Top of the World: My Ultimate Top 100 Favourite Actresses

Here it is! Finally! Almost two years after having published my top 100 favourite actors (which already has to be updated, I’ve finally decided to do the same with my favourite actresses! This was not an easy task!

These choices are VERY subjective, so I’ll ask you to respect them. It’s a list of my own favourite. So please, no “If I were you I would…” Well, you are not me, so…

I did a first list of most of the actresses I liked and there was over 130! So, I obviously had to delete many of them.

I also gave myself a rule: to only include an actress if I had seen at least to of her movies. That’s why you won’t see Greta Garbo on this list (sorry folks, I’ve only seen Ninotchka!)

This said, if you don’t see your favourite actress on the list there are x reasons:

1- She was in the top 130ish and unfortunately wasn’t included to the final top 100.

2- I have only seen one of her films, or maybe none at all!

3- Maybe I just don’t like her. I don’t love everybody, I’m not Jesus!

You’ll see that I’m not the type of person who “follows” crowds and sometimes have unconventional tastes (which I think is actually cool). So, it’s possible that a certain actress that everybody loves is not on the list. And hey, I have my guilty pleasures too! But (and this is an objective statement) I think most of them are fine actresses.

Ok, enough! Here we go!

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100. Patricia Neal (Favourite performance: Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still)

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99. Catherine Deneuve (Favourite performance: Miriam Blaylock in The Hunger)

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98. Karen Black (Favourite performance: Fran in Family Plot)

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97. Katy Jurado (Favourite performance: Helen Ramírez in High Noon)

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96. Sylvia Sidney (Favourite performance: Drina Gordon in Dead End)

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95. Maidie Norman (Favourite performance: Elvira Stitt in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)

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94. Nancy Olson (Favourite performance: Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard)

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93. Julie Andrews (Favourite performance: Maria in The Sound of Music)

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92. Tippi Hedren (Favourite performance: Melanie Daniels in The Birds)

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91. Theresa Harris (Favourite performance: Chico in Baby Face)

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90. Jean Hagen (Favourite performance: Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain)

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89. Paulette Goddard (Favourite performance: Ellen Peterson “The Gamin” in Modern Times)

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88. Ethel Barrymore (Favourite performance: Miss Spinney in Portrait of Jennie)

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87. Jean Kent (Favourite performance: Janet Halliday in Please, Turn Over)

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86. Constance Bennett (Favourite performance:  Marion Kerby in Topper)

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85. Sandra Dee (Favourite performance: Evelyn Leslie in Until They Sail)

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84. Liv Ullmann (Favourite performance: Elizabeth Vogler in Persona)

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83. Jeanne Moreau (Favourite performance: Julie Kohler in La Mariée était en noir)

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82. Veronica Lake (Favourite performance: Jennifer in I Married a Witch)

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81. Genevieve Bujold (Favourite performance: Denise Marshall in Earthquake)

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80. Lilli Palmer (Favourite performance: Clytie Devine in A Girl Must Live)

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79. Valentina Cortese (Favourite performance: Séverine in La Nuit Américaine)

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78. Geena Davis (Favourite performance: Thelma Dickinson in Thelma & Louise)

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77. Rosanna Arquette (Favourite performance: Lucy in The Linguini Incident)

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76. Jennifer Jones (Favourite performance: Jennie Appleton in Portrait of Jennie)

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75. Rita Moreno (Favourite performance: Anita in West Side Story)

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74. Katharine Ross (Favourite performance: Elaine Robinson The Graduate)

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73. Ruth Hussey (Favourite performance: Elizabeth Imbrie in The Philadelphia Story)

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72. Bessie Love (Favourite performance: Hank Mahoney in The Broadway Melody)

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71. Jessica Tandy (Favourite performance: Ninny Threadgoode in Fried Green Tomatoes)

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70. Lucille Ball (Favourite performance: Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy)

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69. Marion Davies (Favourite performance: Mabel O’Dare in Cain & Mabel)

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68. Aline MacMahon (Favourite performance: Trixie Lorraine in Gold Diggers of 1933)

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67. Rita Hayworth (Favourite performance: Anne Shankland in Separate Tables)

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66. Dame May Whitty (Favourite performance: Miss Froy in The Lady Vanishes)

