The Five Stars Blogathon: My Five Fave Femmes

Cheers.

When I learned of Rick’s “Five Stars” blogathon, I didn’t give a moment’s hesitation to signing on. First off, y’all know I love a good list! And a list about my favorite movie stars? How could I resist!

My excited antiticpation notwithstanding, I actually thought it might be a bit of a challenge to come up with just five favorite stars, but boy, was I wrong! It took me all of 10 seconds to create my list. So here they are, submitted for your approval, in order, my five favorite film stars:

Bette Davis

It seems like Bette Davis has always been my favorite actress. She was so talented, so versatile, and fearless – and off-screen, had such a take-no-crap attitude. And when she got older, and suffered so many health difficulties, she handled them like a boss. (In fact, one of my Christmas presents this past year was one of my favorite pictures of Davis, taken after she suffered breast cancer, several strokes, and a broken hip.)

Favorite movies:

My absolute favorite Bette Davis film has got to be All About Eve (1950). I’ve seen it countless times, and I distinctly remember the first time I saw it, in a hotel room in Bessemer, Alabama, when I was around 19 years old. I was SO excited to finally be able to watch this film I’d heard about for so many years. And it exceeded my every expectation. Other favorites are The Little Foxes (1941), Old Acquaintance (1943), The Old Maid (1939), Marked Woman (1937), Jezebel (1938), The Sisters (1938), All This, and Heaven Too (1940), The Letter (1940), In This Our Life (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), A Catered Affair (1956), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and Dead Ringer (1964).

Favorite quote:

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” – All About Eve

Joanie was a pie-bakin’, pistol-packin’ mama in Mildred Pierce.

Joan Crawford

Practically neck-and-neck with Bette Davis, just a mere stutter-step behind, is my girl Joan Crawford (to whom I like to affectionately refer as Joanie). Joanie was a true movie star, in every since of the word, but she could ACT, too! In her early career, she wasn’t necessarily the greatest thespian, but she was always fascinating to watch. And I suppose that any discussion of Joan Crawford should include a mention of that whole “Mommie Dearest” thing, but not today.

Favorite movies:

No question. Mildred Pierce (1945) is my number one favorite Joanie film. I could cheerfully have it playing on a loop all day, every day. My other favorites are, for the most part, divided between her pre-Code and her film noir work: Our Blushing Brides (1930), Grand Hotel (1931), Possessed (1931), Sadie McKee (1934), The Women (1939), Strange Cargo (1940), Daisy Kenyon (1947), Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don’t Cry (1950), and Sudden Fear (1952).

Favorite quote:

“Don’t give me any of that Sister-Come-to-Salvation. Look, I’m not buying any. I know the routine. It starts out with a prayer, and ends up with a bible in one hand and me in the other!” – Strange Cargo

I don’t care what anybody says. I love the wig.

Barbara Stanwyck

What is there NOT to love about Barbara Stanwyck? Beautiful and talented, yet approachable – like you could spend equal amounts of time with her at a swanky nightclub and in your rec room knocking back a few beers. Like Joan Crawford, she had a hard-scrabble childhood, but she overcame it with a vengeance to become one of Hollywood’s most highly respected performers (even though, unaccountably, she never won an Academy Award. Which is complete BS.).

Favorite movies:

Double Indemnity is my favorite noir and my favorite Stanwyck film. Nobody could’ve made Phyllis Dietrichson come to life the way she did. Other faves are Night Nurse (1931), Ten Cents a Dance (1931), Ladies They Talk About (1933), Baby Face (1933), The Lady Eve (1941), Ball of Fire (1941), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), and Clash By Night (1952).

Favorite quote:

“I need him like the ax needs the turkey.” — The Lady Eve

The Divorcee gets the photo because I LOVE this shot.

Norma Shearer

I didn’t discover Norma Shearer until I was in my 20s. My first Shearer film was The Women (1939), which is literally the movie I’ve seen most often in my life. It wasn’t until quite a bit later that I fell in love with her pre-Code performances. There ‘s just something about her that is so natural and captivating and appealing. I love the gracefulness of her hands, and her ability to cry, and her tinkling laugh. I could watch her every day.

