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« Maggie & Marcia| Main| What did you see this weekend?And who wins next weekend?»
Monday
Jul 16 2018

Beauty vs Beast: Never Trust A Dame In Sunglasses

Jason Adams fromMNPPhere on the 111th anniversary of my favorite lower-case dame's birthday - Barbara Stanwyck was born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn NY on this day in 1908 and a rough-and-tumble 19 years later found herself making movies.Cut to 1944 she was one of the biggest stars there was or ever will be when she got what's probably her most famous role and the one that carved the Femme Fatale Archetype in stone - the unhappy wife with murder on her mind Phyllis Dietrichson,who wrangles the wranglable insurance salesman Walter Neff (a gloriously against-type Fred MacMurray) into doing her dirty work.And Billy Wilder's Noir classicDouble Indeminitywas born.

PREVIOUSLYForrest Gump couldn't run fast enough last week to outrun his Jenny Girl - Robin Wright took 65% of your vote on the now controversial Oscar winner.SaidDoctor Strange:

"I have hated Forrest Gump since it premiered,so I'm hardly a johnnie-come-lately hater.I find it manipulative,simplistic,and just plain unbelievable from beginning to end.It's got some very good performances that almost save it...but it's mostly a succession of cheap shots.I'm a boomer myself,but I was never blind to its self-aggrandizing convservatism and retrograde sexual politics."

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Reader Comments (16)

Stanwyck for me was Oscar worthy in DOUBLE INDEMNITY (ok,this sounds brutal considering that 1944 Oscar Best Actress was Ingrid Bergman…) but for me also MacMurray and Robinson could have been considered

July 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

That was so easy...I love Stanwyck and MacMurray reunion in There's Always Tomorrow.

I love Stanwyck,the most versatile movie goddess of all time.She could go from a Hawks screwball to two masterful perfomances in Sirk melodramas to westerns by Samuel Fuller and Anthony Mann (the director who got her best best performance ever,in The Furies).

July 16,2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Barbara Stanwyck is a queen and the greatest actor of her generation.

Fred MacMurray is so bland and uninteresting he almost ruined the entire film,as well as every other movie he appeared in.

July 16,2018 | Unregistered Commenterchris

I voted for Missy Stanwyck but Fred MacMurray's performance shouldn't be undervalued.Together with Edward G.Robinson,and Wilder of course,they refined an entire genre.

They made several films together and while this is the best of them only The Moonlighter is disappointing.Their chemistry in all four is strong.

I agree with Cal Roth that Stanwyck was the most versatile of all the classic women stars of the Golden Age.All could do drama just fine but she was able to relax into comedy more naturally and service the material without her persona necessarily getting in the way.Her closest compatriots in that were probably Carole Lombard and Rosalind Russell.

Of late I've taken a shine to Fred MacMurray and have worked on seeing as much of his filmography as is available,which with a little industry turns out to be all of it.Previously I had really only known him from this film and then My Three Sons by which point he was rather a Dudley.But in his early days he was an agile comic actor,a decent dramatic one and in his youth quite studly.Who knew?

Of his work I'd recommend:

Hands Across the Table,Swing High,Swing Low,The Princess Comes Across (all with Carole Lombard),Remember the Night (Stanwyck),No Time for Love (Claudette Colbert),Standing Room Only (Paulette Goddard),Pardon My Past (Marguerite Chapman),Father Was a Fullback (Maureen O'Hara),The Caine Mutiny (Bogart),Pushover (Kim Novak),Woman's World (Lauren Bacall),There's Always Tomorrow (Stanwyck again) and The Apartment (Shirley MacLaine).After that he slipped into B's,Disney family films and TV.

July 16,2018 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I go with Phyllis/Stanwyck,obvs.Even if Barbara Stanwyck was,by all accounts a real extreme right-winger,ewww.

July 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Ha.The ultimate femme fatale in a website full of actressexuals?I'm surprised Neff has any votes at all!Stanwyck is absolutely delicious in that movie.I can't resist her in any way,

July 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

I knew going in this'd be Stanwyck by a landslide but I'm proud of y'all for giving Fred some love,I think he's super in this - he's a stellar patsy

July 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJason

"I wonder if I know what you mean"

"I wonder if you wonder...."

Good god.

July 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Team Neff all the way!I don't care that he probably doesn't win.Fred MacMurray is probably best known for being the nice guy from My Three Sons but he was so good at playing the conflicted bad guy like this movie and The Apartment.Plus he had a good body hidden under those suits.Google pics of him and he might get more votes.

July 17,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

1944 was a weird year in that Barry Fitzgerald was nominated in both the leading and supporting categories for the same role in Going My Way,winning in the latter.(This led to a rule change so it would never happen again) If he hadn't been nominated for Best Actor,I wonder if Fred MacMurray would have taken his place.He's such a bland actor in comedies,but when he plays heels,such as here,The Caine Mutiny or The Apartment,somehow his blandness works in his favor and makes him very memorably detestable.

July 17,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I know I shouldn't,but I just can't get Steve Martin's great parody of this in Dead Men don't wear Plaid out of my head.LMAO

July 17,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Of the three Cain adaptations made in a row in the mid-forties,I'll take 'Mildred Pierce' every time.

Now,I love Barbara Stanwyck,but I can never get past that damn wig.She looks like a platinum Aunt Fritzi.

And if you took a shot every time dull boy Fred MacMurray says 'baby,' you'd be blotto 30 minutes into the movie!

And like 'The Postman Always Rings Twice,' the murderous couple are suspects practically from the time the idea crosses their minds--my least favorite film noir trope.

July 17,2018 | Unregistered Commenterrick gould

As Bette Davis aptly put it:: Stanwych has more sex appeal in her ankle trinklet than later actresses who shed their clothes so commonly now.

Yes I agreed Stanwych shld've won the Oscar!!She's indeed the most versatile actress of her times,who cld go fr soap opera (Stella Dallas) to screwball com (Lady Eve) to film noir (Double Indemnity) to western (The Furies)!!

I LUV Bergman but Gaslight is such a meh..She was so much betta in Notorious 2 yrs later n shld've won her Oscar for tt!!

I thot tt MacMurray gives his best perf ever n wld've been nom if not for the duplicate nom o Fitzgerald.He's so gd as the cad!

Mildred Pierce took a lotsa liberty w Cain's novel,even toning down the seedy aspects..while Double Indemnity IMO is the most faithful adaptation of the three.

July 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Afterall who cld resist,when Stanwych sexily purrs: "Remember,u & I r in this together....Straight down the line"

July 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Stanwyck always Stanwyck.Top five or top three biggest actresses of all times easy.But I will vote for Fred MacMurray,talented versatile actor who made unforgettable partnership with brilliant actresses,making everything to help them shine instead of trying to upstage them.Carole Lombard,Claudette Colbert,Barbara Stanwyck,Katharine Hepburn...They loved to work with him.My vote is because I know he won't win.

July 20,2018 | Unregistered CommenterGiovanni

haha That's so true.I belong with team_ MacMurray.He was so handsome and talented.I intend to see all his movies this weekend.

July 23,2018 | Unregistered Commenterhotmail login

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