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misswonderly3

Actors' and Actresses' VOICES

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I wanted to give this title a fancy clever name, something like "I hear voices", but then I figured people would just think I need a little psychiatric help, so I decided to go with the straightforward approach.

 

A lot of people in a lot of different threads have mentioned how much they like an actor's voice, how much it contributes to his or her appeal and image. I thought this was a subject worth exploring. I know that I pay a lot of attention to stars' voices -(well, except in silent movies, for some reason I don't get into it with them. Don't know why.)

 

Anyway, we all know how much an actor's voice affects our response to their screen presence. We've discussed how an actor looks many times, now let's talk about how they sound.

 

Starters: I love Robert Mitchum's voice. This may not seem like an obvious choice, but I think his deep, "baby I don't care" voice is part of his appeal.

 

OK - next?

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The first actor that came into my mind whose manner of speech (rather than just "voice") I really like (and he's not even from the classic period---unusual for me) is Michael Douglas.(much more so than his father)

 

Edited by: finance on Aug 18, 2010 10:24 AM

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I really like everything about Dan Duryea, voice and all. I suspect he also had unexplored comic abilities.

I dunno, finance, Kirk's voice is pretty distinctive. Especially when he's mad about something, which he usually is. Michael's voice is very similar to his Dad's, ( in my opinion), like everything else about those two.

 

I'm waiting for someone to talk about the lady with the initials J. A.

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It's interesting to see the Brit-accented actors dropped into American films, often East Coast-based locales and no explanation was needed. When scripts called for a butler, insert a Brit-accent - and sometimes a true Brit, too. Need a stately career officer? Call C. Aubrey Smith. An intellect? Ronald Colman's George Apley sounds suspiciously like a randomly-harvested amnesiac at times. And when he takes over the Halls Of Ivy, his accent is never questioned, never explained - audiences didn't care.

 

Cary Grant used his accent from time to time, although Walter Eckland didn't have to explain any more than Captain Cummings as he was being "done wrong". Of course, Grace did notice that John Robie didn't sound like a lumberman from Oregon. Hmmm... "Judy Judy Judy, it's the French-labels in my shirts!" Maybe that was what he was going to say - if only Cagney hadn't beaten him to it.

 

Of course, Laughton's RUGGLES carries his accent out west, and we're given the explanation for its presence among saloons and wagon wheels.

 

Then again, accents - faked, heightened or flattened - are rather curiously used in films anyway. I think it's "accents" that create as much notice (and seldom positive) as any actor's voice.

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Yes the voice can really make an actor attractive. I agree with you about Robert Mitchum, his voice just is totally sexy. He sang the song "River of No Return" in the movie.

 

I also have loved Ronald Coleman's voice forever! I can still hear him as Sidney Carton in "A Tale of Two Cities!"

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I love Lizabeth Scott's voice. "Husky", I guess you'd call it. For me, it added to her overall appeal as an actress. Also, and not just because it's Ann Sheridan day, I have to say I like her voice as well. She had a great way with wry humor and her voice really helped to sell it. I'm on pins and needles until "Juke Girl" comes on.

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It's true, accents of all kinds obviously affect the voice, the sound of the actor speaking. And the Brits dominated classic films in terms of "classy" accents. There are also "faux" English accents that some Americans affected, or perhaps some of them came naturally (Katharine Hepburn comes to mind.)

 

Ronald Coleman had an almost "noble" sounding voice, what with the upper crust English accent and the deep melifluous timbre of his speech. Maybe that's why several people voted him "heartthrob" on another thread.

 

I agree with the comment about Lizbeth Scott, she had a very distinctive "husky" voice. And Ann S's was kind of "street smart" sounding, in a good way.

 

Still wondering when to me the most obvious memorable female star's voice is going to be mentioned. initials J. A. (just doing this little quiz for fun)

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> I really like everything about Dan Duryea, voice and all. I suspect he also had unexplored comic abilities.

 

 

Duryea made a very witty picture with Ella Raines called WHITE TIE AND TAILS wherein he played a butler who, when the bosses were away, went out on the town like a toff. He got into some mischief with gambling chief Bill Bendix. When Realart reissued the picture they retitled it THE SWINDLERS and sold it like a film noir. Duryea was very funny. He's also quite whimsical as Oscar in ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST.

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When you said Ann S I at first thought you were referring to Ann Savage....her voice in DETOUR made the movie a little more scary and suspenseful!

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Gee, Miss Wonderly, you wouldn't be thinking of Jean Arthur, would you? She does have a distinctive voice. Here's a thought: any of us would immediately recognize the voice of John Wayne, James Stewart, Clark Gable, or Henry Fonda, but probably not the wannabe actors who were supposed to be the next Clark Gable. The big stars of the 30s and 40s almost always had memorable voices.

 

That isn't so true of the Method actors, who tended to see vocal technique as something phony. Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger, for instance, have relatively weak and unappealing voices. Brando has a memorable vocal style, but not a memorable voice.

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LoveFilmNoir, I meant Ann Sheridan but of course Ann Savage had a voice to match her name, at least in *Detour*. What a harpy!

