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Q&A: Blondes & Brunettes, Silents & Sequels

Each week in the Q & A column I choose a couple handfuls of reader questions to answer. I don't intentionally choose with themes in mind but this week's column, in the requested vacuum of Streep-less questions -- she'd been hogging the column -- tilted straight toward blonde icons and beloved brunettes.

Aaron: If "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "Lost in Translation" had been released in different years, do you think Scarlett Johansson would be a two-time Academy Award nominee by now?

Fun question. I had to really ponder this. But my answer is no. Oscar fanatics love to debate "vote splitting" whenever someone has two meaty roles in the same category in a given year. The 2003 Oscar race was so weirdly splintered in Best Actress and the precursors just weren't showing herd mentality so right up until nomination morning it felt like virtually any combination of a shortlist that included frontrunners Theron and Keaton was possible. But Scarlett's Lost campaign had more problems than just The Girl With the Pearl Earring. Maybe Samantha Morton, in particular, would've been pushed aside for Scarlett had she only had one film. On the other hand, it was probably the combination of Scarlett's double-breakthrough that put her in the conversation to the degree that she was in it. But I don't believe that she'd have been a two time nominee regardless because the competition in 2004 felt so impenetrable; Moreno, Swank, Bening, Winslet and Staunton were always going to be the top five the following year. 

Scarlett on the Lost in Translation circuit: BAFTA, GLOBES, OSCAR

The most interesting thing about 2003 Best Actress, at least for Trivia Nerds, is how young it skewed historically. Even if you remove the novelty nomination for 13 year old Keisha Castle Hughes (Whale Rider) you might still have had a record breaking year since both Evan Rachel Wood (she was 16 during the Thirteen campaign) and Scarlett Johansson (who had just turned 20) could have also become Youngest Ever had they landed in the shortlist. Both were younger than Jennifer Lawrence from Winter's Bone even who is now the second youngest nominee ever in the category after Keisha. Don't you ♥ trivia!?

MrW: Do you intend to have seen one day all Oscar-winning performances (all four acting categories)? Are there any Oscar winning performances you're embarrassed to admit you haven't seen yet?

I would love to be able to someday claim this but I fear I'll die before that gargantuan task is completed. Naturally, I'm most worried about finishing the actress categories. The three movies I'm most embarrassed I haven't yet seen that sucked up plentiful acting attention / wins are My Left Foot, The Last Picture Show and, yes, The Godfather Part Two. I seriously have no idea why I keep putting the last one off. I even own it! 

Kent: Recently watched GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES for the first time. It was such a fun movie! Got me thinking about Marilyn Monroe and how the Academy shunned her so many times. She's so underrated as an actress. I loved her in BUS STOP and SOME LIKE IT HOT. Would you have rewarded her with nominations, even yet, a win?

True Story: I had this poster above of Marilyn Monroe from Bus Stop on my bedroom wall as a teenager -- yes the actressexuality started very early -- My mother saw it, shook her head  and sighed audibly. "Tell her to put some clothes on!" LOL. Different generations, you know.

Marilyn nominations, War of the Hepburns, and sequelitis after the jump.

Like the Self Styled Siren, I am much more enamored of Marilyn's onscreen work than her endlessly merchandised celebrity. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is my second favorite film from her resume. I recently watched The Misfits again and though she wasn't quite as great in that as I had remembered on a second pass (I used to think I would have nominated her for it). I haven't seen Bus Stop since I was like 15 but I *think* I would nominate her for it. Some Like It Hot (1959) for absolute sure -- she's better than some of the nominees that year though I should note that I have not yet seen Simone Signoret in Room at the Top which is one of the few winning Best Actress titles that I have left to watch.

More depressing than Marilyn's lack of Oscar attention is her Golden Globe record. She was only nominated twice for Best Comedy Actress (she won for Hot) and that seems kind of ridiculous given that comedy was her forte. HOW THE HELL DID "GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES" RECEIVE ZERO COMEDY GLOBES OR EVEN NOMINATIONS?

Eric C: I've heard that Patricia Neal only won her Best Actress Oscar for "Hud" because it was a sympathy vote. Some have even said her role in the film was more of a supporting role and she shouldn't have been placed in the lead category. Who do you think should have won the 1963 Best Actress Oscar and why?

