Barbara Stanwyck is hard not to love. The varied actress, who is the centerpiece of a Film Forum series starting tomorrow, began in theater in the twenties, wooed crowds in 1935’s Annie Oakley, and ensnared them with 1941’s The Lady Eve and 1944’s Double Indemnity. Even Pauline Kael fell prey to her dewy charms, calling her an “amazing vernacular actress” with “an intuitive understanding of the fluid physical movements that work best on camera.” Frank Capra called her “the greatest emotional actress the screen has yet known!” Famed Broadway director Arthur Hopkins perhaps described Stanwyck best when he wrote that she had a “rough poignancy.”
The first installment of a thorough and philosophical multi-volume Stanwyck biography, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True, came out last month — but for a more visual retrospective, the Cut brings you a slideshow. You can still see that rough poignancy after all these years.