Monday, February 13, 2012

Who's Your Favorite Actress In Westerns?




Almost every actress between 1930-60 made a Western. But who brings the most credibility to the role?

Joan Crawford looks like she could take out anyone in Johnny Guitar but I'm picking a more traditional role. Like Jean Arthur in SHANE or THE PLAINSMAN perhaps.

What actress played your favorite schoolmarm, wife, saloon girl, or Annie Oakley?

27 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Hmm...I'm not much of a Western kinda person. Hmm...I really have to think about this. Jean Arthur certainly is "up there" in terms of credibility. I may come back later with another idea, too...

Anonymous said...

Claire Trevor in STAGECOACH (1939).

Marlene Dietrich in DESTRY RIDES AGAIN.

Of course, Madeline Kahn spoofed "dance hall girls" brilliantly in BLAZING SADDLES.

Jeff M.

George said...

Georgia Ellis as Miss Kitty in GUNSMOKE.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You mean there was another Miss Kitty? Radio?

Charles Gramlich said...

Miss Kitty, yeah. Glad someone mentioned her. She was a character.

George said...

Georgia Ellis played Miss Kitty on the radio and in the TV program. With further thought, let me also cast my vote for Shirley Maclaine in TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Barbara Stanwyck is great in The Furies. Even in lesser things like The Cattle Queen of Montana and The Moonlighter she is wonderful.

Jean Arthur is also great in Arizona.

Another fav -- Texas Guinan, a now forgotten silent film star. Most of her movies are lost, but you can find "The Gun Woman" on eBay. She was a famous performer in her day, known both as a Western star and "The Queen of the Night Clubs." She was a big influence on May West, apparently. I wrote a review of "The Gun Woman" here: http://notcoming.com/reviews/TheGunWoman/

Todd Mason said...

Blogger is such a piece of [excrement], particularly when it comes to interacting with Firefox.

As I've written once already, only to have it eaten entire, Georgia Ellis was the radio GUNSMOKE Miss Kitty; Amanda Blake played her on tv.

I'd suggest that Tex Guinan was more a contemporary of Mae West than Cullen's comment might suggest, as West was headlining the Big Time on vaudeville while Guinan was making silents, but I'll believe West was paying attention.

I'd suggested that most of the responses to the first part of your query, Patti, were nonetheless not so relevant to "traditional" roles (not that frontier life didn't tend to upset tradition)...the best performance by a woman in an otherwise forgettable western which came to mind was that of Beverly Garland in GUNSLINGER (and that Garland had no shortage of particularly tv western roles), and that the most unlikely presence in a good western, with a good performance and a fairly reasonable explanation of why she was there, was that of Jean Simmons in THE BIG COUNTRY (and that Carroll Baker was also good in a thankless role).

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Claire Trevor by far. But also Mercedes McCambridge as Luz in Giant, and Angie Dickinson as Feathers in Rio Bravo.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, Angie was amazing. Claire was perfect for the setting, wasn't she. Various comments are not showing up on the blog. I think something is going on.

Richard R. said...

I have no idea. I was hoping for, kinda expecting a post on the Grammy's this morning. So...?

pattinase (abbott) said...

I watched DOWNTON ABBEY, which has turned into quite a soap opera.

sandra seamans said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Virginia Mayo. She did a great many Westerns but she was especially good in Along the Great Divide. She held her own with both Walter Brennan and Kirk Douglas.

David Cranmer said...

I'll go with Jean Arthur in SHANE and with Amanda Blake's Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke.

Anonymous said...

You are all leaving out Maureen O'Hars.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Almost every Hollywood actress from 1930 to 1960 made westerns. It is simply amazing how many B movies featured the same character actresses over and over again. Beverly Garland is a good example. Nobody has mentioned Dale Evans. Or Doris Day in Annie Get Your Gun.

Naomi Johnson said...

I like Katherine Ross in 'Butch Cassidy' and 'Conagher.' But I also have a guilty partiality for Jane Fonda in 'Cat Ballou.'

Anonymous said...

Patti, I'm with you on Downton Abbey despite the soap elements. (For instance, the whole Mrs.-Bates-kills-herself-and-frames-her-husband plot is straight out of Days of Our Lives.)

Considering my interest in current music is zero this was not a tough choice.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

So little of the show is about anything other than romance. I can't remember U/D of the 70s being quite so focused on that.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Jane has spunk. Although I am sort of depressed at how mannered her acting seems to me now. At the time, I really thought she was good. Even a recent viewing of KLUTE surprised me.

Mike Dennis said...

Claudia Cardinale in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

She stood up to Henry Fonda (as the most evil villain in Western history), Charles Bronson, and Jason Robards Jr. And she got top billing over all those guys. Except for JOHNNY GUITAR, I don't think there's ever been another actress who's received top billing in a major Western.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Good one, Mike. Love that movie.

Todd Mason said...

Genvieve Bujold in ANOTHER MAN, ANOTHER CHANCE belatedly comes to mind. (Beverly Garland was a female sheriff in GUNSLINGER, 1956.)

Todd Mason said...

HOW THE WEST WAS WON was so studded with bankroll actors that the women are listed alphabetically with the men...

http://www.moviegoods.com/large_detail.asp?http://www.moviegoods.com//Assets/product_images/1020/190790.1020.A.jpg

for an image of the poster...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, Debbie. Unsinkable Molly Brown counts I guess.

Cap'n Bob said...

Katy Jurado, Debra Paget, Amanda Blake, Dale Evans, Gail Davis, Claire Trevor, Maureen O'Hara, Linda Stirling, and many more.

Gerard said...

I cannot think of a one. The movies always seemed to revolve around the male characters.

Maybe that is because I mainly watched westerns when I was a kid.