Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hollywood's Tough-Talking Ball of Fire, Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck – None Like Her. TIFF Looks Back With Love

Ball of Fire: The Films of Barbara Stanwyck at TIFF February 7 to April 4
Tough, smart, independent, serious and versatile, are not adjectives that come to mind thinking of one of Hollywood’s most important female stars. But Barbara Stanwyck was a powerhouse who could literally do it all. She was a phenom, who played an impressive range of characters from back alley harridan to a society matron to a professors’ favourite to a Wild West gunslinger and burlesque queen, mainstream comedy and the pulpiest noir. She was a “ball of fire” and a murderer, a sentimentalist and feminist.
aaaaa In a time when women were gaining ground in Hollywood she was front row all the way, alongside fellow independents Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, dedicated to her work, too smart to be sidetracked, too successful to be ignored. Stanwyck looks were striking, but she was not beautiful or especially graceful. She was a salt of the earth type whose spirit and essence lit her from within in portrayals that have stood the test of time. She wasn’t a glamour queen, didn’t often appear in the tabloids or court publicity (“Attention embarrasses me.
I don’t like to be on display”), she was hardworking and conscientious, and left a legacy of serious integrity.
Her intelligence and forthrightness illuminate the work and that’s how we know her best, through her work.
Ruby Catherine Stevens was born in Brooklyn, her mother was killed when she was four and her father abandoned her and her siblings. They cared for each other until they were placed in foster homes. Later Ruby joined her older sister and became showgirls, landing in the Ziegfeld Follies.
A few years later, as Barbara Stanwyck, she Hollywood –bound where she would begin one of the most successful careers of any actress, at any time. She was one of the most versatile actresses Hollywood has ever seen  .....

Read more at  Monsters and Critics

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