New titles from others and research in progress

Dana Andrews in A Walk in the Sun

July 24, 2012

Tags: Dana Andrews, World War II, A Walk in the Sun

I'm participating in the Dana Andrews blogathon at Classic Movie man. I've chosen to discuss his work in A Walk in the Sun. Dana plays a corporal taking over from his sergeant who has broken down under the stress of war. The director, Lewis Milestone, had different actors in mind for this ensemble of soldiers, similar to what he was attempting in The Purple Heart, another WWII film starring Dana Andrews. It was that experience with Dana that made Milestone never waver in his decision to put Dana in the pivotal role of leading the men after their sergeant collapses. Dana's matter of fact nobility is often a feature of his greatest work. Near the end of the film there are unforgettable closeups of Dana as he forges relentlessly ahead--but without the usual heroics and melodrama of war films. If there has ever been a better performance in such a film I don't know what it is.

Celeste Holm, dead at 95

July 15, 2012

Tags: Celeste Holm, Marilyn Monroe, <i>All About Eve</i>

Celeste Holm in her prime
Celeste Holm just died. I know her best from her role in All About Eve where she is taken in by Eve, played by Anne Baxter, a seemingly innocent fan of Margo Channing (Bette Davis). But Baxter's Eve is cunning, and quite a contrast to Miss Caswell (Marilyn Monroe), who is on the arm of George Sanders, playing the critic Addison De Witt. It is Sanders who has that wonderful line about Miss Caswell as the graduate of the Copacabana School of Acting. I write about this wonderful film in my biography of Marilyn Monroe. I would love to get your memories of watching Celeste Holm on screen. Or--remind me of who is left from Hollywood's golden age. Olivia de Havilland still lives. So does that wonderful character actor, Norman Lloyd, who is in his late 90s and starred in two films with Dana Andrews. Lloyd, last I checked with him, was still playing doubles tennis!

Hedy Lamarr

July 6, 2012

Tags: Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood, <i>Ecstasy</i>, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film
Ruth Barton.  Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful woman in Film.  University Press of Kentucky, 2010.  281p ISBN 9780813126043, $29.95  

Barton's subtitle is no exaggeration.  It pinpoints what movie producers and reviewers remarked about Lamarr (1913-2000) nearly every time they mentioned or wrote about her.  An impeccable researcher, Barton (film, Trinity College Dublin) has written an engaging biography that also serves as a history of Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1950s.  She is especially insightful about Ecstasy (1933), the scandalous film in which Lamarr appeared in the nude, establishing herself as the quintessential sexualized figure of modern cinema for nearly two decades. (more…)