best film: Letter From an Unknown Woman edged Rebecca for me and she’s lead, and superb, in both so you can’t really go wrong. This is a little more character-driven from Ophuls (which is perhaps why it doesn’t rank as high as some others from him) but that helps Fontaine here.
best performance: Letter From an Unknown Woman. It’s such a tragic role and performance. She’s so utterly genuine—it breaks your heart.
stylistic innovations/traits: It’s not a deep filmography (especially in comparison with like Blanchett and Sarandon who I just did here) but how good are those two three performances? She’s best known for her Ophuls film I believe but the two deserving Oscar noms for her work with Hitch help round out the top of that resume. She’s best at playing vulnerable devotees—but the born to be bad role with Nicholas Ray is kind of a great turn for her, too.
directors worked with: Hitchcock (2). Again, this really is crucial for Fontaine. Many actresses have a film as strong as letter from an known woman but few have a second and third act like Rebecca and Suspicion.
Top 5 Performances:
- Letter From an Unknown Woman
- Jane Eyre
- Born to be Bad
|1939- Gunga Din|
|1939- The Women|
|1944- Jane Eyre|
|1948- Letter From an Unknown Woman|
|1950- Born to Be Bad|