The 31st Best Actor of All-Time: Jean Gabin

best film:  The Grand Illusion though I’m really close to saying Ophuls’ Le Plaisir. I’ve only seen Le Plaisir once (I was blown away) so I hope to revisit and confirm soon. Still, for the time being The Grand Illusion is a marvelous film. It features a fantastic narrative, three strong performances (nobody stronger than Gabin) and Renoir’s gliding camera to frame it all. best performance: The Grand Illusion but highly debatable. It’s tough because in Grand Illusion and Le Plasir- Gabin’s two best films- he shares the screen with so many others. Le Plaisir is an anthology film

The 31st Best Actor of All-Time: Jean Gabin2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 32nd Best Actor of All-Time: James Cagney

best film:  White Heat by a mile. As good as Yankee Doodle Dandy is and Roaring Twenties (Cagney’s second best film) is the answer here is easily the 1949 crime masterpiece. Cagney is a bat out of hell with a mother complex. It’s a marvelous role and Cagney’s explosive performance is pitch perfect. I’m not sure it’s a masterpiece without that ending—but—by god—that ending. best performance: White Heat. Cagney came to fame playing gangsters and there’s no debating that White Heat is the pinnacle of his career. It’s a little strange that it would come so far after his

The 32nd Best Actor of All-Time: James Cagney2020-07-03T10:30:14+00:00

The 33rd Best Actor of All-Time: Kirk Douglas

best film:  I’m overdue for a Kubrick retrospective and haven’t seen Paths of Glory in years but I think I’m giving the edge here to Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past. Out of the Past is a seminal film for film noir. Perhaps only Double Indemnity is more often listed as both a better work and a clearer architype of the genre. It’s Robert Mitchum’s film from an acting standpoint but Douglas eviscerates the screen when he’s on it. He’s a star. Detective Story is also up there as a contender here as it’s Wyler’s (69th best director of

The 33rd Best Actor of All-Time: Kirk Douglas2020-07-03T10:30:16+00:00

The 34th Best Actor of All-Time: Bill Murray

best film:  Lost in Translation. I had Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece one slot above Wes Anderson’s (Royal Tenenbaums) towards the back end of my top 100 of all-time when I last updated it (#88 and #89 respectively). So, by the slightest I’m going with Lost in Translation here. Murray is bigger part of Lost in Translation so that works for me here for the purposes of this category. He’s dazzling:  witty and poignant. For what it’s worth though he’s not Gene Hackman in Royal and he’s a part of the expansive comic ensemble, I think he’s spectacular in Wes’ greatest

The 34th Best Actor of All-Time: Bill Murray2020-07-03T10:30:16+00:00

The 35th Best Actor of All-Time: Sean Connery

best film:  The Hill which I’ve seen twice and don’t understand why it’s not held in a higher regard amongst cinephiles and critics. It’s skillfully shot, features a large set piece (title of the film), and expertly written and acted (hello, career-best Sean Connery). I think it’s a masterpiece and better than any James Bond film, Marnie (top 10 Hitchcock film-- #7 of 1964), The Untouchables (#4 currently in 1987), or The Man Who Would Be King (#7 in a crowded 1975). There’s solid depth here but I think The Hill is the best… best performance:  … which is

The 35th Best Actor of All-Time: Sean Connery2020-07-03T10:30:16+00:00

The 36th Best Actor of All-Time: Tom Hanks

best film:  Saving Private Ryan and now that we’ve had a little bit of distance between now and Hanks’ best work I don’t think this one is particularly close. I think there are a number of top 10 (or close) of their year quality films Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Big, Cast Away, Apollo 13, Road to Perdition and Captain Phillips but nothing that really gives me pause when going with Spielberg’s brilliant, visceral, war film. best performance:  Philadelphia and to me this one is much more debatable than Hanks’ best film. I’m confident it’s either Philadelphia or Saving Private Ryan

