Five Stars BlogathonWho knew there was a “Classic Movie Day”? I sure didn’t, but I’m sure willing to participate in Classic Film and TV Cafe’s Five Stars Blogathon today. My mission is to list my five favorite movie stars and explain why you love them. Seems simple enough, but this does need some qualification, I feel…

First, I’m listing five favorites of the moment, not “all-time” favorites or “best actors” or “most gorgeous” or anything superlative like that. My tastes change, my film experience grows and changes, and anything other than pausing for a joyous moment to heap praise is beyond the scope of this post.

Second, as a mostly film noir blog, I’m going to limit my faves to stars that are either known for noir or have at least appeared in a few. (That means my list is going to be glaringly, inescapably white. Ack.)

Third, these come in no particular order.

And fourth, my explanations are going to be in the form of a list rather than oozing or meandering paragraphs.

Enough qualifications! Here I go…

BARBARA STANWYCK

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  • Favorite noir appearances: The Strange Love of Martha IversDouble Indemnity.
  • Favorite non-noir appearances: Ball of FireThe Lady EveThe Big Valley.
  • Why a favorite: versatility; atypical sex appeal

JEAN GABIN

jean

  • Favorite noir appearances: Moontide, Touchez Pas au Grisbi. (I’m guessing I’ll add La Bête Humaine to this list as soon as I see it.)
  • Why a favorite: pulls off strong yet sensitive and gentle so very well; great actor

IDA LUPINO

ida

  • Favorite noir appearances: Road House, Moontide. 
  • Favorite noir direction: The Hitch-hiker. (The only woman to direct a classic noir.)
  • Why a favorite: so lovely yet so tough; she could write, act, and direct, plus put up with Howard Duff as a drunken adulterous husband and co-star.

LAUREN BACALL

lauren

  • Favorite noir appearances: The Big Sleep, Key Largo.
  • Why a favorite: So much self-control and magnetism from so young an age through a long, productive life.

PETER LORRE

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  • Favorite noir appearances: M, The Face Behind the Mask. Also good in the ones everyone else names: Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon.
  • Why a favorite: More versatile than he got credit for; a talented actor great with displays of emotion, conveying much with body language and few lines or many.

There you have it. Five classic movie stars I call favorites today. Who are yours?

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