Wednesday, February 1, 2012

10 Beauties in Film

I originally wanted to post my list of the most beautiful actresses of all time.  I found this task MUCH easier said than done.  Instead, I have made a list of women who I do think are some of the most beautiful to ever appear on the silver screen, but I made sure to mention women who aren't always found at the top of everyone's list (except Liz Taylor - I couldn't stray from her).

In no order:

1.  Salma Hayek - I don't think I need to explain myself here but I will in four words: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.  Besides, have you seen this year's Golden Globe awards? She has decades on most of the other actresses there and still looked like a goddess.  

2.  Gene Tierney - I know there are a lot of actresses to choose from, but I am always startled when she is not on anyone's "Most Beautiful" list.  This woman's beauty was so striking, it almost hurt to look at her.  In Leave Her to Heaven (1945, John M. Stahl), she plays one of the most evil characters I have seen on screen, and I was paralyzed by her beauty.  

3.  Dorothy Dandridge - Okay, Halle Berry is a knockout and everything but can we please shine a little light on the original, more talented version?  This woman suffered throughout her whole career, never getting the roles she deserved, enduring Hollywood's racism, and still looked this good.  She was strong, talented, and perfectly stunning.

4.  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan - Praise the international cinematic gods; this woman is gorgeous.  Watch any of her interviews and you'll see how witty and intelligent she is too.  I think most of us Westerners know her role in Bride & Prejudice (2004, Gurinder Chadha) best, but since India cranks out more films than the population of China, there are many opportunities to satisfy your ogling needs.

5.  Jennifer Lopez - Well, I never said this was a greatest actress list.  I can never get enough hot Latinas.  This woman is consistently gorgeous and has become a fashion commodity.  I stand by my choice.  Fight me.

6.  Pam Grier - I actually know a lot of people who would give Ms. Grier the rightful place on their Top 10 lists.  But it's still not enough.  This woman added an essential dynamic to the Blaxploitation Film era.  She wasn't just strong and beautiful, but she came to embody the very essence of strength and beauty of the black woman on screen (something that was lacking since....EVER).  Being a woman in film alone made one inferior.  But being a woman of color seemed hopeless, yet she was the heroine every time.

7.  Maggie Cheung - Her role as Mrs. Chan in Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love (2000) was so well played.  Her subdued strength was alluring, and she was stunning in this film.  Yet Hollywood is continually opposed to diversity, so we don't see enough of her.

8.  Lauren Bacall - Her first film role was in Howard Hawks' 1944 classic To Have and Have Not.  She was 19 years old and took everyone's breath away with her sassiness and bedroom eyes.  She never lost her cool, and her sly smile made her incredibly attractive.  If that wasn't enough, her raspy voice is as legendary as it is sensual.

9.  Paula Patton - I will watch any film she is in, no matter how horrible.  She can do 10 Tyler Perry movies and I will loyally devote my time to each one solely because of this woman.  Her beauty evokes the glamourous Dandridge and Horne days, which may be why I like her so much.  But just look at her.  She looks like she is made of caramel and Christmas morning.

10.  Elizabeth Taylor - There's no denying that she is on everyone's list, so I'm not saying anything new here.  But I can't help it.  She had VIOLET eyes.  She was and always will be an icon, and she is the definition of Hollywood Glamour.  Of course, the Dietrichs, Garbos, Hayworths, and Turners all had the statuesque beauty of their times, but she took it to an unforeseen level.  She went from adorable child star (National Velvet, Clarence Brown, 1944), to youthful beauty (A Place in the Sun, George Stevens, 1951), to sexpot (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Richard Brooks, 1958), to epic roles like Cleopatra (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1963).  To me, she will always be the ultimate star, and her roles are proof.

And those are my ten picks.  I obviously left out a boatload since there is an abundance of beautiful actresses to choose from.  Feel free to comment and list some more.  Till next time!