Uncategorized

The Deborah Kerr Blogathon: Four Essential Deborah Kerr Performances

 

Deborah banner 2Deborah Kerr delivered so many excellent performances during her long film career. She was always such a natural film actress, and she always oozed such class.

I’ve chosen four of her films which I think all highlight what a gifted actress she was. 

I think that all four of these films make for essential viewing if you want to see Deborah’s range as an actress. 

 

                                                             

The Innocents (1961)

I think this may well be Deborah’s best screen performance. She is so convincing here as the governess on the brink of a breakdown. She more than convinces as a terrified, paranoid and anxious Governess who believes that the two children she is looking after are possessed by the ghosts of two dead former servants. 

Photo1248
Deborah in The Innocents. Screenshot by me.

Is she really seeing ghosts and uncovering a case of possession? Or is she going mad and imagining the frightening things she starts to see?   

Deborah really lets us in to this woman’s psyche. Thanks to her very convincing performance, we really feel her characters fear build up throughout the film.  This film offered Deborah a chance to play someone very different from the kind, glamorous, elegant and confident characters that she so often played on screen.

 

The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943)

In this Powell and Pressburger classic, Deborah doesn’t just play one character, she plays THREE characters. Although we are well aware that it is Deborah playing each character, her terrific performances convince us that these characters are three very different women in terms of their personalities and mannerisms.  

                            Deborah as Edith, Barbara and Johnny. Screenshot by me.

Deborah plays Edith, Barbara and Johnny. Edith is a British woman living in Germany. Major Clive Candy(Roger Livesey)falls in love with her. Edith marries his German friend, Theo(Anton Walbrook). Clive never stops loving her.

A few years later, Clive meets a WW1 nurse called Barbara, a woman who bears an uncanny resemblence to his lost love. The pair get married. In a way their marriage means that Clive has Edith back in his life. Clive’s chauffeur during WW2  is a young woman known as Johnny, she also reminds him of Edith. Johnny is someone who is much more open and easier to get to know than either Edith or Barbara.

I think that Deborah’s three performances in this are essential viewing if you are a fan of her work.  

                                              

 From Here To Eternity (1953)

Although it is best remembered for that risque roll in the surf, this film is also notable for featuring Deborah playing very much against type. Up to this point in her career she had mostly been playing prim, innocent and respectable women on the screen. 

Photo1274
Deborah as Karen. Screenshot by me.

In this film, her famous red hair is dyed blonde, and her character, Karen Holmes, is a very sexualised and strong-willed woman. Karen is also very forward and isn’t shy about making her desires and needs known to others. 

Deborah owns every second of film she appears in here. Her performance and look in the film remind me so much of Rita Hayworth’s in The Lady From Shanghai.  

There’s so much more to Deborah’s performance in this one than merely being sexy though. She also very adeptly conveys Karen’s deep vulnerability, her toughness and her strength. It really is a remarkable performance.

 

Black Narcisuss(1947)

Another Powell and Pressburger masterpiece. This film sees Deborah playing Sister Clodagh, the newly promoted head nun in a convent. The nuns move out to a new convent in the Himalayas. Not long after they arrive at their new home, they all quickly start to crack under stress, and begin to give in to different desires and wishes which have long been repressed. 

Photo1275
Deborah as Sister Clodagh. Screenshot by me.

Deborah does such a wonderful job of conveying to us her characters very difficult emotional struggle and her waning strength. Her performance here is subtle and all in the eyes.  Deborah’s face is a kaleidoscope of emotion here. 

 

What are your thoughts on Deborah’s performances in these four films?

 

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “The Deborah Kerr Blogathon: Four Essential Deborah Kerr Performances”

  1. Wonderful choices to highlight the versatility and the immense talent of Deborah Kerr. The Innocents is a performance for which I have great admiration. Colonel Blimp is one where it would be easy for her performance to get lost in the story and the characters of Clive and Theo, but she doesn’t. You can see with her casting in Blimp and Black Narcissus that Powell and Pressburger were right to trust her with this roles.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched ‘The Innocents’ on a whim and loved it. It was an excellent suspense/horror film. The moment when the ghost of Peter Quint appears behind her scared me silly. *goosebumps*
    Deborah was proudest of this film and with good reason. 😊

    Like

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! One of the best horror films for sure. I like how you can put your own interpretation on it as to whether the ghosts are real, or whether she is experiencing a breakdown and imagining the whole thing. Either of those scenarios is scary to me.

      The scene with Quint at the window gets me everytime. The lady in the lake scene is so creepy too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For an actress with so much range – and no Oscars, shame on the Academy – choosing only four performances is difficult, but I think you nailed it. And I had never thought how much Deborah in From here to Eternity looks like Rita in The Lady from Shanghai.
    Thanks for hosting this great event!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s