The 36th Best Actor of All-Time: Tom Hanks2020-07-03T10:30:16+00:00

The 37th Best Actor of All-Time: Denzel Washington

best film:  Malcolm X is a masterpiece. It’s different than David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia in some ways (lush 70mm exteriors, how much of the life is covered) but similar in others (aggressively stylistic from the auteur, tour-de-force from the lead). It’s Spike’s second best film (Do the Right Thing) and I’m pretty sure it’s the best film of 1992 but I oscillate between this and Unforgiven. Denzel’s second best film is either Philadelphia or He Got Game—I’ll get back to this in a second but this isn’t overwhelming for an actor this great so it’s crucial to Washington’s

The 37th Best Actor of All-Time: Denzel Washington2020-07-03T10:30:16+00:00

The 38th Best Actor of All-Time: Clark Gable

best film:  Gone With the Wind is a masterpiece of epic movie-making. Whether it’s the gorgeous color photography, crane shots (in combination with a myriad of extras to provide proper scope), writing or acting—it’s a film that has it all. . It Happened One Night is Gable’s only other masterpiece but it can’t quite touch the pinnacle of Hollywood’s golden year (or Hollywood in general in a lot of ways). best performance:  Gone With the Wind but those who claim it’s It Happened One Night aren’t crazy either. To me, Rhett Butler is justifiably one of the best characters

The 38th Best Actor of All-Time: Clark Gable2020-07-03T10:30:17+00:00

The 39th Best Actor of All-Time: Sean Penn

best film:  It’s tempting to forget Sean Penn is in The Tree of Life. That’s not a good sign for him in terms of his impact on the film’s masterpiece status. I think of Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt and young Hunter McCracken. But Penn is in it—though it’s not a major feather in his cap and I can’t call it a cameo. I do think (at least after two viewings) it’s slightly better than The Thin Red Line which would be the next best Penn film. Penn’s work here in the gorgeous World War II epic is much more

The 39th Best Actor of All-Time: Sean Penn2020-07-03T10:30:17+00:00

The 40th Best Actor of All-Time: Joseph Cotton

best film:  Citizen Kane by an eyelash over The Magnificent Ambersons and The Third Man (I don’t count Touch of Evil really because Cotton’s role is a small cameo). Cotton has been in four of the top 100 films of all-time but none greater than the great Citizen Kane. Kane is a visual masterpiece in every sense of the word but I’m already on record with how good I think Welles is (58th best actor of all-time) in front of the camera and Cotton is right there with him giving the second best performance of the film as Kane’s

The 40th Best Actor of All-Time: Joseph Cotton2020-07-03T10:30:17+00:00

The 41st Best Actor of All-Time: Jean-Louis Trintignant

best film:  The Conformist is a visual high-wire act from Bertolucci. It’s easily Bertolucci’s strongest effort (and that’s saying something because 1900 and Last Tango in Paris are excellent films). However, it doesn’t work nearly as well without Trintignant in full command in front of the camera. Behind The Conformist I think Red is his second best film and one of the better film of the 1990s. Third is My Night At Maud’s- superior filmmaking from Rohmer.   best performance:  The Conformist. Trintignant has had a career that has now spanned over 50 years (55 years between a man

The 41st Best Actor of All-Time: Jean-Louis Trintignant2021-10-29T00:16:50+00:00

The 42nd Best Actor of All-Time: Edward Norton

best film: I think Norton has been in 12 archiveable films and five of them are masterpieces. I’m throwing out his work with Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom and Grand Budapest) as he’s just not a big enough part of those films (I hope a future, bigger part in a Wes film is coming up). That leaves Birdman, Fight Club and The 25th Hour. I’m going to say Birdman is his best film but I haven’t seen it since the two things in theater in 2014 (way overdue) so I look forward to verifying and confirming this. Fight Club I’ve

The 42nd Best Actor of All-Time: Edward Norton2020-07-03T10:30:17+00:00
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