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Classic Hollywood/Hollywood's Golden Age(Was: The Best Of Everything)


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#16 dirac

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:11 AM

Miliosr, I have to disagree just a teeny bit there. Although none of Hayworth’s musicals were in the absolute top drawer, the two she did with Fred Astaire and “Cover Girl” with Gene Kelly are actually pretty good – certainly as good as Gilda.

I have mixed feelings about TLFS. It’s a terrific picture, but I’m not sure that Hayworth’s image ever recovered from what Welles did to it. (The blond hair was a major boo-boo, too.)

Hollywood fictionalizing taken to an amazing height......


And it’s one of Grant’s oddest performances. For most of the time, he looks as if he’s hoping a trapdoor will open beneath his feet so he can disappear. (Those early scenes, where he’s still supposed to be an undergrad at Yale, are rare.)
.

#17 miliosr

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 08:25 AM

dirac -- I would have replied earlier but I missed your post. (That's what I get for devoting the last eight weeks of my life to Dancing with the Stars!)

I don't disagree with you about the musicals Hayworth made with Astaire and Kelly. I was thinking more of movies like My Gal Sal and Tonight and Every Night and Down to Earth. They may have been timely but they certainly haven't proved timeless.

For such an iconic star, Hayworth really didn't make a lot of iconic films. Her reputation now rests on Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai, the two movies with Astaire and Cover Girl. (I'm undecided about Pal Joey.)

#18 dirac

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 05:09 PM

For such an iconic star, Hayworth really didn't make a lot of iconic films. Her reputation now rests on Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai, the two movies with Astaire and Cover Girl. (I'm undecided about Pal Joey.)


That's true. She made no great films, but she did better than, say, Betty Grable, an even bigger star in her prime. She'll always have her place, though, if only for those sumptuous looks.

#19 bart

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 05:42 PM

And then there was "Salome." And her dance. I remember seeing this at Radio City Music Hall as a kid. One of the richest of the technicolor Roman Empire historicals. And Hayworth was both beautiful and ... how can I put it? .... intelligent in dealing with the moral quandaries of the role in this particular script. Alas, I don't recall the dance itself.

#20 atm711

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 04:02 AM

One of my favorite early Hayworth movies is 'The Strawberry Blonde' (with James Cagney and Olivia deHavilland) where she played a femme fatale. If I am remembering it correctly, she dances a waltz with Cagney to a lilting old tune.

#21 dirac

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 11:11 AM

It's been years, but I remember that as a lovely little movie, with all three stars at their most appealing. (Cagney is torn between the glamorous Rita and the 'mousy' Olivia de Havilland.)

#22 miliosr

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:26 AM

dirac -- Interesting point about Betty Grable. She was a major, major star during the late-30s, 40s and early-50s but you never see her movies on television. Her most enduring film is probably How To Marry a Millionaire but that's probably due more to Marilyn Monroe's presence than anything else.

Esther Williams is another major star from the 40s and 50s whose movies are rarely seen today.

Edited by miliosr, 28 March 2006 - 09:26 AM.


#23 dirac

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 02:14 PM

As a general rule a movie star’s reputation depends upon the staying power of that star’s films. The more classic movies you make, the better. Grable’s pictures weren’t very good, as most of the musicals produced by 20th Century Fox weren’t very good. And she wasn’t a famous beauty or a strong personality, although I find her very likable. This was part of her Everygirl appeal at the time of her fame, but it hasn’t worn well. Alice Faye, predecessor to Grable and Monroe as the official 20th Century Fox Blonde, is also a name now familiar mostly to buffs. (Marilyn broke the mold.)

Esther Williams is another major star from the 40s and 50s whose movies are rarely seen today.


Williams will always have a niche in the annals of camp. :)

#24 canbelto

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 07:19 PM

As a general rule a movie star’s reputation depends upon the staying power of that star’s films. The more classic movies you make, the better. Grable’s pictures weren’t very good, as most of the musicals produced by 20th Century Fox weren’t very good.



