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Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday's Top 5... Actor-Directors

#5: Sean Penn

Penn doesn't direct a ton of films - only 4 in the last 19 years - but every time he does, he puts out work that is heaped with praise. His output as an actor might be a little more hit and miss, but he's still got 2 Best Actor Oscars to his credit.

#4: Clint Eastwood

Eastwood has been stepping behind the camera since 1971, crafting films in a wide variety of genres and often directing himself. With a string of well received films, not to mention 2 Oscars for Best Picture and 2 for Best Director, his name has become synonymous with prestige.

#3: Charlie Chaplin

One of the greatest and most lasting stars ever to grace the screen, not to mention a master craftsman. His films are timeless classics and his character The Tramp is one of the most recognizable in film history.

#2: Buster Keaton

The yin to Chaplin's yang. Keaton was not as successful as Chaplin, but his work is just as enduring. He was, quite simply, a brilliant performer and director.

#1: Orson Welles

Could there be any other? Few actors have ever been able to match the screen presence that Welles had and few artists can match the skill he showed behind the camera. Not all his films are great - he's infamous for having made some films solely for the money that he would then use to fund a pet project - but even his less stellar films have some redeeming quality.


Shubhajit said...

Nice list, and I mostly agree with your choices. However, I would like to disagree with you as regards the order.

No disrespects intended against Keaton & Welles, cos they both were incredible talents, but for me, where actor-directors go, there has never been anyone who even comes close to Chaplin, leave alone matching him or bettering him. And, in all possibility, there's never going to be anyone like Chaplin ever again.

Andrew K. said...

I'm kind of shocked that Warren Beatty isn't on the list and I'd add Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh. I don't really consider Penn, a director though.

Anh Khoi Do said...

I've never seen a film of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. However, the other actors you mention are really good choices.

Sean Penn: I've only seen Into the Wild and liked it.

Clint Eastwood: Mystic River and the Iwo Jima saga are definitely his greatest films. While he displayed both sides of the story in the Iwo Jima films, Changeling was one-sided. This film was enjoyable, but I would have liked to see how the corruption in the LAPD back then looked like. All in all, he's really great.

Orson Welles: I've only Citizen Kane and I don't need to write an elaborated praise for this film.

Norma Desmond said...

@Shubhajit: I think we'll have to agree to disagree on Chaplin v. Keaton. Both are great, but I'd give Keaton the edge, even if ever so slightly.

@Andrew: I actually think Beatty is pretty overrated as a director. I would be curious to hear why you don't consider Penn a director.

@Anh Khoi Do: if you can, see some of Welles' other directorial efforts - he's a master.

Anonymous said...

What about Woody Allen and Robert Redford?