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Judi Dench vs. Maggie Smith

Which one of these Dames is more talented?

replies 89Dec 1, 2017 2:45 PM +00:00

I'm a big fan of Judi's, although I certainly enjoy Maggie.

Programme website: Tracey Ullman plays a very naughty version of national treasure - Dame Judi Dench.
replies 1Dec 1, 2017 3:01 PM +00:00

They've both reached the age where just play their public personae.

replies 2Dec 1, 2017 3:20 PM +00:00

Judi. She did musicals, comedy, drama, Shakespeare, the legitimate theater, tv and movies.

Although Maggie ain't half bad.

replies 3Dec 1, 2017 3:22 PM +00:00

Tracey Ullman

replies 4Dec 1, 2017 3:41 PM +00:00

Glenda Jackson is more talented than the pair of them combined.

Business As Usual Trailer 1987 Director: Lezli-An Barrett Starring: Cathy Tyson, Eamon Boland, Glenda Jackson, James Hazeldine, John Thaw, Mark McGann Offici...
replies 5Dec 1, 2017 3:42 PM +00:00

I think the current celebration of Dench is kinda late because she was shunned by the movie industry for 30 years.

Maggie Smith has done some great roles but critics complain that too much of her schtick was lifted from this ghastly self-hating queen—

Kenny & Maggie. Kindred spirits? Soul mates? :-)
replies 6Dec 1, 2017 3:42 PM +00:00


Programme website: Dame Maggie Smith reveals the contents of her handbag.
replies 7Dec 1, 2017 3:42 PM +00:00

Maggie by a hair, but I love them both.

replies 8Dec 1, 2017 3:43 PM +00:00


Critics can say Maggie was out of her depth in non-comic roles but Glenda Jackson was incapable of ANY comic roles.

replies 9Dec 1, 2017 3:44 PM +00:00

Maggie has a wonky eye.

replies 10Dec 1, 2017 3:46 PM +00:00

r9, that's crap! Glenda has an amazing sense of humour.

This UK Public Information Film (PIF) was produced by the COI and is subject to Crown copyright. This is acknowledged.
replies 11Dec 1, 2017 3:46 PM +00:00

R10 Miss Smith DBE has Graves Disease, some cancer, a broken heart and myopia. Miss Dench DBE has Macular Degeneration, Stage 2 Dementia and Virtue Signaller's Disease,

replies 12Dec 1, 2017 3:52 PM +00:00

I don't think you can say one is better than the other. They're both great Dames.

replies 13Dec 1, 2017 3:53 PM +00:00

r12, and Glenda Jackson has come back to acting. Perfect time for it, now her rivals are dropping off LOL And Glenda turned down a Damehood because she's anti-monarchy.

Glenda Jackson is the Oscar winning actress who became a Labour politician: now after a quarter of a century away, she’s returned to the stage at the age of ...
replies 14Dec 1, 2017 3:54 PM +00:00

R12 Unfortunately she's ANTI-everything... which is not a good sign for anyone who wants to be employed.

replies 15Dec 1, 2017 3:55 PM +00:00

Patricia Routledge

Imagine what her Mrs. Lovett would have been like if she had accepted the role.

patricia routledge sings in the beggar's opera
replies 16Dec 1, 2017 3:56 PM +00:00

Glenda, Judi and Maggie last year

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replies 17Dec 1, 2017 3:58 PM +00:00

Mon dieu, Catherine du Valois-

Judi Dench birthed the Tudor Dynasty
replies 18Dec 1, 2017 4:04 PM +00:00

R17 I wonder if they hate each other 'behind the mask'?

Maggie Smith was quite bitchy about "Lord Kingsley or whatever he calls himself nowadays"

replies 19Dec 1, 2017 4:05 PM +00:00

Judi didn't even have a film career before Glenda retired from acting... watch this clip and laugh your ass off:

Australian TV, 1995
replies 20Dec 1, 2017 4:07 PM +00:00

Maggie and JUDI are great friends. I was surprised JUDI did not appear in either Harry potter or downton abbey. Both great but Maggie has the edge...see the prime of miss Jean Brodie. All wanna be actors should watch Maggie and Scalia's scenes. Possibly the best acting ever on film.

Meryl not so much, overrated...had a fawm in Africa

--Team Maggie
replies 21Dec 1, 2017 4:22 PM +00:00

Yes, Maggie and Celia!

Offsite Link
replies 22Dec 1, 2017 4:28 PM +00:00

Definitely Maggie Smith. Smith doesn't have to play the same character twice to try and get it right.

Plus Judi Dench has hideous feet. I saw her in sandals once and I had to cancel lunch.

replies 23Dec 1, 2017 4:50 PM +00:00

Equal divinities in the firmament.

replies 24Dec 1, 2017 4:52 PM +00:00

....and for the poster upthread, Glenda Jackson won her second Oscar for a comedic role, you dolt.

replies 25Dec 1, 2017 4:52 PM +00:00

Much as I her enjoy her R23 Maggie does plays the same character more than twice. Tea with Mussolini, Gosford Park, Downton Abbey are very slight variations on the same brittle, snobbish old bag she has specialized in for the past couple of decades, even the Lady in the Van was Lady Violet on welfare. Judi is definitely more versatile, it's easy to imagine her playing any of Maggie's roles but not vice versa.

replies 26Dec 1, 2017 5:15 PM +00:00

Here's Smith giving an Oscar and Tony caliber performance in one of my faves of hers Bed Among the Lentils. 49 minutes of Just MAGGIE BEING BRILLIANT straight into the camera. (I love the Talking Heads series, especially Hand of God with Eileen Atkins). And everyone should see The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearn where Smith gives the performance of her career, which is saying a lot, but unfortunately it's hard to find.

I just saw Dench in Murder on Orient Express, and was disappointed by her performance. Wendy Hiller was delicious in the same role in 1974.

Complete Film
replies 27Dec 1, 2017 5:16 PM +00:00

Maggie! Mother Superior FTW!
replies 28Dec 1, 2017 5:20 PM +00:00

Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson wipe the floor with both of them.

replies 29Dec 1, 2017 5:28 PM +00:00

See "Victoria and Abdul" and it may sway your vote. Especially the early scenes showing Dame Judi as Victoria eating. She's outstanding. She's definitely getting a nomination.

replies 30Dec 1, 2017 5:30 PM +00:00
one of my faves of hers Bed Among the Lentils. 49 minutes of Just MAGGIE BEING BRILLIANT straight into the camera. (I love the Talking Heads series, especially Hand of God with Eileen Atkins).

Ah, a kindred spirit! I've watched "Bed Among the Lentils" at least 50 or 60 times, and still find it mesmerizing. And, like you, I'm also fond of "Hand of God." Also, the three monologues with Patricia Routledge are lifelong favorites. (There's a lot more to her than "the Bucket woman.")

But, back on topic, my vote is for Maggie Smith - largely because of her brilliance in "Bed Among the Lentils."

replies 31Dec 1, 2017 5:44 PM +00:00

You're complaining R26 about Maggie playing the same character.

You're probably right but that's because writers and authors love her playing Lady Bracknell.

A Handbag ?! The Importance of Being Earnest
--I don't need to tell you who Lady Bracknell is.
replies 32Dec 2, 2017 2:48 PM +00:00

To play Lady Bracknell once R32 could be described as employment to play her several times looks like laziness... I saw her actual Lady Bracknell in London and surprisingly she wasn't very memorable ( Maggie that is not Edith...I'm not quite that old ).

replies 33Dec 2, 2017 2:56 PM +00:00
Judi didn't even have a film career before Glenda retired from acting

Check out this wonderful gem from 1965.

replies 34Dec 2, 2017 3:17 PM +00:00

Judi was quite beautiful when she was younger.

from He Who Rides A Tiger
replies 35Dec 2, 2017 4:27 PM +00:00
replies 36Dec 2, 2017 4:28 PM +00:00

^ She is wearing her Clapham version of 'Cleopatra' mascara in that scene.

--Irene Sharaff
replies 37Dec 2, 2017 4:30 PM +00:00

for some reason she wore these dreadful haircuts.
replies 38Dec 2, 2017 4:31 PM +00:00

Judi. NO!
replies 39Dec 2, 2017 4:32 PM +00:00

She has to wear very short hair because of her UN-photogenic little face.

The mid-60s was the peak years of Swinging London of Op-Art, Courrèges and Mary Quant.

Have you seen the outrageously camp 'Modesty Blaise'?

