The most recent issue of Premiere presents its list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Of all time, all time, time. . . . We love a list, even one as wordy as this one. If you haven’t seen it already, I don’t care, I’ll spoil it for you right now by revealing the top 10: 1. Vito Corleone, 2. Fred C. Dobbs, 3. Scarlett O’Hara, 4. Norman Bates, 5. James Bond, 6. Annie Hall, 7. Indiana Jones, 8. Ellen Ripley, 9. Jeff Spicoli, and 10. Gollum. What’s interesting about these 10 is that you don’t have to be in your 50s or older to know who they are or what movie they’re from or who played them.. (Although I’ll admit Fred C. Dobbs had me stumped; I was thinking of that chimpanzee, J. Fred Muggs.)
The people in the movies, conjured by an actor speaking a writer’s words, guided by a director, locked onto celluloid by a cinematographer, projected onto the screen by a beam of light. So many degrees of contrivance—but sometimes we believe in these people as much as we believe in . . . well, actually, more than we believe in that joker who’s still on her cell.