Monday, December 14, 2015

Faye Dunaway's Classic Film Canon

  You can't deny Bette Davis.

Even the sexist boys club that created the 'canon' of film greats can't ignore the one and only Bette Davis.

But they did largely ignore Gene Tierney, Linda Darnell, Jean Simmons, Joan Bennett, Ruth Roman and many others.

Faye Dunaway, seen as the real deal early on by Joan Crawford, is an actress that even sexist standards can't exclude from the canon. 

Here are ten films she's starred in that break down the door with the "NO GIRLS ALLOWED" sign tacked on it.

1) BONNIE & CLYDE -- this 1967 film produced by and co-starring Warren Beatty established Faye as one of the all time great actresses.

2) CHINATOWN -- a non-40s and non-50s noir that gets it right.  Faye and Jack Nicholson are the perfect coupling onscreen in a film, directed by Roman Polanski, that pulls no punches (Robert Towne wrote the amazing screenplay).

3) THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR -- Sydney Pollack was at his best as a director when working paranoia and this film is bathed in it.  Robert Redford stars and the film loses a lot of life when Faye disappears before the last third of the film.

4) NETWORK -- after multiple nominations, Faye finally won the Academy Award for Best Actress for this film.  It's a parody and it stands up.  It's also a very sexist film -- something the fan boyz work overtime to ignore.

5) BARFLY -- Babet Schroeder's finest film stars Faye and Mickey Rourke, both delivering two of the strongest performances of 1987.

6) THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR -- Norman Jewison directs Steve McQueen in Faye in one of the best -- and most stylish -- caper films.

7) EYES Of lAURA MARS -- John Carpenter got his first real break writing the original script that interested Jon Peters (the shooting script was written by Carpenter an David Zelag Goodman).  Faye Dunaway stars opposite Tommy Lee Jones in this thriller.directed by Irvin Kershner.

8 and 9) THE THREE MUSKETEERS and THE FOUR MUSKETEERS -- Richard Lester directed these two adventure films which starred Oliver Reed, Michael York, Faye, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain and Charlton Heston.  They're lively fantasy films that make it look so easy (1993's THE THREE MUSTKATEERS directed by Stephen Herek proved it's not an easy film to make).

10) MOMMIE DEAREST -- Faye Dunaway was offended by the efforts of MGM to sell this as a camp classic during its original run -- encouraging audience participation at screenings -- but that's what allowed more people to see her play Joan Crawford (who won an Academy Award for MILDRED PIERCE).  The move may have bothered her but it helped the film become a classic.

That's just ten.  Other films could easily make the canon list including Jeremy Levin's DON JUAN DEMARCO which teams her with Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp, Volker Schlondorff's THE HANDMAID'S TALE, Michael Winner's THE WICKED LADY, James Gray's THE YARDS, and Luc Besson's THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }