11 December 2008

20 Actresses Meme

(ăk' trĭs) » n. A woman who acts in a dramatic production.

Tony at Cinema Viewfinder tagged me in a 20 Favorite Actresses meme. Most of the time I shy away from memes (or indefinitely procrastinate) because it's really, really hard to complete them; often it involves sitting down with a pencil and a yellow legal pad and going through multiple drafts. But I found a list of favorite actresses to come to me quite easily, for some unexplained reason. I suppose in many ways my list is conventional, and it might serve its purpose of reinforcing my film aesthetic (pre-1960 American cinema). You'll see some no-brainer names – both Hepburns, a Kelly, a Bergman – but, as is always the case, there's a reason these particular women keep recurring on lists like this. I hope you'll be surprised and enjoy some of the choices.

As for where we go from here: if you're reading this, consider yourself invited by me to participate. Daniel at Getafilm, Ibetolis at Film for the Soul, Shawn at Deadpan, the Film Doctor, and Sam at Wonders in the Dark – I can clearly see you're all holding your heads down and avoiding any eye contact with me, so I won't directly call on you.

They're in alphabetical order, and the images either come from publicity photos, their great roles, their great films, their most recognizable roles and/or films, or just films that I happen to think of when I think of these marvelous actresses. One of these women is about to be featured in a Screen Savour triple-play, but if you've been keeping track of my journey through Alfred Hitchcock's filmography, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out who...

Anne Bancroft, from The Graduate (1967). She's one of the two great things about that otherwise overrated film (the other is the cinematography).

Kim Basinger, from L.A. Confidential (1997). Not to be confused with the actual Veronica Lake (see below).

Ingrid Bergman

Laura Dern

Faye Dunaway, from Network (1976)

Paulette Goddard, a publicity still from Modern Times (1936)

Setsuko Hara, from Tokyo Story (1953)

Audrey Hepburn, from Roman Holiday (1953)

Katharine Hepburn, from The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Madeline Kahn

Grace Kelly, from Rear Window (1954). No surprise there.

Veronica Lake, from Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Carole Lombard, from To Be or Not To Be (1942)

Sophia Loren, from Two Women (1960)

Myrna Loy, from The Thin Man (1934)

Marilyn Monroe, publicity still from the set of Some Like It Hot (1959)

Mary-Louise Parker

Ginger Rogers, from Swing Time (1936)

Barbara Stanwyck

Natalie Wood, from Rebel Without A Cause (1955)


Dead Pan 12 December, 2008  

I love your list. Of course the ones you mentioned in your intro are musts.

I really love that you picked Anne Bancroft, especially in The Graduate, which is coincidentally my favorite film. This comes much to every other blogger I come in contact withs chagrin.

Faye Dunaway, of course. Madeleine Kahn, YES! Her work with Mel Brooks always has me rolling on the floor holding my gut with laughter.

darkcitydame4e 12 December, 2008  

Hi! T.S.,
A really nice list of 20 actresses
hmm...actress Katherine Hepburn(my mothers'fave actress) has appeared on 2 other memes. (The Self-Styled Siren and Rick's from over there at Coosa Creek Cinema) also listed K.H.
on their top 20 list!...But, I am :-O "shocked" to find out that gambling is going on here?!? No!..that actress Grace Kelly, is on your list.

T.S. said,"One of these women is about to be featured in a Screen Savour triple-play, but if you've been keeping track of my journey through Alfred Hitchcock's filmography, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out who..."
I think I "may" know who(m) she is, but my "lips" are sealed!

Tony Dayoub 12 December, 2008  

Love your list, of course.

Yours is the first to list Marilyn, believe it or not. I'm not surprised we overlap on Audrey and Grace. But you also list two almost-rans on mine: Laura Dern and Natalie Wood.

I'm linking to your list immediately.

Tony Dayoub 12 December, 2008  

BTW, I'm outright stealing your Grace Kelly photo because it looks so much better than mine.

FilmDr 12 December, 2008  

Nice list, and thanks for the challenge, but The Graduate is NOT overrated. It is definitely manipulative and it panders to young baby boomers, but I think it holds up well, even in a shot by shot analysis.

T.S. 12 December, 2008  

@Shawn and dcd: Thanks for the comments. I hope you both make some of your own!

@Tony: Excellent, thanks for the link. I guess I'm not surprised to have Monroe when most people don't. I've always thought she was a better actress than most people give her credit for, although certainly no Hepburn in terms of sheer skill and depth. Yet I find her so mesmerizing that it's hard not to enjoy her when she's on screen, and I suppose that's one of the traits any great performer should have. And, by all means, please do steal that Kelly photo. I got mine from the 1,000 Frames project at HitchcockWiki. Lots of great material there if you ever need a good screenshot from a Hitchcock movie.

@FilmDr: Uh oh. Well, you'll definitely have a lot to say about my review of The Graduate when I get around to posting it in the future. I completely believe it stands up in a shot-by-shot analysis, as you say, and Nichols certainly deserved Best Director that year. As far as the film looks, I've never been able to find a fault, and I love the camerawork and Nichols' aesthetic, but the script is its most damning element. I cannot be included among its fans if we're looking at it as a package deal, though I will always stand by its strengths and positive elements (Bancroft, the camerawork and Nichols' direction).

Daniel Getahun 12 December, 2008  

Thanks, TS. You're the third person to tag me, so now I HAVE to do it! Just need a little time...

T.S. 12 December, 2008  

Ha. Sorry to put you on tag overload, Daniel. But I'm looking forward to your list when you post it!

Pat 13 December, 2008  

Great list!

Bancroft and Dern made my list, too. Kahn and Stanwyck just missed the cut. It would have been easier for me to do a 30 Favorite Actess meme!

Dern, especially, I think get overlooked too often.

MovieMan0283 14 December, 2008  

Yes, I'm looking forward to tackling this meme (preferably in the next 24 hours, if not sooner). I was pleased to see Paulette Goddard on your list, even though I don't think she'll be on mine. She's got SOMEthing doesn't she? Good call on Marilyn. Much to my surprise, I see her on my short list too...recent viewings of The Misfits and The Seven Year Itch have caused me to rethink me perception of her as an icon whose work I enjoyed, but who I never considered a personal favorite.

And Ginger and Audrey will be very, very high on my list.

Oh, and add me to the extremely pro-Graduate chorus - your review on that should be very interesting...

(Sorry, if you got an e-mail attributing this comment to "Susan"; I was writing on a friend's computer - my area has been out of power lately - and forgot to sign her name out. Apologies for the confusion...)

Wendymoon 17 December, 2008  

Nice list. I love seeing Paulette Goddard on here, she was great.

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