I didn’t expect this ranking. So that makes it even more fun. It’s true, I kind of expected the year to be a bit stronger, however it’s not. I didn’t go madly in love with any of the performances, but my number one was still pretty obvious. Then came #2 and #3, and it was almost a coin toss: different acting styles and different mistakes made by both actresses. #4 paled a bit by comparison and #5 surprisingly just didn’t have the consistent role.
Here is how I’ve appreciated them (just my opinion, no universal truth). If you want to go back and read more, just click on their names:
1. Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth
Irene Dunne gave another spin to screwball comedy, just when it was about to become a fading genre. Her natural charm and comedy timing create a very likeable character and it’s so easy to notice how much fun she’s having. She loves it! And I did too! Good writing always helps and to steal the show from Cary Grant is not an easy thing to do.
Garbo talks! And smiles, and laughs and can be so charming and pretty! Her moments of relaxing and enjoying her diva status are done with master class. Even one big drama scene is handled with care and precision, but how about those mistakes. She should’ve toned down at times, or hesitate a bit, yet it’s hard to stop her theatrical garboness even when it puts the performance on the edge of too-damn-much.
It’s the type of acting the film requires. It’s not a natural, relaxed acting, but even overplayed as it is, it strangely fits the mood of the film. Her face expressions are exaggerated, but faithful to the raw emotions of the simple woman the character is. A touch of humanity here and there, but the biggest disadvantage is that the performance seems so rigid in comparison to the other women we’re talking about. Difficult casting, anyways.
Her lack of charisma or something else I can’t put the finger on stops the character from becoming that sweet girl we would relate to and root for. She does what the screenplay asks, but even so, the role could’ve been much more with better casting. She doesn’t have a bad scene, but even her best look fairly warm compared to the great talent of her co-star.