Yes Grable had the misfortune of being not beautiful enough to have the reputation as a screen legend despite mostly forgettable films. Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner also made very few memorable films, but their reputation rests on being, well, unimaginably gorgeous.
If Betty Grable had a male counterpart, I'd say it would be someone like Robert Taylor. He was handsome, wholesome looking, not much of an actor. He carved out a niche for himself but he's certainly not remembered as a screen legend.

#25 Quiggin

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 06:58 PM

Yes, but Gilda is pretty good film noir, as good as any Bogart-Bacall, and the visual fireworks of Lady from Shaghai is pretty amazing. (It's good enough a film that Fritz Lang was in the audience at the Los Feliz theater, sitting upfront right, very quietly in the sparse audience, the night I saw it years ago.)

#26 dirac

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:28 AM

They’re both classics, definitely, although The Lady from Shanghai is far superior to Gilda, IMO. I’m not sure I would put Gilda up there with the Howard Hawks version of The Big Sleep, but that may be a matter of changing tastes and times. (I really dislike the way the character of Gilda is treated.)

#27 miliosr

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:05 AM

Wow -- this thread is moving in many different directions at once.

For the Rita Hayworth/Ava Gardner class (iconic movie stars who didn't make many iconic movies), would Jane Russell qualify? (She only made one iconic film (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) so she may fall somewhere between the Hayworth/Gardner class and the Faye/Grable class.) She sure looked good at this year's Oscars, though!

For the Robert Taylor class (male stars who were huge in their day but are largely forgotten now), I would nominate Van Johnson and Tyrone Power. I never see Power's films on television and Johnson is probably known as much today for his participation in the musical episode of The Love Boat as for his films. (The musical episode of The Love Boat -- w/ Johnson, Cab Calloway, Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Ann Miller and Della Reese) should join Esther Williams in the camp Hall of Fame!) :)

I vote for Gilda over The Lady From Shanghai. The movie is perverse in the way the three main characters treat each other but I think Hayworth is dynamite in it.

#28 Quiggin

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:42 AM

Yes I think Jane Russell would qualify as an iconic actress. (All three could be in icons, if icons could be thought of as sytlistically the pictorial equivalent of film noir.)

Gilda is a great studio picture and Lady from Shanghai is a great auteur movie. Lady from Shanghai does the whole von Sternberg thing (Morocco, Lady from Shanghai, Shanghai Gesture, Devil is a Woman) a step better. It looks back to Sternberg and forward to the Kar Wai Wong/Chrisopher Doyle films (2046, In the Mood for Love)

Also Lady from Shanghai is the great San Francisco film, far moreso than Vertigo!

#29 dirac

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 01:08 PM

Gilda is dated for me because of the harshness of the sexual double standard. It’s a good picture. I just don’t enjoy watching it, save for Hayworth and the interestingly twisted relationship between Glenn Ford and George Macready.

It looks......forward to the Kar Wai Wong/Chrisopher Doyle films (2046, In the Mood for Love)


Not such a great compliment in my book :), but you’re right, the connection is clear.

Jane Russell is indeed an icon.....of camp. I mean no disrespect by that.

Tyrone Power is an interesting case. Like Grable, he was a 20th Century Fox star – indeed, he was the 20th Century Fox star. I think he was potentially a better actor than he turned out to be, with more natural assets than Taylor or Johnson (presence, a fine voice, and really extraordinary good looks). Later in his career he did try to get out of his cushy star rut, taking on stage work and pleading with the studio to do more risky pictures such as “Nightmare Alley.” But it seems to have been too late, and he seems to have known it. A sad story.

Thanks for the interesting comments, everyone. Keep them coming!

#30 canbelto

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 04:59 PM

For the Robert Taylor class (male stars who were huge in their day but are largely forgotten now), I would nominate Van Johnson and Tyrone Power.



Had Rock Hudson not died of AIDS, he might have been another actor in that group. Good-looking, studio-based actors who didn't make many memorable films. Hudson except for Giant was most noted for making those frothy romantic comedies with Doris Day, another huge star in her day who nowadays is remembered more for being "Doris Day" than for any of the films she made. (Pillow Talk being an exception.)


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