CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Monday, February 28, 2011

MARCH MADNESS BEGINS Day 1 Round 1 - Silent/1930's Era

Finally it has begun. The first day of my Classic Movie Actress Tournament. I've chosen 64 actresses to compete in a winner takes all contest to see who is the favorite among classic movie fans. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I broke the competition down into 4 brackets: silent/30's era; 40's era; 50's era; and 60's era. The top 4 seeds or actresses are Greta Garbo (30's), Bette Davis (40's), Audrey Hepburn (50's), and Doris Day (60's). I tried to be fair but with only 64 women to pick from, there are several notable actresses who didn't make the list. Such as Veronica Lake, Paulette Goddard, Mary Astor, Kay Francis to name just a few. Maybe I can make amends with them for the next tournament I do. Anyway the first week will be dedicated to the silent/30's era bracket until the final actress is chosen. I have them seeded just like the college basketball tournament, 1 to 16, based on popularity, award achievement, longevity, and acting prowess. And I used the same matchup scheme the basketball tourney used such as 1 vs 16, 4 vs 13, 6 vs 11, etc. And then setting up each match to lead into the next round with a lower seed against a higher seed. Such as the winner of 1 vs 16 will face the winner of 8 vs 9 and so on. You can cast your votes on my sidebar. Each round will have 2 days so please vote quickly. Here are the eight matches to kick off my March Madness tournament. So after the first round, 8 women will have been knocked out. I try to place them in brackets but had some trouble. Hope to have that worked out in time for next week's matches. So I just placed them with pics against each other. Let's have some fun.

1 Greta Garbo VS

16 Gloria Swanson

8 Jean Harlow VS

9 Myrna Loy


4 Carole Lombard VS

13 Ginger Rogers


5 Marlene Dietrich VS

12 Mary Pickford


2 Barbara Stanwyck VS

15 Joan Crawford


7 Clara Bow VS

10 Irene Dunne

3 Norma Shearer VS

14 Marion Davies


6 Claudette Colbert VS

11 Louise Brooks

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My TOP TEN Favorite Elizabeth Taylor Performances

There's acting and then there's ACTING. Elizabeth Taylor fits the second kind. She has given some of the best screen performances of all time. Even if the film itself might be underwhelming, you can always count on Liz to bring her A game. In honor of Liz's birthday, here is my top ten list of my favorite of her performances, starting at No. 10.

10.) Laura Reynolds (THE SANDPIPER) Even though she is helped out by the gorgeous cinematography of Big Sur in the background, Liz still gives a vibrant performance as Laura Reynolds, the free spirited unwed mother who has an affair with a priest (Richard Burton).

9.) Gloria Wandrous (BUTTERFIELD 8) Liz won her first Best Actress Oscar by playing the wonderfully named Gloria Wandrous, a call girl who is on the prowl. Not really Liz's strongest effort and not really Oscar worthy, but once again because it's Liz, she manages to give a credible performance that in other hands would have come out disastrous.

8.) Susanna Drake (RAINTREE COUNTY) In this much maligned film, almost everyone agrees Liz is the one bright spot with her strong performance as Susanna, a southern belle during the Civil War with some serious issues.
7.) Katharina (THE TAMING OF THE SHREW) Liz gets to let loose in this film adaptation of Shakespeare's play as Katharina, who is one volatile woman that only one man has a chance against. It's perfect casting that said man would be Liz's real life husband (Richard Burton).

6.) Angela Vickers (A PLACE IN THE SUN) One of Liz's first transition roles from child star to adult and she is perfect as the young woman who falls in love with blue collar George Eastman (Montgomery Clift).

5.) Catherine Holly (SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER) Paired with the legendary Katherine Hepburn, Liz more than holds her own as the young woman who has been traumatized by a serious incident. Also starred Montgomerty Clift again, following up their work in A Place In The Sun. Liz gives one of her best performances ever.

4.) Zee Blakeley (X,Y, and Z) While the movie may be at times weird and flat,  you can always count on Liz to provide some spark. She is in full venomous mode here as the wife of Michael Caine, who constantly dogs him from the beginning to the end. Their verbal sparring is worthy of Liz's classic screen confrontations with Burton. And what Liz does to the emotionally stressed out Susannah York at the finale is truly despicable. But still you kind of root for Liz no matter what she does. Now that's acting.

