Tuesday, August 28, 2012

THE FIVE MOST OVERRATED ACTRESSES

I figured I would follow up my look at overrated stars by profiling the ladies now. I think my choices for overrated actresses will even be more controversial than my overrated actors profile. I have picked some of Hollywood's most beloved actresses, but in my opinion - and only my opinion, I believe that the following five actresses were overrated...

JOAN FONTAINE

5. JOAN FONTAINE (born 1917)
It is not that I think that Joan Fontaine is a bad actress. She won an Oscar for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion" in 1941, but in every role she starred in she seemed cold and distant. She seemed cold in "Suspicion" (in that film it was called for), but if you want another example of her cold, almost wooden acting - watch her in "The Emperor's Waltz" (1948) with Bing Crosby. Watching Fontaine on screen I get a chill even if it is the hottest day in summer.

4. LANA TURNER (1921-1995)
Lana Turner was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s, but I feel her appeal was more her looks than her actual acting ability. I have to admit I do not hate everything Turner did. I think her best movie was the underrated "Ziegfeld Girl"(1941) which she plays a Ziegfeld girl. However, for the most part I feel that the public was going to see a Lana Turner movie to see beauty and not talent. That beauty (a form of talent) made her a popular star for decades though.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

3. ELIZABETH TAYLOR (1932-2011)
Before Elizabeth Taylor passed away, I would have said she was the most overrated. However, since she died I have seen some of her movies, and she did have talent. I still think though that her popularity was more about the men she slept with and the marriages she broke up than her actual ability. One movie I did like her in was a more demure role in "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (1954). I watched it for Van Johnson, but I discovered an ability that Taylor did have. Still though, she may be an icon but a very overrated one in my book.

2. AUDREY HEPBURN (1929-1993)
I know having Audrey Hepborn on an overrated list is going to get me in trouble with movie fans everywhere. What was her appeal? I did not think she was beautiful - not to be rude, but she was kind of ugly. She made a lot of interesting movies ,and Hepburn has risen to such ultra stardom, but I do not understand why. She won an Oscar for "Roman Holliday" in 1953, and I do not think the movie role warranted an Oscar. I guess some people like the waif type beauty that Audrey Hepburn had, but her looks did not last, and I do not think her acting ability warranted legendary status either.

BARBRA STREISAND
1. BARBRA STREISAND (BORN 1942)
Okay even though I am not a fan of Barbra Streisand's singing, I do believe she had a good voice. However, as an actress I thought she was horrible. With the exception of her role as Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl" (1968) and "Funny Lady" (1975), I have not seen another Streisand film I have remotely liked. I don't know who cast her as Dolly Levi in "Hello Dolly" (1969), but she ruined a great Jerry Herman musical. Her attitude like she knows she is this great star has also been a big turn off for me. Plus, I can't get past that nose! Like all of the stars on this list, they have more talent than I will ever have, but stars like Streisand are just way too overrated for me...

48 comments:

  1. "I know having Audrey Hepburn on an overrated list is going to get me in trouble with movie fans everywhere."
    You bet!
    David, I like your pieces and read them regularly. Much of what you say is well judged and to the point, but with Audrey we part company. An elfin beauty with a special reserved calm and yet an impish smile. And a beauty of spirit too.
    As for acting she brought a wonderful sense of freedom to Roman Holiday and in Wait until Dark contributed greatly to the high level of suspense suspense. Possibly she was miscast in My Fair Lady but still turned in a good and believable performance.

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  2. I see bad comments coming your way. I agree about Babs, Turner and Audrey Hepburn for sure. Still, Letter from an Unknown Woman is one of the best films of the 1940s, and she was the star...I'm just saying. Taylor was hit and miss for me.

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  3. As long as the comments are well thought out like these two so far - bad comments are welcomed. I stand by my decision to put Audrey Hepburn on my list. I just never cared much for her - especially her looks. As I prefaced my article, they all had more talent then I ever had - but Hepburn did not do it for me.

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    1. Why are you unable to separate someone's looks from their acting ability? It really affects your credibility as a critic.

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  4. So glad to see Lana Turner on the list...although I did like her in "The Bad and the Beautiful".

    I agree with Kim - Elizabeth Taylor was hit and miss for me too.

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  5. Not with you on Lana...not the least little bit. But I am a huge fan of melodrama, and she excelled at that. I think she was fantastic in so many films, especially "Madame X."

