Saturday, July 25, 2009

Favourit Actors

Here's my follow up to my favourite actresses post. The point of all this? Just spreading the love (and self-gratitude).

Fred Astaire
Somewhere between Strictly Ballroom and Fred and Ginger films I realised that I like seeing people dance. Somewhere around the same time I also realised that I like seeing Fred Astaire dance. And sing. And act in his amicable way. Could this be the same guy who allegedly received the report from a screen-test: Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly Balding (with some sources adding 'can dance a little')? Luckily that didn't stop Astaire and he's shown to countless supporters he can do just about everything, and with the lightest of touch.
Favourite film: There's many great ones, so maybe this knuckles down to my mood. My mood at the moment says Top Hat, because it's an escapist's dream wonderland.
Favourite performance: Fred Astaire's persona usually finds itself in every film, but it's nice when variations occur. I really like him in Broadway Melody of 1940, he doesn't start as the main guy, but his character quietly creeps up in notice before somewhat stealing the show. Showcases some of his very best dancing, including the tapping showdown Begin the Beguine.

Humphrey Bogart
Hard for me to say this now, but just before watching the film Sabrina, I looked at the dvd cover and thought "ugh, Audrey Hepburn is teamed up with him". Then I watched the film and I was in awe, haven't looked back since. Bogart has such understated charm and a subtle way of really making you care for his characters. And his delivery of lines is really something too and part of the reason why Casablanca's dialogue is so famous, you can't forget the words here's looking at you, kid after hearing Bogart say them a few times over. He was a star and an actor, and not everyone in the business can accomplish both.
Favourite film: Aside from Sabrina, there's--a lot of wonderful titles in his filmography. One that I immensely enjoyed is the film noir The Big Sleep, a very entertaining film and Bogart was arguably never sexier (yep I said it).
Favourite performance: In a Lonely Place shows Bogart like never before and never since. Stripped down and bare, he is shattering and electrifying and terrifying and completely human.

Cary Grant
Every guys want to be him, every girl wants him--or at least he's closer than anybody else to these superlatives. That's pretty much all you can utter about Grant, superlatives. Because he's peerless and just about everybody knew it during the Golden Age. He was more often than other actors offered the best scripts and he worked with a lot of the best directors, two of them thought he was the tops: Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks (and probably others) and a lot of actresses have nothing but fun memories and praise for him. He was equally great at comedy and drama and he was charming to the bone. Who wouldn't want to be in his presence?
Favourite film: Could there be a tougher thing to state? But I do love Holiday, one of the best odes to misfits, outsiders, free-spirits.
Favourite performance: His comedy performances are great, in equal turns fun and funny, but it's always nice to see the more intense, serious Grant and so I love him in Only Angels Have Wings.

James Stewart
He's so adorable and he can melt ya with his everyman charm. He's also very natural on screen, one would misguidingly think that acting is the easiest thing by watching him. It's this natural ability, an ability that every actor strives for, that makes him so memorable. With Stewart, you can feel every step of the way the emotions he's going through. He played so many good guys in his earlier career, that it's fascinating when darker shades are explored in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and his films with Hitchcock.
Favourite film: Vertigo. One haunting, disturbing experience quite unlike any other.
Favourite performance: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was the first one that made me sit up and pay attention, an inspiring performance, you're with his character every step of his journey.

Spencer Tracy
Ah such a great actor. He's another natural, like Jimmy Stewart (I wonder why the two never made a film together?). He could play quite a range with his screen persona and even though you kind of know it's Tracy up there on screen each time, you also feel the character he is portraying coming through. A real consummate professional, he was straight to the point, 'don't embroider' he once said and so he didn't.
Favourite film: One of my recent favourites is Captains Courageous, a very inspiring film and you grow quite fond of his character, as does the boy who he befriends.
Favourite performance: A harder question. Well, he makes the film Father of the Bride with his pinpoint timing as the stressful title character anticipating his daughter's upcoming wedding.

Buster Keaton
The great stone face, one of three top comedians of the silent era (the other two being Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, still need to see his films). Keaton was very funny, his comedy was very visual (well, of course, it's a silent film) and physical. As a result, you see a minimal number of title cards in his films and in their place there are great positioning of props, great stunts by Keaton himself and surreal moments that you can't believe could be achieved in the 1920s.
Favourite film: My first film of his was The Cameraman, and though it's not his crowning achievement, it's still funny enough and simply moving and romantic (plus there's a cute monkey who becomes Keaton's companion)
Favourite performance: Though most of his memorable roles were as the blue collar, working class lad, he is perhaps at his funniest when he plays pompous, rich boys, like in The Navigator, who find themselves in extraordinary situations which reveal their lack of skills--and inventiveness--(and comedy ensues).

--I like many actors, but these are probably the most consistently talented in my opinion. That, or I'm just out of writing energy.

1 comment:

  1. has anyone ever told you that you are uber unique and very awesome?! If not, im going to remind you every time i see you of just how rad you are.

    Btw, i love the music you added to your page, how on earth do you do that?

    I loved how you described Top Hat as an escapist's dream wonderland...I love an escape. isn't it amazing how song and dance can do that to a person - transport them to a whole new world, even if only for a minute or two :)

    And Humphrey Bogart was awesome in Sabrina! ao true my deary. Thanks for introducing me to that movie <3