The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
- Audrey Hepburn

Who are your top five favorite actresses?

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: moira finnie, Lzcutter, Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957

pktrekgirl
Administrator
Posts: 641
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 1:08 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Contact:

Who are your top five favorite actresses?

Postby pktrekgirl » April 18th, 2007, 5:05 pm

Give us your top 5...and the reasons why you love them!

Mine:

1. Barbara Stanwyck - I love Babs because I think she was one of the most supremely talented actresses ever. I have seen most of her films...and I am still waiting to see a substandard performance.

In truth, I don't think I'll ever see one. Babs was good in every role and was the highpoint of pretty much every film she was in. Even if the film wasn't so good, Babs was great!


2. Myrna Loy - I think she's cute...and hilariously funny. Especially with William Powell...but really, with anyone.


3. Olivia deHavilland - I think she is just adorable. And of course, there is that whole Errol Flynn association she's got going for her too! :lol:

I thought they were great together...and Olivia was great on her own as well.


4. Kay Francis - one of the most elegant stars of the 1930's....I just love Kay. She was beautiful, her films were great, and the sets and wardrobe she used was so deco!


5. Jean Arthur - cute as a button, and a very versatile actress. I think January was the first month in my entire TCM-watching career that I watched every SINGLE SOTM entry.

Tell me about your top five! :)

User avatar
sugarpuss
Posts: 117
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 12:57 pm
Location: Western New York
Contact:

Top 5 actresses!

Postby sugarpuss » April 18th, 2007, 6:42 pm

Oh, I love making lists! It's one of my favorite hobbies.

1. - Tied - Bette Davis - I just adore her. She was a tough, ballsy woman who also happened to be a fantastic actress. There's a lot of fire in her acting, and even in her substandard movies, she's wonderful. I don't think I've ever seen her phone in a performance. She's exciting to watch.

Favorite movies: Of Human Bondage, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Jezebel, Dark Victory and Bordertown

1. - Tied - Katharine Hepburn - She really was the first actress whose movies I fell in love with. I love a good Kate movie, and of course, the ones she did with Spencer are my favorites (with the exception of Woman of the Year). I love the fact that she can go from innocent to sexy to hurt in the blink of an eye.

Favorite Movies: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Desk Set, The African Queen, Adam's Rib, and my favorite Tracy/Hepburn pairing, Without Love.

3. Barbara Stanwyck - I always felt that she was the closest to a "men's" actress as you could get. She wasn't afraid to act "tough", although she was just as glamorous as any other actress out there. I love that about her. I've never seen her give a bad performance. Everytime I see a new Barbara Stanwyck movie, I find something else to love about her.

Favorites: Ball of Fire, Baby Face, Sorry, Wrong Number, Titanic, Stella Dallas (I cry like a baby at the end of that one).

4. Olivia de Havilland - Out of all my favorites, I think she's the most "girlish". She's just so entertaining. There's a sweetness about her that just shines through.

Favorites: The Heiress, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, They Died With Their Boots On, Gone With the Wind

5. Shirley MacLaine - This was the toughest slot to fill, because there are so many actresses I love--but I adore those 60's movies Shirley did! She was so cute and bubbly and fun, and yet she's a great serious actress as well. It's hard not to enjoy her performances.

favorites: What a Way to Go!, The Matchmaker, Some Came Running, The Trouble With Harry, The Apartment

Other honorable mentions: Judy Holliday, Gloria Grahame, Lauren Bacall, Jean Arthur, Paula Prentiss, Doris Day, Deborah Kerr, Thelma Ritter--the list goes on. There are too many good classic actresses out there!
"Some of the best parts of life are frivolous." - Arthur Kennedy in A Summer Place
-----
The Roadshow Version: A Modern Take on Classic Movies

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Postby Mr. Arkadin » April 18th, 2007, 9:37 pm

Lillian Gish:

Birth of a Nation (1915)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
Way Down East (1920)
Night of the Hunter (1955)

Ingrid Bergman:

Gaslight (1940)
Spellbound(1945)
Europa 51 (1952)
My Voyage to Italy (1953)

Liv Ullmann:

Persona (1966)
Shame (1968)
The Passion of Anna (1970)
Scenes froma Marriage (1973)

Barbara Stanwyck:

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
Ball of Fire (1941)
Double Indemnity (1944)
The Violent Men (1955)


Gong Li:

Red Sorghum (1988)
Ju Dou (1990)
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
To Live (1994)

pktrekgirl
Administrator
Posts: 641
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 1:08 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Contact:

Postby pktrekgirl » April 18th, 2007, 11:03 pm

Sugarpuss...you know I agree with you about Bette Davis. I don't think she was CAPABLE of phoning in a performance. She was too driven to even consider such a thing.