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65. Kathy Bates (Favourite performance: Annie Wilkes in Misery)

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64. Jessica Lange (Favourite performance: “Angelique”, the angel of death in All That Jazz)

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63. Ruth Donnelly (Favourite performance: Liz in Autumn Leaves)

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62. Virginia Weidler (Favourite performance: Dinah Lord in The Philadelphia Story)

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61. Nova Pilbeam (Favourite performance: Erica Burgoyne in Young & Innocent)

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60. Natalie Portman (Favourite performance:  Nina Sayers in Black Swan)

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59. Joan Crawford (Favourite performance: Mildred Pierce in Mildred Pierce)

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58. Debbie Reynolds (Favourite performance: Lilith Prescott in How the West Was Won)

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57. Billie Burke (Favourite performance: Millicent Jordan in Dinner at Eight)

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56. Bette Davis (Favourite performance: Margot Channing in All About Eve)

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55. Isabella Rossellini (Favourite performance: Lady Helen Port-Huntley in The Saddest Music in the World)

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54. Jane Wyman (Favourite performance: Marcy Lewis in Three Guys Named Mike)

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53. Miriam Hopkins (Favourite performance:  Lavinia Penniman in The Heiress)

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52. Joan Blondell (Favourite performance: Mabel Anderson in Dames)

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51. Phyllis Calvert (Favourite performance: Clarissa in The Man in Grey)

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50. Celeste Holme (Favourite performance: Karen Richards in All About Eve)

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49. Helen Hayes (Favourite performance:  Ada Quonsett in Airport)

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48. Shelley Winters (Favourite performance: Belle Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure)

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47. Irene Dunne (Favourite performance:  Lucy Warriner in The Awful Truth)

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46. Greer Garson (Favourite performance: Kay Miniver in Mrs. Miniver)

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45. Gladys Cooper (Favourite performance: Beatrice Lacy in Rebecca)

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44. Una Merkel (Favourite performance: Lorraine Fleming in 42nd Street)

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43. Jodie Foster (Favourite performance: Clarice Starling in  The Silence of the Lambs)

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42. Jacqueline Bisset (Favourite performance: Julie Baker in La Nuit Américaine)

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41. Susan Sarandon (Favourite performance: Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking)

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40. Jean Harlow (Favourite performance: Gladys Benton in Libeled Lady)

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39. Patricia Roc (Favourite performance: Caroline in The Wicked Lady)

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38. Cate Blanchett (Favourite performance: Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator)

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37. Hattie McDaniel (Favourite performance: Mammy in Gone With the Wind)

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36. Barbara Bel Geddes (Favourite performance: Marjorie Wood in Vertigo)

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35. Diane Keaton (Favourite performance: Annie Hall in Annie Hall)

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34. Vera Miles (Favourite performance: Rose Balestrero in The Wrong Man)

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33. Faye Dunaway (Favourite performance: Bonnie Parker in Bonnie & Clyde)

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32. Natalie Wood (Favourite performance: Wilma Dean “Deanie” Loomis in Splendor in the Grass)

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31. Dorothy McGuire (Favourite performance: Helen in The Spiral Staircase)

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30. Elizabeth Taylor (Favourite performance: Catherine Holly in Suddenly, Last Summer)

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29. Lillian Gish (Favourite performance: Rachel Cooper in The Night of the Hunter)

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28. Shirley MacLaine (Favourite performance: Jennifer Rogers in The Trouble With Harry)

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27. Jean Arthur (Favourite performance: Clarissa Saunders in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)

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26. Marilyn Monroe (Favourite performance: Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk in Some Like It Hot)

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25. Dolores Hart (Favourite performance: Donna Stuart in Come Fly With Me)

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24. Ginger Rogers (Favourite performance: Ann Lowell  in 42nd Street)

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23. Thelma Ritter (Favourite performance:  Stella in Rear Window)

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22. Jessie Royce Landis (Favourite performance: Jessie Stevens in To Catch a Thief)

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21. Teresa Wright (Favourite performance: Charlotte Newton in Shadow of a Doubt)

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20. Marlene Dietrich (Favourite performance: Christine Vole in Witness for the Prosecution)

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19. Donna Reed (Favourite performance: Lorene in From Here to Eternity)

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18. Anne Bancroft (Favourite performance:  Anne Sullivan in The Miracle Worker)