People don't always win for the right reasons, it's true. But even if that's why she won, she was more than deserving. Whether you put her in "supporting" or "lead" -- it's one of the rare cases where either categorization is fully justifiable -- she wins my personal vote for 1963. Hud is one of the greatest movies of the 1960s. In truth, I would have handed it three of the four acting Oscars that year. It's just an incredibly potent movie with a flawless and riveting triangle of characterizations. Paul Newman should not have had to wait until the 1980s for his gold man.

Choose THE BEST WOODY ALLEN MOVIE from each of his biggest muses - Dianne Wiest, Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, Judy Davis, Anjelica Huston and Scarlett Johansson.

Dianne Wiest: The Purple Rose of Cairo (best film) Bullets Over Broadway (best at showcasing her)
Diane Keaton: Manhattan (best film) Annie Hall (best at showcasing her) 
Scarlett Johansson: Match Point (best film... as for best at showcasing her, I'm not crazy about that performance and I don't much like her as a Woody muse.)
Anjelica Huston: Manhattan Murder Mystery (best & best ... I never really *got* whatever there was to get about Crimes and Misdemeanors though I realize many of my fellow Woody devotees feel differently and I should probably give it a second chance.) 
Mia Farrow: The Purple Rose of Cairo (best and best at showcasing her with Alice as runner up in the latter category) 
Judy Davis: Husbands and Wives (best & best) 

Bill the Bear: Nat, are there any actors or actresses who are really "Box Office Poison" to you? That is, when you see their name in a cast list, you think "I don't want to see that because X is in it!"?

In the 90s I used to have that reaction to Melanie Griffith. Obviously I was starting to have that reaction to Zeéeeee before her career collapsed. I am absolutely allergic to David Spade, like break out in hives allergic; his smugness just nauseates me. The only true "movie star" that is an immediate NO for me is Nicolas Cage. I still don't like Philip Seymour Hoffman, it's true, but I have learned to tolerate him due to his very very fine taste in material. If I said no to him, I'd miss way too many good movies since all the best directors love him. 

Emmanuel: Favorite Hepburn and why. Katharine or Audrey?

Between the two Hepburns I'm an Audrey man. It's a matter of her giant eyeballs, giraffe neck and the movies she happened to star in, of which I am more fond. Basically I like to look at her. She's in my 33 favorite actresses gallery, but honestly, she's #33. They're both maybe possibly arguably kind of overrated *ducks to avoid tomatoes thrown* not because they aren't fab but just given that they tend to come up in every "best ever!" conversation. That said, it has come to my attention that some of my gaps in Katharine's filmography are the performances her über fans like the most so I know I still have some screenings to get too. 

Someone: Sure, 'Mommie Dearest' is the Faye Dunaway show. But what did you think of Diana Scarwid's performance? Are you or are you not one of her faaaaans?

LOL. I like Mommie Dearest well enough but I don't remember much about her performance. Honestly I'm a bad gay when it comes to the cliché group of Favorite Movies of the Gays as I have none of them memorized (I can only recall two lines from Mommie Dearest off the top of my head) and there are probably only a few dozen movies from history that I have seen more than, like, five times. I'm not a big rewatcher. That's mostly because I always want to see things I haven't yet seen, both old and new. Plus, if I see a movie too many times and I don't totally worship it I end up hating it. 

That said, I like Diana Scarwid in general. She was great on Wonderfalls and I just loved her playing Pfriend of Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath (2000).

are you one of her faaaannnnnns?

Beau: If you could see a sequel made to any three films, which ones?

One of my favorite things about the movies including the reason I prefer them to television is that they are perfectly contained stories. I love beginnings and middles but what I cherish most is a perfect ending. Even great films that end in beautifully open-ended ways can feel absolutely complete. Take something like You Can Count On Me. Technically since it's a character study, you could easily revisit those siblings... but given that perfect finale, that unspoken title... I just always want that to be the last moment with them. That said if you could guarantee that a sequel to that movie would be as revelatory and transcendent with the passage of time as say, Before Sunset, that would be my #1 choice.

I loved the idea of a sequel to 9 to 5 way back when they were hinting they'd make one (it never happened). Most of the film when I have sequel fantasies it doesn't involve a repeat of the first movie in new clothing but just following one character onward. For instance, sometimes I wonder what happened to Serra the prostitute after Leaving Las Vegas, what happens to Kym after Rachel Getting Married. I would have multiple orgasms if Todd Haynes agreed to revisit Cathy and Frank Whitaker or their sure to be fucked up children (they treat them like utter shit in Far From Heaven!) once a decade but in the style of different genres to change with the times like a 60s psychological horror film followed by a 70s Bergman pastiche and so on.


