Completely Unscientific Favorite Stanwyck Movie Poll Results

In honor of Barbara Stanwyck‘s 106th birthday on July 16, I asked TCM Party people their favorite Stanwyck movie. I personally feel that she was good to excellent in every movie she did, but everyone has one that stands out more than others. Actually not one. Usually many. As I quickly realized, it’s a tough choice to make. I also realized afterwards I had enough votes on my hands for a totally unscientific poll. Since I didn’t really specify a number of films, I counted each mention via Twitter and Facebook of a movie’s title as a vote for that movie. Yeah, yeah, I know…it’s completely unscientific!

And now…to the results…

5th place — Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Stanwyck gets an earful of details of a murder...her own?
Stanwyck gets an earful of details of a murder…her own?

Stanwyck plays a bedridden invalid whose shady husband (Burt Lancaster) may or may not be trying to kill her. Plenty of flashbacks and suspense galore.

4th place – tie
Baby Face (1933), Stella Dallas (1937), Ball of Fire (1941)

Tied for 4th place (in chronological order) BABY FACE, STELLA DALLAS, BALL OF FIRE
Tied for 4th place (in chronological order) BABY FACE, STELLA DALLAS, BALL OF FIRE

I’m not gonna summarize these…if you haven’t seen them, go watch them now.

3rd place – The Lady Eve (1941)

Charles Coburn and Stanwyck work their magic on Henry Fonda under William Demarest's watchful eye  in THE LADY EVE
Charles Coburn and Stanwyck work their magic on Henry Fonda under William Demarest’s watchful eye in THE LADY EVE

Stanwyck, playing a con woman, sets her sights on “Hopsy” (Henry Fonda), the beer heir who can’t stand beer. Hopsy falls in love with her right away, but complications ensue when she realizes she loves him back.

2nd place – Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)-low
Fake it ’til you make it…Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan in CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT

I was surprised how highly this placed, but I really shouldn’t be. Stanwyck plays a homemaking columnist who lives in an apartment, can’t cook, isn’t married, and doesn’t have any kids. Her friend, chef Felix (S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall), provides all the recipes and she fakes the rest. The arrangement hits some hilarious snags when her editor (Sydney Greenstreet) wants a war hero (Dennis Morgan) to stay at her non-existent farm (she totally made it up) for the holidays.

1st place – Double Indemnity (1944)

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are in a ton of trouble in DOUBLE INDEMNITY
Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are totally inconspicuous in DOUBLE INDEMNITY

No surprise here. Fine direction from Billy Wilder, stunning cinematography by John F. Seitz, and excellent performances from a perfect cast add up to possibly the best film noir — and one of the best films — ever made.

I know, I missed your favorite…mine didn’t get even one vote! (Hint: check out the feature image for this post.) So give me a piece of your mind in the comments. PS: if you like classic movies, and you watch them on Turner Classic Movies, you might want to join us for one of our live #TCMParty tweetalongs. For deets, follow @TCM_Party or get more info here.

Christmas movie mea culpa

About a week ago I put together a Christmas movies poll, partially because I was curious, and partially because my husband and I are hosting Christmas movies at a café here. Wow, did I forget a TON of them! Slightly later, I put up a revised poll, and I still forgot a ton. Friends in real life and online suggested their favorites, which I’m listing here. Some I’ve seen…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I think you all know this one.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas – How could I forget this?

Going My Way – Bing Crosby’s Fr. Chuck O’Malley could give Spencer Tracy’s Fr. Flanagan a run for his money as the coolest priest ever.

The Bells of St. Mary’s – Fr. O’Malley is back, in the top-grossing film of 1945, clashing with Sr. Benedict (Ingrid Bergman). Will he convince her to lighten up? Is the Pope Catholic?

…and some I haven’t:

Young At Heart (1955) – “A cynical songwriter upsets the lives of three musical sisters.” With Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.

A Town Without Christmas – A “little boy…writes that he wishes to leave this world so he will no longer be a burden to his divorcing parents, a race begins to find him before he harms himself.” [IMDB]

The Holly and The Ivy – Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson star in this “heartwarming tale of an English minister and his family reunited at Christmas time. Their story includes a remembrance of their WWII trials.”

We’re No Angels (1955) – “After escaping Devil’s Island, three offbeat prisoners [Bogie, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov] help a goodhearted family outwit a scheming relative.”

Holiday Inn (1942) – “The A[staire], B[erlin], C[rosby] of American musical comedy.”

I also have to mention Christmas Under Fire, a 10-minute film from 1940, which I’d never seen before, brought to my attention by @Filmatelist. I say with not one iota of irony: this is why the Allies won the war.

And I am sure there are others. I realize that this poll is deeply flawed. At the same time, I doubt any other Christmas film can top It’s A Wonderful Life, with a healthy 19 votes.

The Top 10 was as follows:

It’s A Wonderful Life 19
The Apartment 11
The Thin Man 10
Scrooged 10
Christmas In Connecticut 9
Love Actually 8
Elf 7
Miracle On 34th Street 7
A Christmas Carol (any version) 7
White Christmas 6

I was happy to see my two favorites, Scrooged and Christmas in Connecticut make the Top 10, I wasn’t really surprised to see Wonderful Life on the top of the heap. There’s many good reasons why. But that it’s a whole other post.

New-to-me photo of Gloria Grahame as Violet in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

EDIT: I forgot to say, someone suggested that I should have specified which Miracle on 34th Street I was talking about in the original poll. I completely forgot there was a remake. I love the late John Hughes, but for me, the 1947 version is really the only one.