Combustible Celluloid


by Jeffrey M. Anderson

In May of 1999, The San Francisco Chronicle conducted its own poll of the top 50 stars using the same ballot the AFI used. The rules were that a performer had to have begun his or her career before or during 1950, or that the performer be deceased, and therefore his or her body of work is complete. The Chronicle allowed one write-in each for males and females. Entrants were to select their top five in order, then twenty more in alphabetical order. Their results, published just before the AFI TV special, were remarkably similar to the "official" poll. The following is my ballot, submitted to the Chronicle poll. Needless to say, my results are quite different. (I chose only 26 of the AFI 50.) I've also included one signature movie for each performer.

I've *starred* those performers who were also chosen for the AFI list.

1. *Audrey Hepburn - Funny Face 1. *Cary Grant - Bringing Up Baby
2. *Barbara Stanwyck - Ball of Fire 2. *James Stewart - Vertigo
3. Louise Brooks - Pandora's Box 3. *Charles Chaplin - City Lights
4. *Greta Garbo - Camille 4. *Buster Keaton - Steamboat Bill Jr.
5. Thelma Ritter - Rear Window 5. *Orson Welles - Chimes at Midnight
*Lauren Bacall - To Have and Have Not *Fred Astaire - The Band Wagon
*Ingrid Bergman - Notorious Walter Brennan - Red River
*Bette Davis - All About Eve *Humphrey Bogart - The Big Sleep
*Marlene Dietrich - Morocco *James Cagney - White Heat
*Rita Hayworth - Gilda Lon Chaney - The Unknown
*Judy Garland - Meet Me in St Louis Joseph Cotten - Citizen Kane
*Lillian Gish - Broken Blossoms *James Dean - Giant
Paulette Goddard - Modern Times W.C. Fields - It's a Gift
Gloria Grahame - In a Lonely Place John Garfield - Force of Evil
*Katharine Hepburn - Holiday Sterling Hayden - Crime Wave
*Carole Lombard - To Be or Not to Be Boris Karloff - The Old Dark House
Myrna Loy - The Thin Man Peter Lorre - The Maltese Falcon
Ida Lupino - High Sierra Bela Lugosi - The Black Cat
*Marilyn Monroe - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Lee Marvin - Point Blank
Agnes Moorehead - The Magnificent Ambersons *the Marx Brothers - Duck Soup
Maureen O'Sullivan - Tarzan and His Mate *Robert Mitchum - Out of the Past
Jean Peters - Pickup on South Street (write-in) Woody Strode - Once Upon a Time in the West
*Ginger Rogers - Swing Time Erich von Stroheim - Foolish Wives
Jean Seberg - Breathless J.T. Walsh - Red Rock West (write-in)
Simone Simon - Cat People *John Wayne - Rio Bravo

Movies Unlimtied