Ames: Let's pretend "The Artist" leaves a lasting influence and a few more silent films get made. Who are three current actresses that could shine without being audible? 

We already know that Holly Hunter (The Piano) is a marvel even without her inimitable voice. This is a really hard question even though I've loved silent films since I was like 12 and saw my first one at a revival house. I think you'd need actors whose bodies are expressive and whose faces are exceptionally fascinating and my mind has gone blank -- HELP ME IN THE COMMENTS PEOPLE -- so without giving it too much thought, one of the first people who came to mind was Cate Blanchett. Surprise! Why? Well, two of her performances I think about the most are both much more silent than the others. I'm thinking of Heaven (2002) and The Man Who Cried (2000). And I know this wasn't the question on account of the penis but I want to say Brad Pitt. I love the way he holds his body in movies... and I don't mean that in a sexual way though he's got that going on, too.

But above all Tilda Swinton whose gargantuan eyeballs can house entire movies in addition to the ones she's actually acting in; I wasn't crazy about We Need To Talk About Kevin but I liked the movie that was playing inside those peepers.

• who do you think would excel in a silent movie?
• which movies do you crave sequels to?
• Kate or Audrey... or Marilyn?


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Reader Comments (52)

Nat - Close could do a silent movie better than anyone working today (Hunter, Swinton and Blanchett included)

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermatt

Favourite Hepburn- Katharine tying for Desk Set & Lion in Winter, runner up would be Audrey in Robin & Marian

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermatt

I still think that Moreno could have been taken by Thurman.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T


October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Box office poison: kate hudson and katie holmes

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Box office poison for me: Zellweger & Kidman for sure, Denzel Washington most of the time, but the one who will keep me away always is Juliette Lewis who irks me even in still photos.

I don't believe Patricia Neal had her series of strokes until a few years after her win for Hud so it was merit based not sympathy.

I agree about Marilyn's nomination for Some Like it Hot, she's brilliant in it.

As far as actresses in silents I have to go with Marion Cotillard, she has wonderfully expressive eyes and although she doesn't work as much as she should anymore Julie Christie's performances are almost always more about her body language and the feelings under the surface than any big vocal pyrotechnics even if her voice is lovely.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I think Carey Mulligan can do really well in silent films.
I like Audrey and Marilyn, but since I haven’t seen many of Marilyn’s films, I’ll take Audrey to my house tonight.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMikhael

Nicole Kidman will be great in silent movie, watch BIRTH

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone


Hello! Monroe's greatest performance.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I'm coming to New York in early January. I think watching The Godfather Part II with you would be better than going to a Radiohead concert. Just sayin...

Also, I've recently been thinking a lot about the current pop culture relevance of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. I know girls who've tattooed those names on their bodies without having seen any morsel of their filmography's. These people tend to choose between these two based simply on looks... fashion? Perhaps simply based on the image the world has projected them to be. As an obsessive ranker I just want to scream to the world that Marilyn in my eyes is far more deserving of her cultural immortality. Ahem... thank you.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCory Rivard

Nathaniel: I wanna know what you think of The Last Picture Show when you see it. Cloris Leachman is so heartbreaking in that movie, in my opinion. As for silent movie, one has to think that Samantha Morton would be amazing after her work in Sweet Lowdown (is that the name of it? The Woody Allen Django Reinhart movie).

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

Sometimes one throws an apostrophe and an s on a word at 11 PM on a Monday when it doesn't belong there. It happens.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCory Rivard

I actually find it more surprising that you haven't seen 'The Last Picture Show' than that you haven't seen 'The Godfather: Part II'. 'Picture Show' is a truly great film full of terrific performances (Cloris Leachman is the standout among standouts, but just about every cast member is terrific) and should really be right up your alley.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

Sequel - I would LOVE to know what happend to Bob and Charlotte after the credits rolled in Lost In Translation! Katherine/Audrey - Audrey, love her in Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffanys Silent Actress - Kate Winslet and Patricia Clarkson, perhaps in the same film with Patty finally winning her much deserved first Oscar!

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChrisD

I do that all the time with sequels, Nat. Or, rather, what happened to characters after. One of my favorite things Fellini said was that the only character he ever really worried about after the film was done was Cabiria.

Before Sunset, without question. Because you know that's my favorite film of all time.
The Incredibles. Because, dammit, if I have to sit through all these shitty superhero movies (or at least be subjected to their horrendous trailers before another movie) they can at least release a GOOD one.
And the last, honestly? I always wonder what would have happened if E.T. came back. I don't know why, but the thought of Henry seeing that gorgeous animatronic again would just turn me into a puddle. It's not the coolest choice by any means, but it's an honest one.

