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A Definitive Movie List?

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I was watching some Bob Osborne introductions I had on DVD with some old Lucy movies the other night that I saved from Lucy month on TCM. It got me thinking of what Lucy movies should we put in a definitive collection. Or maybe we should call it Lucy’s best acting in movies. Essentially trying to put together those movies where you can see the acting talent developing and being refined. Now these may not be the best movies, or the best of her movies, but they offer something in a way you can see the talent emerging, or in the later years a new turn, a return to old, etc… Maybe it’s Lucy acting school 101. So here is my list and why.


Stage Door- Probably the first breakout of the pack where Lucy gets to really put something into her role and define a character. There are a lot of people in this movie so to shine you gotta be offering something different than the next person.


The Affairs of Annabel- The first real shot at a comedic lead. I know it’s the style at the time, but crap she talks fast in her 30’s movies. I wonder if this was a specific choice for this character as it’s probably the fastest she talks in a larger role.


Dance Girl Dance- Such good work here and you start to see that prior film training coming in. To go up against Maureen O’Hara and steal the show is good. She is not just a hard edge dancer, but has times where she does seem to soften. She didn't get much of a chance in the 30’s movies to have any sort of range and this is the first movie where she gets to demonstrate it.


Big Street- What can be said about this that we haven’t before? The first really good dramatic part done very well.


Easy to Wed- Lucy is really starting to hit the comedic stride here. Amazingly great comedic moments in this movie and I read the director really let her run with using her instincts for those comedic parts. Too bad we don’t get to see this again for a long time.


Film Noir- I struggle with this as I need to include one here as the acting is yet again dramatic, quiet, reserved, but still strong. I think it comes through in Dark Corner but Lucy herself admitted she was in such a fog doing this movie I don’t think she really committed herself to bringing her best to it. Lured I love but I’m equally obsessed with Two Smart People right now. I’m going to go with Lured I think as she gets a good turn at hard edge, dramatic and by the ending terrified. Good range I think lacking in the other 2.


Fuller Brush Girl- Now she has a firm grasp on comedy and is working to refine it. This is when we first start seeing what the Lucy character would become emerging.


Facts of Life- We essentially have not seen this acting style from Lucy in a long time. A rare return to her acting style of the 40’s but with the base of what she has come to learn in the 50’s. I also applaud this effort as it is a good departure from the Lucy character at a time when that character was so beloved following the show just ending.


Mame- God love her from trying this. We’ve had singing (mostly dubbed), dancing (pretty well) before but the work she put into this makes this a must list. She really went out to do something that she had not fully mastered before.


I’m not sure what to include pre Stage Door. There has got to be some bit part, hidden in the sea of actors part that shows an emerging talent, or a “who is that girl” moment. Anyone got anything for this category?


As you can see I’ve omitted LLT, FD,and YMO. I don’t think we are seeing anything new here. Nothing that turning on the TV week after week we haven’t seen before. I love all three of these movies, but that’s why I am calling this an acting 101 list and not a best of list.







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Great idea. I tried to limit these to five like the Lucille Ball Film Collection box set, but ended up with nine. I've cut that down to seven.


Dance, Girl, Dance: Not my favorite movie, but it shows off Lucy better than almost any other film: she sings, dances, does comedy, drama, she's likeable, and unlikeable.


The Big Street: Superb dramatic work by Lucy, both quiet (the scene in bed where she tells Pinks about her dream; when hugs Mrs. Leftowitz goodbye) and big (when she screams at Pinks after she's discovered by Decateur Reed on the beach).


Easy to Wed: This film shows her off better than any of her MGM films.


Lured: I think this is the best of Lucy's detective films of the time, both for the film and Lucy's performance.


The Facts of Life: After nearly a decade of playing "Lucy," she creates a very un-Lucy like character. One little scene that I think is overlooked is the scene early in the film with Lucy and Don DeFore where she confronts him about his gambling.


Yours, Mine and Ours: I think this is far enough away from the typical Lucy shenanigans (unlike The Long, Long Trailer and Forever Darling) to include. Lucy's drunk crying/laughing scene is a tour de force and I think she performs if very differently that she would if she was playing the Lucy character.


Mame: Along with Dance, Girl, Dance, this gives the opportunity to do everything.


A pre-Stage Door era extra could be the One Live Ghost short. It's her earliest "Lucy"-like character.

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Funny you mention One Live Ghost. I was thinking about that. Saw it for the first time on the recent TCM airing and it struck me how much you could see she was trying to come up with a gimmick or persona for her character. Probably a true acting school 101.


FOL and that gambling discussion in the car I agree. Always think that hits a little to close to home, especially at that time in her life.

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Can't compete with you experts BUT, My Lucy collection has only the five all time best performances . . . the drama The Big Street, the musical Mame, the slapstick comedy Fuller Brush Girl, and two of her all time best comedies, Facts of Life and Yours mine and ours. All right seven best movie performances, add Long Long Trailer and Critic's Choice.

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