Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tell It Tuesday! "Discoveries"

If you are a young budding cineaste with a secondhand knowledge of Hollywood history and you have been watching or voting on these ACTRESS polls, you might be forgiven for thinking you hadn't missed much since the winning ladies are so recently ascendant (Kidman) or so über-famous (i.e. the Hepburns). Methinks the readers are less well-versed in earlier decades. No shame in that. We are always more familiar with the current. I'm working on my backlog too. Join me in the discovery.

Your task for September should you choose to accept it?
1. Choose 3 famous actresses you're not very familiar with.
This can be from any decade. Even if you know them as a celebrity but have never gotten around to finding out why they became famous, that's a qualifier.

2. Rent one or two of their films each to get familiar
You can do it! That's only 3 to 6 pictures. I know you see more than that on DVD in a month. If you need suggestions as to which films once you select your actress, just ask. Or do a little research to see which films are most crucial in their history.

3. Return and report to flmbtch (a) hotmail (dot) com.
Tell me what what you were and weren't impressed with. What surprised you, etc...

If I get a good response I'll do a special feature on your discoveries in October. And spread the word. With polls and group discoveries... the more the merrier.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely do that! I have school holidays so I'll be able to cram in some movies, and there's nothing showing at the cinemas at the moment except for Mysterious Skin and Last Days, which I will be seeing in a week or so.

I'm thinking... Jane Fonda for one.

-Glenn

darkcypherlad said...

Glenn--

Some Fonda suggestions:
1. They Shoot Horses, Don't They (her best dramatic performance)
2. Klute (her most famous one)
3. Barbarella (self-explanatory)

Underrated: The Morning After and Stanley & Iris.

Avoid: any of her pre-1967 films (Tall Story's cute but disposable) and On Golden Pond.

Jason

dusty said...

I wouldn't recommend Nine to Five either, not for Jane Fonda, anyway. But do see Cat Ballou (err, "Cat Ballooooo")!

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about going after Rosalind Russell...

dusty said...

re: Rosalind Russell. Suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Barbarella. I'd also suggest "Coming Home" for Fonda. It's a little self-congratulatory as a movie, but her performance almost cooks Voight's ham.

Rob

the boyfriend said...

Nat - I nominate Cloris Leachman for our retrospective. Ever since I saw her languishing in your poll without a single vote I've become obsessed with resurrecting her career. She was Wonder Woman's mother for gods' sakes! And a more fabulously campy queen of the Amazons has never been seen. Plus she was the only thing that made Spanglish even remotely watchable.

darkcypherlad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
darkcypherlad said...

Here are some Roz Russell suggestions:

1. His Girl Friday. Absolutely essential. Her best film.

2. Auntie Mame. Her best role. It's a bit stagy and sugary, but Roz puts the "fab" in "fabulous." Dig those kooky 50's fashions!

3. The Women. Crawford and Shearer are the stars, but Roz steals the show as the bitchiest best friend you will ever see on film.

I should mention some of her dramatic work, but to be honest, I really don't like any of them. She nearly destroys "Mourning Becomes Electra" and "Sister Kenny" is booooooring. She's fun in "Gypsy" but that film is so uneven I hesitate to recommend it.

If you want to see her in a drama, rent "Picnic." She boozes it up as a horny woman trying to put the make on sweaty William Holden.

Jason

Nick Davis said...

His Girl Friday is so far and away Roz Russell's best performance it's insane. Also, I agree with Jason that They Shoot Horses... is Jane Fonda's best dramatic performance, though I think the best film in which she appears is The China Syndrome (and she is quite excellent in it).

I'm considering spending time with Louise Brooks, Ingrid Bergman, and Carole Lombard.

darkcypherlad said...

Nick--

If you can find it, be sure to watch "Swing High, Swing Low," a Mitchell Leisen charmer co-starring Fred MacMurray. Also worth checking out is "To Be or Not to Be" with Jack Benny.

Jason

darkcypherlad said...

Nick--

If you can find it, be sure to watch "Swing High, Swing Low," a Mitchell Leisen charmer co-starring Fred MacMurray. Also worth checking out is "To Be or Not to Be" with Jack Benny.

Jason

dusty said...

Thanks, Jason, for the suggestions. Funny thing is, I've already seen--and loved--His Girl Friday, so now I wonder if, having seen Roz's balls-out best performance, I'm setting myself up for disappointment. I worry too much.

P.S. Didn't she win a Golden Globe (and an Oscar nod) for Morning Becomes Electra?

NATHANIEL R said...

Glenn -Klute is a must for Fonda.

Nick -Make sure Nothing Sacred is among your Lombard choices. So so funny. And for Brooks, Pandora's Box gets lots of attention but I'd say Diary of a Lost Girl is the better performance.

For my own journey I'm thinking Stanwyck and Colbert. I've seen Colbert in only two movies and loved her in both (Imitation of Life and It Happened One Night) any suggestions for either?

darkcypherlad said...

Dusty-

The Globes loved Roz. She also won for Sister Kenny, Auntie Mame, A Majority of One, and Gypsy. What a gal!

Jason

darkcypherlad said...

Nathan,

I highly recommend "Midnight," a 1939 screwball comedy that co-stars John Barrymore, Don Ameche, and Mary Astor. The script is by Brackett & Wilder so the dialogue is golden.

Another Colbert film you should check out is Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story. Hope this helps.

Jason

darkcypherlad said...

Nathan--

For Stanwyck: I assume you've seen Double Indemnity and The Lady Eve so I won't suggest them (and if you haven't, see them!). Check out some of her pre-Code melodramas such as Baby Face, Night Nurse or Ladies They Talk About. They're wonderfully saucy.

If you want Babs to tickle your funny bone, try out Ball of Fire (a superb comedy w/ Gary Cooper) or The Mad MIss Manton (w/ Henry Fonda). If melodrama is more your thing, Forbidden is ripe with it, as is Stella Dallas and There's Always a Tomorrow, a black and white Douglas Sirk film from the 50s. Finally, if you like Ms. S in femme fatale mode, check out The Strange Love of Martha Ivers or The File on Thelma Jordan.

Jason

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely get They Shoot Horses, Don't They?. I actually have that and few other Jane Fonda films on my BigPond list (your netflix if you will)

And a search of BigPond's library just made me realise Klute is finally out on DVD!

I also just selected Pandora's Box because it was on the opening page under the "We Thought You Might Like..." column. How did they figure that? I spose I've gotten a few silent's before. Man, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans was brilliant. Definitely my favourite of the, what? 4 silent films I've seen.

I also just added Of Human Bondage because I've decided Bette Davis will be my second choice. I've seen All About Eve and it is brilliant.

Hmm... nobody's chosen Liv Ullman.

-Glenn

Cal said...

This sounds great! I think I'm gonna pick Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, and Grace Kelly. Any suggestions for Dunaway and Kelly?

damion said...

For Dunnaway, I recommend the following:
1. Network - The be all, end all.
2. Chinatown - "my daughter, my sister, my daughter, my sister..."
3. Bonnie and Clyde - she's wonderful
4. Mommie Dearest - ferocious and brilliant... scenery doesn't get chewed up like this very often.
5.The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)-very sexy, crazy chemistry.

I'm going with Jane Fonda.

dusty said...

Glenn -- You should catch William Wyler's "The Little Foxes," too, if you can. My second favorite Bette Davis performance.

Anonymous said...

GO NICOLE!!!

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