With his black Irish looks and dimpled smile, Tyrone Power was a perfect matinee idol. Yet he dreamed of being in an accident that would ruin his face and let his ability speak for him instead.
Here are a few of Tyrone Power’s faces: The charming scoundrel; the athletic swashbuckler; the angry young man; the idealistic dreamer; and his favorite, the gritty geek.
We'll start with Tyrone Power's last film. Based on the play by Agatha Christie, Witness for the Prosecution has an all-star cast: with Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, and Elsa Lanchester joining Power. Billy Wilder’s direction brings out not only the courtroom drama and histrionics, but the humor in a murder mystery with twists, turns and a surprise ending. As in many of his earlier films, Power plays a lovable rogue, but here a man who is as complicated as he is charming. In a way, it’s a dual role, and a fitting end to a wonderful 22-year career.
This World War II propaganda movie about a British solder and a “Wren” (a member of the Women's Royal Naval Service) is a lovely, dark film based on the book of the same name. Joan Fontaine and Tyrone Power have good chemistry, although the movie cuts out much of the sexual content found in the book. Clive Briggs is one of Power’s finest portrayals - a moody, deeply conflicted young man who isn‘t sure what he‘s fighting for. In her book, The Star Machine, Jeanine Basinger writes that, had his service in WWII not intervened, this might have been the beginning of meatier roles for heartthrob Power.
Based on the novel by Somerset Maugham, Twentieth Century Fox mounted this opulent production to herald Tyrone Power’s return from the war - and signal to the star that better roles were coming his way. The magnificent cast, with Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, John Payne and Herbert Marshall, tells the story of a man who walks "in another man's shoes" -- and to his own drummer -- after the first world war. The introspective role of Larry Darrell was a good fit for Power; after his own experiences in World War II, he shared many of the same feelings as his character. As an idealist who falls in love with the wrong woman, Power is excellent.
Power puts on the mantle of the great Rudolph Valentino in this remake. As with The Mark of Zorro, Rouben Mamoulian’s brilliant direction makes this the definitive version and a true classic. Based on the Ibanez novel, it tells the story of the rise of a matador, the son of a bullfighter killed in the ring. The film was an important stepping-stone for Rita Hayworth as a seductress who steals Juan from his wife; and for Anthony Quinn as a young matador. Stage star Nazimova plays Juan’s pessimistic mother. The central role of Juan Gallardo was ambitious for Power. Under Mamoulian‘s direction, he puts in a stunning performance as a poor boy who marries his sweetheart and succumbs to the excesses of wealth and fame.