I really like her alot too. She as just breathtaking in Of Human Bondage...WOW what a performance. She had me feeling SOOOOOOOO sorry for Leslie Howard I could have killed her!

I tell you one film I really love of hers - All This and Heaven Too. Admittedly I love it even more for Charles Boyer (my favorite of his roles, I think)...but Bette was just perfect. Great film!

And I quite enjoyed The Corn is Green as well.

Jeez...I can't think of any of her performances that I really disliked.

Well, except maybe The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. But that's really more because I can't help but think about what was going on behind the scenes on that film - she made Errol Flynn miserable - and that distracts me somewhat.

But other than that...I can't think of a single instance where I didn't care for her.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 19th, 2007, 1:04 pm

This question was harder for me to answer than favorite actor. Let's see --

Katharine Hepburn: Very different, and not to everyone's taste, but I have loved her all my life. An actress of great and obvious intelligence, willing to try whatever parts seemed "interesting" to her (and she herself would acknowledge, not always successfully). She wasn't great at first, and didn't really deserve that first Oscar, IMO, but she was of a strong enough spirit to dig deeper and find that key that opened up her ability to burn up the screen. Her dramatic abilities are unparalled, but it's her comic talent that I really admire. She exudes such a sense of fun in her comedies - it makes them that much more enjoyable to think she is having so much fun, and she's inviting you to join in. What can you say about a woman who is equally at home and wonderful in films as disperate as "Bringing Up Baby" "African Queen," and "Long Day's Journey?" It's no wonder so many women admire her. She showed us that we could do anything, real or make-believe, if we had the right stuff.

Claudette Colbert: Another highly skilled and intelligent actress at home in drama, but able to transmit a sense of humor and a sense of fun in comedies. Like Hepburn, she had unusual, non-standard looks, and they worked well for her. She is one of the few ultra-ladylike, grande dame stars whose persona I believed.

Lucille Ball: No secret I love the cinema comediennes. At this point, there's little point in repeating how amazingly she did comedy, but when she was at the studio, not everyone believed it. Her dramas are interesting, but not great, and that may be partly the fault of the material. My favorite of her serious roles is "Dance Girl Dance," where she made an entirely credible floozy, and I think she is wonderful ("wondafull," as Lucy Ricardo would have said) in the comedy-drama "The Facts of Life." And of course, I think she was absolutely gorgeous in color - the equal of Rita Hayworth in that department.

Thelma Ritter: She played a similar character in practically every movie she was in, but so what: she was great. Ritter radiated wisdom, no-nonsense, and good humor. She was perfectly at home in every film she was in, and commanded your attention no matter who else was on the screen with her.

Judy Garland: In a category all her own. When I look at Garland on the screen, I see not just a preternaturally talented woman, but a loving woman of boundless energy and perpetual humor. She had star quality in superhuman quantities.

User avatar
sugarpuss
Posts: 117
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 12:57 pm
Location: Western New York
Contact:

Postby sugarpuss » April 19th, 2007, 1:31 pm

pktrekgirl wrote:Well, except maybe The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. But that's really more because I can't help but think about what was going on behind the scenes on that film - she made Errol Flynn miserable - and that distracts me somewhat.

But other than that...I can't think of a single instance where I didn't care for her.


There's a funny story in her biography that during the whole filming of Essex, he was making her miserable during the kissing scenes (he kept trying to make the kisses more "romantic", and she was repulsed because he had been drinking all night. She used to imagine that she was kissing Laurence Olivier instead.)

I'm not sure, but didn't Bette finally admit--years later--that Errol Flynn was wonderful in that film after watching it again? I know I read it or saw that somewhere, but I can't remember.

