Friday, March 18, 2011

Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve

Joanne Woodward received her first Best Actress Oscar and only Oscar to date for playingly, Even White/Black and Jane in The Three Faces of Eve. I think Joanne Woodward did not have an easy win though it's perfectly understandable. I feel that only Deborah Kerr was a real threat for her as she was overdue (was she?) and won the New York Film Critics award. Still, it's a very perplexing race with an obvious winner.

The Three Faces of Eve is a very short and weird movie and I really did not like it that much. There's no real drama, everything just happens and it failed to have any effect on me. It just went by rather fast and it wasn't particularly boring. Actually, it's very far from being a true story (no matter what the narrator says at the beginning) because the real Eve, Chrisitine Costner Seizmore had like 26 personalities. So that's about the credibility of this whole movie. Lee J. Cobb who's one of my favorite supporting actors gives an incredibly standard and one-note performance which I really didn't like.

Joanne Woodward is an actress who has almost always failed to really impress me. I really dislike her acting style and sometimes she can just annoy me to hell. She lacks a real emotional depth in most of her movies. I like her voice very much, though but I am not really in awe of her. However, when I first saw her in The Three Faces of Eve, I was blown away by her. Therefore, I really did not know what to expect from her this time. I wanted to forget that she's Joanne Woodward but I also wanted to forget my first reactions to this performance. As a result, I was now right between amazed and bored.

These roles seem to be quite baity on paper (apparently, after Orson Welles read the script he said that anyone who played Eve would win the Oscar). This is really a part to kill for but once you actually think about it, it's really not very showy. It certainly has its big scenes but not huge ones. There's that breakdown towards the end but not as big as they usually like at the Oscars. Things should be bigger, showier and more emotional.

I feel that Woodward deals with the technical part quite great. She delivers everything extremely well, she knows when to do what, her timing is just excellent. And that's really all that this movie requires. As it doesn't go deep, Joanne doesn't have to go really deep either inside this character. I feel that she could have but I never really saw any real efforts to do so.

Joanne's performance as Eve White is supposed to be very heartbreaking but instead, Joanne let some opportunities slip away. It's true that Eve White is not a really fascinating character but she still could have made her a bit closer to the viewer. It's like attending a soccer game that turns out to be boring and you just remain a spectator and watch the goals scored but you're not really happy about it. That's really the case with Joanne here.

Joanne's the best in her scenes as Eve Black. Naturally, it was supposed to be the best part of this role and it certainly is. I felt it was the only character that was played as it should be. She's seductive, attractive and very delicious. She did what she has to. However, that wasn't really a great accomplishment either. There wasn't very much missing from it, it just wasn't totally mindblowing. She's still quite great as Eve Black, doing the right things at the right time.

The third personality, Jane becomes rather insignificant even though she's really the most interesting personality for me. She's really a plain Jane (no pun intended) but it would have been fun to see more of her. As a result, she doesn't really get a real depth.

However, as I said, her the technical part is just fantastic. That above mentioned breakdown scene is handled pretty well by Joanne and it was just terrificly played. That scene under the house is also quite memorable. In these moments, I really felt the depth that really should have been there in the whole performance.

So, despite my dislike for the acting of Joanne Woodward, this is quite a good job by her. Although it's not groundbreaking by any means and the emotional part of it is a bit lacking, the technical department is just excellent. Woodward made very wise decisions with these characters (despite being relatively new to the craft) and she put on a very good performance.
What do you think? Wow, this year hasn't been very strong so far.


Louis Morgan said...

Seemed like your general dislike of her performance style held the rating down.

dinasztie said...

That might have influenced me but I never thought of giving her more.

joe burns said...

I really disagree, I thought she was fantastic, and added a lot of depth to this part actually.

Rick, Toronto, Ontario, Canada said...

I am sorry, but I find the most moving and believable performance
is Lana Turner's Constance MacKenzie in "Peyton Place". Still,
after all these years, it's still good! But then everyone is good in it, and Franz Waxman's score a masterpiece. While Miss Woodword
excelled in "The Three Faces of Eve" it only came across as a surface portrayal for me and I didn't enjoy the film anyway. I feel Lana Turner really pulled it off on every turn. I shall always be sad she didn't win for "Peyton Place". She was the perfect combination of actress and role in
this portrayal at the perfect juncture in her life.

Deb said...

I agree that there is a certain something lacking in her performance, but overall I liked this movie-I consider it to be a classic. Question: Is Joanne Woodward really doing the singing as Eve Black? Thanks, Deb