Cinema’s Forgotten Legends Series: Ronald Colman

“ A man usually falls in love with a woman who asks the kind of questions he is able to answer” English Academy Award winning actor Ronald Charles Colman 1

 With his deep eloquent voice and awe-inspiring masterful talents on the silver screen, Ronald Colman (February 9th, 1891-May 19th, 1958) showed the classic film world the raw passion, fervent love and profound debonair that has continued to emanate powerfully and with so much class. In light of viewing Turner Classic Movies and its countless array of beloved, treasured and admired classics from Hollywood’s Golden Age, I’ve come to deeply admire, respect, love and appreciate Colman’s film works—both as an individual as well as a multi-talented actor. I’ve had the immense pleasure of viewing only 5 of his films and yet these five films possessed a stronger cinematic impact as an impassioned classic film lover: Raffles (1930) with Kay Francis, Random Harvest (1942) which is one of the best romantic dramas that I’ve ever experienced with Greer Garson,  A Tale of Two Cities (1935) based upon the literary work of Charles Dickens starring Elizabeth Allen, Reginald Owen, Edna May Oliver & Basil Rathbone, The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr,  Mary Astor, David Niven and Raymond Massey


& finally the romantic George Stevens comedy The Talk of the Town (1942) starring Cary Grant & Jean Arthur. He served in WWI alongside fellow actors who also happened to be some of my personal favorites from the classic film world like Claude Rains, Herbert Marshall, Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Basil Rathbone; all of whom I considered to be underrated film actors because of their enormous talents that seemed to be long forgotten but who still leave behind a enduring cinematic legacy that’s heightened by a even greater resonance in their films and the hearts, minds & souls of classic movie lovers everywhere. This is why I’ve greatly appreciated the love/passion that I have for classic films: to be able to pay tribute to classic movie artisans like Ronald Colman & to be able to share that with an unequivocal and unbridled dedication/adoration is indescribable and genuinely amazing at the same time. Colman, in his film career, was nominated for the Academy Award 4 times: for Bulldog Drummond (1929), for Condemned (1930), for Random Harvest (1942) and for the classic film noir A Double Life (1947). Not only did he win the Oscar as Best Actor for the latter in 19483

but he also won the Golden Globe Award as Best Actor for the same performance; he also has 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (one for Motion Pictures at 6801 Hollywood  Blvd & one for television at 1623 Vine Street). Colman was married only twice during his lifetime: first to Thelma Raye (from 1920-1934) and then to English film actress Benita Hume (b. October 14th, 1906-November 1st, 1967) from the years 1938 until his death in 1958; his second marriage resulted in the birth of their only child, a daughter named Juliet Benita Colman who was born on July 24th, 1944. Since posting articles in regards to the Cinema’s Forgotten Legends Series, I’ve come to greatly appreciate and admire all of the classic film artists that I’ve had the deep honor/respect to pay tribute to. Ronald Colman was so much more than the handsome, debonair leading man of the theatre/silver screen; he also portrayed an emotional, sensitive and intelligent side that’s also highlighted by his masterful, charismatic on screen persona. He delivers exceptional, captivating and enigmatic performances whether on the silver screen, television or on the stage; I definitely need to see more of his films especially his Oscar winning performance in A Double Life but I’ll never forget what Ronald Colman’s films have done for me as an avid classic film aficionado. I’m very grateful for my classic film friends in regards to introducing me to the countless treasure trove of classics from the film archives of Ronald Colman…many thanks to you! I hope that more individuals will be able to view more of his and other classic film artists as well. 4


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