My 10 favourite actors of the Golden Age
…or should I call it ‘of all time’. For sure. The Internet is full of top lists like this so I’d also like to share my personal and subjective opinion with you. Some of them are well-known across the globe, others you’ve never heard about, but still, they were all good and famous actors, even if they didn’t make it to Hollywood. Actors who knew how to play, actors who were not necessarily ‘cute’ or ‘hot’ as they should be nowadays, actors who were very charismatic and successful, but now forgotten.
1. Humphrey Bogart
Obviously no one needs a comment to this. Bogart is claimed to be number 1 on the list of the best actors of all time and I won’t be an exception to this. I recommend to read his biography, it’s amazing how unsuccessful he was in the beginning, how big difficulties he experienced before he became famous. Everyone knows ‘Casablanca’ but I personally prefer the movies where he played with Lauren Bacall, the future wife, especially ‘To have and to have not’ from 1944.
2. Eugeniusz Bodo
Eugeniusz Bodo was the most popular actor of the pre-war cinema in Poland. He became unbelievably famous in the 30’s, I guess there was not a single person who hadn’t heard of him at that time. His splendid life ended tragically – in a gulag in Siberia during WWII.
3. Conrad Veidt
The unforgettable Caesar from ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari’, but it would be unfair to remember him only because of this one movie. He was the shining star of the German expressionism style in the 20’s, starring in films such as ‘The Hands of Orlac’ or ‘A Man Who Laughs’, but later also in ‘Casablanca’, where he played Major Strasser. He left Germany when Hitler came to power and continued his career in America.
4. Paul Newman
Well, what can I say? Just watch ‘The Sting’ and you will understand 🙂
5. James Dean
I know that James Dean became an icon and you can see his face on t-shirts and stickers. Still, I am a great fan. He was very talented and God only knows how he would change Hollywood hadn’t not been for his sudden death.
6. Buster Keaton
I never understood why Charlie Chaplin was more popular than him! His sad face was adorable, his misfortunes were funny, he was a total opposite to Chaplin, but still, they used to compete with each other, at least that was what the public wanted to hear. And the best thing that could happen at the end of their careers was appearing in ‘Limelight’ where Charlie and Buster, both old and at the end of their lives, share a scene together.
7. Groucho Marx
The famous Marx brothers were the greatest comedians of their time. The tricks that they were doing with the English language are genius. Poor translators who had to deal with their movie dialogues…
8. Zbigniew Rakowiecki
A totally forgotten talent from the Polish pre-war period. He managed to play in couple of films before the war broke out. Only 4 of them survived. He was an outstanding actor with the future at his feet. He died during Warsaw uprising in 1944 😦
9. Vyacheslav Tikhonov
The unforgettable Stierlitz in ‘Seventeen Moments of Spring’ and prince Bolkonsky in ‘War and Peace’ from 1967. A Soviet actor, unbelievably popular at his time in USSR and in all communist countries, including Poland.
Number ten is for all the other actors that I haven’t mentioned even though they deserve it. I could think of another 10, 20 or even 50 actors who should be on this list. I bet you could add your suggestions, too. This is what I like about films the most – no matter how many of them you watch, how knowledgeable you are, there will be still new films, new great actors to discover and there’s no end to that. So let’s continue to search for new inspirations away from the mainstream cinema of our time, it’s worth it 🙂