--England Swings like a pendulum doo.
replies 40Dec 2, 2017 4:44 PM +00:00

^ André Courrèges wanted to reduce the human body down to pieces of geometry. And poor Judi Dench couldn't compete because her waist size was 24 inches and her legs were 24 inches.
--Mary Quant
replies 41Dec 3, 2017 1:53 PM +00:00

Smith has always been very mannered the quality of her performances varies based on how much she leans on what she finds easy. When it comes to playing a certain kind of witty, caustic upper class snob, she's pretty peerless, but I've always preferred her in roles that require her to strip away some of the stylistic artifice that she does so well (BED AMONG THE LENTILS, LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE, LOVE AND PAIN AND THE WHOLE DAMN THING).

Dench is a no-nonsense actress who I think has more range than Smith.

Jackson is another who can be very mannered (her performances in HEDDA and THE MAGNIFICENT SARAH are barely a step away from a drag queen), but when she's on all cylinders or plays quieter roles, she is superb. She is a truly unsentimental actress, which is a great quality. I think she and Judy Davis are similar in that regard.

replies 42Dec 3, 2017 2:09 PM +00:00

R42 How do you gauge if a movie actress is "unsentimental"?

Movie actors and actresses are 'shadows'. We are watching a human being impersonating another human being, reading someone else's lines. Their image is cut and positioned by others.

I don't feel qualified to judge any actor or actress unless I have seen them "naked" on stage or in real life over a number of years.

I've only seen Dench on stage once.

--Bosley crowther
replies 43Dec 3, 2017 2:16 PM +00:00

I absolutely love her in Stevie r42.

--and Miss Washbourne of course!
replies 44Dec 3, 2017 2:17 PM +00:00

I did a musical r3....ON BROADWAY!
--Dame Maggs
replies 45Dec 3, 2017 2:19 PM +00:00

Dear "Dame Maggs" R45 I don't think that was a musical. More of a cabaret revue.

--Dame Judi
replies 46Dec 3, 2017 2:23 PM +00:00

"How do you gauge if a movie actress is "unsentimental"?"

Generally by how they approach a role where the actress could easily pull at the heartstrings. Jackson did a film called RETURN OF THE SOLDIER where he played a truly good person (which is really hard to do and make interesting), and she did it by stripping the character of any sentimentality and, as a result, was all the more moving for having done so.

replies 47Dec 3, 2017 2:30 PM +00:00

Dear R47 I cannot agree. A movie actress does what the director tells them to do.

Movie actresses are puppets in the hand of their movie director. A Trilby in the hands of a Svengali.

Glenda Jackson often played hard and unsentimental characters on screen but I hear she definitely wept and got shriekingly sentimental when in the British parliament.

--Bosley Crowther
replies 48Dec 3, 2017 2:37 PM +00:00

Who would Bette vote for?
replies 49Dec 3, 2017 2:52 PM +00:00

Did Maggie have a daughter that burnt her Hampstead house down? That would be a no!

--Judi Dench
replies 50Dec 3, 2017 2:58 PM +00:00

r49: The only thing Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had in common was their admiration for Glenda Jackson.
replies 51Dec 3, 2017 2:59 PM +00:00

R49 Bette Davis didn't act, she misbehaved!

She was hopeless without me to keep her misbehaviour in check.

--William Wyler
replies 52Dec 3, 2017 3:01 PM +00:00

Glenda Jackson and her posse. Bow down bitches!
replies 53Dec 3, 2017 3:02 PM +00:00
Glenda Jackson and her posse. Bow down bitches!

With all of Glenda's money, you'd think she'd buy a better outfit than a plaid picnic blanket.

replies 54Dec 3, 2017 3:04 PM +00:00

R53 That trio, surely, are playing 'The Three Witches of Macbeth'!

--Dame Maggie
replies 55Dec 3, 2017 3:06 PM +00:00

R54 I don't know how much money Glenda has. I know she has a sad inner life.

She was an employee of the British Labour Party for 20 years but her son (Dan Hodges) used to work for the party too but he's become progressively angry at the party's duplicity and ineptitude and has turned against them.
--Tom Hollander
replies 56Dec 3, 2017 3:16 PM +00:00

r56, apparently Glenda lives in her son's basement.

replies 57Dec 3, 2017 3:20 PM +00:00


“Legends Icons Myths: Glenda Jackson and Cate Blanchett”
replies 58Dec 3, 2017 4:14 PM +00:00


Is Glenda as short as Pygmy-Dench?

