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Leading Lady Tournament Week 4: The 1960s

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The 1960s presents us with a distinct group of females as we move away from polished glamour girls, into beautiful ladies who have acting talent to boot (not that the women listed before possessed none of those things).  Here, we find ourselves moving away from conventional beauty (sorry Shelley, gotta throw that out there), into a combination of the ultimate package.  As always, clickable links take you to any written reviews of mine, and voting runs from Monday to Monday.

NATALIE WOOD

Films That Secured Her Nomination: Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, Gypsy, Love With the Proper Stranger, Inside Daisy Clover

My Thoughts on the Nominee: I can’t hide my love for Natalie Wood, and neither should you!  Natalie really came into her own as an actress during the 1960s; I mean, just look at all the films I listed above.  She’s versatile, beautiful, and was able to play young (to somewhat good effect) long past her given age.  She’s a definite front-runner in this decade; if not, the one to beat.

SHIRLEY MACLAINE

Films That Secured Her Nomination: The Apartment, The Children’s Hour, Sweet Charity

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Shirley MacLaine is a fun actress; even when she’s playing a droll character like in The Apartment.  Her characters take their lumps, but never succumb to utter pity.  MacLaine has had longevity in the business, acting even now, but I’m not quite sure if she’s got the clout to leapfrog over more iconic stars of the decade.  Her work may not be as universally beloved as the other ladies here.

JULIE ANDREWS

Films That Secured Her Nomination: Mary Poppins, The Sound of MusicThoroughly Modern Millie, The Americanization of Emily 

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Julie Andrews is darling, I said it.  The woman known for playing icons of maternal instinct, and tenacity has created some of the most endearing performances around.  She’s Mary freaking Poppins!  With that said, I’m hoping she puts up a fight for the first place.  She’s played so many “nice” characters and I worry that her niceness may make audiences not see her as iconic, or representative of a leading lady.

JANET LEIGH

Films That Secured Her NominationPsycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Bye Bye Birdie

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Janet Leigh is a wildcard, up there with Shelley Winters.  She’s certainly talented, and the three movies above show various facets of her personality, but they’re all front-loaded to the early sixties.  I’m not sure if Leigh has the broad body of work in this decade that would propel her to the top spot.

SHELLEY WINTERS

Films That Secured Her Nomination: Lolita, A Patch of Blue, Alfie

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Winter, like Leigh, isn’t a sure thing.  Winters is not a glamour girl, but damn is she talented in the three works above (and several films before and after this period).  She could play downright villainous, or sympathetic, and keep things compelling.  I hope she presents a challenge to the other nominees, but I’m not seeing it.

Voting is open, good luck to our nominees!

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

2 thoughts on “Leading Lady Tournament Week 4: The 1960s Leave a comment

  1. Jeez, this is a crazy difficult decision. Andrews deserves special mention for Victor/Victoria. Yet I can’t really shake Natalie Wood, I mean, Splendor In The Grass.

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