Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Ten Biggest Stars of Classical Hollywood

Hitchcock's World is a blog I've only recently discovered and enjoy visiting. John is passionate about movies, and about blogging which makes it a great place to hang out. He decided to start a blogging relay of his own and whaddyaknow? He picked me to be the first recipient of the baton. Aside from questioning his judgement (or is that judgment?) in partners for this race, I'm honored to have been chosen to start it off.

What is it about?

It's all about "The Ten Biggest Stars of Classical Hollywood." Rather than give my own spiel on what the rules are, I'll give you his:

What I have done is create a list of some of the biggest stars from the time period, complete with a case for why they belong on the list. I will pick another blogger to take over, and then he or she will select one option to remove. They will make a case for why that person doesn't fit before offering a replacement, also with a case for why they are a better choice. That blogger will then choose another person to take over, and the process repeats. As a tip you might want to make sure that whoever you choose to take over is someone you can contact, so that you can notify them they've been selected in order to keep the relay going. 

Keep in mind, since we're discussing Hollywood, the actors you swap in and out should have had at least a few roles in mainstream Hollywood productions released between 1930 and 1960. They don't have to be American, just as long as they fit that criteria.

Easy enough so let's get this started.

The list

Ingrid Bergman

Humphrey Bogart

Cary Grant

Henry Fonda

Katherine Hepburn

Peter Lorre

Marilyn Monroe

Gregory Peck

John Wayne

Orson Welles

Scratched off:

Peter Lorre
As John noted in his original list, Lorre became the go-to-guy for villains and sidekicks. He is certainly one of the greatest character actors the world of movies has ever seen. However, he often wasn't one of the biggest stars in his own films. While it is true that us movie buffs know all about him, he's the kind of actor most people know they've seen "somewhere" before, but may not be able to pinpoint where. They certainly don't know his name. Is he an essential actor? Most definitely. Is he one of Classical Hollywood's biggest stars? No.

Penciled in:

James Cagney
For starters, Cagney is credited by many as giving birth to modern acting. None other than Orson Welles called him "maybe the greatest actor to ever appear in front of a camera." In Hollywood's transition from silent films to talkies, he was a giant cog, giving some of the first powerhouse performances of the sound era. His list of iconic roles is as long as my arm. As an added personal bonus for me, what he accomplishes in The Public Enemy and White Heat still blows me away. Any list of the era's finest must include Mr. Cagney.

Since we're talking Classical Hollywood, there is only one thing for me to do. That's passing the baton to Josh of The Cinematic Spectacle.


  1. The funny thing is I actually don't think I've seen James Cagney in much. I've heard of him but I guess I just assumed he was more of a 1960's actor. Still, as saddening as it was to see good old Peter Lorre go you do make a pretty good case for why Cagney would belong in his place.

    1. I highly recommend checking out more of his work. The dude was a force of nature.