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17. Elsa Lanchester (Favourite performance: Miss Plimsoll in Witness for the Prosecution)

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16. Doris Day (Favourite performance: Josephine “Jo” Conway McKenna in The Man Who Knew Too Much)

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15. Agnes Moorehead (Favourite performance: Queen Maria Dominika in The Swan)

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14. Claire Trevor (Favourite performance: Helen Brent in Born to Kill)

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13. Carole Lombard (Favourite performance:  Maria Tura in To Be or Not to Be)

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12. Myrna Loy (Favourite performance: Milly Stephenson in The Best Years of Our Lives)

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11. Deborah Kerr (Favourite performance: Miss Giddens in The Innocents)

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10. Joan Bennett (Favourite performance: Katherine ‘Kitty’ March in Scarlet Street)

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9. Barbara Stanwyck (Favourite performance: Lily Powers in Baby Face)

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8. Anne Baxter (Favourite performance: Lucy in The Magnificent Ambersons)

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7. Olivia de Havilland (Favourite performance: Catherine Slopper in The Heiress)

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6. Vivien Leigh (Favourite performance: Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind)

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5. Katharine Hepburn (Favourite performance:  Josephine “Jo” March in Little Women)

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4. Margaret Lockwood (Favourite performance: Hesther Shaw in The Man in Grey)

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3. Jean Simmons (Favourite performance: Varinia in Spartacus)

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2. Joan Fontaine (Favourite performance: 2nd Mrs. De Winter in Rebecca)

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  1. Audrey Hepburn (Favourite performance: Princess Ann in Roman Holiday), Grace Kelly (Favourite performance: Margot Wendice Dial M for Murder) and Ingrid Bergman (Favourite performance: Dr. Constance Petersen in Spellbound)!

YES! Yes, I have three favourite actresses as number one. I love them all equally and for very different reasons. I cannot choose! That’s why I created another blog dedicated to them!

Of course, this is the type of list that can change next week, but I think this gave you a good preview of my acting tastes.

Who are your favourite actresses? 🙂

 

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Dancin’ with Busby

Something special is happening at Hometowns to Hollywood as Annette is hosting a blogathon for the very first time! The classic film enthusiast has chosen to honour the world of musicals with an event dedicated to the golden age of Hollywood choreographer Busby Berkeley. For those like me who like the musical genre, Berkeley is an essential. His choreographies had something that was proper to him and didn’t only allowed the dancers to prove their skills, but for some, became real pieces of art. The kaleidoscopic spectacle was to be his trademark and made him a real magician.

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For my participation in the Busby Berkeley Blogathon, I’ve decided to discuss my favourite musical numbers directed by him. Five films would be explored: 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Dames and Lady Be Good. Of course, Berkeley worked on many more films, including the well-known family classic The Wizard of Oz.

42nd Street (Lloyd Bacon, 1933)

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42nd Street is the first film choreographed by Busby Berkeley that I saw. I was not much older than 15 or 16 years old and, to be honest, didn’t really love it. I just found it ok. Then, I watched it a second-time years later (actually, I think it was last year) and simply adored it. It’s amazing how our tastes can change. Despite not being so impressed by it on my first viewing, the final musical number always had a place among my very favourite movie scenes. I remember watching it often on YouTube and trying to learn the song by heart. But it’s only when I was in Cegep that I really heard of Busby Berkeley or, more precisely, that I learned that this musical number that I loved so much was choreographed by him. In one of my film history classes, my teacher discussed musical films and introduced the class by teaching us about backstage musicals, those films telling the story of a Broadway show. Busby Berkeley was an essential figure in backstage musicals.

But let’s now explore two musical numbers of this film in greater details:

Shuffle Off to Buffalo

Shuffle Off to Buffalo starts in a quiet way with Ruby Keeler and Clarence Nordstrom playing a newly wed couple. They are on the boat, on their way to Buffalo. The boat suddenly becomes a train and the visual effect impresses us as well as the applauding public in the movie. The other train passengers participate in the number with their chorus voices while Rudy and Clarence execute some jolly tap dancing. The melody of the voices and the rhythm of the steps are in perfect harmony for this sympathetic musical number. My favourite part of the scene really is the singing duo between Una Merkel and Ginger Rogers who don’t seem to believe much in marriage. According to them “Matrimony is baloney”!

