I find it strangely appropriate bringing up Harryhausen and by association, Miklos Rozsa. Of all the great composers who excelled at the action genre, chief among them Korngold, Steiner, Waxman, Newman and Tiomkin, I am firm in the belief that Rozsa would have suited Conan best. I base this opinion on the following film-scores: "Knights Of The Round Table", "Quo Vadis", "Moonfleet", "Ben-Hur" and, of course, "The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad". Rozsa, unlike Steiner and Korngold, opted to base his themes and incidental music on his Hungarian roots rather than the prevailing approach that favored the Viennese influence. The resulting sound was more exotic, heavy with an Oriental flavor as befitted movies like "The Thief Of Bagdad" and "The Four Feathers". Of course, he could do it all, from lush romantic films to those darker noir tales, the musical approach of which he pretty much defined. The only other composer who could have pulled this of would have been Tiomkin, also heavy into exoticism and dissonance. Don't get me wrong, Bernard Herrmann was great, arguably the greatest, and his collaboration with Harryahusen and Hitchcock greatly enhanced those films, making them even more memorable. But when it comes to Conan, I hear Rozsa over and over again in my head. If anyone is interested, go to YouTube and check out his "Greatest Hits".
That was in 1970 or so... who would have been available as Conan?
How about bad-ass big Bill Smith ? The guy who played Conans dad in C.T.B. 12 years later ? He was a gorilla in size back then , you can see a bit of the sinister in his stare ( meaning that he would probably punch someone in the nose without thinking twice ) a genius brainiac who knows 5 languages , - one of which he taught , he had a purple heart from the Korean war & was always a better actor than the roles he was cast in because of his big mean appearance . I think he would have been a hell of a good Conan ! He was still intimidating looking in his late 40's in C.T.B. 25 years ago . I don't recall seeing him in anything since then though .
Here's what he looked like in '61 & then again in '68 - just a couple years before the date above . Those were the days when there was still a bunch of guys lifting without 'chemistry' .
This guy would have been an awesome Conan!
I ALWAYS thought either Smith or Palance would have made ideal Conans. Both at 6'3' and both sharing that explosive and dangerous temperament. It's obvious Smith patterned his nastiness after Palance and, in fact they share a similar look, though Bill is the more muscular. Both guys were boxers, very athletic and very intelligent. Smith is also a black belt and, as previously noted, a former world arm-wrestling champ. Like Conan, both guys were polyglots, speaking numerous languages. I believe Palance was fluent in Russian, Ukranian and Italian. Here's an odd bit of trivia: both these guys actually had it out, at least on T.V. anyway, in an episode of Palance's short-lived "Bronk" with Smith playing--you guessed it--a motorcycle crazy. I wish I could find that episode.
If he is such a HUGE and muscled man then let us see some pictures!...
Wow, there sure are a lot of crickets around here...
Ahhhhh, there are no pictures of him as a HUGE, muscled man, because he is NOT a huge, muscled man. He is a tall (I'd bet money at most he is 6'2" - 6'3") lanky, Hawain man. In all of the pictures and tv images I've seen of this guy, there is not a single one that even remotely resembles anything massive or heavily muscled or 'thickly muscled arms. Hell, he doesn't even have broad shoulders.
... Please note that Conan was described in this story as having "great shoulders", "heavy arms" and "muscular arms". These physical descriptions clearly do not fit any description of Momoa.
... Please also note that the Captain of the Wastrel is described as being as "tall as Conan, though of leaner build". If someone got any leaner than this Momoa, he would practically be a skeleton.
ok, first of all, I've got to say that Howard's idea of "great shoulders", and "heavy muscular" arms was quite different in the 1930s than it is now, nearly a century later. Back in those days (top 5 heavyweights of 1930s: My link) the heavy weight boxers looked like that:
Just because you envision Conan as a huge steroid-pumped Ultimate fighter, doesn't mean that's what Howard envisioned while he described Conan as he did. It's all a matter of perspective.
That said, here is Momoa's pic (at 6'4"):
And by THOSE standards, I'll say Momoa measures up in my book.
Momoa claims he is 6'4", which in Hollywood terms means he is 6'1-6'2" and the reasons that actors lie about their height and weight is another topic.
I don't want Conan to be a steriod pumped Ultimate fighter. I want him to be massive, heavily muscled, thickly muscled, with mighty, powerful shoulders and chest as Howard described him. Momoa has none of those qualities. None. He is tall and lanky.
I used Mir as an example of a physique that would be very good for portraying Conan. Mir has come by his physique honestly, no steroids, just training, fighting and hard work (sounds like Conan's life)... btw, Mir has never tested positive for steriods, the UFC is very stringent about steriod testing as there is a lot of money involved in betting on UFC fights.
As for the pictures you supplied for heavyweight boxers in REH's day, I think amsterdamaged said it best that the 2 guys on the right blow Momoa out of the water. Btw, did you know that Howard lifted weights and it has been mentioned on this board that he was interested in bodybuilding? Did you know that there were many examples of bodybuilders during his day? I believe amsterdamaged has presented you with a cover of one of the muscle magazines of Howard's day. You are welcome.
Hollywod, I know I'm running the risk of beating this topic to death, but I think it relevant you drew attention to various prizefighters as possible physical types that would foot the bill. When I consider Conan's build I envision either James Jeffries, Victor McGlaglen or Max Baer, Baer probably most of all, given his height. What with Howard's love of the fight game I think it pretty safe to say he saw Conan similarly put together. Jeffries was THE "Iron Man" and Howard said so. And I don't think there was ever a better proportioned athlete, at least in the ring, than Baer, the prototypical modern heavyweight.
Vincent D'Onofrio standing in front of the headlights explaining Conan to Renee Zellweger, was the closet Hollywood has gotten for me.
I loved that scene, too. It was truly thrilling and quite frankly gave me goosebumps. Shame that we won't get goosebumps with this upcoming offal-heap. Maybe, when they screen the new film, they'll provide complimentary barf-bags with the official CONAN logo! Those will fetch big money as memorabilia.
I wonder what the Tarzan-purists thought of Johnny Weismuller's portrayal...or the Holmes afficionados felt about Rathbone's depiction. They were undoubtedly concerned with the lack of faithfulness, too.
Those Weismuller Tarzans are an interesting example. With the exception of the first in the series, the rest bore little resemblance to ERB's Lord Greystoke. But despite the liberties taken, there were 3 or 4 of those films that were very well done, and the second one out of the box, "Tarzan And His Mate", is for many (me included) the very best of the Tarzan flicks. Weismuller and Maureen O'Sullivan were a match made in heaven, with a genuine chemistry between them. Burroughs, not happy with MGM's take on his hero, produced his own version starring another Olympian, Herman Brix (aka Bruce Bennett). This Tarzan was literate and adhered more to ERB's version. At least the author was able to influence a movie's outcome. Imagine if REH had lived and hooked up with, say John Ford or DeMille? Wesimuller WAS Tarzan in the popular consciousness. Ditto Rathbone as Holmes, Flynn as Robin Hood, Reeves as Hercules and Connery as Bond. So, yeah there's a trade-off in getting these stories to the big screen, but the intentions were honorable and the results, mostly, pretty darn good. This Conan film would have been the better if the producers and director had taken the tack Jon Favreau took when making the first "Iron Man". Right from the start he included the fans, soliciting their input while sharing various stages of the production, and this respectful approach paid off, big-time. So it can be done.