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 :
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Classic Film and TV Cafe to find out which stars other film bloggers have selected as their favorites!