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Great Topic. This topic leads me to list those actors or actresses who always mesmerized me, not only with their acting but how they grew in their craft.

Lon Chaney, Sr. -I watched Mockery this morning on Silent Sunday and he did not disappoint. No one can touch his artistry, his facial expressions, his make-up selections. As a child of deaf parents, he excelled in acting using his personal life skills. I adore him.

Henry Fonda - He always gave a good performance and you couldn't pigeon hold him in one genre, one character, one decade. He had a long deserving career and should been honored many times with an Oscar than the one he finally got at the end of his days.

Kerry Washington - Watching her grow as an actress from Save the Last Dance to Broadway in American Son, comedy in Little Man with the Wayans  to Scandal and Confirmation. She has impressed me and I can't wait to see what else she can do.

Robert Downey, Jr.  - Less Than Zero , Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes, liked the second one more than the first, Natural Born Killers and Chaplin. He has an Oscar in his future.

Elizabeth Taylor - Watching her grow up on screen into a very good actress proves that you can have longevity in the movies. She took chances especially in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe.

Natalie Wood - Watching her grow into a great actress has been a pleasure. I miss what else she could have done with her talent.

James Cagney - A tough guy from New York who made it out of the tough neighborhood and used his life skills to make great films, Angels with Dirty Faces, City for Conquest, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat, Public Enemy, and Footlight Parade.

Deborah Kerr - The countless films she has done and like Henry Fonda, received an Oscar late in her years. I've been binging on the King and I, which has been showing Fox Movie Network for a couple of weeks now. An Affair to Remember, Tea and Sympathy, Black Narcissus,  From Here to Eternity, Quo Vadis, Young Bess, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison.

Burt Lancaster - Another New York guy you could not pigeon hole him either and he took chances. Elmer Gantry, Sweet Smell of Success, Trapeze, The Swimmer, Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard, Picnic, From Here to Eternity, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Airport, Seven Days in May and The Gunfight at O.K. Corral. 

 

 

 

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I'd add Barbara Harris to the list.  She's had success both on the stage and screen, but underappreciated.   She was a founding member of the Chicago improv group that preceded Second City.  She almost always got good reviews, even if the material was lackluster.  She's probably best known by this crowd for Hitchcock's last film, Family Plot, and for her turn in Nashville.

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Topics such as this make me wonder whom among those working in the movies today will be regarded as classic stars one hundred years hence. Certainly there are plenty of contemporary  actors and actresses who make us say, "Wow, did you see what Joe Shmoe did in that movie?", but the regrettable thing about that is we are still supremely aware that Joe Shmoe is playing a role. One contemporary actor who never falls into this category for me is Gary Oldman. He can completely disappear into a role, such that I sometimes don't even remember that it's HIM.

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For the men, I like Ward Bond in everything. With all the movies he did coupled with Wagon Train, he certainly had enough roles to notice a stinker, which I haven't seen yet. Next would be Jimmy Cagney. I not only find his gangster roles excellent but also his dramatic roles and those as a dancer. Last, Barry Fitzgerald. I have seen him a great many times and, as someone I can not take my eyes off, always think he is good.

For the women, always Greer Garson. I have loved and been convinced of her character in everything I have seen. Maureen O' Hara, same thing. Last, I like Natalie Wood in all her roles from childhood through being an adult.

As extra credit: Raymond Massey

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On 7/4/2021 at 10:45 PM, Dargo said:

Irene Dunne

Fredric March

Never saw a bad performance given by either of 'em.

(...ever)

Totally agree.  My favorite Irene Dunne performance was her portrayal of Marta Hanson in 1948's I Remember Mama.   Favorite Fredric March performance was his turn as Al Stephenson in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives.

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And yet, in these long lists of actors that always gave us "customary excellence" I've not found(unless they were buried amidst poorly typed entries) the names...

JAMES STEWART    and

KIRK DOUGLAS.  

 

BOGEY  and CAGNEY too.

Sepiatone

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Ida Lupino...

Not every role worked for her, but she always made a valiant effort.

I enjoy watching Ida's TV guest work in the 70s, after she had hung her hat up as a director. She seems to be directing herself in a way that encourages her scene partners to give better performances alongside her.

Screen Shot 2021-07-06 at 2.39.23 PM

From earlier in her career, ROAD HOUSE (1948) is a must-see. Celeste Holm's character comments: 'someone without a voice really knows how to make the most of a song.'

