When Actresses Were Real Women And Could Actually Act!

What with the rainy day, I’m home cooking old things in the fridge that are close to indiscernible, throwing them in one pot. Not sure what I’ll use it for, perhaps add some tomato sauce and toss it atop spaghetti. Hey, it’s dinner, right?

Anyway, the TV is on in the background, and incapable of listening to Obama drone on about how mass murders don’t happen in other countries WHILE HE’S STANDING IN PARIS SAYING SUCH STUPID THINGS, I tuned in Turner Classic Movies for some 1940s goodness. On now is Pride and Prejudice with one of my all time favorite character actresses, Edna May Oliver.


She played some remarkable characters in her career, in Pride and Prejudice she was a brilliant over-the-top Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Then there are these amazing women –

Marie Dressler. I doubt there was a funnier more accomplished comedic character actress of her day, for which I believe she was honored with an Oscar for Dinner at Eight, a movie that gets played in the EOS household more than I care to admit.

Jane Darwell, as Ma Joad. You didn’t doubt for one minute that she was struggling to make a living in Grapes of Wrath.

Margaret Hamilton will always be associated with The Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz but she did quite a bit of acting other than that.

Bette Davis was perhaps the most capable of transforming herself from frumpy to beautiful, but her acting skills were so finely honed, there was never a moment when you didn’t believe she was the tortured soul she often portrayed.

Mary Wickes often played the nurse or the attendant or the mean sister, but with such aplomb.

Today, I look at the young actresses and they all look alike. They are thin, pretty, and worse, there’s NOTHING that sets them apart from each other.

How could actresses go from being in demand FOR their full shapely bodies, screwball eyes and double chins to being shamed for being anything over an 80 pound twig???

It’s not even just the weight – the old actresses had a depth of character acting skills that must not be taught today. You believed they were who they portrayed where as today, blech, apart from some old Meryl Streep roles (she’s sold out now, like Diane Keaton) there’s no actress that is even touches the skills of these great women.


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