Tag: Margaret Sullavan

The Ten: Best Actresses of All Time

I’m the fifth person to take up this task. I’m batting post-clean up. I’m the Center on this basketball team. I’m Billy Preston. Here are my progenitors:

I suppose I should tell you what the heck I’m talking about. This is a running list of sorts. A relay race with each blogger removing one actress from a list of the ten best of all time and adding in their own selection. So far Jessica has removed Marilyn Monroe and added Liv Ullmann, Martin Teller has removed Natalie Portman and added Barbara Stanwyck, and Bondo has removed Tilda Swinton and added Emma Thompson. So now I will present the list as I received it and then tell you who I’ll bump and add. Bondo predicted I’ll add a Frank Borzage girl. WILL HE BE RIGHT!?!?! Probably, yes.

The List

Cate Blanchett

Julie Delpy

Katharine Hepburn

Frances McDormand

Julianne Moore

Barbara Stanwyck

Meryl Streep

Emma Thompson

Liv Ullmann

Kate Winslet

Removal

To whom should I bid farewell? I’ve never seen a movie starring Liv Ullmann (I know, I’ll get to Scenes from a Marriage and Persona and all of them at some point), but I can’t kick her out from ignorance. That wouldn’t be fair, I don’t think. So, the others. I’d count Blanchett and Streep and Hepburn among my personal favorites, so they’re safe. Winslet’s performance on Extras (eerily foreshadowing her Oscar win for The Reader) is genius. Emma Thompson has the same last name as me. Stanwyck is in The Lady Eve which is amazing. Julianne Moore is in my current Best Movie Of All Time, Magnolia, and is phenomenal in it. Frances McDormand gives one of the best performances of all time in Fargo, I can’t kick her off knowing that. This leaves us one Julie Delpy. I’ve seen two of her films, but probably not the ones that “count” for things like this. If you’re expecting any of the Three Colors trilogy or Before Sunrise or Before Sunset you will be sadly disappointed. No, I’ve only seen The Three Musketeers and An American Werewolf in Paris. Of those two, I only remember her in the latter. She’s very good, but not good enough to remain on this list. I’m sure I’ll regret this decision once I catch up with those five films, but I’m fine with the decision at the moment. Now, the fun part!

Addition

I could pick a Borzage woman here. There are two supremely awesome actresses that worked with him several times: Janet Gaynor and Margaret Sullavan. Each would rank up with Blanchett and Streep and Hepburn. They’re very capable doing whatever he asks of them. There is, however a problem. Between the two of them I’ve only seen one movie not directed by Borzage. That movie, Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around the Corner starring Margaret Sullavan, is also fantastic, but I feel I should know more of the actress I pick for such a coveted spot. So I reflected back on who was on the list so far. Is there somebody that matches up to the likes of Streep (I don’t foresee her getting the boot any time soon)? And then I remembered my favorite Streep film and one of my favorite films of all time in terms of acting and emotion. That film is Doubt, and there’s one scene in that film that gets to me every time I even think of it because of how powerful it is. The scene is the conversation between Streep’s nun character and the mother of the child who was possibly abused, played by Viola Davis. This scene is about eight minutes long and it is just awesome. Davis is fearless, leaving nothing behind and letting it all hang out there. It’s vulnerable, it’s intense, it’s enough to get her on this list. But she doesn’t stop there! The Help is a movie that got more flack than it deserved and Davis gives a great performance in it, ending up on my year end best list. And she’s given some good supporting performances, too, in films like State of Play and Solaris and Antwone Fisher. She’s good, really good, and I’m fully confident in her spot on this list.

 

Up next is Steve Kimes at Just Another Movie Blog. Good luck! Be our James Harden!

30 Day Film Challenge Day 10 – A Film With Your Favorite Actor (Female)

Day 10 – A Film With Your Favorite Actor (Female)
Margaret Sullavan isn’t one of the super famous actresses from the ‘30s but she’s in four of my favorite films of the era. The Shop Around the Corner (later remade as You’ve Got Mail) is the only of these four not directed by Frank Borzage but since I probably shouldn’t pick his films for everything on this list I decided to go for this Ernst Lubitsch romance. The chemistry between Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart is the real draw of this film. Sullavan has a quality about her that is both ethereal and grounded. She seems like an angel and a flawed human being at the same time. See also: Three Comrades and Little Man, What Now?
Notes:
  • Borzage’s The Mortal Storm came out in the same year as The Shop Around the Corner. It also stars Sullavan and Stewart and Frank Morgan (AKA The Wizard of Oz). It’s a much heavier movie than this one because of the whole Nazi thing. It is quite awesome.
  • Also, The Shop Around the Corner is a way better Christmas movie than It’s a Wonderful Life (which is very good).
  • This scene shows the greatness of Margaret Sullavan quite well: