best film: The Big Sleep is right there near the top as one of the best film noir entries, but Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind is a virtual deadlock tie. The Big Sleep was slightly higher on the last top 500 films of all-time update so that will live here for now, it may flip with the next update.
best performance: To Have and Have Not. Although The Big Sleep is the better film, the better performance from Lauren Bacall is unquestionably To Have and Have Not. Bacall plays “Slim” and this is one of the greatest acting debuts of all-time. The 19-year-old model turned actor steals scenes from prime Bogart, captures many hearts (including Bogart’s), and walks off with the sublime ending.
stylistic innovations/traits: Lauren Bacall was a model for Harper’s Bazaar in her teens who had an archiveable film career that spanned 60 years (first in1944 and last in 2004) with an archiveable film in every decade except the 1980s. The sheer number of archiveable films (13) is a plus for Bacall in comparison with most other actors on this list. That said, she is here because of her work with her four-time costar (and husband) Humphrey Bogart. The two Hawks’ films are the best of them, but Dark Passage and Key Largo are fantastic as well. Bacall is known for her easy charm and deep sultry voice seemingly predestined to be in black and white film noir.
directors worked with: Howard Hawks (2), John Huston (1), Douglas Sirk (1), Don Siegel (1), Sidney Lumet (1), Lars von Trier (1) Rob Reiner (1) and Jonathan Glazer (1).
top five performances:
- To Have and Have Not
- The Big Sleep
- Written on the Wind
- Key Largo
- Dark Passage
|1944- To Have and Have Not|
|1946- The Big Sleep|
|1947- Dark Passage|
|1948- Key Largo|
|1953- How to Marry a Millionaire|
|1955- Blood Alley|
|1956- Written on the Wind|
|1974- Murder on the Orient Express|
|1976- The Shootist|
Insane to think how she was barely 20 in her debut and already so mature and commanding. When people reminisce about the magic of movie stars I think she (and that quality of hers) is a touchstone. You just don’t see that same presence in today’s ingénues (or very many young people at all it seems). Last one I can think of with that touch is Scarlett. It’s very special.
@Ce- Thank you for the comment- yes- Scarlett works- the maturity, the voice
@Ce- Another one here is Cathy Moriarty at age 20 in Raging Bull- certainly similarities in the voice, too