1946: Margaret Rutherford in "Blithe Spirit"

1946: Margaret Rutherford in
Each month before the Supporting Actress Smackdown, Nick Taylor suggests alternatives to the actual Oscar nomination ballot.

by Nick Taylor

For me, Dame Margaret Rutherford sits alongside the likes of Judi Dench and Edith Evans and (insert your favorite British actress/Mark Rylance here) as quintessential examples of British thespians transitioning to remarkably rewarding screen careers later in life, long after establishing their bonafides onstage. What’s recognizable about their screen presences is seemingly integral to every role, though they’re rangier in affect and character-building than one might give them credit for. They almost always deliver, and even when they don't, there's still enough happening in their work for a desperate viewer to latch onto. It takes talent for Rutherford to be compelling enough in The VIPs that you wonder if her performance deserves to be in a better film instead of scraped with the rest of the heap.
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