If you have read anything about Richard Gere and his work, or lived to see his impressive career unfurl, you know that he was one of the most successful sex symbols of the 1980-90s era of film. Fans love him for his looks, certainly, but the versatility of his acting talent is what has kept his followers, well, following him from movie to movie. Some may argue that his looks are what pushed him from just another character actor to a full blown idealised symbol of over a decade, and they might be right. But that doesn’t me we still can’t look back and enjoy a career as substantial and fulfilling as Richard Gere’s.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)

Directed by Richard Brooks and starring Richard Gere alongside Diane Keaton and Tuesday Weld, Looking for Mr. Goodbar was packed with talent. Some would say it was Richard Gere’s first work to get him ‘known’ in the industry by a large audience. The movie is a sexual drama around Theresa, a young teacher of deaf children in the 1970s. She goes clubbing to pick up guys for one night stands. Her sexcapades turn to a whole new level of stimulation with Richard Gere’s character Tony. They have a brief relationship of increasingly dangerous sex, culminating in a switchblade in the bedroom. When Theresa breaks up with Tony, he stalks her and harasses her outside of school. The older brother of one of her students ends up beating Tony up.

Richard Gere in Looking for Mr. Goodbar does not play the good guy or the hero. He shows acting talent beyond a good face to accurately play a sexual deviant and over aggressive male. Considering his adoring female fans only increased after this movie came out is even more impressive.

American Gigolo (1980)

In American Gigolo, Richard Gere plays Julian Kay, another wealthy man. But the stereotypes are flipped with Gere playing the escort. Decades later Rob Schneider would play in a similar title, but without the beauty and acting finesse of Gere, the film is a comedy. But not American Gigolo! Suave and professional, even when being passed between female pimps, Richard Gere brings a certain charisma to an otherwise strange and misunderstood career.

Pretty Woman (1990)

In Pretty Woman Richard Gere stars alongside Julia Roberts. Gere’s character, Edward Lewis, hires Roberts character, Vivian Ward, to be his escort for several business and social parties. The movie spans a week’s time. The message initially was supposed to a cautionary one, but Richard Gere’s charm and pull on the viewer changed it from a dark movie on prostitution to the best Romantic Comedies of the 1990s. Actually, it’s one of the biggest earners in the whole rom com category, regardless of decade, grossing over four hundred million dollars. Richard Gere’s career is on a different level when he can take a Romantic Comedy and turn it into a widely loved best seller of both men and women.

Wow, it’s been awhile…what started as a noble project has quickly become side tracked.

To ease into this again, here’s the newest trailer from the new Mark Wahlberg film. Let me know what you think below – looks a bit different!

movie cameraIt all started with one man with enough money to buy a large tract of land, H. J. Whitley, the “Father of Hollywood.” As is evident in the Hollywood we know today, Whitley had more than just a deep pocket, but also a vision. To create a thriving new area ten miles west of L.A., he started to curate business in his newly purchased bit of land. By 1900, Hollywood had a post office, newspaper, hotel, and two markets – the building blocks of any great society. And speaking of building, in 1902 Whitley built the Hollywood Hotel to attract land buyers. He created quite a stir by spending a lot of money for electric lighting to the first residential area, Ocean View Tract. He even built a bank and road for the area. 1910, in the middle of prohibition, Hollywood merged with Los Angeles to secure an adequate water supply.

This connection to the city of Los Angeles provided more than just water, as major motion-picture companies began to set up in or near L.A. . Interesting enough, Hollywood had a ban on movie theaters, but not on production. The first major film shot in Hollywood was inside Whitley’s home and property. This lead to other companies setting up in Hollywood, including Paramount, Warner Bros., RKO and Columbia pictures. These companies fled to Hollywood to escape strict rules imposed by Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company in New Jersey. Basically, they did it to dodge the patent monopoly that existed in the East. Because of the influx of such businesses, commercial and retail success polarized to a specific niche, movies. Nicknames like Tinseltown and Movie Biz City started circulating the nation, adding to Hollywood’s image as the film mecha of the United States.

The 1950s provided an explosion of infrastructure in Hollywood – the Hollywood Freeway, Capitol Records Building, and Walk of Fame where all erected during this period. The ‘50s created many of the landmarks that create Hollywood’s image today.

Mainly, movies are made in Hollywood because of the big shift in film production companies to the west coast in the early twentieth century in order to dodge strict patent laws. The large distance provided excess time for advanced warning that the Eastern Edison company was coming to investigate and see if their patents were being violated, and a quick trip to Mexico was an easy option for hiding. What survived the ages was a film industry that wasn’t just producing content, but also infrastructure that branded Hollywood as an American hallmark. What shouldn’t be ignored is Whitley’s ability to judge the buyers of land and facilitate the building of a community of filmmakers, and to contribute with his own content too. It really was perfect timing, as the beginning of the twentieth century welcomed moving pictures and Hollywood’s existence; and the late ‘50s brought in television to a Hollywood that already had the industry cornered.

Today, Hollywood is still the mecca for large film production agencies, but you can also find producers of film and television in any major city, such as New York City and Atlanta.