David Niven (1910–1983) was an actor of such diverse talents and charm that he is often categorized using clichéd phrases like “urbane light comedian” or “leading man.” These descriptions are indeed accurate, but one does not survive before the camera for a half-century on charm alone. The problem—if you can call it that—is that Niven made it all look too easy. Like Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days, he took everything in stride, unflappably and (seemingly) effortlessly playing his part, always prepared for whatever came his way. He was, after all, originally a military man by profession. He then chose to “bum” around America, eventually winding up in Hollywood. Just as his film career began to blossom, he was one of the first to answer Britain’s call when World
Organized by Charles Silver, Curator, Department of Film.