--Armie Hammer
replies 59Dec 3, 2017 4:24 PM +00:00

Toss up. I adore Maggie Smith. She has an uncanny ability to steal every scene. Her snobs always have a touch of humanity to them. However, I can't see her doing what Judi pulled off in Notes on a Scandal.

replies 60Dec 3, 2017 7:51 PM +00:00

You can't have a gay card till you have watched The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Superlative acting. Plus a butch dyke gym teacher!

--Sandy Strange
replies 61Dec 6, 2017 3:19 PM +00:00

Thanks to those above who brought up Bed Among the Lentils. Smith's performance is absolutely hypnotic, wrenching and yet she lands every laugh (even some that aren't in Bennett's text). I SO wish Talking Heads, surely Bennett's masterpiece, was available in the US on DVD; it is in the UK. Why can't we have nice things, too?

--Mrs. Vicar
replies 62Dec 6, 2017 3:42 PM +00:00
You can't have a gay card till you have watched The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Superlative acting. Plus a butch dyke gym teacher!

Oh, darling, I did the lez thing so much better in The Shipping News. You better get your copy before they are all removed from the shelves as Mr. Kevin Spacey has a starring role in it.

--Dame Judi
replies 63Dec 6, 2017 4:09 PM +00:00

Cate presents Glenda:

Veteran actress and former London MP Glenda Jackson wins this year's Best Actress award for her role as King Lear.
replies 64Dec 6, 2017 4:10 PM +00:00
I SO wish Talking Heads, surely Bennett's masterpiece, was available in the US on DVD; it is in the UK. Why can't we have nice things, too?

If there are other Region 2 PAL DVDs you're interested in (or, perhaps, even if that's the only one), it might be worth looking into a multi-region player. There were a few things I wanted, including "Talking Heads," that made the purchase worthwhile. I bought the Samsung E360. It's a very basic, no-frills unit, but adequate for the few "foreign" discs I've bought.

The DVD-E360 Multi-Region/Multi-system DVD Player from Samsung offers an affordable way to enjoy your collection of DVDs. This multi-region/multi-system DVD player will play any region DVD on any TV. Moreover, it can play your CDs and is compatible with multiple file formats. With decoding for Do...
replies 65Dec 6, 2017 4:26 PM +00:00

That fabulous scene in The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie which pits Maggie Smith against Pamela Franklin was beyond brilliant. I think Franklin bested Maggie in that scene BUT Maggie did a great job overall. She did a wonderful job of playing a woefully misguided idealist whose morals or lack of them ended up in a school girl's death.

Maggie Smith in her stunning 1969 Academy Award Winning performance as Jean Brodie.
--Ms Brodie's Prime Passes Thanks to Sandy
replies 66Dec 6, 2017 4:44 PM +00:00

Judi Dench has more range.

replies 67Dec 6, 2017 4:45 PM +00:00

Glenda in Elizabeth R is one of the greatest achievements in acting. Period.

replies 68Dec 6, 2017 4:49 PM +00:00

Judi and Maggie will be joined by Eileen and Joan for a Dame smackdown in a BBC documentary..... Glenda is too busy winning awards for proper acting.

Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins are to be the subject of a new documentary film on the BBC. Directed by Roger Michell, the film
The Stage
replies 69Dec 6, 2017 4:59 PM +00:00

Pamela retired from acting at a young age, a shame as she is brilliant. Celia Johnston's Miss McKay channels the wicked witch of the west, and also is beyond brilliant. The scene with Miss Brodie, Miss McKay, and Mr. Lowther may be the best acting ever filmed. This is a film that you pick up something yoh missed on repeated viewings. Remember the toady Miss Gaunt? The swashbuckling art teacher? The Lesbianish dance between Sandy and Monica at Sandy's? And the incomparable Mary McGregor?

--Miss Lockhart, I leave her to her jars and bottles
replies 70Dec 6, 2017 5:20 PM +00:00

Assassin! ASSASSIN!!!

--Drama Queen! DRAMA QUEEN!!!!
replies 71Dec 6, 2017 5:30 PM +00:00

Like comparing apples and oranges...

replies 72Dec 6, 2017 5:36 PM +00:00

R72, more like lemons and limes.

replies 73Dec 6, 2017 5:38 PM +00:00

Yes, R 73 and Maggie is the more tart of the two.