Silent Actress Role? Give it to Binoche. If there's any woman who can put stars in her eyes and light up the screen without saying a word, it's her. (for a mediocre film and a perfect example, see her in 'Dan in Real Life'. That part where he's singing and she just WATCHES him... Plus, she was my favorite part of 'Paris Je T'aime'. I got teary eyed. And that doesn't happen to me as often as it used to.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeau

I think both Vera Farmiga and Penelope Cruz would be great in silent film, as well as Maggie Cheung (come back already), Jeon Do-yeon, Charlize Theron, Audrey Tautou, Monica Bellucci, Eva Green.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

well, lost in translation was released in 2003 and since johansson is born in 1985 (which i can't believe, because she looks 35 to me), so she was 18.. i really can't believe that she was 18 when she appeared in lost in translation.

i was a kid back in 2004, but i still remember one thing (maybe i misunderstood, but): scarlett had these two films (and no - she wouldn't have a prayer against bening, sandino moreno, staunton, the actual very very very very very extremely undeserving hilary swank and kate winslet; and yes, there were julie delpy and nicole kidman as well) and they tried to campaign her in supporting for lost in translation. i think that backfired. really? scarlett supporting in lost in translation that as much focused on her character as it is on bill murray's? i think it pretty much worked against her in terms of getting nominated, because no matter what people think of scarlett (and i'm not a fan), her performance in lost in translation probably remains the one performance she delivered that really deserved major recognition.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzooey

I think Winona Ryder would be excellent in silent film. Those eyes are so expressive.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric C.

I agree about Scarlett Johansson, re: splitting her 2003 bids into two years and that having no affect on her Oscar prospects. I have nothing against her, but it seems like once or twice a decade, the HFPA becomes obsessed with an actress, almost as if they're convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that she'll eventually be Oscar-nominated. Sometimes it pans out (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Renee Zellweger). Much of the time, it does not (in descending order of achievement, deep breath now...Mia Farrow, Jamie Lee Curtis, ScarJo and Cameron Diaz). It seems like there was a time that people were certain that the aforementioned four actresses would be Oscar nominated sooner or later (read: sooner) and for whatever reason, it seems very unlikely for all of them, though I suppose ScarJo is still young. Is Emily Blunt on her way to being the next one?

Re: actresses who would excel in silent films, Marion Cotillard immediately comes to mind. While not being particularly fond of her, I will admit a certain airy charm and facial expressiveness. Ditto for Zooey Deschanel. After watching Mia Wasikowska's face register emotion so great (and often wordlessly) in things like The Kids Are All Right and I Love Sarah Jane I wonder about her in this way too. And finally, (this may seem really off the cuff) but Paz Vega. Simply because she was fabulous in that famous sequence in Talk to Her.

Maybe the fact that three major contenders were so young made the voters go with the youngest? LOL I have no clue, I will forever try to make sense of Evan Rachel Wood's snub...truly sad to me. She had the GG and SAG nods, I wonder what went wrong. Oh well. One of my favorite performances ever (also a fav movie).

At least ScarJo got a BAFTA! And a Tony now. She should get her film career back on track though.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Nat, It's funny you said Blanchett and Swinton for the silent movie question, since Blanchett has said she does n't like talking in film and scraps dialogue when possible and Swinton always says that movies went downhill when people started talking!

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

• who do you think would excel in a silent movie?

Samantha Morton, not only because her marvelous performance in Sweet and Lowdown, but also because she is simply the most expressive actress around. See the video Electrical Storm, by U2. It's like a silent movie and she gives a very heartfelt performance in only 5 minutes.

• which movies do you crave sequels to?

I want a Before Sunrise/Sunset 3. It's an Antoine Doinel situation. I could watch Celine and jesse for their whole lives.

• Kate or Audrey... or Marilyn?

The best actress. Kate, hands down. She is absolutely brilliant in most of her performances. Sometimes she is just titanic, like in The Lion in Winter, one of the most perfect performances I've ever seen. She is also perfect in comedy, specially in Adam's Rib, Summertime and Holiday and Bringing up Baby. I understand she doesn't have much fans because she is a character actress, not a movie star.

That said, I love Audrey and Marilyn, too.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

- If "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "Lost in Translation" had been released in different years, do you think Scarlett Johansson would be a two-time Academy Award nominee by now?

