Here’s my favorite Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) movies for no particular reason:
7. Titantic (1953).
Richard Sturges: [after Richard and Julia have been quarreling over who will have custody of their son] My dear Julia, I’ve been around enough bridge tables to recognize someone who’s holding a high trump – play it now if you will.
Julia Sturges: We’ll discuss it later.
Richard Sturges: Now!
Julia Sturges: All right, Richard. One question first?
Richard Sturges: If it’s about Norman, you know the answer. No court in the world, no power in the heavens can force me to give up my son.
Julia Sturges: He is not your son.
Later as the ship is in its death throes and he’s been very noble:
Julia Sturges: Oh Richard, where did we miss out on each other? I beg your pardon, Sir. I put you down as a useless man, someone to lead a cotillion.
Richard Sturges: After all, it was my major talent.
Julia Sturges: I’m sorry, sorry about everything.
Richard Sturges: We have no time to catalog our regrets. All we can do is pretend 20 years didn’t happen. It’s June again. You were walking under some Elm trees in a white muslin dress, the loveliest creature I ever laid eyes on. That summer, when I asked you to marry me, I pledged my eternal devotion. I would take it as a very great favor Julia, if you would accept a restatement of that pledge.
Stanwyck makes you believe in both scenes.
6. Double Indemnity.
Phyllis: We’re both rotten.
Walter Neff: Only you’re a little more rotten.
5. Sorry, Wrong Number. Classic tale and she cranks out the tension.
4. Forbidden. The original hot librarian.
3. Baby Face.
Lily Powers: Yeah, I’m a tramp, and who’s to blame? My father. A swell start you gave me. Ever since I was fourteen, what’s it been? Nothing but men! Dirty rotten men! And you’re lower than any of them. I’ll hate you as long as I live!
2. Lady of Burlesque.
Biff (a comic at the burlesque hall where Dixie is the star): What’s the matter with comics?
Dixie: I went into show business when I was seven years old. Two days later the first comic I ever met stole my piggy bank in a railroad station in Portland. When I was 11 the comics were looking at my ankles. When I was 14 they were…just looking. When I was 20 I’d been stuck with enough lunch checks to pay for a three-story house. Naw, they’re shiftless, dame-chasing, ambitionless…
More importantly, Dixie uses her brain to solve a murder that occurred backstage at the old opera house in between dances on stage.
1. Night Nurse. Murder. Gangsters. Bad women with good hearts. What more do you need?
Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Blondell with a very lucky skeleton.