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Anne Bancroft, R.I.P.

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Anne Bancroft, the distinguished actress (and co-star of the ballet film The Turning Point), has died, age 73:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/07/movies/0...l?hp&oref=login

Just a few nights ago I was chortling in front of my TV as Bancroft and her husband, Mel Brooks, did a hilarious number in their remake of "To Be Or Not To Be" -- duetting on "Sweet Georgia Brown" -- in Polish.

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Watched TURNING POINT not long ago and as always loved Bancroft in the role, esp. that scene where her lover "dumps" her, very gracefully but brutally. The look on Bancroft's face speaks volumes. A wonderful actress; hail and farewell!

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I had a few problems with the conception of Emma's character ("She's middle aged! She's unmarried! She can't dance any more! She might as well be dead!"), but Bancroft made her very real -- she's calculating, tough, but also vulnerable.

In "The Pumpkin Eater" she did amazing things in a difficult part.

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That's so sad! :(

I absolutely loved her and I think that she is one of the most charming actresses ever.

In turning point she had the ultimate look of a dancer, I always thought.

And I loved her in the Graduate! I once read that she was just 5 years older (or something like that) than Benjamin-Dustin Hoffmann

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She was just incredible in '84 Charing Cross Road" and "Agnes of God". :(

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A favorite film of mine is Garbo Talks - it is both funny and sad. The scene

where she dances in the hospital room is priceless. She has left us with some

wonderful entertainment. Sympathy to her family and friends.

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I loved how she delivered that one line in the Turning Point, in the rehearsal room wtih Daniel Levans' character, where she takes a pose and he tells her for a pirouette "you can do a single" and she retorts, with a withering look, "I can do a double."

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  in turning point she had the ultimate look of a dancer, I always thought.

And I loved her in the Graduate! I once read that she was just 5 years older (or something like that) than Benjamin-Dustin Hoffman

Very true, elie. (And welcome to the board!) Although her body type wasn't really right for a dancer, at least she didn't look ridiculous in a tutu or in the rehearsal hall. (Whereas you couldn't believe that Shirley MacLaine had ever been a ballet dancer even way back when, much less a ballerina candidate.)

The Graduate was a boon and a curse for her. Although Bancroft was only 34 or so, henceforth she was officially middle aged as far as movies were concerned, not good news for a woman star. Katharine Ross, who played her daughter in “The Graduate,” was about ten years younger. (!!!)

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It was hard for me to believe Shirley MacLaine was ever a creature of the stage from her portrayal of Deedee in The Turning Point, and the irony was that she was a dancer and musical theater actress in her early career, with a reprise in Postcards from the Edge.

I thought Bancroft's portrayal of a careerist, who forged her career when ballet didn't have the legitimacy afforded by the Ford Foundation grant in the 60's and the subsequent ballet boom, and when women were expected to be domestic, was dead on, particularly the frustration with, distain for, and ultimate lack of understanding she showed for the more talented friend who didn't have the single-minded will that made her own career possible. And as far as believing her as a dancer, to me she looked like every bone and joint was stiff and aching at that part in her dancing life. Where I felt director Herb Ross really let down the actresses and the story was when instead of keeping the camera zoomed in on the physical fight between the two women, he panned away for cheap chuckles over at catfight. The recognition of how far they had come and how deep their resentments lay would have been more effective -- and respectful -- by showcasing the talent that Arthur Penn described ,and which was quoted in the New York Times obituary: ""More happens in her face in 10 seconds than happens in most women's faces in 10 years."

According to IMDB.com, Bancroft was born in 1931 -- which conflicts with her age listed in the NYT (73) -- Hoffmann in 1937, and Ross in 1940.

Pace Anne Bancroft, and condolences to your husband an family.

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Thanks for that, hockeyfan228. The link is to an appreciation of Bancroft, and appreciations are generally more personal and less data-oriented than an obituary (link to the Post obit below):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...5060701853.html

I think your very interesting gloss on The Turning Point is more subtle than the text, hockeyfan228. Emma is characterized as a take no prisoners operator and would have been so in any era, I think. She’s a caricature of The Ambitious Woman.