 

42nd Street

The final choreographic number starts with Ruby Keeler singing about the famous street and its people. She then proves us her potential as a good tap dancer. The camera moves and reveals us that she is in fact, dancing on the roof of a car! The car goes away with Ruby and reveals us a complex stage that has been transformed in New-York City with its cars, numerous people, scandals, and lights. We realize that, although it is supposed to happen on a stage, cinema and cameras allow a better potential for such an impressive scene. Some parts of this scene don’t contain any visible cut and make us wonder how it is possible. It really gives us the illusion that it was filmed in a gigantic studio. Dick Powell eventually introduces himself to the song while my favourite extra is mixing a drink in the background. The other dancers, dressed like Ruby arrived to close the numbers and their lively silhouettes become enlightened buildings in the New-Yorkian night. I love the singing voices at the end of this musical number!

 

Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy, 1933)

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The first time I heard about this film was when I saw Bonnie & Clyde. Remember, there’s this scene where the two dangerous lovers and their comrade C.W. Moss go hide into a theatre after Clyde has killed a man? The movie playing precisely is Gold Diggers of 1933 and we’re at the beginning of it with its introducing number, “We’re in the Money”. At the time, I had no idea this film would eventually become a favourite.

We’re in the Money

Ok, if I become rich one day, I want to re-enact this scene, covered with coins just like Fay Fortune (Ginger Rogers). This musical scene is an interesting way to begin the movie as it makes a contrast with the real-life situation of 1933: the economic crisis. Yes, Americans were far from being “in the money” and this musical number, therefore, becomes an ideology, the expression of their desire to come out of this difficult situation. The practice is indeed abruptly interrupted by the creditors and producers of telling people to stop the show as they haven’t got enough money to finance it. There’s a lot of joy in this dance and the whole thing is embellished with big coins forming interesting fans. I once gave myself the challenge of learning this song by heart, which I succeed, except for the pig latin part!

 

Pettin’ in the Park

You like pre-code? Well, here is some pre-code for you. “Pettin’ in the Park”, even if it seems innocent at first, is one of the most daring musical numbers of Berkeley’s filmography. It starts with a naughty Dick Powell and a shy Ruby Keeler singing about “pettin in a park” and “pettin in the dark”. They are soon joined by other dancers and the stage becomes a real snowy scene with skating and amusing snowball fights. Busby Berkeley films the dancer with their false giant snowballs with his usual high angle shots which shows us kaleidoscopic forms. Then it’s Spring and the ladies and their beaux are sitting together. A little boy (played by dwarf Billy Party) sneaks into their intimacy and when the girls go hide behind a curtain to change their wet clothes, he starts to pull this curtain! ;). This is a complex scene so there’ll be much more to say. I’ll let you watch see for yourself. Unfortunately, I could only find it in three separated parts.

 

Remember My Forgotten Man

Joan Blondell is the star of this closing number. In opposition to the optimistic opening number, Forgotten Man takes us back to the reality of the economic crisis and men leaving their houses to fight for their country during the first World War. For this impressive scene, Busby Berkeley used a German Expressionist aesthetic playing with shadows and contrast. The end of the scene indeed offers us some impressive views on the silhouettes of the marching soldiers.

 

Footlight Parade (Lloyd Bacon, 1933)

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Footlight Parade is a good movie allowing us to witness James Cagney’s talent as a dancer. However, I must admit that this film doesn’t contain most of my favourite musical numbers, but I think one is worthy of mention:

By a Waterfall

This complex choreography is a bit long but remains a great entertainment for our eyes. The particularity of “By a Waterfall” is that it was filmed on the water with graceful swimmers. No, Esther Williams didn’t do it first! Berkeley offers us a poetic vision of the aquatic life with swimmers drawing beautiful abstract patterns on the water and even a giant human waterfall!

 

Dames (Ray Enright, 1934)

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Apart from being a deliciously funny movie, Dames might contain some of my most favourite musical numbers created by Busby Berkeley. The film was first introduced to us when my Film Aesthetic  teacher showed us some clips. I was amazed by the way it was filmed and so were the other students we couldn’t help applaud at the end of them (this is not something you witness often in university classes). Of course, it immediately made me want to see the film.

