Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A is for Ava...

Seeing as it is the last day of August, I shall use this post to talk about one of the true goddesses of the silver screen- Ava Gardner. Like Liz Taylor, Ava has become more reknowned for the gossip and stories surrounding her personal life and tempestuous relationships, namely with Frank Sinatra.

Ava is a very well-known actress, but nobody gives her the credit she deserved for her performances, including herself. She was no Bette Davis, but Ava brought a realism and earthiness to the screen that hadn't been seen in female actresses before. She has performed some rather one-dimensional characters like Kitty Collins in The Killers- looks out of this world beautiful, but her lines and character are one of the most bland femmes fatale in film noir.

However, watching her in Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa and The Night of the Iguana, she is fantastic.  In fact I would say that Ava Gardner was one of the first actresses in film where it felt like she wasn't performing, the line between acting and becoming the character had faded and she became her characters fully. This worldly quality she possessed is truly spellbinding, for when she was given roles that were multi-dimensional, she could be a strong woman but could also express a fragility that was subtle. In fact, I would go as far as saying that Ava was the most complex actress of her time, even when she played big and brash characters she always showed how there was more to them than the side they showed and she made it 100% believable. And yet, Ava got none of the credit she deserved compared to others at the time like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, who were praised more for their acting which in my opinion, was not as good as Ava when she was at her best and given the chance.

I suppose the only accolade she ever received was an Oscar nomination for her role in Mogambo. She is absolutely marvellous in that film, and far from the MGM acting class pupil she was at the beginning of her career.

Ava Gardner aged 16.
Ava was beautiful in all her movies, but if you want to see her at her most beautiful, look at her photos taken before she went to Hollywood. Untouched, unaltered- natural Ava is truly what artists would probably call the perfect woman. When we read about Southern Belle's bewitching everyman in their town- Ava is the perfect match, being a Southern gal herself, she is the true Belle of every county.

Offscreen, Ava was inspirational beyond belief. I implore you all to read her autobiography My Story, for you will find not only a compelling read but a compelling life about a strong woman who stood by her values, and lived life to the full. I wish I had her strength and passion for everything.

Please remember Ava, not only for being one of the most beautiful women to have walked this planet, but for being a solid actress and remarkable woman, who brought more to film than many care to acknowledge.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Just found your blog and I love it. This was a lovely post on Ava, a fave of mine too. I agree she was better than she was given credit for (better than Grace Kelly etc) but also you understand just how incredibly beautiful she was - she was beyond beautiful! Talk about natural beauty...