Some very established ones didn’t make it…
Time was when Hollywood actresses had the choice of three different roles: a wise cracking maid, a borderline prostitute, or a put upon wife weeping by the sink. Their job was to make the men look heroic, or virile, or – in some cases – heterosexual. It wasn’t a great time to be a woman. But then we killed the Nazis, and everything changed. Suddenly women were granted permission to wear trousers in public, and their film roles began to slowly diversify, opening doors for beautiful thespians to branch out and play angry maids, hilarious prostitutes, and wives still standing by the sink, but NOT weeping. And now that Barack Obama has been crowned King of The World, who knows what might happen next? What we do know, however, is that the four greatest ever actresses might look something like this…
1. Kathleen Turner
As enormous fans of the 1980s film noir, Body Heat, it was always going to be Kathleen Turner at the top spot. Magnificently sexy in her early roles – Body Heat, Romancing the Stone, The Man with Two Brains, Prizzi’s Honour – she was the human embodiment of an iron fist in a velvet glove, what with her lovely glistening body mixed with some mightily impressive acting chops. She went on to be the voice of Jessica Rabbit – the sexiest cartoon woman of them all – and then it all went a bit Pete Rubbish, culminating in a role as Chandler‘s DAD in Friends. By then, however, the legend had been cemented.
2. Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda makes the list for just two films – Barbarella and Klute. One an intergalactic sex romp, the other a hard hitting thriller, where she plays a New York hooker. Both marvelous movies. She also made big waves in films like Coming Home, Barefoot in The Park, and On Golden Pond, but we’ll forever doff our collective caps to the two aforementioned, and her fantastic charity work for the aerobics community.
3. Sigourney Weaver
Weaver is the tough cookie in the pack, with a face as sharp and angular as a bag of knives, and one of the sternest speaking voices in history. She starred in Alien, Aliens, and Ghost Busters – films that would probably all make an Interestment Top 20 – and we even quite liked her in the rather pretentious Ang Lee droner, The Ice Storm. On the downside, she turned down a role in The Terminator. Bad move, Weaver. But still our number three.
4. Scarlett Johansson
Yes, you’re right, Johansson is not a particularly good actress, and her films, for the most part, have been utter dross. But what we like about her is her Hollywood glamour, which harks back to greats gone by, and suggests that she might carve out a decent career yet. She’s a bit like Mia Farrow crossed with Marilyn Monroe. Basically, she’s really good looking.
Three Little Pigs, by Christopher Walken
It’s a strong day for the sisterhood, a very strong day indeed. Meryl Streep turns 60, which would normally be the biggest news imaginable. And yet, she’s been pipped at the post by Cyndi Lauper, who we prefer by a fraction. She’s 56 today, she’s a loon, she’s the one we’d like to spend the evening smiling widely at as she thrashes her head around in a gigantic chocolate cake. Hence, we thought we’d buy her a gift, so we bought four walkie-talkies from a nearby toy shop, then ran around town, hiding in bins, behind walls, in toilets at the back of poky Italian restaurants, simultaneously pretending to be on the run from some bad Transformers, and also discussing present ideas. It boiled down to a toss up between some peach coloured sandals or a clip of Christopher Walken doing a story. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Lauper!
Ladies and gentleman, John Cazale!
Don’t be fooled by the way they stride grinningly around the planet, when the doors shut, and the staff have been angrily dismissed, actors weep hysterically into pillows. If discovered, they claim to be getting into character, but the truth is that they’re petrified that one day they might make a bad film. Everyone’s done it – De Niro, Pacino, Brando, Nicholson, Depp. Everyone. Sean Penn’s been in mostly appalling films. But, of course, as with everything, there is an exception that proves the rule – in this case, it’s the late John Cazale, who made just five films before bone cancer got him in 1978. All of them excellent. The five – The Godfather, The Godfather Part Two, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter – were all nominated in the Best Picture category at the Oscars, and his co-stars included: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Christopher Walken, Harrison Ford, and his girlfriend Meryl Streep. In each of the films he was absolutely brilliant. Hence, the greatest of all time? Quite possibly.
And, the winner isn’t…
Only in recent years have actresses been given roles worth studying for, before that they were either simpering wives or aggressive prostitutes. Read more…