Top 10 Dream Screen Pairings
Any time I watch films from different eras I tend to wonder how the stars of years past would fare in today’s films, and likewise with our stars in the films of old. It’s fun. You can do it with various interests. Sports is another one: who would win between the ’97 Bulls and the ’86 Celtics? How would Babe Ruth do against current pitchers? They’re just fun little “What if’s” that can be speculated on and analyzed, but never fully answered of course. While watching City Lights last week I wondered “Man, a Charlie Chaplin-Buster Keaton film would have possibly been the funniest, greatest comedy of all time”. So I got to thinking, what would some other great pairings be? Some of my choices are purely aesthetic, and some are generational icons that never got the chance to act together in their primes.
Without further adieu, here’s my Top 10:
10. Katharine Hepburn & Meryl Streep
Why: Arguably the two greatest actresses of all time. Most current films undervalue the role of females in films, but a movie headlined by these two would be worth every penny.
9. Max Von Sydow & Toshiro Mifune
Why: Because they were the leading men of, what I believe to be, the two greatest directors who ever lived: Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa. Both men had a magnetism and on-screen presence that made them icons of art-houses all over the world. The intensity and emotion these two emit could literally melt the film strip if they were in the same movie together.
8. Brigitte Bardot & Marilyn Monroe
Why: Speaking of melting the film strip…..I don’t think there’s too much analysis required with this selection. Two amazingly gorgeous sexual icons, and if they were paired together for even a second of screen time, I would sweat bullets and pass out.
7. Bill Murray & Walter Matthau
Why: Speaking of gorgeous sexual icons….Ok, not quite. The sardonic wit and humor of these two is legendary, as they stand as two giants of the comedic genre. Both men would undoubtedly adorn the Mount Rushmore of comedic icons, and surely a film including both would involve humor dryer than The Great Salt Flats of Utah.
6. Cary Grant & George Clooney
Why: Here we have the predecessor and successor of the slick, cool leading man in Hollywood. Woman loved Cary Grant, as woman undoubtedly love George Clooney, but not in a Zac Efron/Ricky Nelson kind of way. These men are handsome, quick-witted, and irresistibly sophisticated. They also know a thing or two about acting and putting out great movies.
5. Willem Dafoe & Klaus Kinski
Why: Pure aesthetics…or lack there of. Two of the strangest looking faces ever to grace the screen belong to these two men, and at times they parlay that look into some very strange parts. But again, they can both act and therefore a film featuring these two would be strange, visually unsettling, and probably a favorite of mine. P.S. The HD/Blu-Ray era would have been a great time for this screen pairing.
4. Tom Hanks & James Stewart
Why: Wholesomeness. Like the Grant/Clooney pairing, these two are basically the same kind of characters from two different genres, which would make this duo all the more interesting. They both share morals of a similar nature, and again, both were great actors. Hanks has “Forrest Gump” and Stewart has “George Bailey”, two of the most iconic characters in film history. Both honest, likable, and moral characters. Much like the actors who portrayed them.
3. Sean Penn & Marlon Brando
Why: Serving as the very antithesis of the last two, these fellas are generally considered unlikable people in real life and have played many characters that are also very unlikable. But what they lack in goodhearted charisma they make up for with intensity, talent, and devotion to their craft. A film starring these two would probably shoot for 14 months, include 2 director changes, 5 writer switches, and still be my most anticipated film of the year.
2. Clint Eastwood & John Wayne
Why: Because these men own the two greatest personas of the last 100 years of film history. Wayne was the no-nonsense, get-the-job-done gunslinger who didn’t care for politics or morals, only justice. Eastwood was the slick, quick-fingered, quiet gunman with a mind only for self-preservation. Throw these two onto a dusty road with a full cylinder, and dear God there would be fireworks.
1. Buster Keaton & Charles Chaplin
Why: Getting back to the inception of this list, because I firmly believe if they had ever done a film together it would, without question, be the greatest thing comedy had ever witnessed and something that would never be surpassed. They were the masters of their craft, and the two smartest, funniest comedians the cinematic world has ever known. This is the film people would start any discussion of comedy with, in the same way that you can’t begin a serious conversation of comedic films without mentioning these two giants of the genre. A guy can dream.
So, that’s my list. What pairing would YOU like to see??