No way. She would have probably been nominated for LiT in 2003 (since she wouldn't have canceled her out, the film was loved and won screenplay) and that's it. She is not loved/respected/etc. enough to pull off two noms in a row. Ampas doesn't seem to care much about her, she could have easily scored a nom for Match Point (supporting turns in Allen movies are one of their favorite things after all) and they couldn't have cared less about her in this movie.

- who do you think would excel in a silent movie?

Winona Ryder. Juliette Binoche. Kate Winslet (the scene when she goes back to the boat says it all).

- Kate or Audrey... or Marilyn?

I'm always a Audrey girl. I fall in love with her everytime I watch one of her movies.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzn3v6

The Hepburns: Katharine, of course. It's like comparing Streep with Jennifer Aniston.
Marilyn is just a completely different thing.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Box office poison: I also hate Nic Cage but the top of my list is John Cusak. I can't stand to even look at a picture of him.

Hepburn? Katharine by a long strech, only that Audrey is adorable in almost every movie.

Marilyn. I had that same poster in my wall. That Bus Stop picture was very popular in the 80's. I only resented that my actressexuality could be confused with lust. I could do anything with Marilyn except sex. Now, Monty Cliff is another story...

Silent movie star: Cotillard and Binoche should be magnificent. there's is something about the french actresses. They only seem to need tongue for french kissing.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

One of the two things I love BAFTA for that immediately come to mind is that they awarded Scarlett for Lost in Translation and nominated Tilda for Burn After Reading. I know the latter was most likely just an afterglow nomination a year after Michael Clayton, but I love her in that. "I don't hammer!"

I'd always choose Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters over Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway. But Bullets underwhelmed me in general.

I like those rare occasions when you compliment Cate! I love her, but her filmography is much weaker than Tilda's, The Lovely Laura Linney's, Julianne's, Nicole's... I wish she would choose and develop projects like Tilda, instead of only doing stuff like Indiana Jones or Robin Hood anymore. Sigh. Tilda has said that she fins theater boring and I wish Cate would too, because then we'd get her back :)

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan


October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan

If this was 20 years ago, I'd say Bruce Campbell. (Seriously, look at Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. Can you not see how he'd work in a silent?) Today...I don't know. JGL? Tom Hardy? Steve Carell? Paul Rudd? We're not used to the idea of silents because they've been dead since 1940. (They were dying until Chaplin stopped making them. Yeah, Modern Times sounds like it's still technically a silent.)

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

As far as silents, Mulligan would lead the way for me. Cotillard, Theron, and Gosling would be right up there too. And has been already mentioned in the thread, I hope you'll write up your thoughts on The Last Picture Show after you see it. It's an amazing film filled with great performances (Burstyn being my favorite, but there's so much great work work).

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Cal, you are so right bringing up baby is pure brilliancy

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Agree about Brad Pitt, I think he would've been a film star success in any decade during the 20th Century.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBia

"I would have multiple orgasms if Todd Haynes agreed to revisit Cathy and Frank Whitaker or their sure to be fucked up children (they treat them like utter shit in Far From Heaven!) once a decade but in the style of different genres to change with the times like a 60s psychological horror film followed by a 70s Bergman pastiche and so on."

This is literally the best idea of ALL TIME! Now I am not going to be able to get it out of my head and I will die with the knowledge of all that cinematic potential unfulfilled. argh!

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter7Bis

With his contortionist-like body and various facial expressions, I feel Jim Carrey would excel in a silent movie out of anyone working today; actually surprised no one has mentioned him.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Audrey! Charade, Two for the Road, The Children's Hour, Funny Face. Though the media are always trying to anoint "the new Audrey," there will never be another.

Box Office Poison: Jennifer Aniston. Why, why, why is she always on the cover of every magazine? Hasn't the world stopped caring that Brad Pitt dumped her eons ago?

Echoing other posters, you should definitely see The Last Picture Show - Cloris Leachman and Ellen Burstyn are amazing.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Cal & Amanda -- for what its' worth, Bringing Up Baby is probably my favorite Hepburn performance. It's definitely my favorite Hepburn film

MDA -- good call! I don't know why i didn't think of that oither than... oh wait i know: not an actress ;) I really should think of actors more. I really wish Carrey would get a role that would capitalize on how special he can be again. is just one more Eternal Sunshine / Man on the Moon / Truman Show level film too much to ask?

