The 10th Best Actress of All-Time: Katharine Hepburn

best film:   Bringing Up Baby is Katharine Hepburn’s best film and despite decades of phenomenal work - it is not that close. The Philadelphia Story and The African Queen would be the closest, but this is not a category of strength for Hepburn. Yet, Bringing Up Baby is a comic masterpiece and the very best of the screwball comedy subgenre.   Hepburn is not only one of Hollywood's most decorated actors- but certainly gives one of the best comedic performances of all-time in Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby   best performance:   Bringing Up Baby again here but

The 10th Best Actress of All-Time: Katharine Hepburn2022-04-17T12:47:48+00:00

The 9th Best Actress of All-Time: Giulietta Masina

  best film:   Juliet of the Spirits edges out La Strada here.  In La Strada in the 1950s, Fellini is still heavily influenced by his neorealism roots (he worked on the writing for Rome, Open City and Paisan) and the two performances at the heart of La Strada (Masina and Anthony Quinn) are just more central to the film. By Juliet of the Spirits (eleven years later), Fellini is in full blown breathtaking expressionist mode.   Masina plays Giulietta Boldrini in Juliet of the Spirts - a film that deserves spot in the canon close to La Dolce

The 9th Best Actress of All-Time: Giulietta Masina2022-04-16T13:08:20+00:00

The 8th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Karina

best film:   Pierrot le Fou is the second-best Godard film and lands safely in the top 100 of all-time. Watching Anna Karina spar with Jean-Paul Belmondo in amidst the backdrop of Godard’s crazy, avant-garde world is such a privilege. A Woman is a Woman is probably next- but Godard and Karina collaborated for five (5) films that are must-see or better- and she also had tiny spot in Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 as well.   Karina with the scissors, in red, in front of the Picassos as an immaculate cinematic painting from Pierrot le Fou

The 8th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Karina2022-04-15T13:24:48+00:00

The 7th Best Actress of All-Time: Catherine Deneuve

  best film:   The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. There are really three candidates here. There is The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Repulsion (an often-overlooked Polanski masterpiece) and Dancer in the Dark (where Deneuve is in support of course). All three films land between 100-200 on the all-time list- with Demy’s masterpiece at the top. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is visually spectacular—a flood of color and a prime contender for the strongest compositions of the films from the French New Wave.   though not her debut, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg finds a 21-year old Catherine Deneuve in her first archiveable film- front

The 7th Best Actress of All-Time: Catherine Deneuve2022-04-14T14:56:55+00:00

The 6th Best Actress of All-Time: Jeanne Moreau

best film:   Jules and Jim. Jules and Jim is simply one of the crown jewels of the French New Wave on top of being one of the best films of all-time (currently sits at #19).  That ranking makes it the single highest rated film of the French New Wave, Truffaut’s career, and the best film from a French director. This category strengthens Moreau’s case. best performance:   Jules and Jim. Moreau is transcendent in Truffaut’s masterpiece as Catherine. Catherine is mercurial and Moreau dominates when she is on screen (sorry and all due respect to Oskar Werner and Henri Serre).

The 6th Best Actress of All-Time: Jeanne Moreau2022-04-13T17:17:50+00:00

The 5th Best Actress of All-Time: Lillian Gish

best film:  Intolerance is a giant masterpiece that has influenced everyone from Erich von Stroheim to David Lean to Christopher Nolan. Gish does not have a big role in Intolerance.  She plays the handle that rocks the cradle so to speak—a symbolic role- eternal mother or grandmother. As much as it as it is derided for the outrageously wrong and racist content—The Birth of a Nation is still a masterpiece so that is a candidate here though Intolerance is the stronger of the two films.   Lillian Gish in Intolerance- one of her five archiveable collaborations with D.W.