I Only Have Eyes for You

Here, you’ll see plenty of Ruby Keeler. She is literally everywhere in this scene as if she was an idolized goddess. The scene contains some magical effects made on a black background and takes us from one shot to another with an incredible fluidity and ways that no one could possibly imagine.

 

Dames

The impressive part of this scene starts with these ladies’ morning routine. They are revealed to us behind large clocks and start their day, smiling and fresh. Honestly, I never had a smile like that on my face while waking-up in the morning. Kudos to them. They then go to work and enter by the stage doors. Then starts the Berkeley touch with a pretty choreography on a white background making a contrast with their black leggings. Of course, high angles and kaleidoscopic effects aren’t missing.  The final moments are amazingly impressive and were probably the reasons why my classmates applauded after the viewing of this clip. But honestly, it’s too wonderful for words. I’ll let you watch it.

I couldn’t find the entire clip, but here is the best part anyway!

 

Lady Be Good (Norman Z. McLeod, 1941)

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Lady Be Good isn’t Berkeley’s most well-known work but it’s one that deserves to be explored. The film starring Ann Sothern, Robert Young, Eleanor Powell and Red Skelton gives a new approach to the filmography of Berkeley. Here, the musical numbers find a certain simplicity that is in opposition to the ones from the pre-code era but don’t lack dynamism. Far from it!

You’ll Never Know dance by the Berry Brother

Here, the notorious trio formed by the Berry Brothers sing a song composed by Ann Sothern’s character while executing a breathtaking choreography in their chic clothes. They aren’t only dancers, they are amazing acrobats as well! This classy musical number is the proof that Berkeley was able to show us different things than kaleidoscopic effects to take our breath away.

 

Lady Be Good dance by Eleanor Powell

If there was a queen of tap dance, Eleanor Powell maybe was the one. Anyway, we agree that she surpasses Ruby Keeler’s level. In this scene, her character “only” do a dance practice. But what a practice! Here she wears what seems to be the most comfortable pants ever and start with lively and fast steps. She simply dances like a fish swims, with incredible gracefulness. The amusing part of the scene occurs when she is joined by her dog Button who turns out to be quite an appreciated dance partner! Ellie’s smile seems to be an invitation to dance with her!

 

Fascinatin’ Rhythm

Lady Be Good‘s last musical scene is the most complex one and, somehow, takes us back to the age of Gold Diggers and 42nd Street. Just like with “Forgotten Man”, Busby Berkeley plays with the shadows, this time the ones of the band musicians and the Berry Brothers. Connie Russell starts singing the song and is soon joined by the three dancing brothers and their usual dynamism. Eleanor Powell eventually makes her entrance dancing among pianos and accompanied by a ground of gentlemen who only make her shine.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the beginning of the scene with Connie Russell singing. But you can still watch the Berry Brothers and Eleanor Powell’s dancing!

 

 

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Of course, much more of Busby Berkeley’s work deserves to be explored, but I hope this post gave you a good preview of his work and my own personal tastes!

Many thanks again to Annette for hosting this fun blogathon!

Don’t miss the other entries:

The Busby Berkeley Blogathon

busbyberkeleycinema

Top of the World: A Tribute To David Bowie Through His Films

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January 8th week belongs to David Bowie and his also known as Bowiemas among his fans. Indeed, David was born on January 8th, 1947 and left us two days after his 69th birthday on January 10, 2016, which left many of his admirers in a state of infinite sadness.

As I haven’t written on my blog for a very long time, I thought I would pay tribute to the starman by discussing his films, the ones I’ve seen anyway. I more precisely decided to present you my personal ranking of his films, from my least favourite one to my most favourite one.

Notice that I put them in two separate categories: the fiction films and the documentaries/concert films

As always, I’ll ask you to respect my choices. I’m not claiming that the #1 on this list is the best film, but only that it is my personal favourite so it’s very subjective.

If you wonder why a certain film isn’t on the list, the only reason is that I haven’t seen it yet. Of course, I’m open to recommendations!

So, here we go!

