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"The Greatest"...of all time?


mrkgeegee

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I love to get things stirred up, and I think this may do it superbly...who really is "The Greatest", and why do you feel that way? My vote goes to Bette Davis, for many reasons. She could play any part she was physically suited for, be it comedy, drama, whatever. She could break your heart, then five minutes later tear it out of you, usually in the same film. She was able to play in some of the greatest films of the Golden Era of Hollywood, and usually did so without a male co-star of her stature, and carry the movie on her formidable shoulders perfectly. She was the "star" of whatever vehicle she was in, and maybe that didnt often make it easy for those in the films with her to make an impression on the audience, but she was a generous performer, and gave others the chance to shine whenever possible. Her importance as a historical figure, quite apart from her years as a film star, need not be recounted here, but suffice it to say there is a reason she was the first woman honored by the American Film Institute. To the many soldiers who owe her a debt for her pioneering work with the Hollywood Canteen during World War II, she was a singular inspiration. ...I could go on, but it would belabor the point. Let the discussion begin....

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I totally agree with you. What I love most about Bette Davis is that she had guts, right up to the end of her days in films...guts enough to look like anything but the "star" that she truly was on screen. She took on roles that very few other women would dare, proving that "screen image" wasn't the issue above character portrayal. Three other fine actresses can be mentioned here, too, Liz Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Kate Hepburn...none of them afraid to, shall we say, "age" on screen.

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Barbara Stanwyck is my vote. I feel she was Davis equal in all aspects except comedy. She out did Davis in this area. As far as Hepburn, Stanwyck out did her in the hard, cold rolls.

As for the males a toss up on Grant and Stewart though both had little opportunities to show off their cold hearted capabilities.

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I second the motion for Barbara Stanwyck bggalaxy. Although I'm also Davis fan I believe that Stanwyck is more versatile. Stanwyck could match Davis in the drama and melodrama films and also excell in comedies and westerns.

I don't believe that Davis ever did a western although she did appear on the TV series "Wagon Train".

And Stanwyck went out in style close to the end of her career with an outstanding Emmy winning performance in "The Thorn Birds". She was superb!

Also like the idea that she was a "regular" pal to all the stagehands and behind the scenes pee-ons.

 

Mongo

 

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Oh! And I was a bit miffed that Miss Stanwyck wasn't included in the August TCM Spectacular of Summer Under the Stars. Although she is featured in some of the films of the represented stars it wasn't enough for me.

Hopefully a birthday tribute is in the works for Missy.

 

Mongo

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have to give my vote to Kate Hepburn. Here you have a woman who so knocked Hollywood on its ear that they gave her an academy award for one of her very first films. She was really never much of a contract player unlike most of her contemporaries (her short stint with RKO being the exception) and continued to work in roles that she largely chose. She had such prominence that she could name co-stars and directors to work with long before other actors ever had the chance. She performs, with equal adeptness, sophisticated and screwball comedy and high drama. She is one of the very few actresses who reinvented herself for each different phase of her life (ingenue, sophisticate, "old maid"). Also, how many actors can continue to work - IN LEADING ROLES - in 6 decades? I'd count the 90's, but let's be honest, her TV movies were not impressive...

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