July 4, 2015

Round-Up: Actress 1944






5. Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington







4. Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington








3. Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away








Once again...







It's our second BATTLE OF THE FIVES! And just like the first one, I found this one to be an extremely hard decision to make. On one side we've got an innocent victim being cruelly manipulated, and on the other side we've got an evil villain doing the cruel manipulation. I'll have you know that when I first finished up Gaslight about two weeks ago I was sure that Bergman was my winner. However, with a little bit of thought I decided to wait it out a bit, just to make sure that the novelty of this being my first time viewing Gaslight (as opposed to my second time viewing Double Indemnity) didn't effect my overall evaluation between the two. It was a little complicated for me because Stanwyck's role is obviously a bit smaller and her character, fascinating as she may be, is a lot less developed as opposed to Bergman, whose Gaslight is essentially her personal vehicle to run around for two hours and showcase her acting to the max. So therein lied my problem. Both ladies do an excellent job with what their respective roles require--I couldn't quite give Bergman the upper hand for having more screentime when Stanwyck does superbly with less. So I did some pondering, opted on Stanwyck for a minute before opting back on Bergman, then I just figured "fuck it," and decided to come back to making a decision later. Well, "later" ended up being today, and just like with Best Actor, this was no clear, runaway decision. In fact, the final decision was made more on a whim, so I can't reiterate enough how uncertain I was leading up to my typing this post. 
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2. Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight







1. BARBARA STANWYCK, DOUBLE INDEMNITY








IN CONCLUSION: So like just about everybody else out there, I ended up with Stanwyck as my victor. I harken back to her last grocery store scene, when she utters out an ominous line as she pulls off her sunglasses, and it's so sinister and expertly chill, reminding me again just how marvelous she is in this film. And with that, Bergman finds herself in the runner-up position a second year in a row (sorry about it). Claudette's placing is self-explanatory, and I ended up opting for Davis over Garson because I found Garson to be so dreadfully boring in Mrs. Parkington (this marks her second year in a row coming in dead last...sorry about it), whereas you have to admit that Davis, as awful as some of you may think her to be in Mr. Skeffington, is far from boring. In terms of other nominees, there's obviously Tallulah Bankhead for Lifeboat (though I suspect she wasn't very popular in the industry). Gene Tierney for Laura could have been another. There's also Lauren Bacall for To Have and Have Not, and I've heard nothing but good things about Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. And you know had Colbert not been in the running for whatever reason that Selznick would have placed Jennifer Jones there. Perhaps also Katharine Hepburn for Dragon Seed (shudder)?

ANYWAYS! 1944, a godawful year, is over and done. Looks like in spite of Oscar going for the sweet Paula and Rev. O'Malley, I ended up preferring the eviler of both categories. 

Happy Independence Day--we are officially halfway through the 1940s!!! Stay tuned!

6 comments:

  1. Great work. You actually made me interested in watching Davis' performance despite all the negative reviews. I suspect I might actually like it for its campiness. I also want to give Bergman a second look to see whether my opinion of her work here will improve.

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    1. Thank you! Glad I got you to consider watching Davis--she isn't amazing by any means, but I for one feel like it was a fun watch at the very least.

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  2. You're right; it's Stanwyck's. Stanwyck was openly disappointed at losing for Stella Dallas, but this wrong is more lasting, an even greater signature part. MacMurray was nervous about a character so removed from the light comedy expected from him but he is wonderfully effective, as is Eddie G. Double Indemnity is the kind of classic, so perfectly done, no remake will ever threaten it.

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  3. The one Bette performance I am really trying to stay away from, since rumour is it's her worst Oscar-nominated one. :) Happy she is not a "1".

    too long ago to tell, I'd probably go with Ingrid, since I never was a Barb die-hard fan.

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    1. Definitely was a close match between Ingrid and Babs. This may very well be Bette's worst, but I don't think you'll flat out hate it because you adore her so much. Hell, I didn't even flat out hate it. It's a 2, but a 2 with a lot of camp that I actually kind of appreciate.

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    2. I guess it's between this and Dangerous? Which I haven't seen either. Or, for me, Dark Victory, you know I dislike that performance. I doubt The Star, where I expect her, for some reason, to be ok-ish. But lucky you as you have Eve & Baby Jane some ahead, long long long down the line :)

      Ingrid is getting too much shit nowadays for her Oscar wins. OK, Murder is quite bad... but she's remarkable in Gaslight.

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