Favorite movies:

Of my five favorite stars, it’s the hardest for me to name my single favorite Shearer movie. It’s a total toss-up between The Divorcee (1930) and Private Lives (1931). (Interestingly, both feature Robert Montgomery who, if I’d had a list of favorite actors, would definitely have been on it.) But I just can’t choose – these films are so different, and truly show Shearer’s talent for both drama and comedy. One thing I realized, though – I don’t have as many Norma Shearer favorites as I do with my other favorite stars. I just keep watching the same handful of films over and over again. My other faves are Their Own Desire (1929), A Free Soul (1931), Strangers May Kiss (1931), and, of course, The Women.

Favorite quote:

“I’m glad I discovered that more than one man in the world while I’m young and they want me. Believe me, I’m not missing anything from now on!” – The Divorcee

Harlow stole the show in Dinner at Eight.

Jean Harlow

Harlow movies make me happy. That’s just all there is to it. She was luminous. Funny. And so sexy. And it’s fascinating to watch the vast improvement in her acting ability. In just a year’s time, between 1931 and 1932, she went from slightly stilted, with an odd, affected accent, to a natural, unpretentious, and completely at ease wise-cracking dame who commanded each scene in which she appeared.

Favorite movies:

I absolutely love Harlow in Dinner at Eight (1933). She’s part of a star-studded ensemble cast, but for me, she IS the movie. My other Harlow favorites are Red-Headed Woman (1932), Three Wise Girls (1932), Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), Hold Your Man (1933), and Libeled Lady (1936).

Favorite quote:

“A girl’s a fool that doesn’t get ahead. Say, it’s just as easy to hook a rich man as it is to get hooked by a poor one.” – Red-Headed Woman

Who are your favorite film stars?


This post is part of the Five Favorite Film Stars Blogathon, hosted by Rick’s Classic Film and TV Cafe, in celebration of National Classic Movie Day! Check out the other blogs participating in this great event! And watch a classic movie today!

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~ by shadowsandsatin on May 16, 2017.

25 Responses to “The Five Stars Blogathon: My Five Fave Femmes”

  1. Rosalind Russell (esp. His Girl Friday), Barbara Stanwyck (esp. Christmas in Connecticut), Irene Dunne (esp. Theodora Goes Wild), Carole Lombard (esp. Twentieth Century), and Ingrid Bergman (esp. Notorious).

  2. Five fabulous femmes! All of them share a gift for portraying strong women on film. Like you, I probably focus in on the same group of Norma Shearer pictures, but she stands out even in a movie with impressive ensemble casts like THE WOMEN.

  3. Great list! I also have Norma Shearer on my top five favorites who just edged out Barbara Stanwyck. While Joan Crawford isn’t one of my favorites, I do love her in some of the films you mentioned.

  4. 1. Irene Dunne
    2. Ginger Rogers (without Fred)
    3. Joan Crawford (1940s Joan)
    4. Claudette Colbert
    5. Ann Harding

  5. That quote of Jean Harlow’s made me realize my Mom must have been a big fan! When I hit my teens, she always made the comment, “Honey, you can love a rich man as well as you can love a poor man!” Kind of the same thing. Makes me think she was misquoting Harlow! LOL! 😆

  6. Shearer is a nice surprise. All good choices except for Stanwyck’s wig. Sorry. Had to let it out. 🙂

  7. These are truly women of incredible personality. They reach out through the years and live.

  8. Wow! Ten seconds to compile your list. It took me days of thought and even then I’m undecided about my selection. But you have no actors among this list! Did Bette and Joan eclipse the likes of Cary Grant and James Stewart?

    • I absolutely love James Stewart and Robert Montgomery, as well as Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Claude Rains, William Holden, William Powell — ohmigosh, the list goes on. But my adoration for these femmes definitely shines above the male performers. 😉

      • Yes, the older I get, the more I admire actresses over their better-paids actors. Jean Arthur is another gem!

  9. Awesome list. I could (and do) watch each and every one of their films over and over again. A couple of films are not included on your list, but I also personally love include, Davis “A Stolen Life”, Stanwyck “Lady of Burlesque”; Crawford – the second “Possessed”;

  10. WOW! What a gallery of great, great women stars. Can you imagine all of them in one room? In one film? Great choices – really love this post.

  11. All fabulous actresses, my favourite being Bette Davis.

  12. Bette Davis could do anything. Jean Harlow I barely noticed until Dinner at Eight, then I couldn’t get enough of her.

    Great post!

  13. Beautiful tribute to some great classic stars. I love Joan Crawford & Barbara Stanwyck, the most from this list.
    Bette Davis is amazing, but I have seen very few films of hers. Need to check out more. Especially Now, Voyager & All About Eve!!
    And I agree Harlow was great in Dinner at Eight!!!

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