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Friday, September 9, 2011

The Big 10: Female Characters (in TV and film)

Hi everyone,

I'm all chirpy and happy today for a few reasons - 1) It's FRIDAY! I love Friday, it's my favorite day of the week (Rebecca Black did not ruin it for me). Not because I have great classes today, either (I don't). But I just love reaching the end of the week and taking a big sigh, like, "Few, that's over. Until Monday!" And I can finally watch a movie, too. Tonight it will be "Mildred Pierce" - a movie I have been dying to see since, like, forever.

However, I don't think I'll do a review for it this particular Sunday because I thought I'd pick a patriotic movie to review this week since Sunday is the tenth anniversary of September 11th... that, of course, deflates my happy mood a bit. But more on that on Sunday.

And 2) The sun is finally shining!!!! The whole week it was gray and rainy and awful, but now the sun is just shining and it's beautiful outside, even if there are still puddles on the ground. Also, school went pretty well today - among other things, I was given a big compliment by one of my teachers on my writing skills in front of the whole class; embarrassing, but I get happy like a little kid whenever someone sincerely compliments my writing. As Lina Lamount says: "Our hard work ain't been in vain!" And, guess what else????? We have a songbook for our music class and in it today I found this big picture of Lucy and the song "Hey, Look Me Over!" from her Broadway musical, Wildcat. I know. INSANE HAPPINESS. Vivien Leigh cat smiling. I'm so going to request for us to learn that song!! :)

Okay, babbling is over. :) Today I'm going to list my top ten female characters. I'm doing television and film, because if I limited myself to movies alone I'd be forced to exclude Lucy Ricardo. ;)

This is pretty much in no particular order. Enjoy!

1 : Scarlett O'Hara
played by Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

Well, yes, I LOVE Scarlett. I know that Melanie was a lot nicer and very sweet and who doesn't love Melanie? But it's just so much fun watching Scarlett be... Scarlett. No to mention Viv played her to an exact point of perfection! Yes, it is often argued that Scarlett was a b*tch, and I guess she was. But in her defense, Scarlett is probably one of the most exciting characters to grace the screen. She could be hardworking when she wanted to, and she retched out that carrot without flinching. So yes, love her or hate her (though I do love her), Scarlett is one of the most awesome characters, female or male, EVER. Here's to you, Scarlett O'Hara!

2 : Lucy Ricardo
played by Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy

My darling Lucy! I have heard people also call Lucy Ricardo annoying and conniving and things like that, but the fact remains is that there was a special quality about Lucy that make us love her, flaws and all - in fact, that was the premise of the show. And... she was also smart, clever, resourceful, and beautiful in ways people don't give her much credit for - not to mention hilarious and zany! That's why we love Lucy :)

3 : Holly Golightly
played by Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's

In which Scarlett can be called a b*tch, Lucy obnoxious, Holly can be called a gold digger. But like the latter characters, there is a special quality about her - not to mention the brilliance of the actress who played her! - which makes Holly a character to love and remember. Despite her faults, I think Holly is the girl all women sort of want to be: glamorous and sophisticated and very fashionable; not to mention she lived life as if it was all a big gulp of fresh air. And she had a pretty cute cat, too!

4 : Alicia Huberman
played by Ingrid Bergman, Notorious

Yes, yes, one of my favorite Ingrid roles ever! I love Ingrid in the Alicia role, she just comes across as this ultra sophisticated spy to me, and it does help that her character is madly in love with Cary Grant. ;) She wears some really chic gowns and puts her life on the line for her country. Yeah, I just really found her character quite marvelous!

5 : Hildy Johnson
played by Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday

As an inspiring girl writer, Hildy Johnson is really one of my favorite inspirations! I like her because she kept her femininity but proved she could write or report as good as the next guy in that busy newsroom. Plus, okay, okay, yes: I really love the way her name sounds. "Hildy". It really does roll off your tongue, doesn't it?

6 : Maria
played by Natalie Wood, West Side Story

I guess I have no particular reason for liking Maria. Maybe it has a lot do with the way Natalie played her; because everytime I watch West Side Story I always feel for Maria's character and even relate to her. "I Feel Pretty" is one of my favorite dance sequences and even though Maria does some stupid things in the movie (I would blurt them out here but there must be some of you who have not seen WSS - well, what are you waiting for?? Go watch it. NOW. :D), I still really like her character. The Puetro Rican Juliet. 

