January 29, 2014

Actress Round-up: 1935

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6. CLAUDETTE COLBERT AS JANE IN PRIVATE WORLDS
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Oh how the mighty have fallen. When I reviewed 1934, Claudette Colbert completely ran away with Best Actress--and now here she is, coming in dead last. I really can't find anything redeemable about this performance whatsoever--it all just kind of wallows in its insignificance. It's really just a forgettable performance in an even more forgettable picture. 



5. ELISABETH BERGNER AS GEMMA IN ESCAPE ME NEVER
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I like Elisabeth Bergner's gauche exuberance. She certainly adds pizazz to an otherwise stiff and dull picture. But I didn't think she was very consistent--I went from liking her in one scene to really disliking her in the next, or thinking she overplayed this scene to thinking she didn't bring it enough in that scene. In the end I felt everything was a bit too convoluted.



4. BETTE DAVIS AS JOYCE IN DANGEROUS
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A Bette Davis win was inevitable, it's just a shame that it had to be for this project. Perhaps I'm a bit harsher on it because I generally really hate when the Academy gives out prizes to people for any reason other than it being the best of the year. Davis herself had always thought of her first Oscar as a consolation prize, and that's what this entire performance and film reads as: second-rate.



3. MERLE OBERON AS KITTY IN THE DARK ANGEL
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Merle Oberon is a warm light in an otherwise dreadfully boring film. She technically doesn't do that much--there's really only so much a supportive girlfriend can do--so in the end she's just good enough to top some underachieving ladies and not so good enough to top some of the more daring ones. She's just smack dab in the middle, so take that as you will.



2. MIRIAM HOPKINS AS BECKY IN BECKY SHARP
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My God Miriam Hopkins is annoying in this film, but I give her credit for bringing the fire to her performance, even if after while it all starts to wear me down. She's relentlessly loud and chews up some serious scenery but throughout it all, hate her or not, she's still fascinating to watch, even if it's fascinating for all the wrong reasons .



1. KATHARINE HEPBURN AS ALICE IN ALICE ADAMS
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Thank God for Katharine Hepburn, who comes swooping in to redeem an otherwise stale batch of nominees. Bette Davis said that it was Hepburn who gave the best female performance in 1935, not her. And I'd have to agree. She gives a remarkably poignant and delicate performance, one you wouldn't expect from her, and she's a total delight to watch.


IN CONCLUSION: what a terrible year for Best Actress. Seriously. It had to have been one of the worst I've covered since Mary Pickford's year--six nominees and I only liked one! To make matters worse, despite the fact that I was completely indifferent about most of the ladies, I completely hated Dangerous, The Dark Angel, Escape Me Never, and Private Worlds, and sitting through each of those films proved to be agonizing. Becky Sharp, while a much more interesting picture than the other four, tested my devotion with its shrieking heroine. Alice Adams was good, but I'm hardly gushing over it. So looks like we're 2 nominations in out of Kate's 12 and I've already given her two Oscars. Interesting that five out of six of the Best Actress films had no nominations in any other category. Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina was surely a player. If Bette Davis had to get nominated and win this year, perhaps Bordertown might have been a good alternative? Starring fellow Oscar favorite Paul Muni, not to mention that Davis gets to kill her husband and goes crazy...but those are my best guesses. I'm really hoping I enjoy 1936's slate of ladies much more.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for Kate! Let's hope she becomes the queen of this blog, too! :)

    Great work!

    ReplyDelete