    Not with you on Audrey either. I think she is the epitome of grace, elegance, style, and beauty. Adding to her physical beauty is the beauty of her heart.

    Am with you on Barbra Streisand and Liz Taylor, but am on the fence about Joan Fontaine.

    For me, the most over-rated actress of all is Katharine Hepburn. And that doesn't sit well with a whole host of people, but it's how I see it, just as those 5 are how you see it. Truly, we are all very unique individuals, with very different tastes and preferences. What works for one of us doesn't always work for another.

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    1. I agree with you adding on Katherine Hepburn...way over-rated....as a critic wrote of her when she was starting out, she ran the gamut of emotions from A to B....
      Streisand is WAY over-rated...she thinks of herself as an actress first...well I guess we all have to delude ourselves sometimes.

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  6. I wanted to add to my earlier comment about Audrey Hepburn's beauty. I think she was, indeed, beautiful and that her beauty DID last. She was elegant and beautiful as an "older woman"...inwardly and outwardly. As for her being a "waif," I like the fact that it was not her "buxomness" which added to her appeal. Unlike those like Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot, Audrey didn't gain fame and fortune because or large, "in your face" breasts.

    As a woman, I find it completely degrading the way those women exposed themselves and, thus, became little more than sex objects.

    As for Audrey's Academy Award, I'm with you on that. For me, the winner that year ought to have been Deborah Kerr for "From Here to Eternity."

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  7. I was surprised the first time I watched an Audrey movie. Terrible acting. I gave her several more chances, none of which included Breakfast at Tiffany's, and she was still awful.

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  8. Yes, finally! There's other people who think the same like me : Audrey Hepburn is overrated. Audrey Hepburn's best performance is only in Breakfast at Tiffany's

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  9. "I did not think she was beautiful - not to be rude, but she was kind of ugly"
    Maybe you need bigger prescription for your eye glasses my friend , cause honestly she had rare beauty.
    She was a really good actress but definitely didnt deserve all that praise she received for her acting.
    Cheers!

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  10. i AM SORRY - i FIND A LOT OF THESE COMMENTS DOWNRIGHT DISTASTEFUL. made by people who just did not live through the ages of these stars and movies. Where do you think you got the right to pass judgement upon these fantasticf artists? You are all no people with no taste and please do not waste our time with this type of comments again. The original post was rubbish anyway. Why dont you get a life and read the stories of these actors before you trash their reputations?

    Elsdon Ward England UK

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    1. What do people's personal stories have to do with whether they were good or bad at acting? The criticism is of their respective reputations as actresses not of them as human beings.

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  11. These people are just being rude and distasteful to the memory of a fine actress. I am surprised that these comments are being allowed - Are you asleep? What is going on?

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  12. Hi Elsdon,
    I respectfully disagree with you. As stated is the original story, the article was my opinion of five actresses that I think are overrated. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just like you are entitled to yours.

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  13. I agree with you about Barbra Streisand and Audrey Hepburn (Audrey was beautiful but she couldn't act). I don't agree with you about Lana Turner but hey its your list and opinion which is completely fine.

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  14. That was actually pretty rude of you to say Audrey was kind of ugly.
    She was very pretty (especially imo, Breakfast At Tiffany's and onwards) and she aged equally well, one of the best I've seen.
    As for her acting, you should see her performance in Wait Until Dark. She's been nominated about 5 times for the Oscars and won for Roman Holiday.
    She's suffered a lot in life, and she spent her last few years giving back.
    I don't know about you, but I think that's something to be impressed about.

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    1. Wait Until Dark was a good vehicle for Audrey and she was good in it but othe than that I think she is overrated.

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  15. Finally someone agrees with me. Audrey Hepburn is way overrated. Her beauty is very average and she couldn't act. I've seen many of her films and she has and still does bore me to death.

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    1. She was stunning your crazy

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  16. Hedy lamarr,Bo Derek can't act but they are BOTH very easy on the eye.Beautiful lass's.I'd rather watch asexy woman trying to"act" rather than a serious,talented but ultimately bland and homely looking emoting alot of histronics.Joan Fontaine was very classy and depending on role very easy to watch.RIP Miss Fontaine.I like her in anything.(WW-Australia)

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  17. Liz Taylor overrated? Her performance as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf garnered her an Oscar and will remain one of the premier performances by any actress till Hell freezes over. And the Bard himself would have applauded her Kate in The Taming of the Shrew. And she was no slouch in Giant, either. You're way off base, kiddo.