7 : Charlotte Vale (II, anyway)
played by Bette Davis, Now, Voyager

I say "Charlotte Vale II" because... because... well, I didn't hate the shaky Aunt Charlotte from the beginning of the movie, but I love her progression into the confident, sophsticated woman of the world she becomes. I explained a bit of that in my Now, Voyager movie review. Bette Davis portrayed her perfectly, I thought!

8 : Alva Starr
played by Natalie Wood, This Property is Condemned

"This Property is Condemned", a Tennessee Williams movie, did not really do so well at the box office at the time, but truth be told I really enjoyed it when I watched it. Maybe it was the pairing of Natalie and Robert Redford together for the second time (they'd teamed up before for "Inside Daisy Clover", a not so good movie...), but I did enjoy it. I also loved Natalie's Alva Starr character. Most of all because I enjoyed seeing life through the fabricated eyes of Alva; the whole world to her is literally a box of chocolates - one of my favorite scenes from the film is when Alva insists to Robert Redford's character that the sky is white, not blue. She wants to go to New Orleans because she believes people are buried above the ground there, where they can breathe forever. I simply love the way the character looks at life as if it's a dream.

9 : Susan Vance
played by Katharine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby

It's screwball time! "Bringing Up Baby" was one of the first classics I ever watched and I think it's really what pulled me into classic films. My God, I LOVE the Susan character. This is my favorite Kate performance ever. Susan is just adorable and hilarious and Kate's special Bryn Mawer accent somehow makes the character even funnier. And she has a pet leopard. Named Baby. Susan makes me smile! Look, I just love this movie and I love this character and if you haven't seen it then where the heck have you been?

10 : Gilda 
played by Rita Hayworth, Gilda

I have to have a femme fatale on this list, and Gilda will be it! "Gilda" was some of the first film noir I saw and I was really enthralled by Rita's Gilda character: it was one of my first exposures to femme fatale and it's riveting how she pulls Glenn Ford into her trap and "putting the blame on Mame" and all of that. 

Well, there it is for you! I had a hard time narrowing it down towards the end and I had to leave out a few other favorites, like Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa Lund (Casablanca) and Sister Benedict (The Bells of St. Mary's) as well as Vivien Leigh's Blanche DuBois (A Streetcar Named Desire), and, of course, Bette Davis's Baby Jane Hudson (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?). I'll try to get together a list of my ten favorite male characters, though that may be a little while before I get around to it.

The film noir contest at Film Classics will close tomorrow. So just one tiny little last reminder if you haven't voted yet or anything. I think I'm currently tied for first place which is a shocker times a thousand - especially considering the zero confidence I had in my post. Another big thanks to Film Classics for sponsoring this contest; it was great fun to participate and the possibility I may actually win first place like, fills me with an abundance of joy (<<< hey, I like that phrase! I think I'll say it more often), though I'd better not jinx it. ;)

I'll leave you with yet another awesome picture of Old Hollywood folks hanging out together --

Viv and Lauren. Yes, yes, yes. I love this picture.

Ta-ta for now, dahhhlings!! 

^^ All Tallulah Bankhead esque, of course. :) This is, indeed, a happy Friday!


StanwyckFan said...

I love your list, Rianna. Of the people you mentioned Hildy Johnson is probably my favorite. :) Have a good weekend!

Dani said...

I've been reading your blog for the last few days and I really enjoy your writing.
I found this list to be very close to what I'd have done. I like pretty much all of those characters, although I did think Scarlett was annoying and bitchy. But Vivien was great and she made the movie remarcable. I really like Maria, too. Natalie played her so well, that's hard not to feel for her.
You said that you like to see cool people hanging out together on photos. Well, I saw these videos o youtube that show really great actors on the beach, in 1965. I don't know if you saw it, but I'll leave one link here and you can find the other videos on their channel.

Rianna said...

@ Natalie - Thank you!! I think any inspiring girl writer must love Hildy. You have a good weekend, too :)

@ Dani - Hi and welcome to the blog! :) Thank you so much... I guess it appears we have a similar taste in movies! I love seeing cool people hanging out together and I have happened to see that clip - I absolutely LOVE it, don't you?? Especially as it has Natalie and some of my other favorites. It's a real gem :)

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