The only movie I didn't enjoy was Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. It had nothing to do with Bette (and I like Joan Crawford, but Bette really outacted her on that one), but the movie itself. It's always left me with this uncomfortable feeling at the end. I'm not sure why, but I've never been able to watch it more than once.

jdb1, I loved your thoughts on Katharine Hepburn! You really summed up all the reasons I love her, perfectly. I don't think she deserved the Oscar for Morning Glory either, but really she really deserved it for Stage Door.

And I forgot to put Judy Garland in my list as well! And yes, I thought she was robbed for A Star is Born. I love her musicals (except for The Wizard of Oz, but she was beyond amazing in that. She led such a tragic life, yet she was amazing whenever she was on screen.
"Some of the best parts of life are frivolous." - Arthur Kennedy in A Summer Place

-----

The Roadshow Version: A Modern Take on Classic Movies

benwhowell
Posts: 568
Joined: April 16th, 2007, 3:14 pm
Location: Las Vegas
Contact:

Too difficult for me to pick "favorites"

Postby benwhowell » April 19th, 2007, 1:44 pm

Here are five actresses I can't get enough of...and five of their stand-out film appearances...
Joan Blondell
"Three On a Match"
"Night Nurse"
"Dames"
"A Tree Grows In Brooklyn"
"The Blue Veil"
(one more) "Opening Night"

Agnes Moorehead
"The Magnificent Ambersons"
"Dark Passage"
"Johnny Belinda"
"Caged"
"Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte"

Thelma Ritter
"All About Eve"
"Pickup On South Street"
"Pillow Talk"
"The Misfits"
"Birdman Of Alcatraz"

Mildred Natwick
"The Trouble With Harry"
"Trilogy"
"Barefoot In The Park"
"At Long Last Love"
"Dangerous Liaisons"

Mildred Dunnock
"Death Of A Salesman"
"The Trouble With Harry"
"Baby Doll"
"The Story On Page One"
"Sweet Bird Of Youth"

User avatar
ken123
Posts: 1807
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 4:08 pm
Location: Chicago

Postby ken123 » April 19th, 2007, 1:46 pm

Joian Blondell was also excellent and sexy in Nightmare Alley. :lol:

User avatar
movieman1957
Administrator
Posts: 5502
Joined: April 15th, 2007, 3:50 pm
Location: MD

Postby movieman1957 » April 19th, 2007, 2:31 pm

Jean Arthur: I think "You Can't Take It With You" was my first. She's lovely, funny and a flirt. And I like her voice.

Claudette Colbert: Always a lady. She can be funny or wonderfully serious. And she had the same hairstyle for 25 years.

Katharine Hepburn: see Judith's remarks.

Irene Dunne: see "Theodora Goes Wild."

Ginger Rogers: Lovely, can sing, can dance, can break your heart, can make you laugh out loud. Can even fight (see "Vivacious Lady.")
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

User avatar
MissGoddess
Posts: 5108
Joined: April 17th, 2007, 10:01 am
Contact:

Postby MissGoddess » April 19th, 2007, 3:34 pm

Vivien Leigh - A unique creature, not a typically Hollywood actress she defies category, really. Except as the woman who snagged the most coveted role in film. And winning Oscars for portraying two sides of the ever fascinating Southern Belle. Her own demons and tragedy feed into a great many of her performances, which makes frequent watching difficult. And I am not a fan of "unhappy endings". Yet I love her for the bewitching sprite underneath the tears.

Favorite films: GWTW, The Hamilton Woman, The Sidewalks of London, Waterloo Bridge, A Yank at Oxford, Anna Karenina

Myrna Loy - Such a gracious, funny, smart and saucy lady, I wish I could be her persona on film. She's never, ever heavy, strident or vulgar and yet she's honest and never a bore! What a miracle that is, so very rare. While I most adore her with Bill Powell, I also am crazy for her movies with Gable, and I think she was one of his best leading ladies, particularly in Test Pilot.

Favorite films: The Thin Man, Penthouse, Manhattan Melodrama, Libeled Lady, 13 Women, The Barbarian, Test Pilot, Too Hot to Handle, Wife vs. Secretary, When Ladies Meet, Topaze, Men in White, Stamboul Quest

Marilyn Monroe - She's been a kindred spirit in many ways. I have traveled a few roads similar to her own, so she's very easy to understand, and she even helped me get work in L.A. as a model (some photographer was cockeyed enough to think I looked like the young Norma Jean---I only did with the grace of skillful make-up and clever lighting, but it was one of the hi-lights of my shortlived career) and her last complete film, The Misfits, is the inspiration for one of my screenplays and I even wrote Arthur Miller about it. He was gracious enough to reply encouragingly. I've never seen anything like MM's affinity for the camera, it continues to draw me in, no matter who else shares its frame with her.

