Nathaniel R. over at the ever delightful Film Experience got tagged in a meme asking for a list of one's ten favorite movie characters, a daunting task but one that immediately had my wheels turning. With so many characters in so many films to choose from, how does one even begin to narrow it down to ten? What criteria does one use -- Outstanding performance? Excellent screenplay? Classic film? My ten characters are a mixed bag; what they all have in common is their persistent hold on my imagination, independent of the stories in which they appear and of the other characters that surround them in their films.
And Bette Davis, the queen of screen characterization, takes the first two positions on the list.
Here they are, in chronological order. What are yours? (Click on any image for full-size.)
Julie Marsden in Jezebel (1938).
Charlotte Vale in Now, Voyager (1942).
Eyebrows? Check. Hat? Check. Cigarettes? Check.
Ellen Berent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven (1945).
So lovely, so crazy.
Pvt. Robert E. Lee 'Prew' Prewitt in From Here to Eternity (1953)
"A man don't go his own way, he's nothing."
Rico "Ratso" Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Gee-nee-us (as Maria Elena would say).
John Shaft in Shaft (1971)
John Shaft: Warms my black heart to see you so concerned about us minority folks.
Vic Androzzi: Oh, come on Shaft, what is it with this black shit, huh? Holds a black pen up to Shaft's face.
Androzzi: You ain't so black. Shaft holds a white coffee cup next to Vic's face.
Shaft: And you ain't so white either, baby.
Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
George Berger in Hair (1979)
Muriel Heslop in Muriel's Wedding (1994)
"You're terrible, Muriel."
Hanna Flanders in Die Unberührbare (2000)
Forget the Schmitz, this is the Hanna you need to see.
Rent, steal or buy this movie if a) you love actresses; b) you have any interest in the so-called Reunification; and/or c) if the above poster reminds you at all of Jeanne Moreau.