Daily Film Thoughts: Barbara Stanwyck

Is my new favourite actress. And it’s good too, because I’ve only seen two of her four nominated performances, meaning it’ll only get better. She sealed it last night with The Lady Eve. After seeing a slew of her films in the past month (The Lady Eve, Forbidden, Clash by Night, The Miracle Woman and Ball of Fire) on top of the several others I’d seen prior, I can now confidently say that she is the best actress I’ve seen on film. Sure, Bette Davis was offered the more juicy characters, and sure Katharine Hepburn was able to diversify herself with different projects (all of them result in her playing a posh character, it seems…), but Stanwyck did the best she could with the characters she was given.

Whether it be the frail, insecure faux sister in The Miracle Woman – falling in love with a blind and sincere man through the trickiest of circumstances or it be a Hitchcockian performance full of freight and poise in Sorry, Wrong Number she did it all. Though you wouldn’t expect it from her, she’s also hilarious! Though she plays the less comedic and bumbling characters in most of her comedies, her cynicism and sarcasm do wonders for the films layers of comedy. Her chemistry with the closeted and nimbly spoken Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire is some of the most delightful comedic romance on film.

So here’s to Stanwyck – a woman of flare, passion and underneath it all, a joker!

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