Favorite films: The Misfits, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Let's Make Love, How to Marry a Millionaire, Bus Stop, Don't Bother to Knock.

Ava Gardner - Hemingway's ideal femme, she was the gutsiest but most womanly and FUN loving gal I've seen on screen. Her natural warmth and humor comes through her best roles. I wish I had her courage to speak as bluntly as she did, yet without heaviness. I think she is probably the most beautiful woman of all the actresses.

Favorite films: Mogambo (her best), The Barefoot Contessa, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, Bowhani Junction, Ride, Vacquero!, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Hucksters, One Touch of Venus, Night of the Iguana (mainly for her).

Carole Lombard - This fifth choice was tough, because Gene Tierney, Lana Turner and a few others are awfully deserving considering my huge affection for them, but Carole showed such good taste in husbands she's got the edge here. :wink: Besides her nose for men, she had the highest energy I've ever seen---electricity seemed to come out of the ends of her nails and golden hair. She could crack wise (on and off screen, she was a notorious practical-joker), be at ease in an elegant setting showing off Travis Banton's creations to a tee, or swinging punches at Freddie March (Nothing Sacred). But never, ever did she lose her bright eagerness and femininity. Personality to burn and beauty exquisite. What a combo.

Favorite films: My Man Godfrey, No Man of Her Own, Nothing Sacred, To Be or Not to Be, In Name Only, Hands Across the Table, The Princess Comes Across

User avatar
MissGoddess
Posts: 5108
Joined: April 17th, 2007, 10:01 am
Contact:

Postby MissGoddess » April 19th, 2007, 3:37 pm

[
I tell you one film I really love of hers - All This and Heaven Too. Admittedly I love it even more for Charles Boyer (my favorite of his roles, I think)...but Bette was just perfect. Great film!]

I wish this one would turn up on dvd, I've always liked it so much I even got the book it's based on (which is based loosely on true incidents). It's one of the most romantic dramas of the age. Boyer just seethes with repressed emotions, doesn't he? I love the bits with the snowglobes. That was beautifully translated onscreen.

User avatar
MissGoddess
Posts: 5108
Joined: April 17th, 2007, 10:01 am
Contact:

Postby MissGoddess » April 19th, 2007, 3:41 pm

sugarpuss wrote:The only movie I didn't enjoy was Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. It had nothing to do with Bette (and I like Joan Crawford, but Bette really outacted her on that one), but the movie itself. It's always left me with this uncomfortable feeling at the end. I'm not sure why, but I've never been able to watch it more than once.



That's one BD/JC film I really don't like. I really don't care for most of the movies Bette and Joan did in the sixties, but particularly this one. I just don't think it's a nice depiction of women their age. Not a shred of gallantry about it, and that turns me off.

I like both actresses, but not that movie. I prefer their early years before each started to "harden" in style and appearance.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 19th, 2007, 8:20 pm

Marilyn Monroe -

Favorite films: The Misfits, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Let's Make Love, How to Marry a Millionaire, Bus Stop, Don't Bother to Knock.


MissG, I should have added MM to my list as well. You have reminded me of what a complex and talented actress she was. She was so good, that she made you believe she was that creature the studio created for her to be. Seeing her lately in "Asphalt Jungle" reminded me of how really beautiful she was - she looked gorgeous in that part, as she did in another of her early films, "Clash by Night." And that beauty was of the natural sort, not the Glamour Girl persona of a few years later.

I don't know if I've ever seen many screen performances as great as hers in "Bus Stop." Luminous doesn't begin to describe it. There was so much substance to her performance, which was of course overshadowed by the sex goddess stuff. It's no wonder she lived such a frustrated life - she and Elvis were trapped by their Other Selves.

[This is the second posting of this comment - I don't know where the first one went. Forgive me if I've repeated myself. JDB]


Return to “The People of Film”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 18 guests