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Fiction films

7- Absolute Beginners (Julien Temple, 1986)

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Absolute Beginners is not a great film, far from it. The reason why I put it in the last place is that it disappointed me for several reasons. It’s a musical and there are some fine songs, but I thought it was a bit too over the top, and not in a good way. I like extravagant films, but in this particular case, it wasn’t really going anywhere, which isn’t really a good thing. Some of the actors also tend to over-act, which didn’t add any sobriety to the film either. I was also disappointed by the fact that David Bowie’s role is, as a matter of fact, a very small one! Its moment of glory lasts only a few minutes and it is perhaps the best part of the film. Anyway, as he was the third actor to be credited I expected to see a bit more of him. Luckily, Absolute Beginners also has some good sides: David Bowie singing “That’s Motivation”, the scene at the beginning of the film when the main character Colin (Eddie O’Connell) takes photos of his friends in the street in a very dynamic way, the beautiful theme song written and performed by Bowie (I already loved it before seeing the film), the vintage aesthetic and more. So, as you can see, I didn’t hate the film, but it lacks consistency and, at the end, I had completely lost the focus.

6- Basquiat (Julian Schnabel, 1996)

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This is the first David Bowie film I ever saw and I must admit I don’t remember much of it, but I put it in the 6th place as I know it was a better film than Absolute Beginners. Actually, I saw it in my art history class in CEGEP when we were talking about Jean-Michel Basquiat. David Bowie in the role of Andy Warhol was a pretty top-notch casting choice. David himself even wrote a song years before named Andy Warhol (part of his album Hunky Dory) and it’s a personal favourite!  The cast also includes David’s great friend Gary Oldman and another personal favourite actor of mine: Dennis Hopper. Anyway, I think I would have to see the film again to give you a full appreciation. I wasn’t even a fan of David Bowie at the time like I am today! So, of course, my vision of things will probably ch-ch-ch-change.

5- The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983)

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This one is pretty fresh in my memory as I watched it yesterday! I must admit, I took time to see it as vampire movies aren’t really my thing…anymore. But in a logical order of things, this had to be the next one. The good thing about it is that it is not a typical vampire movie and, as a matter of fact, the word “vampire” is never used by the characters. What I liked the most about the film was its visual aesthetic, which was very beautiful and poetic. Narratively, it was ok, a bit weird, but my attention was kept until the end. Without revealing any spoiler, I must admit I didn’t really like the development of David Bowie’s character which is… a big part of the story. Oops! The Hunger starts in force with an unforgettable opening scene and also ends in a strong way. Finally, I appreciated the cast including Bowie, Susan Sarandon, and Catherine Deneuve. This one looks so beautiful and she made me think sooo much of Grace Kelly! The Hunger is not your typical gory vampire film and it’s, as a matter of fact, a very sexy film, but maybe not for everybody!

4- The Man Who Fell To Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976)

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This is maybe THE David Bowie fiction film. I mean, can you think of a better role for him than the one of an extraterrestrial. Many also claim that this was his best performance and I’ll tend to agree. David Bowie’s presence on screen is always appreciated, especially in a leading role. The film itself wasn’t my favourite one and the main reason is that I found it a bit hard to follow and I am not that much a fan of science-fiction (but a few exceptions). At one point I wasn’t really sure what was going on anymore. But I recognize its quality and importance both in film history and David’s career. It’s a good think Criterion included in its collection. The Man Who Fell To Earth certainly was David Bowie’s most unforgettable role and he had the chance to play a very interesting character. The ending is very sad and sort of makes you say “well, that’s it?…”

3- Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983)

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Another film restored by Criterion. I found this one very interesting and David Bowie gives us a fair performance. I would call it a film of quality. As I read on the internet, this is indeed one of the rare POW films where the prisoners don’t attempt to escape the camp (if you compare it with films like Stalag 17, The Great Escape or La Grand Illusion). So, for that reason, it remains one of a kind. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence can be a bit slow at some point, but it remains a beautiful one. The music composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also plays in the film) is one of the strong elements of the film as well as some visually poignant scenes, and David Bowie’s well-calculated performance. I also have to say I rather enjoyed the very last scene. It’s sad, but also very touching and reveals us the kinder side of one of the characters.  The only thing that truly annoyed me when I watched it is the fact that the sound was sometimes not perfectly synchronised with the image, but that’s not David’s fault!

2- Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986)

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Just like The Hunger, it took me time to see this Labyrinth as I was not sure it would be my type of film. But, I knew it was an essential David Bowie film and, as you can see, I quite enjoyed it as I put it in the second place! Visually, it’s a bit dated and grotesque, but it remains a great entertainment and Jareth the Goldin King is a very interesting character and David gives it the right essence. The various sources of inspiration for this film also make it a worthy one. Finally, from Underground to Within You, I absolutely loved the score. You don’t often find such groove in fantasy movies!

1- The Linguini Incident (Richard Shepard, 1991)

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No, I’m not saying that The Linguini Incident is a better movie than The Man Who Fell To Earth or Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, but it is the one I personally enjoyed the most. It’s not exactly an excellent film, it’s more a typical guilty pleasure but it’s such fun! I really liked the characters, a lot happens so you don’t get bored, and David Bowie is just there and it’s fantastic you know! Notice a cameo by top model Iman, David Bowie’s second wife. Oh and Vivian’s bras! Oh. my. God. Hilarious!

***

David Bowie documentaries/concert films

5- Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob, 1975)

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Cracked Actor is a very interesting film, and surely an essential one for curious people. However, David wasn’t really himself at the time due to his addiction to cocaine and he himself confirmed it in interviews years after. So, for that reason, I didn’t fully appreciate what I was watching. However, I found it worthy as it reveals us a bit of David’s creative process and shows us some excerpt of the Diamond Dogs Tour which unfortunately wasn’t released as a concert film.

4- Bowie in Berlin : ein Dokumentarfilm 1976-1979

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A film about his Berlin trilogy (Low, Heroes and Lodger, but also a bit of Station To Station as an introduction and Outside as a conclusion), Bowie in Berlin is an informative document and the interpretation of his albums made by the various commentators is an interesting one as it gives place to reflection. What I noticed the most about it is that his Berlin trilogy albums were a work of quality, but not necessarily his most mainstream music and, therefore, not accessible to everybody. The form of the documentary itself is however not the most “entertaining” one as it is most of the time static images of people speaking, and you don’t really have any archive images of David performing these songs or interviews with people who really worked on these albums such as a David himself, Brian Eno or Tony Visconti. It’s very sober, but it remains informative and interesting.

3- Serious Moonlight (David Mallet, 1984)

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Seeing David perform on stage is always a great enjoyment, especially for someone like me who never had the chance to see him live. Ok, I must admit his platinum blonde haircut is not my favourite look, but except for that, it was a great show! It also allowed me to discover some of his musicians such as the amazing Earl Slick and Carlos Alomar. However, I’m disappointed that some of the songs such as Modern Love weren’t included in the film! The form of the film with interruptions between each song is a bit weird at some point and sort of breaks its continuity which can be a bit annoying.

2- A Reality Tour (Marcus Viner, 2004)

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David gives us a strong show here and really seem to enjoy himself. I felt he was more generous to his audience in this one than he was with the Serious Moonlight Tour, explaining the 2nd position on my list. This concert also made me discover some songs of his “newer” albums that I hadn’t really listened before. Gail Ann Dorsey is such an amazing bassist and her duo with David on Under Pressure is maybe one of the best things about the show. But it’s sad now to think that none of the original singers are here anymore to perform it. Sadly, that was David Bowie’s last tour, but what a tour!

1- Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (D.A. Pennebaker, 1973)

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This has to be my absolute favourite David Bowie’s film, fiction and documentary confused. Ziggy Stardust really is THE thing that made me want to know all about Bowie and buy all his albums. It’s really what made me a fan of him. When I first watched it, I was so spellbound by that man, by Ziggy. It’s simple, I had the feeling God was in front of my eyes and David Bowie is the only god I believe in. Ziggy Stardust is more than just a concert, it’s a whole performance and something of high importance in David’s career. We also have to praise all these amazing costumes!

So, that’s it! I know I still have a lot to see, including that Last Five Years documentary, but I’m working on it. Any recommendations are welcomed. I hesitated on posting this article tomorrow to give me the chance to see one more film, but I thought today was a more suitable time to publish it.

Even if David Bowie’s singing career was more important than his on-screen one, he was made to act in films and was a much better actor than we suspect. He also was the actor of his life and constantly re-invented himself in various characters with highly developed personalities such as the immortal Ziggy Stardust or the dangerously fascinating Thin White Duke.

RIP David Bowie. We all love you and miss you.

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