Robert Redford is one of the movie stars of our time, yet I would contend that he’s always been an underrated actor. There are a host of reasons for that, and they feed into each other in subtle, at times mythic ways. You could say, on the one hand, that Redford was too golden-boy pretty (always a surefire way to not get nearly the respect you deserve), or that he was too understated as a screen presence, or that he was too openly skeptical of the Hollywood game. Redford had his first major big-screen role in 1965, in Inside Daisy Clover, and by 1969, when he starred in the independently financed Downhill Racer, he was already seeking ways to work outside the system, and that echoed his dynamic as an actor: He played men who stood apart, who created their own private space of action and wary observation. That was the Redford mystique, and it’s what attracted audiences to him and, at the same time, allowed him to come off on screen as self-contained and even aloof. From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) onward, Redford had the glow of a larger-than-life star, but as the 1970s rolled forward, it was his special karma to be the last WASP god in a Hollywood that was busy leaving the world he stood for — the world of WASP gods — behind. READ FULL STORY
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