Wednesday, February 18, 2015

20 More Favorite Actors

Recently I went back and reviewed a 2008 photo post I put together on 20 Favorite Actors.

I found that the majority of the selections still hold true over half a dozen years later, though I would modify it somewhat; at a minimum, I'd now scratch Charlton Heston and Fredric March in favor of Dick Powell and George Brent. I'd consider switching one or two other names, but the rest of the choices still hold true as top favorites several years later.

I was struck that many actors I've come to really enjoy and appreciate didn't even make the "also rans" in 2008 -- a reflection of the fact I've seen approximately 1500 additional movies in the intervening years!

Here's a brand-new list of 20 additional favorite actors. Three of them were "also rans" in 2008, but all of the other names on the list, including this year's runners-up, were not mentioned in my 2008 post.

The 2015 list of 20 More Favorite Actors:

Dick Powell:

George Brent:

Alan Ladd:

Dan Duryea:

Victor Mature:

Preston Foster:

Frank Lovejoy:

Walter Pidgeon:

Jeff Chandler:

George Sanders:

Sterling Hayden:

Zachary Scott:

Chester Morris:

George O'Brien:

John Payne:

Richard Carlson:

William Lundigan:

George Montgomery:

Tim Holt:

John Lund:

Powell, Brent, and Pidgeon were all just below my Top 20 in 2008 but have since moved even higher in my estimation.

This year's runners-up, lingering just outside the Top 20: Rory Calhoun, Tom Conway, Edmond O'Brien, Audie Murphy, Steve Cochran, Rod Cameron, Richard Conte, Mark Stevens, Glenn Ford, and Fred MacMurray. Maybe I should have made a new "Top 30"! Then there's Macdonald Carey, Stephen McNally, Harold Lloyd...

I included Ward Bond in my original Top 20, and there were a few character actors I considered for this list, but I decided I'd make a separate list of favorite character actors at some point down the road, including favorites such as James Millican, Frank Ferguson, Allyn Joslyn, and more.

Previously (2008): 20 Favorite Actors and 20 Favorite Actresses.


Blogger mel said...

There are no actors today that I can think of who come anywhere near the calibre of these...

9:17 PM  
Blogger KC said...

I love that you included Preston Foster! I've become very fond of him, and I didn't even know who he was before 2014.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Many of my favourite actors are present and correct, Laura. Three that are not are Fred MacMurray, Richard Dix and Robert Ryan. If I could include only one of these, it would have to be the marvellous Ryan. Never saw him in anything when he was less than excellent.....

Love your lists.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Mel, I quite agree. :)

KC, I love that you have also discovered Preston Foster! My favorite besides THE HUNTED is a '30s B film where he's a jewel thief, DOUBLE DANGER.

Thanks, Jerry! Robert Ryan was listed as the first runner-up in 2008 and MacMurray made the runner-up list this year -- both could easily have made the Top 20! They were so good in many great films. (As a matter of fact, I'm planning to write about Ryan for my next ClassicFlix column. I also wrote a piece on a private school he founded for the Dark Pages a while back, I might reproduce that here.)

Although (like Forrest Tucker!) it's taken me a little while to warm up totally to Richard Dix, I find I am enjoying him more with each movie.

So glad to know you enjoyed the lists, I have ideas for a couple more I hope to do in the future. :)

Best wishes,

11:58 PM  
Blogger john knight said...

Hi Laura,

Just for fun,and the fact that I've nothing better to do
with my time :) I thought that I would provide an
astrological breakdown to you new list of fave actors
so here goes!

Aquarius comes out on top with
Duryea,Mature,Morris,Holt and Lund

Aries has three candidates with
Lovejoy,Hayden and O'Brien

Virgo clocks in with
Ladd,Foster and Montgomery

Pices scores two with
Scott and Brent

Gemini also scores two with
Payne and Lundigan

The following starsigns clock in with a mere one
actor between them:

Capricorn:Richard Carlson

Cancer:George Sanders

Libra: Walter Pidgeon

Scorpio: Dick Powell

Sagittarius: Jeff Chandler

Poor old Taurus and Leo fail to make the chart this time

Love and Peace;

Mystic John

4:55 AM  
Blogger Kristina Dijan said...

I really like all of these actors too. Love that you have Duryea Pidgeon and Mature on there. Lund and Lundigan are underrated and Powell and Payne are super versatile.

Lists are fun, and it is revealing to do them again after seeing so many movies; it's not just that you've seen more performances to judge by, but your tastes and appreciation for people and talent is bound to change the more you see.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

LOL, John! Thanks. :)

It occurs to me to say, if anyone here would like to put their favorites list in the comments or link to a favorites post, by all means!

So true about expanding tastes, Kristina! Your comment on versatility also causes me to comment on how multitalented many of the actors on this list were. For instance, Powell, Carlson, and Montgomery also worked behind the camera. Montgomery was a gifted artist, and Hayden became a writer. O'Brien had a long naval career stretching beyond his wartime service (and of course a number of the men on this list took breaks from their careers to serve in WWII). Interesting to contemplate.

