The most influential actress of the Golden Age

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The most influential actress of the Golden Age

Post by Hollis »

Here's one that could probably be debated forever, but here goes... Who do you feel is the most influential actress of the Golden Age? The actress that opened the doors for future generations to pass through. I'm tossed between Bette Davis and Kate Hepburn. Both had incredible presence on the screen and took on roles that other actresses just couldn't have handled (at least in my humble opinion.) I'd like to know what others think.

As always,

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Sue Sue Applegate
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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

Dear Hollis,
I always think of Bette and Katherine as two of the most influential. I feel that Bette Davis was fearless in her choice and demand of different, challenging roles, and I think of Katherine Hepburn as being serious in developing vehicles or seeking vehicles for her performances on screen.
Alike in some ways, different in others. Bette Davis always seemed to make choices that challenged her. I feel that Hepburn made a great deal of excellent choices, but also orchestrated behind the scenes with less rancor than Bette did.

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Moraldo Rubini
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Women Under the Influence

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

1. Mary Pickford. The first real star. She had a hand in writing, sets, producing (founding United Artists); taking power into her hands and handling her own career.

2. Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland. In addition to their strong roles, their battles with Warner Bros. changed the studio/actor relationship for the betterment of their contemporaries and those that followed.
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Post by pktrekgirl »

Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn are both very important actresses. No doubt of that.

I'm not really a particular fan of Kate (her films are often too 'chatty' for me)...but I can appreciate why others love her, and I recognize her vast talents and personality as being essential to the history of classic film. I think my favorite Katharine Hepburn pictures are those she did with Spencer Tracy - he balanced her out quite nicely with his more calm personality, and as a result, I could watch those films again and again.

I like Bette Davis alot more as an actress. What a tremendous talent. Bette Davis, never exactly one of those breathtakingly beautiful women we see so often in film, rose to the top of her prefession by shear talent, determination, and force of will. And you gotta give her credit for that. She played such a wide range of characters, and was never afraid of taking on a role where she didn't look lovely throughout. She is just tremendous in films like OF HUMAN BONDAGE...which in my mind is probably her best role. But I love her in pretty much everything she did. Some of my personal favorites are: DANGEROUS, NOW VOYAGER, A STOLEN LIFE, THE CORN IS GREEN, ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO, THE SISTERS, JEZEBEL....and many others.

I also agree about Mary Pickford. Definitely a pioneer of the silent screen era, who 'played with the big boys' and was a huge success.
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Re: Women Under the Influence

Post by SSO Admins »

Moraldo Rubini wrote:1. Mary Pickford. The first real star. She had a hand in writing, sets, producing (founding United Artists); taking power into her hands and handling her own career.
If you are talking influence, then Pickford wins over anyone, hands down. It's not even opinion, it's fact. She was likely the most influential women in film ever, not just the early years.

Post by jdb1 »

SHolmes wrote:I would share the opinion that Mary Pickford was probably the most. But I also like Olivia de Havilland really good and think she did a lot to help movies and women. Plus, she was a sweetheart.

Although Betty Davis and Hepburn was instrumental, in my opinion, I think they are too highly overrated.

But that is just me.
What do you mean? I'm not sure I understand what it is de Havilland did to help movies and women.
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Post by MissGoddess »

I guess I would go along with Davis and Hebburn, because so many actresses have mentioned them being big influences.

Although, to this day, there are just as many imitators of Marilyn Monroe and her pregenitor, Jean Harlow---whether they realize it consciously or not. :wink:

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Post by Garbomaniac »

Well, I hate to sound prejudice, but both Davis and Hepburn were in awe of Garbo. They have both been quoted as saying they were mesmerized by her presence and ability on the screen. So, if either of them had great influence, I must add ONE of the sources of that influence, GG. You have to remember that she was a star before both of them, and they probably started out watching her films.

But, back to Davis or Hepburn, probably Davis had the bigger influence since she dared to take roles others feared.
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