The 5th Best Actress of All-Time: Lillian Gish2022-04-13T17:18:55+00:00

The 4th Best Actress of All-Time: Barbara Stanwyck

best film:  Double Indemnity is a one of the greatest film noirs. The only real contender vying for the top slot as far as Barbara Stanyck's career is concerned is the The Lady Eve. The edge goes to Billy Wilder's noir here with stunning performances by Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, and, of course, Stanwyck. Stanwyck is the archetypal and greatest femme fatale in cinema history- and the essential resource here Senses of Cinema agrees.   best performance:  Double Indemnity but this might be closer than the category above with Stanwyck’s work in Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve.

The 4th Best Actress of All-Time: Barbara Stanwyck2022-04-13T17:19:19+00:00

The 3rd Best Actress of All-Time: Juliette Binoche

best film:  Three Colours: Blue from Kieslowski and Cache from Haneke stand alone in the upper echelon for Juliette Binoche. Her split second role in Three Colours: Red is omitted from contention here.  She has a slew of films in a tier or two below: Lovers on a Bridge, Summer Hours, English Patient, Code Unknown.   Binoche has been as steady as a rock for decades- but her high-water mark is clearly 1993's Three Colours : Blue working with Kieslowski   best performance:  The answer is Three Colours: Blue and it is not close. This is no

The 3rd Best Actress of All-Time: Juliette Binoche2022-04-14T21:20:53+00:00

The 2nd Best Actress of All-Time: Liv Ullmann

best film:  Discussing Liv Ullmann’s best film really requires one to talk about Ingmar Bergman’s best. She is not in The Seventh Seal (made nearly a decade before they started collaborating) so that is out. She is not in Fanny and Alexander, either. But Bergman’s best single film is Persona so that is the answer here. Cries & Whispers is not far behind Persona. It is likely that both Persona and Cries & Whispers are two of the best fifty (50) films of all-time- and Liv is simply spectacular in both.   at 28-years-old Liv Ullmann would become

The 2nd Best Actress of All-Time: Liv Ullmann2022-04-13T17:20:26+00:00

The Best Actress of All-Time: Ingrid Bergman

best film: Casablanca is the winner here though Notorious is a masterpiece as well and I owe Rossellini’s Journey to Italy another revisit. Casablanca is deserving of its reputation and iconic status. Curtiz is not Hitchcock or Rossellini, but he directs the hell out of this one film and of course it has one of the best screenplays in Hollywood history.  Chief amongst the reasons to appreciate Casablanca are the lead performances by Bogart and Bergman. It is Bogart’s speech at the end but its Bergman’s emotional range (while Bogart plays Rick as more even and cool/steady) that help

The Best Actress of All-Time: Ingrid Bergman2022-04-13T17:21:33+00:00

Wild Strawberries – 1957 Bergman

The Seventh Seal arrived at Cannes in the spring of 1957- and then just a few short months later Wild Strawberries was released in Ingmar Bergman’s native Sweden just before the close of the year. Wild Strawberries would be a big part of the festival circuit in 1958. In Wild Strawberries, Professor Isak Borg (played by the greatest Swedish director of all-time until Bergman came along, Victor Sjöström) travels via car instead of plane- a last minute change by Borg- to receive an honorary degree. The trip is not only physical of course- but spiritual and existential. During the

Wild Strawberries – 1957 Bergman2022-04-07T14:58:53+00:00

To Sir, with Love – 1967 Clavell

To Sir, with Love is an actor’s vehicle for Sidney Poitier. It exists in the drama subgenre of empathetic teachers working with troubled youth. Blackboard Jungle from Richard Brooks in 1955 is the obvious companion- in that film Poitier himself played one of the students. Glenn Ford played the teacher. Dead Poets Society (1989), Stand and Deliver (1988), Dangerous Minds (1995) are others. Here Poitier plays Mark Thackeray. Poitier was at the height of his powers in 1967. He had won his Oscar (1963) and had been a star already for nearly a decade (The Defiant Ones is really

To Sir, with Love – 1967 Clavell2022-04-06T19:29:42+00:00
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