Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Five Stars Blogathon - National Classic Movie Day

In celebration of National Classic Movie Day, The Classic Film and TV Cafe is hosting the Five Stars Blogathon, an event that lets bloggers share their top five favorite actors and actresses.....undoubtedly a tough decision for any avid film fan to make, but I'm giving it the old college try.  

Much like the Miss America pageants, these favorites had to satisfy a few rules before they were even considered. 

Rule 1 : My heart has to skip a beat when I see their name on the back of a DVD case or appearing anywhere online. 

Rule 2 : No matter how bad some of their movies are I must still conclude that the film was enjoyable simply because that favorite actor/actress was present. 

Rule 3 : There has to be an eager desire to watch ALL of their movies, even the ones that normally I wouldn't consider watching due to its plot content, release year, or supporting cast. 

Rule 4 : When I see a photo of this actor/actress I have to find myself smiling, because it is like recognizing an old and dear friend. 

Simple stuff, but would you believe that few actors meet this criteria? So many actors whom I thought were my favorites were labeled that simply because I enjoyed their performances in a handful of select films. So here are the ones that lived up to these points : 

Don Ameche

Look at that smile. Oh man, just look at that smile! Hands down, this dapper Dan ( ahem, Don ) ranks at the top of my favorite actors list. I love him so much his photo is framed and has a prominent place on our living room mantle. He isn't the best actor ( although better than many ), and he made a number of dud films, but Don is my dreamboat....so I'll hear no arguments about him. There aren't many actors who can play a cad so well as he and yet leave you pining for him as badly as his leading lady. I enjoy every movie he ever made. Mr. Ameche has the most winsome personality that ever hit Hollywood and even boasted a fine singing voice. If you're not convinced of his appeal, take a gander at Midnight ( 1939 ). 

Favorite Films : Down Argentine Way, Confirm or Deny, Midnight, Ladies in Love. 

Deborah Kerr

I'm not quite sure what it is about this prim English rose that makes her so appealing, but I cannot resist any of her films. Her characters are always beautiful, elegant, and oftentimes courageous even though she brings a shyness and vulnerability to every part. Kerr had the gumption to tackle a variety of different roles and the meatier the better, but she was truly in her element playing sophisticated modern society women. I would have liked to have befriended her in real life. 


Favorite Films : The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The End of the Affair, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, Separate Tables, The Sundowners, The Grass is Greener, The Chalk Garden.

Gene Kelly

Errol Flynn has long been one of my all-time favorite actors and, even though I grew up with Kelly's films, I was never particularly fond of him....but within the last few years he swept me away with his charm. Poor Errol got bumped off of this list because of him. Gene Kelly was equally adapt at playing comedic or dramatic parts but he was best when he was prancing around the screen or flashing his smile in a light-hearted role. Ah yes, a winsome Irish lad he was! Incidentally, my friend Cynthia just published the definitive Gene Kelly biography, He's Got Rhythm, which is the first biography published since his death. I'll be reviewing it in depth later this month, but I'll say now it is well worth reading. 

Favorite Films : Thousands Cheer, The Three Musketeers, On the Town, Summer Stock, The Happy Road, Les Girls.

Claudette Colbert

Colbert brought a vivacious Continental flair to all of her films. Her characters take the hardships of life with a cheery smile and a sticktoitiveness that is extremely admirable. I like that trait in movie characters. Plus, she was beautiful, never proud or arrogant, and just so captivating. Colbert never won an Oscar but she put her whole heart into every role she played, even the minor films. What a woman. 

Favorite Films : I Met Him in Paris, Midnight, Since You Went Away, Family Honeymoon, Let's Make it Legal.

Anne Baxter

Anne Baxter is an actress I never even considered as my favorite until this blogathon*, when I realized just how excited I always feel when I know our next film to watch has Anne Baxter in it. Thinking of it now, there were a number of movies where I was wishing she was among the cast ( especially if the leading lady failed to capture the essence of the part she was playing ). Anne is one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood's history and deserves to be ranked among Bette Davis and Helen Hayes as one of America's great talents. 

Favorite Films : The Magnificent Ambersons, Five Graves to Cairo, Sunday Dinner for a Soldier, The Razor's Edge, The Luck of the Irish, O'Henry's Full House, The Ten Commandments

A few other favorites I have to acknowledge : 

Errol Flynn, Robert Young, Ann Sothern, Hayley Mills, Frances Dee, Debbie Reynolds, Norma Shearer, Agnes Moorehead, Charles Coburn, Bob Hope, and Deanna Durbin.