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  18. Strange, I actually enjoy all of these actresses. Beauty can be a curse in many ways, especially if you wish to be taken seriously as an actor/artist. Lana Turner in her day would have had to have fought tooth and nail to get serious roles, but then it was her looks that got her noticed initially.

    It's an obvious example, but some of her scenes in Postman Always Rings Twice were quite stunning. Remember when her husband Nick tells her they are selling the place and moving away, her anguish and frustration in that scene were great, and later on when Frank catches her in the kitchen with the knife. Lana was very powerful in these moments.

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  19. I agree with all your .picks

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  20. About Audrey Hepburn: I think you're right when you say she didn't deserve an Oscar for Roman Holiday. She didn't really but she would have deserved one for The Nun's Story. In my opinion, she was sublime in it and that movie showed she really had talent. All the rest of her movies are entertaining but she's never really convincing in them. As for her looks, she might not have been pretty in your opinion but she was one of those few women who had such magnetism that it even shined through in photographs. That's why she was such a star probably.

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  21. I completely agree with you about Audrey Hepburn! I have respect for her as a human being, but I have never understood her appeal as an actress and I am still baffled every time she tops someone's "Most Beautiful" list.

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    1. You need glasses as does the writer

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    2. Audrey was not claimed beautiful just based on her looks and/or acting skills. Although I personally do think she was physically beautiful, she was largely incorporated in humanitarian efforts, having suffered from malnutrition herself as a child. She was also one of the first to say something similar to the extent that beauty and class does not all come from the outside appearance. That is why she is looked to as a role model and a beautiful person.

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  22. I Think Elizabeth Taylor Was Overrated As A Beauty. But I Did Love Her As Martha In Who's Afraid.Of Virginia Woolf . She Was Amazing In That Film. Looks Wise I'd Say Hedy Lamarr Beat Every one On This List . But That's Off Topic Lol. Audrey Hepburn Was Also Very Pretty But Not On The Same Beauty Level As Hedy Lamarr (Obviously) . And I Don't Think She Was A Very Good Actress. However I LOVE Breakfast At Tiffany's And I Think She Was Class Personified .

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  23. "She was kind of ugly" Right, because we should always judge peoples ACTING abilities on their looks. Seriously, if you want to make a list a list about actresses whose beauty is overrated, but don't put Audrey on this list partly because of her looks. Second have you seen The Nun's Story? The Children's Hour? Two For the Road? Wait Until Dark? Don't judge an actor/actress on their most well-known movies.

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  24. If you don't think Audrey Hepburn was beautiful, that's fine, but don't forget why she was a beauty icon. Back then (and still now) actresses were considered beautiful for their bombshell blonde, hourglass figure features. Then came Audrey, who made many realize you don't have to have large hips or bust to be beautiful and sexy.

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  25. So you have to be beautiful to be a good actress? You are sexist and shallow.

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  26. You are a coarse unevolved soul if you do not love Audrey Hepburn

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  27. I find your list rather odd. Some excellent performances are discounted on varied actresses. I find today's crop of thespians pathetic in comparison to any you have named.

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  28. I am watching a Lana Turner film on TCM: "Latin Lovers". I took a minute to google "lana turner was a terrible actor" and found your blog. I agree with your thoughts on Fontaine and Turner. If one is constantly reminded that the actor is indeed acting, then they are NOT good actors! No disrespect intended. Just fact.

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  29. My list would be Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. So bad. I like Lana's melodramas in the 50s, Madame x was terrific.

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  30. I'm a bit late to this party, but my husband is watching CLEOPATRA, and I am reminded of how BAD Liz's acting was in this movie. I haven't seen many of her films, to be honest, and whenever CLEOPATRA is on, I remember why.

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  31. Old Hollywood FanMay 15, 2016 at 2:53 AM

    While I don't disagree with you entirely, I don't understand all the references to these ladies' appearance when this is supposed to be a list of "overrated actresses". What does acting ability have to do with personal appearance?

    I would have placed Lana Turner at number one. I'm watching her in The Merry Widow as I type this, and have seen a few of her movies in recent months (only because I'm interested in costume design). She couldn't act her way out of a paper bag and gave exactly the same stiff and lifeless performance in every film.