Best wishes,

8:21 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much, Maricatrin, you caused me to notice a comment got through my spam filter. There are some weirdos out there which is why I unfortunately have to screen comments! Deleted thanks to you. :)

Best wishes,

1:41 PM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

No problem, glad to be of help. I was wondering: "what the heck???"

But, great list:-) I would try putting a list together myself, but I know that I would feel like Gus-Gus in Cinderella, trying to take just one more kernel under his chin (lol)

5:56 PM  
OpenID vienna said...

Great list,Laura. Lovejoy,Lund,Brent and Pidgeon would definitely be in my top 20.
I guess I need to see George O'Brien. Don't know him at all.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Kell 62 said...

If Dan Duryea, Zachary Scott, John Payne or Frank Lovejoy are in a film, I'll always watch it. Although they were not major A-list stars or heart throbs, their appeal lay in being interesting rather than handsome.

Another actor I'd add to the list is Dane Clark. In fact, I'd put him at the top!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Vienna! Hope you will enjoy checking out George O'Brien.

Kell 62, I agree, I really like Dane Clark. He was excellent in a number of films I've enjoyed including EMBRACEABLE YOU and FORT DEFIANCE.

Best wishes,

9:36 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

John Payne was indeed considered a heartthrob. And for the time he was at Fox pretty near A-list.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Kell 62 said...

Barrylane, I suppose 'heart-throbiness' is in the eye of the beholder. For me, to deem an actor 'not a heart-throb' is actually a compliment.

Payne and the other actors I mentioned usually played supporting A-list roles or top-billed B-list roles. The former because they were not 'heart-throbby' enough to get the girl, and the latter because B-list films usually required more ruggedly realistic looking actors.

Laura, Oh, yes! Don't get me started on 'Embraceable You'! One of my all-time favourite films and so massively forgotten and underrated (like Dane Clark himself). Also agree with you re 'Fort Defiance'.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I like this a lot—the post, the idea. Everything.

Back when we all were filling out our entries for that 20 Favorite Actresses meme, there was a comment made by someone (who may have been Kate Gabrielle, though I'm not certain) to the effect that we should "do this again sometime," and see how our tastes have changed over the years, or stayed the same.

And, funny enough, I'd just been remembering that, and thinking idly that I'd like pull up some of those old lists—of actresses and of actors, both—when I happened to arrive here, and found "20 More Favorite Actors."

The stills you've chosen are gorgeous. I'm near-swooning over the one of Duryea, what with its warm, hazy lighting, and that gray-swept background, and the way he's standing, casually posed as though in the midst of a conversation, and looking straight into the camera...

I love it.

By the way: Hello again!

9:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

CARRIE! So fantastic to hear from you!! Hope all is well with you and yours. :)

Isn't that an amazing coincidence that you saw this post right when you'd been thinking about the same thing? Delighted you enjoyed this and liked the photos -- I'm partial to that Duryea photo, too. I'm especially fond of him knowing what an all-around great guy he seems to have been off the screen.

So glad to hear from you, looking forward to catching up more.

Best wishes,

10:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Kell 62, so delighted to know someone else (besides Moira Finnie, if she's reading this!) who loved EMBRACEABLE YOU. What a really special movie with a beautiful performance by Dane Clark. Have been hoping for a Warner Archive release!

Saw FORT DEFIANCE as a ClassicFlix rental and liked it so much I later got my own copy on sale, as I know I'll want to revisit it.

Best wishes,

10:37 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Thank you, Laura. What a welcome!

6:46 PM  
Blogger Kell 62 said...

Re Dan Duryea, I find him a very sexy man onscreen, but the studio bosses didn’t see him that way. As far as I know, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is about the only film he made that brought out his sex appeal – with the gorgeous Joan Bennett madly in love with him.


Yes, EMBRACEABLE YOU is a unique little gem in so many ways. I’ve never seen a film in which the opening credits just pull you into the story (the work of an excellent director) … and the ending is one of the most uplifting and poignant I’ve ever seen. In between these two book-ends is a surprisingly intelligent film about the power of love. Ooh! Goosebumps.

As for FORT DEFIANCE, I do hope they can digitally remaster it to fix the badly deteriorating colour. It’s much too good a film to be left in its current state.

And finally, is there an updated 20 Female Actors’ list on the way? I’ve already compiled mine. :) 

12:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Dan Duryea definitely has a certain appeal to a lot of us, Kell 62. :)

Dane Clark's performance in EMBRACEABLE YOU had me in tears near the end. Talk about an actor selling a story and making you believe. Now I want to watch it all over again.

Thanks so much for your interest in another Favorites list! There is definitely a More Favorite Actresses list coming, as well as one of Character Actors, I'm just not sure when yet. Still working on the names, and this weekend I've got some other posts lined up to work on including TCM in March. Will do it soon I hope, and I'm looking forward to your list!

Best wishes,

4:53 PM  
Blogger John Maher said...

For me, Jeff Chandler had it all. The height, the hair and he could act. When you saw him on screen and the way he carried himself you wondered how any man could be so impossibly handsome. Hard to believe he ever lived.

4:24 PM  

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