As for the catfight – the farther away it was from the camera, the better, for this viewer at any rate. Rarely have I seen a more embarrassing spectacle than two of America's biggest woman stars screaming and hitting each other with their handbags. It reminded me of the old Monty Python sketch: " The Batley Townswomens' Guild will now re-enact the Battle of Pearl Harbor" :(

"More happens in her face in 10 seconds than happens in most women's faces in 10 years."

True – and occasionally to her detriment; she could be Too Much, as in “’night, Mother.”

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David Edelstein comments on Bancroft, for Slate:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2120487/

The death of Anne Bancroft at 73 is especially sad because she still had surprises left in her: Every time she seemed to disappear into her (oddly happy) marriage to Mel Brooks, she'd suddenly pop up in a small character part to remind us of her unflagging will and deft comic timing.

It was also a reminder that she was a casualty of her best role. As Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, she was a scant few years older than Dustin Hoffman (she wasn't even 35!), but her performance was so indelible that it became difficult for audiences (or studio executives) to see her as anything but "the older woman." And we all know how plentiful juicy roles are for older women. 

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One of my favorite Bancroft screen moments is the beginning of To Be Or Not To Be, when she does a song and dance number...............in Polish!!! She looked lovely and glamorous in that role and funny too.

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The acting world has certainly lost one of it's greats! :smilie_mondieu: I could hardly believe it when my grandmother told me today... Thanks for posting the links to articles, guys.

Her work, especially dramatic, is beautiful, seamless, and definitely something to look up to...

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One of my favorite Bancroft screen moments is the beginning of To Be Or Not To Be, when she does a song and dance number...............in Polish!!! She looked lovely and glamorous in that role and funny too.

And let me tell you - her Polish was perfect! To me, they could go on in Polish forever :smilie_mondieu: .

I don't want to distract anybody from the main topic but I wanted to ask what you mean by "dancer's body type". It is probably only visible to dancers that Bancroft wasn't one so what is it that gave her away? And what was in Shirley MacLaine's looks that was not convincing? Is there really something special that an ex-ballerina and now a mother of three teenage kids should convey in her looks? I totaly bought MacLaine's portrayal, never doubting that she might be a "real" person but I am not a dancer so I wouldn't know.

Any comments on that?

Thanks a lot!

Iza

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And what was in Shirley MacLaine's looks that was not convincing? Is there really something special that an ex-ballerina and now a mother of three teenage kids should convey in her looks? I totaly bought MacLaine's portrayal, never doubting that she might be a "real" person but I am not a dancer so I wouldn't know.

MacLaine's Deedee did strike me as a very real person, but she lacked the carriage and body awareness that I've seen in every ballet teacher, regardless of age, weight, or number of children. Her character was supposed to be the co-director of a ballet school, who had once been enough of a singular talent in the equivalent of ABT to have a rising young choreographer choose her -- over Bancroft's Emma -- for a starring role in his first major ballet.

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According to IMDB.com, Bancroft was born in 1931 -- which conflicts with her age listed in the NYT (73)

Well, not really: she is listed as being born on Sept 17, 1931, so she would have turned 74 on Sept 17, 2005, and so she still was 73.

(Sorry, that's the math teacher in me talking ;) )

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Rest in peace--Anna Maria Italiano

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According to IMDB.com, Bancroft was born in 1931 -- which conflicts with her age listed in the NYT (73)

Well, not really: she is listed as being born on Sept 17, 1931, so she would have turned 74 on Sept 17, 2005, and so she still was 73.

(Sorry, that's the math teacher in me talking ;) )

Yikes -- I'm already in the next fiscal year at work and subtracted from 2006 :smilie_mondieu:

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I agree. Bancroft's Emma walked and carried herself offstage as if she were already 'in' taking the first steps in a slow pdd. MacLaine's Deedee walked as if she were going to the kitchen :flowers:. I think the one scene that reveals this most clearly is where they entered the bar, (in turn) and had their discussion before the

the 'altercation.'

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actually i think the brawl was at kennedy center?

i loved the whole conversation about "newts and hoptoads". She was so subtle.

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Hi Mme. Hermine,

You're right - it's KC :flowers: ! I'll have to rent the DVD again. It certainly wasn't the "Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves" (in Kill Bill Vol. 1), but the drama

of the action was worthy of the Met's plaza :D:D !

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