3.) Leslie Benedict (GIANT) Liz's first grand epic and she delivers as Leslie, a farmer's daughter who falls in love with Rock Hudson and their life together unfolds over the three hour running time. Solid performance by Liz once again. And her scenes with James Dean are very good.

2.) Maggie Pollitt (CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF) As Maggie the Cat, Liz is stunningly beautiful and gives another great performance alongside Paul Newman, Burl Ives, and Jack Carson. And while I think this is her second best performance ever, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is my favorite film of hers.

And finally my favorite Liz Taylor film performance is......

1.) Martha (WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?) Whoa Nellie! Liz and Dick are at it again. As a middle age couple who are in constant arguments over everything. Liz is a powerhouse here and deserved her second Best Actress Oscar as Martha. She is relentless and never stops. This is ACTING 101 people. One of the very best film performances I have ever seen by anyone and Liz's best ever.

Friday, February 25, 2011


March will be a very busy month here on All Good Things. The big event will be my version of March Madness with 64 classic movie actresses vying for favorite actress as selected by followers of my blog. It will be quite the tournament and I have no idea how it will turn out. An established and legendary star could take it or some underrated actress could pull off a surprise victory. We shall see how things turn out. While that is going on, I will also have my usual stuff taking place as well. My classic movie goddess will be Carole Lombard, who also happens to be my favorite actress of all time. So you know who I will be pulling for in March Madness. My good friend and co-worker Lorie will be my guest of the month. I know one favorite movie we have common and it is My Fair Lady. Lorie will be answering questions when she sits down to have a little chat. I will also be doing a cross-over with my friend and fellow blogger Irene of And Then They Start To Sparkle. We haven’t selected a topic yet but it should at the least be very interesting. I may also have some post Oscar stuff to write about. Oh and a little birthday celebration as I turn a year older come March 31st. So next month promises to be loaded with all kinds of cool stuff happening and I welcome all my friends and fellow bloggers to stop by for a spell.

Monday, February 21, 2011

From The Past To Now: Vivien Leigh to Keira Knightley

For this month's from the past to now series, where I compare a classic film actor/actress with a modern one, I've chosen Classic Movie Goddess of the month Vivien Leigh and current star Keira Knightley. Both are talented actresses that are favorites of mine. Quantity is not one of the common factors though. Leigh only made 19 films in her still impressive career. At age 25 Knightley has already made close to 30 films. One of their shared traits is their number of period films they have made. Leigh made five, which would be 1/4 of her total film output. Knightley, so far has starred in 8 period films in her young career. So I will focus on these two wonderful actresses for this post.



Viv's five period films include Gone With The Wind (1939), Anna Karenina (1948), Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), That Hamilton Woman (1941), and Fire Over England (1937). That's an impressive list right there if she never made any other films. I mean she did win an Oscar for Gone With The Wind. In fact, Viv won 2 Oscars on 2 nominations (the other film being A Streetcar Named Desire). She was 2 for 2. Anyway, her other four period films showed how much at ease she was playing in these costume epics. Not too many actresses could handle these types of roles or do them consistently. I know more people remember Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra but Leigh gives a pretty good performance herself as the Queen of the Nile. I was more than impressed with her take on Cleopatra.  And let's not forget her take on Anna Karenina, following in the footsteps of the legendary Great Garbo, who had played the same role 14 years earlier than Vivien. I thought Viv did just a good as job as Garbo did but I think both sides are split 50/50. Garbo has her fans while Leigh has hers. But Vivien's role as Emma Lady Hamilton in That Hamilton Woman is all hers. No comparisons to other actresses, this is Vivien's all the way. She gave an excellent performance and looked beautiful as ever. And I've yet to see Fire Over England so I can't critique it, but I imagine she is top notch as usual.





Keira's contributions to the period film genre is a little more action packed. Half her films are of the swashbuckling kind, thanks to the three Pirates movies and King Arthur. And while those films didn't require a lot of acting per se, Knightley showed an amazing ability to be quite centered and self reliant. Didn't have to wait on a man to come save her. And she was only 17 when she first played Elizabeth Swann in the first Pirates movie, showing great poise at such a young age. Now as Elizabeth Bennett in the updated Pride and Prejudice, she got a great part and more than delivered with a wonderful performance. This was a plum role for Keira and she did not disappoint. I did not see her 2007 film Silk which cast her as a 19th century woman betrothed to a silkworm smuggler. I didn't hear too many rave reviews about it either. But Keira would bounce back with 2008's The Duchess, which I did see and thought she gave one helluva performance. A chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life. The Duchess served to show that Keira was the go to woman for period films, without question. Oh and one more period film that she did early in her career was the 2001 British TV film Princess Of Thieves,which had her playing the daughter of Robin Hood. All in all Keira has amassed quite the collection of period films, rivaling that of Vivien Leigh. I thought it made a cool comparison to post about these two women. Would love to hear what everyone thinks.

