11 May 2006

movie heaven

some wd argue that the greatest actresses of the first 2 decades of Hollywood talkies were Barbara Stanwyck & Bette Davis. these two titans appeard opposite each other only once. that was in William Wellman"s "So Big" (1932). I never expectd to see it. in his 1984 Stanwyck book Homer Dickens wrote: "Much of the film has deteriorated and the Library of Congress is still trying to put it back together again. It has not been shown commercially for years."

so I was amazd to see that it was on TCM last nite. the print wasn't complete but most of it was there & appeard in good condition. it's Stanwyck's picture. she's the star. Davis appears briefly at the end. their characters have no real interaction & in this surviving print they're on screen at the same time for a matter of seconds. but for the true cinephile that's better than nothing & is enough to cause palpitations.

Stanwyck's art was so skillful she often didn't appear to be acting. on the other hand Davis was often so over-the-top that impersonators of both sexes have been "doing" her for decades. both actresses had long careers. altho Davis toild harder on the legend thing Stanwyck workd with more important directors & leading men.

& during their precious few seconds on screen together I broke out in tingles.

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