Be Dazzled by Old Hollywood’s Brightest Stars
The classics are classics for a reason, right? We’re drawn to grainy colors, black and white films, arched eyebrows, and trans-Atlantic accents. We gaze, enraptured, at the leading ladies of old Hollywood. They make us love, hate, envy, and adore them. In short, these celebrities make movies exactly what they should be: entertaining hours that somehow turn a mirror toward our very own souls.
When we say classic Hollywood actresses, surely many women leap to mind. Because there were plenty, and all of their achievements and impact are noteworthy. Today, however, we’ll be focusing three of the most famous names in film, theater, and fashion history. Check out our list below. Plus, get a brief highlight of their best roles.
1915 – 1982
With a career spanning five decades, the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman took film and stage roles alike. Her presence was undeniable, her charm magnetic, and her beauty simply arresting. Over the course of her extensive Hollywood career she won three Academy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, four Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA, and a Volpi Cup. These accolades were numerous due to her absolutely breathtaking amount of talent and skill. Bergman was most acclaimed for her work in Casablanca, Joan of Arc, Gaslight, Spellbound, and Murder on the Orient Express.
Casablanca is set in the winter of 1941 in Morocco. Tension and violence fill the city as German and French soldiers and refugees clash. Ingrid Bergman plays Ilsa Lund. She is seeking letters of transit so that she and her husband, a Czech Resistance leader, may escape to America. To acquire the papers they visit the owner of a nightclub and gambling den named Rick Blaine. Unfortunately for Ilsa, Rick is her ex-lover — one whose heart she broke a year prior in Paris. Thus she must navigate the perils of her goal and her lingering feelings for Rick.
We won’t spoil the movie for you, because you absolutely need to see it. Considered one of the greatest films of all time, Casablanca is full of timeless themes, witty humor, and sweeping music. Led by Humphrey Bogart, it simmers with wartime and romantic tensions alike. Watch it with a big bucket of popcorn and an even larger box of tissues.
1929 – 1993
Audrey Hepburn was a humanitarian, actress, and fashion icon. The European aristocrat began her artistic career as a ballerina and chorus girl, eventually going on to star in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday. For this performance Hepburn won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA — the first actress to earn this trio of awards. She went on to receive further acclaim, most famously for the films Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funny Face, and My Fair Lady. While not acting, Hepburn devoted much of her time to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. In 1992, she received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her contributions as an official UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s centers upon Holly Golightly, an eccentric yet elegant high society gal. One morning she emerges from a taxi with her breakfast in tow in front of the luxurious Tiffany & Co. flagship store in Manhattan. Holly’s morning gets progressively more frustrating and hilarious as she encounters slighted dates, loses her apartment keys, and meets with an incarcerated mobster. Eventually she meets a struggling writer named Paul and, despite her attraction usually being limited to rich men, falls for him.
The movie is full of misunderstandings and gray morals. Holly isn’t the best person, but she’s sweet and silly. She learns a lot of lessons throughout Breakfast at Tiffany’s, culminating her character arc in both a romantic and satisfying way. So you should start Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the laughs, and stay for the heartwarming ending.
1926 – 1962
Marilyn Monroe was a model, actress, singer, and indelible American sex symbol. A true pop culture icon, Monroe was ranked by the American Film Institute as the sixth greatest female screen lead legend from the Golden Age of Hollywood. In her early life she was a factory worker, but everything changed when she started posing for pin-up photos and taking minor film roles. By the 1950s, Monroe was highly sought after. She was best known for her “blonde bombshell” roles in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot.
The Seven Year Itch
The Seven Year Itch tells the story of an imaginative and restless married man struggling with his commitment to a monogamous relationship after seven years spent with a woman named Helen. While his wife and son are on vacation, Richard meets an unnamed woman who is presented as a commercial actress and model. Richard continuously fantasizes about infidelity, often assigning the role of femme fatale to the unnamed blonde. She and Richard have a few romantically charged encounters, including the scene where her white dress flies up because of the draft coming from a subway grate.
How does it end? Does Richard give in to temptation? Is Marilyn Monroe’s character even real? Well, you’ll simply have to watch and answer those inquiries for yourself.
Who are your favorite classic Hollywood starlets? Share your love for these film legends in our Atomic Misfits Facebook Group, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!