The Least Convincing Couple in Screen History

Categories: Film

Darling-Lili---Julie-Andrews_-Rock-Hudson--1970-08-g.jpg
According to Peter Bart's book Infamous Players, it was Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews in the 1970 romantic spy drama Darling Lili.

Writes Bart, who at the time was a junior executive faced with the job of looking at the rushes:

"Their supposedly steamy love scene had as much fizzle as day-old beer.

"Julie Andrews, totally believable as the faithful governess in Mary Poppins, was never a threat to Marilyn Monroe as a sex goddess.

"As for Hudson, his predilection for men was becoming widely suspected in Hollywood.

"Their mutual disinterest, if not distaste, was abundantly visible in take after take as they embraced and kissed and then, when the director yelled 'cut,' they wiped their lips ad breathed a sigh of relief."

Well, I happen to like Darling Lili.

And I happen to think gay actors can convince in all kinds of roles. Lord knows, Rock made a believer out of millions for decades before that.

But maybe Julie felt uncomfortable doing the scene since the director guiding her through it was her husband, Blake Edwards?

Later in the book, Bart says he told Paramount honcho Robert Evans that "Everyone in this town seems to be fucking everyone else, and we're making maybe the unsexiest movie in the history of Hollywood."

"Rock's a faggot," Evans snapped. "What idiot would sign a faggot to shoot love scenes?"

All right, Evans, that's it. I won't blow you anymore.


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31 comments
corrective_unconscious
corrective_unconscious

Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in Sirk's snarky masterpiece, "All That Heaven Allows."

Jake A
Jake A

    Julie made a pretty good couple with James Garner in "The Americanization of Emily," so she could be convincing under the right circumstances.    As for "least convincing couple," I never saw the film, and probably almost no one did, and I don't recall the name, but I remember reading Ken Wahl's comments about acting with Bette Midler. Sounded like he had to do some very serious faking to convince himself.

Loida O
Loida O

Why, we all love our gays

Keating3232
Keating3232

Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster in "Maverick" should be right toward the top of this list.

Still Swooning
Still Swooning

Well, wasn't Robert Eavan's proclivities another one of those worst-kept Hollywood secrets---right from his marriage to Ali MacGraw, on? And the quote, if I remember correctly, right from Rock Hudson's mouth about Edward's abuse after taking too long to shoot a kissing scene, "Here...let a REAL man show you how it's done!"

Vicente Minnelli
Vicente Minnelli

A couple of things I've always heard. First , the lingerie/cross dressing studio head, in Edwards film "SOB" ( played by Robert Vaughn ) , is based on Robert Evans, and his'habit'. And I thought the Andrews/ Edwards marriage was one of 'convenience'- thatgoes all the way back to Joyce Haber's L.A. Times column, in the 70's. Never heard about any homophobia -especially if they're both gay. Allegedly. Did hear Evans, andother studio brass, were complaining to Edwards constantly, about the money the film was costing, while shooting, and the pressure he, and Andrews, were under. Maybe that made them stressed out, and miserable to be around- AND they took out their frustrations on Hudson, et. al. Wouldn't be the fiest time that's happened on a film.

Brycedavid
Brycedavid

Well I agree. It's not just because the two hated each other (it's all on screen) but the entire film is one big boneheaded project: Lili is a double spy, a la Marta Hari, who happens to be a singer. In one scene she sings to soldiers at a hospital, all wounded from the war and we're supposed to feel what? How many soldiers were wounded because of Lili's spying? It's impossible to sympathize with her. The whole thing is beyond bad. Rock's love is supposed to convince her to switch sides. Oy!  Edwards apparently cut 17 scenes from the original release and it's still bad. Watching Julie and Rock walk in the museum, both looking miserable as hell, is one of the highlights of the film.

Still Swooning
Still Swooning

The "Edward's" treated Rock like shit all through the filming, installing him in lesser accomodations while they stayed in one entire castle! And RH was just as big, if not a bigger star in those days than Mary PopperVon Trapper. Plus Blake Edwards was sniping at Rock about his kissing technique, even as scenes were being shot. How could a hunk like Rock get it going with Ms. Sour Lemon prim & proper with stink-face homophob husband breathing down his neck? As said before, he never had any problem convincing us swooning women fans before( or after) "Darling(HA!) Lily"! Ans all the rest of his female co-stars seemed to adore him!

BetteD
BetteD

Least convincing couple?  Well, let me begin by saying I love her, but -- Barbra Streisand and Omar Shariff and then Kris Kristofferson (the photo of them supposedly nude on the album cover was very traumatic to me).

MSpeer
MSpeer

Continuing the chain below re: Rock and Julie. Sorry to hear they did not get along. If you've ever watched Roddy McDowall's videos on YouTube from the mid 60s you'll see a young and beautiful Julie Andrews attending one of his Sunday parties at Malibu. She seemed very much at home and so the homophobia comment seems misplaced. Hope it is.

Now, about Darling Lili: what the hell where they thinking? What a snooze-fest. However, as Southern Dave says, Julie's rendering of the song he mentions is the highpoint of the film. Does anyone else think that the three films Andrews made at that time were poor choices and wonder how they got made at a time in our history when these subjects were the last things people wanted to see? Thoroughly Modern Millie, Star, and Darling Lili. Have to say I love Thoroughly Modern Millie as an adolescent and still do although I now identify more with Bea Lillie.

Stephanie
Stephanie

I think their lack of chemistry had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Rock was gay and had everything to do with the fact that these two absolutely hated one another. Julie Andrews was the only female costar Rock ever worked with that he didn't get along with famously. Both Andrews and her husband Blake Edwards knew that Rock was gay when they made Darling Lili, and Rock complained to friends they treated him horribly because of it. He said this was the worst filming experience he ever had in his entire career. Rock had no problem creating chemistry with any other his other costars, Julie Andrews was just a homophobic bitch!! (Funny she's a gay icon now)

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

A magazine article (I think it was Esquire) reportedly had Andrews telling Hudson, "Remember, there's room for only one leading lady on this film!"

That said, Julie has one of the most haunting numbers of her career in "Whistling Away the Dark" on an empty, black stage, with banks of colored lights lluminating her. Just beautiful.

Allen Firth
Allen Firth

Anyone paired against Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and/or Keanu Reeves.  Such boring, one-dimensional actors, you have to really feel sorry for any actress who has to work with them.

Jcrain
Jcrain

For a scary split-second I thought that was a pic of Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin. I'd had a nightmare where he runs for the presidency and picks her as mate. And they win and they ... mate. If it hadn't been a dream then I must be insane....

mischabee
mischabee

One of the oddest and most surprising pairings I think, was Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Pullman, in the movie, Mr. Wrong. But it worked! I love that movie.

Joe Hartman
Joe Hartman

Both Peter Bart and Robert Evans read as homophobes from this article.  Hudson was plenty masculine and had great chemistry with both Liz Taylor and Doris Day.  Andrews is supposedly the only female co-star that Hudson was unable to get aong with, and the distate was mutual.  If someone mentally repels you and as you lean in to kiss them all you see is the daggers in their eyes, it's difficult to dredge up anylevel of comfort or desire for intimacy.  

Movielover
Movielover

Rock was convincing in a lot of movies including sexy scenes.  It's Julie who has a very smarmy, fake and cold presence.  She seemed well suited to her man role in Victor Victoria.  Cripes!  She couldn't even convince in Torn Curtain opposite steamy Paul Newman.

Musto
Musto

Yes, Moment By Moment was odd, but the movie (written by Lily's lover Jane) seemed to be playing on the mismatch. Lily was usually on top, signifying she was the "man." And they both had similar hairdos, so they were basically androgynous twins. That's different from a Darling Lili-type situation.

Muscato
Muscato

Darling Lili?  Hardly.  Surely the least convincing screen couple in history must be the remarkable pairing of scissor sister Lily Tomlin and scienolicious John Travolta in the never-to-be-forgotten (by the 200 or so people who saw it) Moment by Moment.  About the best you can say for them as a couple is that they had matching hair.

Even if you disqualify that magnum opus for some reason or another (perhaps sheer putridness), that still leaves Mae West and Timothy Dalton in Sextette.  Oh, wait; if putridness is a game-stopper, than that one's out, too.

Hmmmmm....

Islamabad
Islamabad

Robert Evans sounds like quite the lowlife.

Bones
Bones

I am suddenly dying to see this movie.

Musto
Musto

I love Millie too. Julie, John Gavin, Bea Lillie, and Mary Tyler Moore made a frolicsome mix for me. Star! is indeed laborious, especially when it turns out to be Robert Reed (Mr. Brady) who tames Gertie. But the final number, the Kurt Weill extravaganza, is sumptuously amazing.

Neo-Realist
Neo-Realist

So I guess when Travolta played the Divine drag role in Hairspray, was he just being more of his true self as opposed to stretching out as an actor?

Rob in Philly
Rob in Philly

That would make an awesome skit for SNL or a horror movie.  Canada wouldn't be a far enough away move.  Might need to consider moving to another planet. 

Davore
Davore

Well, the movie was called Mr Wrong, lol.

Marquesa
Marquesa

And she and Christopher Plummer didn't exactly light up the screen in Sound of Music.

Troofire
Troofire

 I agree with Tomlin and Travolta completely.  Watching them was painful as it must have been for both of them as well.   Whose perverse idea WAS this bomb?

mookindahouse
mookindahouse

 "So I guess when Travolta played the Divine drag role in Hairspray, was he just being more of his true self as opposed to stretching out as an actor?

pretty much. K. Preston (his "wife") is a far worse actress, though. her best performance is as a coked-up runway model at Studio 54 ca. 1977 (go and search for it on Youtube!)

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

John Travolta and Christopher Walken are a match made in terpsichorean heaven.

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