New Poll Started

Vivien Leigh was nominated twice for a Best Actress Oscar and won both times for Gone With The Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. Which of her other films do you think she most deserved a third Best Actress nomination and possibly a win? The choices are Waterloo Bridge, That Hamilton Woman, Anna Karenina and The Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone. The poll will be up all week.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES (1980) seems like a great old screwball comedy and it is

During my childhood, one of the many films me and my family would watch on cable constantly was the 1980 comedy Seems Like Old Times. I know I must have seen this film at least 30 times while growing up. It's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I recently watched it again for the first time with my wife and she loved it as well. The film stars Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, and Charles Grodin. Hawn is Glenda, a California lawyer who has remarried to assistant district attorney Ira (Grodin) after a failed marriage to writer Nick (Chase). Well Nick is abducted by two bank robbers and forced to rob a bank and is soon a wanted fugitive. Once Ira hears about this, things become tense between him and Glenda. Of course Nick comes a calling and asking for Glenda's help much to the chagrin of Ira. All of this is played for laughs and the entire cast is game.
Goldie Hawn is definitely one of modern cinema's best comediennes as she gives a star making performance. She is on her A game with this, as she plays hysterical, romantic, smart, and funny with ease. Her co-stars Chase and Grodin are good as well. Chase gets most of the pratfalls and some of the best one-liners. Grodin is actually pretty funny as well. The home of Ira and Glenda is a veritable zoo as Glenda owns 6 dogs, 2 cats, an excitable cook/maid named Aurora, a chauffeur named Chester who tends to drink quite a bit, and numerous clients that Glenda keeps as workers around her to keep them out of trouble.
Things come to a frantic finish as Ira and Glenda are having a dinner party for the visiting governor of California when Nick shows up to turn himself in. Things don't go smoothly and everyone ends up in court for the big finale.
Seems Like Old Times is a wonderful throwback to the marvelous screwball comedies of the 30's and 40's and a perfect showcase for Goldie Hawn. And another plus is the meal served at dinner: it's called Aurora's Chicken Pepperoni and it sounds and looks very tasty. I am now game to try and make it one night for me and Stephanie. As one of the characters says upon hearing what's being served for dinner...."looooooooove that chicken pepperoni!".

"I know I'm a wanted man, but I gotta eat a little something"

"I know I'm playing a ditzy blonde but I can be a lawyer, trust me."

"Aw, crap!"

Happy Birthday Sidney Poitier (1927 - present)

Sidney Poitier

Today is Sidney's 84th birthday. He starred in such classic films as The Defiant Ones (1958), A Raisin In The Sun (1961), Lilies Of The Field (1963 and Best Oscar for him), The Bedford Incident (1965), In The Heat Of The Night (1967), Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967), and To Sir,With Love (1967). Wish him well on this special day.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

JUST GO WITH IT is a very funny new comedy

Just Go with It

The latest Adam Sandler movie has him playing a plastic surgeon named Danny, who pretends to be married in order to date women. He's been doing it ever since his fiance cheated on him the night before their wedding. Now years later Danny has things going good for him until he sees the woman of his dream, a young woman named Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) who after spending the night together finds his "fake" wedding ring the next morning and leaves furious. So Danny has his beleaguered assistant Katherine (a wonderful Jennifer Aniston) pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife to show Palmer that he is ready to settle down with only her.
Just Go with It
This comedy reminded me of the old screwball farce, The Palm Beach Story and others like it. It's not your typical Sandler comedy because this time he is evenly matched with a strong female co-star in Aniston. They make a great team and I found myself laughing quite a bit. Newcomer Brooklyn Decker (a swimsuit model) is surprisingly good in her first role. She has a natural acting ability that shows future potential. And look-out for a out of left field appearance by Nicole Kidman as an old college friend of Katherine. It's cool seeing the usually serious Kidman in a comedic role. Her back and forth banter with Aniston is great as they have a hula dance off when all the couples land in Hawaii for a little rest and relaxation. Just Go With It is an easy going comedy that I think most people will enjoy.


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