortunately for him, however, Robert Redford arrived at the precise moment in history when being a handsome, soft-spoken leading man went out of fashion. While he might once have had the world without apologies, Redford’s career has been a struggle against his chiseled features, to prove he is not just a haircut. That struggle seemed to reach its sputtering conclusion this weekend with the release of The Conspirator, the latest in Redford’s long string of somber, self-serious, hectoring films.

Seeing the earnest director and the guarded, gloomy festival kingpin of today, it’s hard to picture the charismatic young Redford whose career once seemed headed in a very different direction. But that was before the star ran headlong into a little event known as the 1970s, from which his balance has never quite recovered.

A gifted actor with a touch for light comedy, with a dose of melancholy behind the perfectly sculpted features, Redford began his acting career on Broadway, winning rave notices as the uptight newlywed in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. He rode the part to the big screen, appearing opposite Jane Fonda, and a star was born that still dazzles half a century later.

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Robert Redford and the Burden of a Pretty Face | 2011 | elsewhere writings | Tags: , | Comments (0)

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