Monday, December 5, 2011


Thirteenth and last in a series about strong women in film. Strong women are independent, beautiful, sexy, feminine and just want everything in life that a man wants and believe that they have every right to have it!
I had to save the best for last! What is there to say about this lady that hasn't already been said? Beloved by her public and by her co-workers, she is the third jewel in the triple royal crown of American strong women in film alongside Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Stanwyck was often unfairly compared to Davis, but there really is no comparison. Of the three, she is the most even, the least neurotic and the one I'd most like to have my back. She may have never hit the acting heights of Davis or Crawford, but she never sunk to their depths. Her reputation in her field is spotless and it only grows as the years go by. There is no trace of artifice, no fuss, no muss. With Stanwyck, what you see is what you get. And what you see is a great screen actress. Period.

Known as "Missy" to her friends, Brooklyn's Ruby Stevens went from the telephone company to the chorus to Hollywood. Along the way, she won the love and respect of her co-workers (both in front of and behind the camera) and her audience. This was no Hollywood Diva!

If you want to be a strong, independent woman, or if you are an admirer of the type, you can learn a lot from Missy.

Barbara Stanwyck's Guide 
to Being a Strong, Independent Woman

#1: If you're strong, you can be soft and sweet
Barbara could be a vision of femininity  
#2:  If you're strong, you can take control of the situation
I would not take a chance those gloves were just for show
#3: If you're strong, you can admit you can't cook
Hey - that's why people hire chefs
#4: If you're strong, you can strip
Barbara played a stripper at least 3 times, so she felt
confident in the g-string
#5: If you're strong, you can ride a motorcycle as good as any man and look damn good doing it
Looking good with Elvis. I'm sure she could have driven, but I think she 
just wanted to get her arms around the King.
#6: If you're strong, you are a straight shooter
You'd have to be nuts to mess with her
#7: If you're strong, you see things through to the end (no matter how dirty the deal)
Taking murder seriously
#8: If you're strong, you can have a soft heart for the weaker ones

She could have, but she didn't
#9: If you're strong you can be a loving mother
Mother Love requires real strength
#10: If you're strong, you can beat the boys at their own game

If this woman is in the Executive Suite, she will run the show
#11: If you're strong, you can be sexy at any age
A legend in every way.
#12: If you're strong, you help those on the way up and they never forget it.
William Holden never forgot Stanwyck's kindness
during the filming of "Golden Boy"

At the 1978 Academy Awards, while the two were presenting the
award for Best Sound, Holden went off script, paid tribute to her
integrity and generosity and thanked Missy for saving his career.
In 1982, after Holden had passed away and while accepting her

honorary Oscar, she dedicated the award to her "Golden Boy."
What a classy lady!
And, if you're strong you are always fiercely yourself - beautiful like no other. Leave the conventional beauties to the conventional minded.

I think it's fair to say that in her career that spanned roughly 60 years, she never gave a bad performance. Here are just a few of those I think are her very best:
The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932)
Baby Face (1933)
Stella Dallas (1937)
The Lady Eve (1940)
Remember the Night (1940)
Ball of Fire (1941)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (1946)
Sorry Wrong Number (1948)

If I omitted your favorite, I apologize, but there are just so many wonderful films and so many more wonderful Stanwyck performances!

Bottom line: they don't come any better than Barbara Stanwyck. A total pro, she was the Ziegfeld Follies, pre-code, romance, comedy, Noir, westerns, and TV. What else is there to say? The best. Period.


llandseadel said...

Barbara is my all time favorite actress! I have so many of her films and I'm always looking for more...thanks for sharing these pics and comments.

The Lady Eve said...

You're a pretty classy lady yourself, FlickChick, and as far as I'm concerned you have hit every nail on the head as relates to the life and career of the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck.

FlickChick said...

llandseadel: can't have to much Missy. She is the favorite of so many.

FlickChick said...

Lady Eve - you make me blush! But then again, I studied at the Stanwyck School, so I must give credit to my alma mater.

The Lady Eve said...

You must've gotten an MBS...

FlickChick said...

Is that a Master of Barbara Stanwyck?

Kimberly J.M. Wilson said...

I love Babs. And, I loved your "If you're strong, you can strip!" I agree with your list of her best. I might add My Reputation (1946)--a little film that most people haven't seen, but Stanwyck is really good in it. I also like B.F.s Daughter and East Side, West Side a lot.

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Kim. Missy sure knew her way around a G-String! I've never seen "My Reputation" - I shall have to keep my eye out for it. It Stanwyck is in it, it can't be bad.

River Miss said...

As classy and tough as Barbara is, she wouldn't feel insulted to be called a "Dame." You could certainly label me a "Dame" if it meant I could be like her! Loving all her roles, I adore her in her pre-code and 1930's films. Those are famous for great, smart-aleck one liners. For example, in "Baby Face" she's applying for a job and the stocky young man giving her an "inteview" gives her a knowing, slow smile and says, "Have you had any experience?" To which Barbara gives a disgusted sigh, rolls her eyes and replies, "Yeah, plenty!! Don't you just love those smart one liners so popular during the 1930's!

FlickChick said...

That pre-code dialogue was the snazziest!

Grand Old Movies said...

Love your take on Barbara as no artifice/no fuss/just strong and clean. What I love myself about Stanwyck (and what makes her different from Davis or Crawford) is 1) she was very sexy on screen but always seemed so comfortable in her own skin; 2) she could play comedy like few other actresses. Her performances in movies like THE LADY EVE, LADY OF BURLESQUE, and BALL OF FIRE combine these 2 qualities, and she's unbeatable. Thanks for your post!

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Grand Old Movies - she really was as you say - comfortable in herown skin. Not neurotic, just fabulous!

Dawn said...

Barbara Stanwyck, Is one of my favorite actress. I'm collecting all the movies of hers I can get my hands on.. I loved your very classy series and can not wait to see what you come up with for your next series.

FlickChick said...

Thank you so much Dawn!

Readerman said...

Yes, you saved the best for last. As far as acting chops, I rank Stanwyck above Crawford and Davis any day. So good, especially when she was angry or excited in a role. For those who may have missed it, check her out in The Furies. Any way, along with Deborah Kerr, she is my favorite. Sexy and talented. A wonderful combination on screen.

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Readerman. I tend to agree that, if a career is a marathon, Stanwyck crosses the finish line first.

ClassicBecky said...

What a wonderful series this has been, and Barbara is the perfect culmination of it all! Your article is so clever, funny and such a tribute to a great actress and a very nice woman. You deserve a lot of praise for giving us the opportunity to enjoy every article. Kudos, FlickChick!

FlickChick said...

Oh, Becky - thanks so much! I really wanted to do something more substantial about Stanwyck, but what is there to say that has not already been said?

ClassicBecky said...

You did Barbara a good turn in your own unique style, and you were just as good in that genre as a big old bio would be -- and it was more fun!

Patricia said...

Years ago, I was going on a job interview. I needed a model to show I was assured and self-sufficient. As I walked in the door, I murmured to myself "Think Barbara Stanwyck". It worked.

Unknown said...

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were we can download that.