    At least the other ladies on your list had a certain star quality which explains why they became popular even if they weren't great actresses. Lana had nothing but a pretty face. No personality. No talent. No sex appeal.

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  32. Ok, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but honestly, Elizabeth Taylor on your list??? She made some dud movies in her time that didn't require much acting but so did every actress of the era simply because they were on contract to studios that required them to film a certain number of films per year.
    However, Taylor also proved she was one of the best actresses of her generation when she was cast in juicy roles like Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Taming of the Shrew or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woof.
    Given the huge list of movie stars who really weren't actresses at all, I can't believe you included Taylor on your list.

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  33. Taylor was a v. good actress, without a doubt. As to Hepburn, you got the wrong one.... It was Katharine Hepburn who was, hands down and then some one of the most horrifically pathetic, talentless "actresses" ever, period. Her conceit, beyond self-absorption, vain nature combined with her ruthless, vicious nature is nearly unparalleled. And that face... Jesus H. Christ..., Halloween each and every day.

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  34. I think Audrey was beautiful but not a great actress and very boring to me. I think she was the kind of beautiful that "knows" she's beautiful.

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  35. Looking at Charade tonight. Audrey is flat and boring. She says the words but cannot impart any real emotion. I felt the same with her in My Fair Lady and many of her other movies. As for Elizabeth Taylor, I think her best movie was Taking of the Shrew. Barbara Streisand was best in Hello Dolly. I quite like her acting, but not her singing - too shrill for my taste.

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  36. I love this list!

    I remember the first time I sat down to watch 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.' I was so exited to be watching this monumental film, only to be left with the fact that this was a grossly overrated film in both plot and acting. Audrey wasn't a good actress. She had a unique look that differed from the popular "blonde bombshell" style. But the acting...YIKES! I'v watched quite a few more films with her because I thought "surely, there has to be SOME reason why this woman is so iconic." Sadly, it was the same across the board for me...just an overrated actress in my opinion.

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  37. "I did not think she was beautiful - not to be rude, but she was kind of ugly."

    I am a man. And I never complained about my taste. And believe me: Audrey Hepburn was one of the most beautiful women that ever walked on this earth. I'd marry her anytime, even when she was 70. That's returning to your passage "her beauty didn't last".

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  38. Audrey Hepburn was the Most beautiful women to have lived

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  39. Wow, there are a lot of butthurt fan boys in these comments! I believe in order to be successful as an actress the woman should look good and act well *consistently* (and more emphasis on the talent than looks, but we can't deny looks were everything back then). What I dislike about the women in your list is that they lacked this consistency but were somehow still upheld as the very best examples of early 20th ce. acting.

    When I think of overrated actresses my first thought is of Monroe. I felt that Marilyn Monroe was gimmicky, she looked good but couldn't act worth beans, but I at least enjoy getting a laugh at her work. I don't think her style of acting would fly in this day and age. I don't think any of these actresses would make it in today's industry, and it's not just because taste and quality have changed. Personally, I found Hepburn shrill and obnoxious and I could only ever make it halfway through her films, her looks are nothing special to me. Fontaine's acting was nothing outstanding but she is the easiest on the eyes. Turner was cute as a button but I couldn't stand her as an actress, Ziegfeld was the best she could manage. Taylor was a mixed bag, the films where she shined she looked plain and those roles where she flopped or came off cold and wooden she looked decent (although I strongly disagree that she's the most beautiful actress of all time - if she had plucked her damn eyebrows then maybe I'd I see it differently). Streisand...just...icky.

    Can I say anyone acheived the most success in both categories of beauty and acting? I don't think it's humanly possible. It's never happened. There is no great actress of our time. Sure people believe there is. It's the fans that make these actresses overrated, the ones who cease to acknowledge their faults, and create long, horribly flawed arguments about their careers or looks. The fans that buy black and white prints of Hepburn or Monroe from Wal-Mart's art section without making the effort to watch their films critically. Don't blame the actresses and what god gave them (or didn't), blame the incredibly close minded individuals who popularized them in the first place.

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  40. I had heard Lana Turner being referred to as one of the all time great beauties of Hollywood but don't recall ever actually seeing a photo of her until today. Now that I have seen a few...????...no idea what the fuss was about.
    As a mature woman I'd give her about a 7, tops....and by what looks like her late 30's or early 40's she was downright scary looking. I've never seen movie with either of them, but I'd take Audrey Hepburn over that any day.

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