Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Classic Films - My Essential Actors

It's no secret that I love classic movies but while I've always them this past year I've really made a mission of really watching them.  When browsing through the Turnthere are certain aspect er Classic - my favorite channel for movie watching - there are always certain actors I look for.   While a good plot can get me it's really the actors that have me hitting record.  Here are a few that I always look for and some of my favorite movies from them:

1.  Cary Grant - I will watch pretty much anything that has Cary Grant in it.  He's comedic timing is perfection (Arsenic and Old Lace) and no one is more subtly and convincingly sinister (Suspicion)

2.  Ginger Rogers - I really think Ginger Rogers is underrated.  Yes, she's a gorgeous dancer but she's also a delight in any comedic role or even a more dramatic role (Stage Door and Vivacious Lady).

3.  Fred Astaire - Fred Astaire is obviously a wonderful dancer and I love how effortless he makes even the craziest of moves look.  As well he comes off as just an extraordinarily nice man both on film and in real life.  His movies don't stand out individually to me but they're always enjoyable.

4.  Gene Kelly - While Astaire makes movement look wonderfully easy with Kelly you can see the sheer strength and artistry in every move.  While I could do without his extended dance numbers that have nothing to do with the plot of the movie but there's a reason that An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain are classics.

5. Oscar Levant - I love a witty piano playing sidekick and Levant is the best of the best.  I adore him in An American in Paris and Humoresque and will watch anything he is in.  He was an incredibly talented musician and composer but really I just want to see him as the voice of reason behind the piano.

6.  John Garfield - Garfield is one of those actors that manages to completely disappear into a role.  I'm never feel like I'm watching an actor pretending to be a particular character but always that particular character come to life.  Humoresque with Joan Crawford is probably my favorite but that could be because it also stars Oscar Levant!  Though keep in mind it is in no way a comedy.

7.  Lauren Bacall - Bacall fascinates me.  I always know I'm watching her but I never mind it.  She's stunning in To Have and Have Not though I probably prefer Key Largo as a movie.

8.  Frank Sinatra - I knew Sinatra had starred in movies but I never really thought much of them.  I mean he's a singer not actor.  But then I watched From Here to Eternity and was amazed.  Sinatra was fabulous.  He typically plays a character with a bit of an edge and he does it wonderfully. Pal Joey is probably my favorite movie of his that I've seen so far.

9.  Rosalind Russell - I love Russell's cool sharp way she delivers dialogue.  She's wonderful with Cary Grant in His Girl Friday but really I've enjoyed every film I've seen her in.

10.  Humphrey Bogart - Bogart was about 5 ft 8 and kind of a little guy but you forget all that as soon as you start watching him and he seems 10 feet tall and just as tough as all the characters he plays.  Obviously, Casablanca is wonderful but I also love The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

11. Eve Arden - I haven't seen Arden in very many things but I love her and am hoping to see more.  She has a small part in Stage Door and I have several more movies recorded that I'm excited to watch.

12. James Cagney - Cagney's role in White Heat is the gangster role that all gangster roles are based off of and I love the depth he puts into his role in Love Me or Leave Me with Doris Day.


  1. I love Cary Grant, too! Betty Davis, Shirley Temple, Jimmy Stewart, Peggy Ann Garner, Judy Garland, Gregory Peck, and Mickey Rooney are some of my tops! ☺

  2. I also love Cary Grant and really like some of his later-ish movies. My daughter and I watched Operation Petticoat over and over. I also love Doris Day and we watched many of her movies endlessly. I keep meaning to check out what's showing on Turner Classic Movies, but then I get busy and distracted and read instead. It probably doesn't help that my husband is not a big fan of watching movies he has already seen very often. In that, I miss my daughter. Ha!

  3. Yes to Grant and I love the classic Shirley Temple and Judy Garland films too. Love this post Katherine.

  4. I love Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. My dad is a big fan of both, so I grew up watching their movies!

  5. Cary Grant is always enjoyable to watch. Jimmy Stewart's another one and Richard Burton as well (although that may be mainly due to The Robe which I was fond of because we had the book). I always liked Barbara Stanwyck too...

    I do love Singin' in the Rain.

    I haven't seen very many Frank sinatra movies but I'd like to. I should make a point to.

  6. I am not even sure if I have seen some of these actor's work. I really do need to work a few classics into my film rotation.

  7. I am a classic movie buff, too. We share about 3/4 of the same favs on your list. I also love Errol Flynn, Katherine Hepburn, and William Powell among others.

  8. Have you seen that video on YouTube where someone has put older movie dance clips to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars? That was wonderful too! I've been into b&w film since I saw Roman Holiday and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

  9. I don't really watch old films but I do like a bit of Hitchcock! I love Dial M for Murder!

  10. What a great post! It makes me want to watch old movies right now.

  11. I think the only thing I've seen Levant in An American In Paris and loved him in it. Will have to look for him in other movies. I feel like Garfield is an actor who is really underrated, perhaps just because he does disappear so much into his roles.