I’m really late to this party, and it saddens me because when I saw that the Acting School 101 this month was James Stewart I knew instantly that I wanted to write a piece on him. I adore him. He was truly one of the greats, an actor who had not only the range to carry a multitude of roles, but the charisma to become a brand himself. He was such a bankable face, a man who could peak your interest not only because of his sheer talent but because was so damn likable and fun to watch. Whether he was pouring himself into comedic roles, romantic leads or dramatic assignments, he was always at the top of his game.
I didn’t just want to talk about a singular performance, because choosing one is very difficult for me. Like I said, I adore him. I used to always point a finger at his legendary and star making performance in ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ as the key performance because, in my eyes, it was one that encompassed everything we love about him (he was funny, charming, goofy, serious, sincere) and yet as my knowledge of his filmography has grown I’ve found myself compelled by so many of his performances. Recently I was talking with some friends about the film ‘Rear Window’ and Stewart's brilliant performance within it. I’m one of those few (and apparently insane) individuals who actually finds ‘Rear Window’ a miscalculated bore of a film, but I find Stewart's performance within the film fascinating to watch. It’s further proof that he worked so well within so many different genres, and he worked so well with so many different directorial voices of his day.
From Capra to Hitchcock to Ford, directors loved to utilize the strength of Stewart's gaze. Yes, of all his undeniable talents, his ability to convey so much with his eyes has to be the reason I love this man’s contribution to film.
So, my question is; can you name these ten James Stewart performances based on these snap shots of those two all expressive orbs? Have a crack at it.