 

Yes, how did you ever guess that I was thinking of Jean Arthur ? ! What a pretty sparkly voice she had -at least, I think so. It's a unique and immediately recognizable voice, anyway.

 

kingrat, I cannot agree with you about some of the Method guys. Brando's voice and his vocal style were distinctive. This thread isn't necessarily about pleasing voices; any actor or actress with a voice you can identify even if you're in the nest room and you hear them ( presumably because someone has just turned on TCM, for instance) is fodder for this thread.

 

Rod Steiger - I love this guy, and his voice too. Was he a Southerner? He often has a Southern accent of some kind in his films (examples: *Oklahoma* and *In the Heat of the Night* -well, maybe *Oklahoma* isn't strictly speaking "southern", but good enough.)

 

The problem with a lot of the Method actors is that they mumbled. Brando mumbled, Clift mumbled. Newman not so much. I like Newman's voice, a voice like that , ,you know he's gotta be a fine looking man.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 18, 2010 3:12 PM

I noticed I wrote "nest" room instead of "next" room, and was going to correct it, but I've suddenly decided that "nest" room is more amusing.

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Rod Steiger definitely had a distinctive voice (and toupee when he was feeling wiggy)

 

Is his voice possibly the reason why some people find him to be an overactor/hammy/scene chewer in some of his films?

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I am obsessed with actors voices. At times if I just look at an actor they don't do much for me but as soon as I hear them speak I become infatuated. My three favorite voices are Colman, Grant, and Mason. Sanders is high up there for me too.

 

But I also love voices like Bogart, Stewart and Lorre. I love the uniqueness of them.

 

As for women both the Hepburns had great voices. And I agree about Jean Arthur's voice. It was very cute.

 

Oh and of course Lauren Bacall had that very deep unique voice.

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Did anyone notice the narrator?s voice at the beginning of ?The Mortal Storm? a few days ago? It sounded like Rex Ingram to me. IMDB doesn?t list the narrator.

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Steiger was definitely not a Southerner, but he tried out a Southern accent in various roles. There's a long speech in RUN OF THE ARROW where he flip-flops between a bad Irish accent and a bad Southern accent. I think he's using his real accent in ON THE WATERFRONT, and that's how I like him best.

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Barbara Stanwyck's voice always fascinated me. I supposed she had a Brooklyn accent--I think I hear it like a clip in her voice. Her voice was both breathy and striking, all at the same time. It had a force of its own, without all the yelling and screaming that some stars like Bette Davis utilized. stars, She had a unique quality, which I don't believe I ever heard imitated like Davis'. A quality that she never lost, not even with age.

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Alan Ladd had a smooth velvet voice. I also like Morgan Freeman's voice. But, I guess my favorite voice would have to Lina LaMonte's. Think about it!

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A Morgan Freeman movie always comes on for me when I'm flying the Atlantic or Pacific--he really puts me a ease. He's better than a sedative.

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"YA THINK I'M DUMB OR SOMETHING? ! "

 

the legendary query of Lina Lamonte.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 18, 2010 6:18 PM

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Lina--"People, I ain't people! I am a shimmering glowing star in the cinema firmament."

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"If you don't do like I say, I'll syew."

 

Squeaky -voiced ladies are always funny, I'm not sure why. Another good example is Mia Farrow in *Radio Days*, where she goes from a squeaky cigarette girl to a "sophistiated" smooth talking radio celeb. Her performance is pretty funny. At one point, she thinks her big moment to stardom has arrived. She steps up to the microphone, only to be stopped before she can begin by the announcement that Pearl Harbour has been attacked. "Pearl Harbour? Who's Pearl Harbour, anyway?"

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For female voices I like the sisters Olivia Dehavilland and Joan Fontaine the best. They just melt me.

 

Mitchum has the male voice I like the best. Beef,, its what for dinner! But I also love those english voices from people like Ronald Coleman.

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misswonderly wondered:

*"YA THINK I'M DUMB OR SOMETHING? ! "*

*the legendary query of Lina Lamonte.*

 

How about "WHAAATT!!?!? in Billie Dawn's most nasally delivery? Now that was a voice, the great Judy Holliday's.

 

And the original platinum blonde, Jean Harlow, how can you forget that, especially when she's insulting her leading man.

 

Gloria Swanson may have had a face then, but she had a marvelously distinctive speaking voice.

 

And I agree with the posts on Jean Arthur, her voice like a babbling brook, gurgling all over.

 

(Although I thought the initials JA was for Judith Anderson, what a terrific speaking voice, whether menacing in REBECCA or LAURA, or yelling after no-neck monsters in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, or in whatever, such a distinctive distinguished voice.

 

And I love voices of character actresses such as Evelyn Varden, but I'll be here for days if I don't stop.

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Right, add Judy Holiday (at least in *Born Yesterday*) to the squeaky voiced list. Arturo, you said it: she's hilarious when she screeches "Whaat?" in that nasally tone. But then who knows how we'd react if we were always hearing someone yell at us: "Do what I tell ya! "

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