One of our many MatchFlick contributors wrote a short bio about Sophia Loren. Her beauty and talent are legendary. It got me thinking about who would be on a list of screen actresses who combine these essential ingredients so well. Of course with any "list" the number, names and "qualifications" are subjective. But that's OK because their films are still being shown somewhere, every day, every year.
The American Film Institute's list of the "100 Best" in various film categories is usually accurate. As a life-long movie-goer I know talent when I see it; the "beauty" part of my list has other criteria. We all know about "stage presence": that elusive quality that draws you to an actor no matter how small the part. Artists, writers, composers and photographers have been extolling and glorifying their own individual visions of "beauty" for centuries. We just know it when we see it.
So what actually makes a female cinematic legend? Someone recently
featured Ingrid Bergman in a screen biography. Her acting talents covered a wide range of roles; her on-screen presence was magnetic. Her flawless complexion told the Westmore family "No, thank you". There were no bad close-ups of that famous face and no matter where the camera filmed her the shots were usually perfect. Her fellow actors were always mesmerized by her. Naturally she's just one actress among many who continue to dazzle us with their beauty and unique acting styles.
In no particular order here are some of my personal choices for Talented and Beautiful:
Yes, the list could be longer but that is not what's at work here. I've chosen these names to personify not only what we see on-screen when we watch these ladies, but what we feel as well. Acting ability is hard to define. What are the exact ingredients, how are they combined, to create a film character within these women? There are many more beautiful movie actresses I might have added to the list but my "ratings" cover a lot of ground. I want to be impressed not only by screen charisma but talent too. Maybe I'm a purist but the beautiful actress must be convincing: Grace Kelly, with James Stewart, in Rear Window transitions flawlessly from sophisticated New Yorker to voyeur before our eyes. Claudia Cardinale hypnotizes Burt Lancaster in seconds in The Professionals. Sandra Bullock looks klutzy in Miss Congeniality but don't be fooled – she's no klutz. Ida Lupino makes
life more bearable for John Garfield in The Sea Wolf. Lauren Bacall turns Bogie into jello in To Have and Have Not. Elizabeth Taylor's sassy and smart in A Place in the Sun. How do you tame Sean Connery? Lesley-Anne Downe makes it look easy in The Great Train Robbery. Halle Berry trades her famous beauty for a meaty role in Monsters Ball. Jean Simmons plays Sister Sharon Falconer in the classic Elmer Gantry. Without Marilyn Monroe Some Like It Hot might never have become a legendary movie. No actress (among hundreds) except Vivien Leigh made David O. Selznick's cut for Scarlett O'Hara.
There are many more of course. We have new actresses today who've donned the mantle from their famous predecessors. To name just one, Gwyneth Paltrow, who can joust with the likes of Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in the Ironman films. You do take her seriously – she isn't just another pretty face. Now that I've got you thinking put your own list together: it's fun.
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Jun 3, 2010 12:58 AM
|Okay, Jon - I'm putting you on the spot - pick one. Just one. For me, the one that would stop me dead in my tracks is Gina Torres. She's been in many movies and TV, and the thing that attracts me to an actress is confidence. Pretty is something that can be manufactured. Confidence can't.|
So pick one!
Jun 5, 2010 7:48 PM
|Can you think of the name of an actress (past or present) who wouldn't be considered a "beauty", but all the same, was/is a dynamite actress?|
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My views on an eclectic mix of films and personalties, past and present; emotional interpretations; some laughs, some cries.
I am a former New Jersey native, living in Charlotte, N.C. for almost 30 years. I am a lifelong movie lover with lots of movie trivia knowledge and soundtracks in my CD collection. I enjoy sharing my love of films with everyone and have so many fond memories growing up in darkened movie theaters. I have been married 50 years (as of December 22, 2018) and we both share a passion for film (and each other of course).|
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