October 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Favorite Hepburn: Katharine, but just barely, and mostly because of Lion In Winter and the last scene of Summertime (I will never forget the look on her face as that train pulls away). I LOVE Audrey but nothing she did ever really impressed me. Granted, she was more of a light comedienne/romantic lead, which gave her less chances for show-offy acting, but she just never showed any depth for me.

Silent Film Stars: Someone mentioned Paris, je t'aime which made me think of Margo Martindale, since she really has to rely on no dialogue for her sequence. Sure, she's narrating it, but it means just as much if you watch it with the sound off. Perhaps this could be a way for Christina Ricci to get her groove back. Those eyes! Amanda Seyfried too.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Nat, you inadvertently answered a question that I've been meaning to ask for a while: what movie would people be surprised to learn that you've never seen? Although if there's a more surprising answer than "The Godfather: Part II," I'd love to hear it!

(Unrelated: I still like the first "Godfather" better.)

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Box Office poison: The "Cate's" (Winslet & Blanchet) U can smell the "ACTING" from MILES.

Silent Movie Star: Glenn Close (Re-Watch that last scene in "Dangerous Liaisons")

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

@denny Not only the last scene. All her scenes in Summertime, like this one:

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Having seen The Wings of the Dove, Helena Bonham Carter would be perfect for a silent feature. Her face is fascinating and uncannily expressive.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I wish more Hollywood writers thought the way you do about sequels, Nathaniel. Too often a sequel is just a rehash of the first movie, just with more packed into it and slight (if any) variations. Sequels should come up with new stories for the characters and be a true continuation of their lives, like Before Sunset, not half-baked leftovers.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJason H.

Liz N -- i think that's probably the answer to both questions :)

October 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'd like to see Sarah Michelle Gellar in a silent film. Oh, wait... "Hush."

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

Nathaniel, The Last Picture Show was just playing in NYC at Film Forum. Bummer that you missed it, but I heard it was wonderful to see on the big screen. Also, I'd be curious to know which Hepburn performances you were referencing as the ones that Hepburn fans love most.

As for box office poison, I'm not sure they count, but Johnny Depp draws an instant "ugh" for me whenever I see he has a new movie out. Earlier this week, I realized that I also wish that Liam Neeson would take a break from acting. I didn't used to hate him, but his recent string of man-looking-for-woman (be it wife or daughter) thrillers NEEDS TO STOP.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Evan -- i need to look up Film Forum more often. it's easy for me to get to but they show so many movies that i sometimes miss things i really want to see because i feel overwhelmed. I really wish they had one big screen instead of all those inky dinky ones since ithey show so many things that are hard to see on the "big" screen. Even there. I tend to pay far more atteniton to teh Walter Reade and Moma and Bam for this reason. Those are real screens.

October 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Hmm after reading all these answers I have almost nothing else to add but I find it funny that nobody mentioned, for the silent film actresses, JULIA ROBERTS.

That infectious smile and those facial expressions would have been a hit be it in the 20s, in the 60s, the 90s or now.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Drew Barrymore could work as a silent movie actress. She has energy and talent but doesn't know where to channel it--when your best adult performance in a theatrical release is Scream-- you need others to guide you to that special place.

Hollywood killed something inside of me not too long ago: where I don't care about sequels anymore, because they're all about remaking 80s and 90s properties--too soon!

I love to look at Audrey as well. She should have two Oscars based on her looks alone.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Thanks for answering my question, Nat! (I feel as if I should lock myself in a toilet stall with my cell phone..."Mommy, he picked me!")

I'm definitely a Katherine Hepburn fan, especially "The Philadelphia Story." I'm OK with Audrey, but Marilyn I've never really gotten into.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

Katharine, duh. But Audrey is super special to me as well. In fact Philadelphia Story and Roman Holiday are in my Top Ten Rewatchable movies for sure.

Oh, what joy to be able to watch Godfather Part 2 and especially The Last Picture Show for the first time. The Last Picture Show is probably the personal best for Peter, Cloris, Ellen?, Jeff, Ben Johnson, Cybill ,etc. BUT I think that you need to think of it as a SMALL picture, which it is, rather than some grand picture. Try to approach it the way everyone else did at the time, with zero expectations. Black & white? about a dirty Texas town? WIth ugly people? ;-) That should get you in the right mood.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Maybe it's lazy of me but I think most great actresses would be very good in silent films.
Streep, Winslet, Moore etc (you know who they are)

I mean, show me a good film actor who isn't good with his/her face.

Even Judi Dench, with that magnificent voice, would be really good I think.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T
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