6 Classic Tyrone Power Movies

A Hollywood Hearthrob Shows His Range

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.

of 06

"Witness for the Prosecution" - 1957

Witness for the Prosecution
Witness for the Prosecution. United Artists

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.

of 06

"The Mark of Zorro" - 1940

The Mark of Zorro
The Mark of Zorro. 20th Century Fox

Despite the silent film of the same name starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., director Rouben Mamoulian’s 1940 "The Mark of Zorro" is considered definitive. He keeps the pace, humor, and excitement going throughout. The film stars Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell, Gale Sondergaard, Eugene Palette, and J. Edward Bromberg. The success of one of Power's best performances started him on the swashbuckling road - not one he particularly liked traveling, but his fans loved it. In the dual role of the foppish, bored Don Diego and his courageous, tough alter-ego, Power gives a bravura, often hilarious performance.

of 06

"This Above All" - 1942

This Above All
This Above All. 20th Century Fox

This World War II propaganda movie about a British soldier 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.

of 06

"The Razor's Edge" - 1946

The Razor's Edge
The Razor's Edge. 20th Century Fox

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.

of 06

"Blood and Sand" - 1941

Blood and Sand
Blood and Sand. 20th Century Fox

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.

of 06

"Nightmare Alley" - 1947

Nightmare Alley
Nightmare Alley. 20th Century Fox

Darryl Zanuck must be turning in his grave. He didn’t want "Nightmare Alley" made, and he never wanted one of his biggest stars, Tyrone Power, to appear in it. His worst fears were confirmed when he saw his handsome leading man transformed into a character actor. The gritty film noir was ahead of its time for its unrelenting toughness, hard view of alcoholism, glaring look inside the world of mentalists and carnival life (including its description of a geek), and its supernatural aspects. Reminiscent of "Ace in the Hole " and ​the later, cynical Billy Wilder films, ​"Nightmare Alley" was the role in which Power took the most pride. was most proud of. His performance as a carny con man who was “born for it” is chilling.