Screen Shot 2021-07-06 at 2.45.33 PM

 

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On 7/5/2021 at 7:47 AM, TopBilled said:

Why do you think some people are not fond of Page? Is it because she is too mannered?

When I mentioned Kim Stanley, I was going to joke that I felt she is almost "too prepared" if such a thing exists.

I think Page is also someone that prepared extensively for her roles.

Yes, that's it. Some of us are not especially fond of Geraldine Page because she is too mannered, has a weak and unattractive voice, and twitters too much. Wendy Hiller (talk about consistently excellent) mops the floor with her in Toys in the Attic. Strong directors who could edit her work and the kind of vocal training most British actors get could have made a big difference. Look at the huge difference between Kim Stanley's work in The Goddess and in Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Bryan Forbes gets Stanley to cut out the jitterings and twitterings and Method-y stuff, and the result is a fine performance. Page and Stanley both have a lot of ability, but, for my taste, need strong guidance in using it. I also find Stanley's voice weak and unattractive, as is true of many a Method actor (Rod Steiger, Marlon Brando).

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32 minutes ago, kingrat said:

.. I also find Stanley's voice weak and unattractive, as is true of many a Method actor (Rod Steiger, Marlon Brando).

While I think I know what you mean in this regard KR and which is probably a decent point, I gotta say here that I've NEVER thought of Rod Steiger having a "weak voice".

(...nope, perhaps "unattractive" sometimes, but the way the guy very often bellows his lines was certainly never "weak")

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16 hours ago, kingrat said:

Yes, that's it. Some of us are not especially fond of Geraldine Page because she is too mannered, has a weak and unattractive voice, and twitters too much. Wendy Hiller (talk about consistently excellent) mops the floor with her in Toys in the Attic. Strong directors who could edit her work and the kind of vocal training most British actors get could have made a big difference. Look at the huge difference between Kim Stanley's work in The Goddess and in Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Bryan Forbes gets Stanley to cut out the jitterings and twitterings and Method-y stuff, and the result is a fine performance. Page and Stanley both have a lot of ability, but, for my taste, need strong guidance in using it. I also find Stanley's voice weak and unattractive, as is true of many a Method actor (Rod Steiger, Marlon Brando).

Sometimes Stanley is playing a role that requires her to be jittery. There is an episode of Quincy in which she is cast as a psychic who has a premonition/vision that her own daughter is in danger. She can still deliver a strong performance with the affected angst.

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On 7/4/2021 at 8:29 PM, TopBilled said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Dorothy McGuire. Underrated. Superb, takes every role to heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for including the often overlooked Dorothy McGuire.  I remember when she died in 2001, the Academy Awards show in early 2002 failed to list her in their In Memoriam, later apologizing  after a backlash from fans and critics.  Whether recreating her Broadway performance in Claudia, starring in its sequel Claudia and David, giving dramatic performances in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Spiral Staircase, The Enchanted Cottage, her Oscar nod in Gentleman's Agreement, Friendly Persuasion and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, or comedy turns in Mister 880, Callaway Went Thataway and Three Coins in the Fountain, plus family films like Swiss Family Robinson and Old Yeller, McGuire was always at the top of her game. 

The reason I like Geraldine Page so much---when I went to one of her movies I never knew which Page was going to show up.  When I compare her performance as Alexandra Del Lago in Sweet Bird of Youth (my personal favorite) to her Evie Jackson in Dear Heart and her interior designer Eve in Interiors to her Oscar winning Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful, I have to remind myself that I'm watching the same actress.  She very well could have won Oscars for any or all of those performances.  

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On 7/5/2021 at 6:36 PM, Oneeyeopen said:

Great Topic. This topic leads me to list those actors or actresses who always mesmerized me, not only with their acting but how they grew in their craft.

Lon Chaney, Sr. -I watched Mockery this morning on Silent Sunday and he did not disappoint. No one can touch his artistry, his facial expressions, his make-up selections. As a child of deaf parents, he excelled in acting using his personal life skills. I adore him.

Henry Fonda - He always gave a good performance and you couldn't pigeon hold him in one genre, one character, one decade. He had a long deserving career and should been honored many times with an Oscar than the one he finally got at the end of his days.

Kerry Washington - Watching her grow as an actress from Save the Last Dance to Broadway in American Son, comedy in Little Man with the Wayans  to Scandal and Confirmation. She has impressed me and I can't wait to see what else she can do.

Robert Downey, Jr.  - Less Than Zero , Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes, liked the second one more than the first, Natural Born Killers and Chaplin. He has an Oscar in his future.

