Glamour Every Night: Joan Bennett prepares for some fancy outing in the 1940sConnie (1904-65) has two George Cukor-directed movies I have yet to see, Our Betters (1933; July 7 on TCM!) and What Price Hollywood? (1932), which is an early take on the A Star is Born formula. The excerpts I've seen look promising, and I am quite the Cukor admirer. I have seen her in 1937's Topper, but apparently that didn't make an impression on me. She gets another chance when I see her in her early-1930s peak. I'm open to your suggestions and recommendations for these two ladies' finer films, and would appreciate all feedback on this most-pressing matter! I need me some Bennett sisters!
#10) Gary Cooper
Favorite Performance: High Noon (1952) Why I Like Him: Cooper was everything he appeared to be on screen and seemed as genuinely down to earth and the regular Joe he often played in films. I completely see how subtle his acting was, yet he could steal a scene without saying a word, too. Men love his “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” attitude; women love his decency and think he’s among the most beautiful creatures to ever walk the Earth, particularly in his 1930s prime. There are still dozens of his earlier films I need to see. Random Info: He’s name dropped in the Irving Berlin song Puttin’ On the Ritz, which gives you an idea of how popular this guy was.
Effortless Charm: Cooper with Ingrid Bergman. Note how she's aglow and Coop is so...relaxed.
-----“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” ~Audrey Hepburn The May poll results (82 total votes): Audrey Hepburn- 26 (32%) Marilyn Monroe- 19 (23%) Grace Kelly- 18 (22%) Doris Day- 11 (13%) Elizabeth Taylor- 8 (9%) I’ll admit that these polls are merely an excuse for me to ramble on about whoever the winner is. I always hope that someone reading might agree with what I say, or, even better, provide an eye-opening point of view that I hadn’t previously considered. I know very little about these actresses, and what I believe is largely based on my perceptions of them onscreen. So feel free to jump in and share what it is you like about them (or dislike; just be nice) I’m also willing to welcome someone passionate enough about their choice to invite them as a guest blogger here. Okay? Great! I thought that the May poll question, “Who do you think is the quintessential 1950s actress?” would be handily won by that ever-popular cultural icon, Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn has all the snapshot images: the white dress blowing up, the kiss from the window, entertaining the troops in that slinky black dress in Korea, the bleach-blonde hair and the endless commercialization of said images. Perhaps Doris Day might have emerged victorious, given her status as the prototypically 1950s “Girl Next Door.” But Day is a polarizing figure and has as many detractors as she does admirers, though she performed respectably in the poll. Grace Kelly had a stellar year in 1954, even winning an Oscar (and beating out Audrey). But she beat it out of Hollywood in 1956 and married that schlubby prince. Elizabeth Taylor had the movie star pedigree: the child star that came of age in the 1950s and was also the one with all the Oscar nominations earning consecutive nods in 1957 through 1960. However, the clear winner is Audrey Hepburn, who, despite trailing early in the voting, emerged as the majority’s choice as the quintessential 1950s actress. I still believe that she won because in the view of many classic movie lovers, Audrey has more substance than Marilyn, even if we know virtually every detail of the latter’s perpetual unhappiness and early death. Marilyn longed to be considered a “serious” actress and an intellectual. That never happened. It would also seem that the Audrey fans out there stuffed the Hollywood Dreamland ballot box! Her fans are legion; just look at the amount of blogger profile pictures that use Hepburn as their avatar. I have a theory about Audrey’s popularity, and I’ve commented on it before when her role as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday won March’s poll: Audrey isn’t the sex goddess Marilyn is, she’s not the goody-goody Doris’ public image made her out to be, she didn’t have Grace Kelly’s royal, icy aloofness, and she wasn’t shrill and mean as Liz Taylor could be in her films. Audrey happened to just happened to carry herself like a princess, was beautiful like a porcelain doll, but emotional, sensitive, and above all—accessible. This is speculation, but I think that Audrey, regardless of her beauty and ability, had whatever the heck it was that most any girl out there understood: uncertainty, the feeling of being alone in the world. Marilyn Monroe, who obviously felt that way in her personal life, never conveyed those feelings onscreen. Audrey was able to show happiness tinged with an ever-present sadness. It was often seen in her movies as a moment of joy quickly replaced by her sad knowledge of the world, and of her own condition. This isn't present with any other actress and Audrey used that and made it her—I use this word too much---persona. Of course, there's not a single, definitive reason that Audrey has become as popular as she has. When I was growing up, Marilyn Monroe was the star that girls idolized. MM’s popularity has dimmed since that time, but clearly a new awareness of Audrey Hepburn’s appeal has made itself known. Whatever it is, there wasn’t anything in the popular culture to catapult Audrey above these other actresses, so I’d be interested in knowing what makes Audrey so special to you. As for those that didn’t win, do chime in on what it was that made you vote the way you did. ------------------- ----------- ----- Back in February, I posted a Ginger Rogers photo where she's wearing that beyond-gorgeous dress from Swing Time. That entry was done during a moment of exaltation, as I had just finished watching that movie for the eleventeenth time this year and everything about the film was a cause for celebration: the songs, the dance numbers, Ginger, and of course "THE Dress." Four months later, that post remains Hollywood Dreamland's most-landed-on entry, while "Ginger Rogers Dress" is by far the most-searched term in this not-very-busy blog (average visit time: zero seconds). I guess her wardrobe from those Astaire-Rogers movies still inspires a sense of awe some seventy years later. Speaking of dresses/gowns/female clothing-- the picture above is of Ginger in Shall We Dance. By the way, two other commonly-searched terms that people use to find themselves here are: "Husband and Wife Detectives", which I consider a personal victory, as I'm obsessed with the genre, and the other, which is amusing considering that what they're looking for isn't here: ------------------ --------- ----- I wasn't tagged or anything, but this "180" concept allows me the chance to tell you my tale of woe: There was a time-- until fairly recently-- that I despised Ingrid Bergman, who is widely considered one of the great actresses and beauties of all time. I certainly didn't see her that way. I found Bergman harsh, shrill, and melodramatic. Couldn't stand her for years--decades. Not her personally, of course, but as an actress she just ground me to a halt every time I watched her in anything. I could tolerate her fleeting presence in Casablanca (1942), but that's mainly because Bogart carried that movie singlehandedly. Oh, Claude Rains gave the performance of a lifetime, too. Anyway, Bergman continued to grate on my nerves and sabotage every classic movie I saw her in. Then, one day, I grew up. So, forgive me Ingrid Bergman, wherever you may be, for doubting your talent, for dismissing your shining brilliance. I toyed with the idea of not thinking you a hack in Indiscreet (1958) but then you went ahead and captivated me, the Hemingway fan, in For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) you were alongside the great Gary Cooper. You then smacked me with a tremendous performance in Gaslight (1944), which was directed by another highly-regarded Hollywood Dreamland icon, George Cukor. But it was your role in Notorious (1946) (in which you should have won an Oscar) that I was once and for all convinced of your brilliance.
The Template: No one played suave, smooth, and silly like William Powell.