My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Best Actress Ranking - Update

Here is a new update. The newly added performance is highlighted in bold. 

1. Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939)
2. Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)
3. Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress (1949)
4. Anne Bancroft in The Graduate (1967)
5. Janet Gaynor in Seventh Heaven (1927-1928)   
6. Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
7. Edith Evans in The Whisperers (1967)
8. Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette (1938)
9. Greta Garbo in Ninotchka (1939)
10. Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

11. Bette Davis in The Little Foxes (1941)
12. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (1965)
13. Glenda Jackson in Women in Love (1970)
14. Barbara Stanwyck in Ball of Fire (1941)
15. Julie Christie in Away from Her (2007)
16. Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun (1951)
17. Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
18. Greer Garson in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
19. Doris Day in Pillow Talk (1959)
20. Meryl Streep in One True Thing (1998)

21. Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity (1953)
22. Katharine Hepburn in Guess who’s coming to dinner (1967)
23. Teresa Wright in The Pride of the Yankees (1942) 
24. Jennifer Jones in Love Letters (1945)
25. Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year (1978)
26. Susan Hayward in My Foolish Heart (1949)
27. Diane Keaton in Marvin's Room (1996)
28. Loretta Young in Come to the Stable (1949)  
29. Mary Pickford in Coquette (1928-29)
30. Shirley MacLaine in The Turning Point (1977)

31. Irene Dunne in Cimarron (1930-1931)
32. Diana Wynyard in Cavalcade (1932-1933)


Anonymous said...

I like her well enough and I think she was very fine in showing the fire and passion behind her cold façade but I don' think she's anything truly amazing. Also, while the moment on the beach is surely memorable and deservedly iconic, I don't think her chemistry with Burt Lancaster is particularly special - it's a nice pairing but not the sort of legendary one that the film suggests. I'd give her a 3.5, and I think she actually is supporting.

Fritz said...

Overall, my opinion of the performance is the same as it was the first time I reviews her - maybe it went down a bit, though. The most difficult thing was to put her above or below Meryl Streep. I think what made it so difficult is the fact that Deborah's performance is so iconic and well-known but looking at it from a pure acting pov, I finally decided to give Meryl the advantage. The thing is: Deborah's performance is not iconic because of the acting (like, for example, Gloria Swanson or Vivien Leigh) but rather because of that kiss on the beach - and this is just an image and not part of her acting. I think that Deborah gets a lot out of the part and I like that she plays it with an unapologizing agressivness but the screenplay offers her shockingly little and she also too often does not add anything to the role. I actually think her chemistry with Lancaster is fine and they work as a couple despite the fact that the movie has them only arguing and fighting whenever they are together - their story is less sentimental than that of Monty and Donna. Just compare their final scenes together: with Monty and Donna, you have tears, desperation and sadness. With Burt and Deborah, everything is very matter-of-fact and with no real heartbreak. Still, Deborah's character and performance often remains too flat and driven by the screenplay: you never really get the feeling that Karen behaves the way she does because of her character but only because the script tells her to. In her first scene with her husband, they talk in a way that only people in a movie talk to hint at some tragey in the past that needs to remain unmentioned for a more appropriate moment and her scene with Burt in the kitchen also is too "on the nose", having Karen open-up about everything too quickly and too fast. Deborah also does some wonderful facial work when she is out on a date with Burt, expressing love only with her eyes but 1 minute later the two characters are fighting again, making you wonder just how true either of these two emotions truly is. In the end, Karen remains the most pale character in the movie, making her fate much less interesting than that of the others. Her screen presence and overall talent make Karen an intriguing presence but I just feel that too much is missing in the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

I really do agree with what you said about her performance and the love story but I disagree she's the weakest of the cast. Sinatra is mostly fine but his final scenes are odd and awkward at best. And I don't care for Donna Reed she's not bad but she lacks presence in the beginning and in the love story she is kind of bland, fine in moments but a bit disappointing. She has good moments such as the ending and she overall she's definitely fine but I'd give her a 3 and I think the role allowed for a 5.

Fritz said...

From an acting point of view, I would rank the cast

1. Monty
2. Burt
3. Donna
4. Deborah
5. Frank

I think Frank Sinatra is pretty awful in his final scene and the others aren't that amazing either but I think the character is still more interesting than that of Deborah.
Regarding Donna: I think she is pretty fantastic :)

GM said...

I feel different about her, she's my favorite out of the cast after Clift. I think her performance fitted the atmosphere of the film better than Reed's performance. And it's funny because the heartbreaking element you missed didn't bother me at all. There are many Deborah Kerr's movies where she was very melodramatic (and I belive she was not heartbreaking in most of them), so it was cool to see a different side of her talent. I agree the chemistry with Lancaster wasn't particularly strong, but they were up to deliver a fine and interesting depiction a summer romance.

Her position in the ranking didn't bother me though, maybe I prefer her over Streep and Garson, but that's fine for me.

Fritz said...

Thanks for your comments! Maybe I expressed my feelings not correctly: I do not miss the heartbreak element on their story - I actually find it refreshing that it is not there but I think it is hard to get invested in the love story since most of it is based on arguing and disagreeing - somehow, their love story is caught in the middle between "it might work" and "it won't work" but without the necessary attention to make me interested in it. The result is that I don't really care one way or the other. This could be resolved my at least making the character of Karen more interesting so that I would be able to at least invest feeling in her but the problem is that Karen does not exist outside of the love story...

Allen said...

Haven't seen it :) But I'm really looking forward to seeing this film soon (very soon! later this year soon!) even in spite of the comments I've read where it seems like folks feel subsequent viewings of the film are less satisfying, or that Kerr's performance doesn't live up to its iconography.