Elizabeth Taylor - Watching her grow up on screen into a very good actress proves that you can have longevity in the movies. She took chances especially in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe.

Natalie Wood - Watching her grow into a great actress has been a pleasure. I miss what else she could have done with her talent.

James Cagney - A tough guy from New York who made it out of the tough neighborhood and used his life skills to make great films, Angels with Dirty Faces, City for Conquest, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat, Public Enemy, and Footlight Parade.

Deborah Kerr - The countless films she has done and like Henry Fonda, received an Oscar late in her years. I've been binging on the King and I, which has been showing Fox Movie Network for a couple of weeks now. An Affair to Remember, Tea and Sympathy, Black Narcissus,  From Here to Eternity, Quo Vadis, Young Bess, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison.

Burt Lancaster - Another New York guy you could not pigeon hole him either and he took chances. Elmer Gantry, Sweet Smell of Success, Trapeze, The Swimmer, Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard, Picnic, From Here to Eternity, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Airport, Seven Days in May and The Gunfight at O.K. Corral. 

 

 

 

was not in Stalag 17, sunset boulevard, picnic,

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1 minute ago, NipkowDisc said:

John Wayne

:)

America's hero

John Wayne and The House of the Rising Sun - Memory Matters

Don't know if one could say Mr. Morrison here always excelled in his craft as an actor, but he certainly always excelled at playing John Wayne, anyway.

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Quote

Oneeyeopen wrote:

Burt Lancaster - Another New York guy you could not pigeon hole him either and he took chances. Elmer Gantry, Sweet Smell of Success, Trapeze, The Swimmer, Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard, Picnic, From Here to Eternity, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Airport, Seven Days in May and The Gunfight at O.K. Corral. 

 

Quote

NipkowDisc wrote:

was not in Stalag 17, sunset boulevard, picnic,

And yeah, Nip. Good point.

(...evidently it takes TWO eyes being open for someone to not confuse Burt Lancaster with William Holden, huh)  ;)

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5 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

was not in Stalag 17, sunset boulevard, picnic,

I'm reluctant to give Nipkow credit for an astute observation, but the other poster seems to be confusing Lancaster and William Holden.

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20 hours ago, Dargo said:

Don't know if one could say Mr. Morrison here always excelled in his craft as an actor, but he certainly always excelled at playing John Wayne, anyway.

A contentious poster on a now defunct classic movie forum I belonged to always argued that there were films that were good because of the actors that were in them and films that were good because of the stars that were in them. He always used the Duke to illustrate his point. Considering some of the ridiculous movies that I've enjoyed numerous times simply because John Wayne was in them (looking you dead in the eye Big Jim McClain! You too Hellfighters!), I was almost inclined to concede the point.

Then he would add Bogie to the "star not actor" list and I had to put on my fighting trousers.

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18 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I'm reluctant to give Nipkow credit for an astute observation, but the other poster seems to be confusing Lancaster and William Holden.

I believe that would require someone being in serious need of an eye exam.  AND an hearing test too.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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Off the top of my head... some performers who always give me my moneys' worth:

Gents:

Joe Don Baker

Edmond O'Brien

Robert Blake

Luke Askew

Arthur Kennedy

Ladies:

Adele Jergens

Ann Sheridan

Susan Hayward

Tracey Ullmann

Bebe Neuwirth

 

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He was ubiquitous in violent rural/southern action films in the 70's and 80's, the archetype of which would be WALKING TALL (1972) but never succumbed to easy stereotypes. Whether he was playing a hero or a heavy he portrayed these characters as nuanced, practical, intelligent and thoughtful. 

Those characteristics enabled him to stand out in one of the best 70's crime films, CHARLEY VARRICK (1973). He portrays his violence as just another tool a professional criminal brings to his job. The lack of emotion was very realistic. For most people their daily routine is not a heavily emotional experience, we just grind. And that's how Joe Don Baker acts.

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I was hoping no one caught it but I mentioned movies of Burt Lancaster but was thinking about William Holden. LOL!!

I'm adding him to my list. Just watched Picnic again. Excuse me ladies and gentleman on my error.

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Here  is  a  list  of  more  great  actors/  actresses   Myrna  Loy   Katharine  Hepburn   Rosalind  Russell  Helen  Mirren  Meryl  Streep   Anne  Bancroft  Claire  Bloom  Jessica  Tandy       Sidney  Poitier  Jack  Nicholson  Christopher  Plummer   Walter  Matthau   George  Sanders  Alec  Guinness  Joseph  Cotten  Albert Finney

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