* I think if this event were called the Fifty Stars Blogathon it would still be a tough decision to make. 
Head on over to The Classic Film and TV Cafe to find out which stars other film bloggers have selected as their favorites!

21 comments:

  1. Poor Errol Flynn! Although Mr. Flynn would have made my list, I love yours. We agree on Deborah Kerr, who could play likable (THE KING AND I) and chilling (THE INNOCENTS) with equal ease. Her performance as a governess with a mysterious past in THE CHALK GARDEN is one of the great unheralded ones. How nice to see Don Ameche on your list! My favorite of his performances is one from a David Mamet film (late in Ameche's career): THINGS CHANGE.

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    1. Yes, poor Errol. Selecting five was just too difficult, even these I have my doubts about. Agnes Moorehead and Hayley Mills really deserved to be on the list. I'll have to see Things Change, that's one of Ameche's films I missed.

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  2. I LOVE Don Ameche! I also love your list of criteria for naming your favorites. Claudette Colbert is another great name, who I think is perhaps not as well known among younger fans today. A very great star.

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    1. Oh, I hope Colbert isn't falling into obscurity, she is such a joy to watch. Hopefully, It Happened One Night will give younger audiences "Colbert fever".

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  4. Oh, I love your rules and now that I think on it, that's also how I chose my favorites as well. I have recently fallen in love with Don Ameche and your post explains what it is about him that is so interesting. I actually just did a film review on Midnight on my website www.storyenthusiast.com and it has become one of my favorite comedies!

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    1. Great! I'll check your review out. It is a great comedy, isn't it?

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  5. There's something about Anne Baxter, and I think you nailed it. I remember the day I discovered we shared the same zodiac sign. I felt special.

    LOVE that you have a framed picture of Don Ameche. Would it surprise you to learn I have a framed picture of Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy (in civvies, not character garb) prominently displayed in the living room?

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    1. No, it does not surprise me at all that Laurel and Hardy have found a place in your living room, CW. I know your love for that duo! They are wonderful. And yes, sharing a zodiac sign with Anne Baxter DOES make you special.

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  6. Very interesting choices. Who doesn't love Don Ameche? But, reading your also rans - we need to do a follow up on those who were left behind. I am totally on board with Hayley Mills.... in fact, I feel a great need to view "Summer Magic" right now.

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    1. Yes, I was sorely tempted to put Hayley Mills up there but felt I needed to include some actors among all those actresses. But isn't she an absolute delight?

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  7. I missed National Classic Movie Day!!?? It's going on my calendar for next year.
    I loved all your picks, of those I have seen: Gene Kelly and Anne Baxter. I know why couldn't put Errol Flynn, you can't have him without Olivia DeHaviland! :)

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    1. MAY 16th....save the date! Yes, this was a fun blogathon but a tough decision to make. I wonder if Errol and Olivia could have been counted as ONE choice, since they were inseparable. ;-)

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  8. DON AMECHE. I love him so much, even though he didn't make my list. So glad he made yours, though. Same goes for Gene Kelly. Just a lovely group of people overall!

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    1. Thanks Michaela, so nice to see another Don Ameche fan out there. He was special.

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  9. I like your "rules" – they're similar to the criteria I used, too!

    So glad Don Ameche was included on your list. He deserves more recognition these days.

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    1. Dreamy Don did indeed delight audiences for many decades, and these days it does seem as though he has been hidden by the shining light of other big name actors. I'm glad to see others appreciate his talent too!

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  10. Fantastic rules! I love that you included Don Ameche. I've only seen three of his films so far, but I loved him instantly and look forward to discovering more of his films.

    I've only seen a couple of Kerr's films. I need to see more as she's an actress I feel I hardly know.

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    1. Oh, you'll definitely have to watch more Kerr films then, she grows on you. I'd recommend "Black Narcissus", "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" and "The Sundowners". As for Ameche, he is not to be missed in "Confirm or Deny"....a great film!

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  11. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  12. Is'nt Don Ameche the cutest? I love his smile, as well! And, like you, I'd watch any movie that these five were in. I'm very glad you included Anne Baxter, who is receiving more love with time, especially from the bloggers.
    Thanks for the kind comment!
    Kisses!
    Le

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