--And Maggie is also the 'crème de la crème'
replies 74Dec 6, 2017 5:41 PM +00:00

I was on the receiving end of Dame Maggie's withering glance circa 1973.

--I don't think I ever fully recovered
replies 75Dec 6, 2017 5:48 PM +00:00

Details please, R75.

replies 76Dec 7, 2017 1:33 PM +00:00

R70 Pamela became typecast( to a certain degree) in horror films doing things like The Legend Of Hell House. She also did guest TV appearances as well. She did the best that she could but never reached the lofty acting heights she deserved at one point.

Check out this intense clip from The Legend Of Hell House. You can grab the new blu-ray at: It sits her...
--Hell House WIth DL Legend, Empress Roddy McDowall
replies 77Dec 7, 2017 4:58 PM +00:00

I think Pamela and her family own a bookshop in West Hollywood.

I can remember my 12 year old jaw dropped when Pamela Franklin appeared casually nude in Jean Brodie. She said it was the last thing they filmed, so that she would be 18 when they filmed it (she was 17 when they started filming).

replies 78Dec 7, 2017 7:55 PM +00:00

Wasn't that such a hot scene with Pam being nude? She looked very attractive even afterwards when she only wore a sweater and was still sexy!

Pam's husband(Harvey Jason, a character actor who has done tons of film and TV) and their son, Louis Jason, own Mystery Pier Books in West Hollywood. A very boutique book shop, they sell mostly first editions.

Mystery Pier Books was on Eye On LA
--Mystery Piers Books: Harvey Jason Looks Good For Someone Close To 80
replies 79Dec 8, 2017 10:57 AM +00:00

That's interesting, R78.

I think actors can be nude in European films when they are under 18 if they get permission from the parents.

Leonard Whiting was only 17 and Olivia Hussey was only 15 when they appeared nude in Zeffirelli's 1968 "Romeo & Juliet".

replies 80Dec 8, 2017 10:58 AM +00:00

I had the privilege of meeting Dame Maggie in N.Y.. I have never met a classier or more gracious person, she asked my name and what I did and where I lived, totally without ego. I have met many nice actresses...Joan Rivers, Joan Bennett, Julie Andrews, Rikki Lake, June Lockhart, Angela Lansbury, Delta Burke to name a few. Nobody was as nice as Dame Maggie was to me. And I met Linda Levin, who was utterly charming.

--Theatre Queen
replies 81Dec 8, 2017 8:11 PM +00:00

Saw them both in David Hare’s “The Breath of Life” in the West End. Not a great play but it was very entertaining to watch the two of them spar.

replies 82Dec 9, 2017 3:25 AM +00:00

Judi likes trees and champagne.

Dame Judi Dench has created a wood in her back garden by planting trees in remembrance of friends, relatives and actors who have died, she discloses in a new documentary.
The Telegraph
replies 83Dec 9, 2017 3:28 AM +00:00

Dear Theatre Queen R81. I envy you meeting Dame Maggie.

Was she promoting a play? How tall was she compared to you.

--Green With Envy
replies 84Dec 9, 2017 2:48 PM +00:00

R84, I am 6 foot three inches, 175 lbs., so she seemed petite, maybe slightly shorter than the average woman. She was in N.Y. doing "Lettice and Lovage" with Margaret Tyzack. She seemed totally down to earth. Also, I meant Linda Levin, who, contrary to what some say on here, was also very nice.

--Theatre queen
replies 85Dec 9, 2017 4:22 PM +00:00


You're lucky. I understand that's the last regular production she has been in.

Since then she has only done the monologue "Bed Among The lentils" on stage.

--Green With Envy
replies 86Dec 9, 2017 4:25 PM +00:00

I think it's very important to note that Maggie gave us Toby Stephens.

Found on Google from
--AKA the poor man's Damian Lewis
replies 87Dec 9, 2017 4:26 PM +00:00

Toby is lovely as was his father Robert before he drank too much. But Maggiecappeared in the West End in Three Tall Women and Lady in the Van. Lady also a movie, maybe 2015.

replies 88Dec 9, 2017 4:31 PM +00:00

Does Toby take after Maggie of Robert? I can't quite decide.

He has Maggie's reddishness but that Robert Stephens was such a queer fish as well as an alcoholic

replies 89Dec 9, 2017 4:32 PM +00:00