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There's a reason casting envisaged her as Helen of Troy in the movie "Troy". And there's a reason she turned down the offer: too obvious. She's obviously one of the two most beautiful women of her generation (along with Jessica Alba, who doesn't look right for the part in ethnic terms). So she played Achilles' slave girl and let the audience enjoy the irony of seeing a great battle fought over a woman whose beauty was at best in second place--though I think Saffron Burrows, playing Hector's wife, is also more beautiful than Diane Kruger as Helen. But, delusions are always necessary to war.
She does not have the charisma that Marilyn Monroe and a few others add to their natural appeal, but she possesses the purest beauty of them all.
If I took into account style, charisma, presentation, aura--Marilyn would be the ever-reigning queen of them all.
Probably the most spectacular smile I've seen. Also, she has no bad angles, no bad lighting ever harmed her, no cosmetic mishap ever besmirched her--the most photogenic actress I know.
In my childhood, she seemed to me the beauty of the adult world (though she hardly seemed to overmatch a couple of local girls with whom I was privileged to attend school). Kelly Lebrock rated second, probably in part because she starred as the ultimate male fantasy in two different movies. But, Ms. Pfeiffer, being in fact the ultimate male fantasy, found it more interesting to evade such a role on the screen--instead seeking roles that took her inescapable beauty simply for granted and focussed on other facets of life.
After Marilyn, the other great American beauty of the 50s. But, in contrast to Marilyn's years of unrecognized early acting, audiences had the advantage of seeing the violet-eyed goddess develop from a child star to a woman who commanded all attention.
Her smile is a glory of joyousness that puts me in mind of Julia Roberts' in the past. A quality as evanescent and contextual as a smile is better caught in person or on video. But Ms McAdams reminds me also of the eponymous "lost lady" of Willa Cather's novel, so described by the man who lost her: "Her eyes, when they laughed for a moment into one's own, seemed to provide a wild delight that he had not found in life.'I know where it is,' they seemed to say, 'I could show you!'...He would like to call up her shade...and challenge it, demand the secret of that ardour; ask her whether she had really found some ever-blooming, ever-burning, ever-piercing joy, or whether it was all fine play-acting. Probably she had found no more than another; but she had always the power of suggesting things much lovelier than herself, as the perfume of a single flower may call up the whole sweetness of spring."
Soft-featured Angie didn't make it into many good films, but she was still gorgeous in her mid-forties. And she starred as the irrestible seductress school teacher, at 39, in one of the all time great B movies: Pretty Maids All in a Row.
Close to flawless, but her features are slightly too strong to rank higher. And her rank is further justified by the fact that at 43 she was cast as a prostitute who successfully caters to her clients' fantasy of Veronica Lake (a major 1940s sex symbol who retired at 26).
She reminds me of Michelle Pfeiffer, and she was the fairer, more beautiful competition of the darker, sexier Sophia Loren, the other Italian beauty of that era.
Sometimes hybrids sum up the best characteristics of both breeds, as Halle shows. Her only flaw is her smile. In fact, women could be divided by how their smiles affect their beauty. Of all those I ranked in the top six, it seems to me that Jean Seberg, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Elizabeth Taylor have smiles with a neutral value--smiling makes them neither more nor less beautiful. But for Rose Byrne, Jessica Alba, and Marilyn their smiles make them even more beautiful. On the other hand, Gene Tierney might have topped the list if her smile weren't a liability.
I found no photos of her presenting a full and natural smile--a remarkable discipline sustained for decades in face of a vast photographic onslaught. The unnatural airbrushed version of her smile above is the best still shot available. Her slight overbite and her smile (both in itself and because it's ever-suppressed) are her weak points.
Except for her overbite, her face is perfect. When she walks in a room with her mouth closed, she's as radiant as any woman in cinematic history.
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