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


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#76 FauxPas

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:12 PM

Here is a recent picture and Proust questionnaire with Joan Fontaine:

http://www.vanityfai..._fontaine200803

Everyone thinks she looks great for 90.

#77 FauxPas

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:46 PM

By the way, TV's series "Mad Men" has a lot in common with "The Best of Everything" in that it deals with pre-feminist office politics of the late fifties and early sixties. This was an era when female executives had to wear hats in the office so that they wouldn't be mistaken for secretaries. The term "sexual harassment" hadn't been invented yet.

#78 carbro

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 02:08 PM

Everyone thinks she looks great for 90.

She had a considerable head start at looking great -- at every age.

#79 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 12:05 PM

And Fontaine hasn’t exactly had what you call a rough life, which is also good for maintaining your looks. Years ago I read her autobiography, “No Bed of Roses,” and the title would have been accurate if you left out the “No.”

Thanks for that link, FauxPas. Olivia had her questionnaire awhile back, so they’re even.

Very good point about "Mad Men," too. It does have elements of “The Best of Everything Meets The Sopranos.” (Although that makes the show sound more interesting than it generally is for this viewer. I’m trying to stay with it but it’s testing my patience.)

#80 miliosr

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 06:23 AM

As FauxPas notes, The Best of Everything is clever in the way it uses fashion to denote the hierarchy among the female employees at Fabian Publishing. As the Hope Lange character Caroline rises in the company, her wardrobe becomes more sophisticated -- hats, pearls, etc. In fact, even if you watch the movie with the sound off and know nothing about the characters, counting the strands of pearls around the necks of the female employees will give you a great understanding of who's who in the company firmament.

#81 dirac

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 03:19 PM

Good tip. :)

#82 papeetepatrick

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 11:49 PM

Anita Page 'retired gracefully', for those for whom that matters (it doesn't as such to me, they all lived their own lives as they needed to or wanted to. Their vanity about their looks is their business, and that's what they wanted. Being a recluse is all right. Most of these Golden Age stars were characters, I don't see that it's realistic to be 'normal' or 'graceful' about the old age if you weren't in the young age, and plenty weren't either.) In fact, Page did that back in the 30s and only died a few months ago at 98 or 99, always an honoured personality throughout her later years, being the last remaining person, or 'famous person', to attend the first academy awards. She was a charmer in her heyday, and 'You Were Meant for Me was written for her. We neglected to write her up. I don't see anything ungraceful about Bette Davis's senior moment years, I'm glad she did all the pulp she wanted to, her presence was always welcome, even as 'Widow Fortune' in the miniseries 'Dark Secret of Harvest Home', based on the Thomas Tryon novel.

Illnesses and being bedridden are bound to cause depression, and wouldn't be cause for 'doing old age poorly', and this is the same for famous people as those who aren't. For 'retiring gracefully', Deborah Kerr and Lillian Gish did it the best I can think of.

Edited to add: And if 'retiring gracefully' does not only apply to those who become at least octogenarians, Audrey Hepburn certainly did so as gracefully as possible, working in Somalia for the UN only months before her death--and not trying to control all her publicity with contracts as are some of the current 'good works' types, which is perfectly odious.

#83 miliosr

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 02:28 PM

I watched the premiere episodes of The City on MTV on Monday night and I was struck by how much it was an updated, 21st century version of the "three girls in the city" genre which gave us The Best of Everything.

The City, of course, is a spinoff of the popular MTV reality series The Hills and follows supporting "character" Whitney as she moves to New York from Los Angeles. The City also features socialite Olivia Palermo (she of Socialite Rank and Tinsley Mortimer feud fame) and Whitney's childhood friend Erin. If I had to compare the young women The City to the young women in The Best of Everything, here's how they would compare:

Whitney = Caroline (Hope Lange)

Olivia = Gregg (Suzy Parker)

Erin = April (Diane Baker)

There's no Fabian Publishing but Whitney and Olivia "work" at Diane von Furstenberg's beautiful new headquarters in Chelsea. (The interior stairs scare me!)

No redeeming artistic, intellectual or social qualities to this at all but a lot of fun to watch!!!

#84 dirac

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 06:40 PM

The 'the three girls in the city' story (I'd include Sex and the City, too, with its four leads) was an evergreen for much of the twentieth century and I expect it to pop up in one form or another well into this one, too. Haven't seen 'The City,' yet.

#85 miliosr

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 05:13 AM

ITA dirac that the "three girls in the city" genre is an exceedingly durable one. And, trust me when I say that your life isn't any the worse off for having missed The City!

#86 FauxPas

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 12:31 PM

One of the towering pillars of the "three girls in the city" genre is Jacqueline Susann's "The Valley of the Dolls" of which I can proudly say I have read both the book and own the camp classic movie on VHS.

BTW: the late Rona Jaffe has an audio track commentary on the DVD of "The Best of Everything". She was working at a publishing house not unlike Fabian and living with her parents in Brooklyn at the time she wrote the book. She was introduced to a big shot producer who suggested she write a novel similar to "Kitty Foyle". She read the book and felt it was ridiculous and unrealistic. So she did her version of what life was like for working girls in the city.

Her book is not as melodramatic or campy as the movie with Hope Lange et al. Some of the "laugh out loud" moments in the script are the product of the screenwriters not Jaffe.

#87 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 06:55 PM

Thanks, FauxPas. I'll have to check out the DVD. Certainly no novelist is responsible for what the movies do to her book. :) I'll have to read it one of these days.

'Valley of the Dolls,' - how could we forget?

#88 miliosr

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:25 AM

The audio commentary for The Best of Everything is quite good. Both Rona Jaffe and the film historian (sorry -- can't remember her name) who participates have very interesting things to say about the genesis of the book, the making of the film and the cast members.

Sadly, the commentary for Valley of the Dolls isn't up to the same standard. Barbara Parkins (who played Anne Welles) is not especially illuminating -- either her memories have dimmed after 40 years or she was being deliberately circumspect about the people involved in the making of the film. Her co-commentator -- E! gossip columnist Ted Casablanca (named after a character in the film!) -- is even worse. Unfortunately, Patty Duke either couldn't or wouldn't (probably the latter) participate. Alas, with the Valley of the Dolls commentary, you'll have to plant your own tree and make it grow! :)

#89 miliosr

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:51 PM

(In fact, she had to fight with Thalberg for one of her biggest roles, in ‘The Divorcee’; her loving hubby didn’t think she was hot enough for the part, and Shearer had George Hurrell take some sexy shots to convince him.)


I was leafing through a book of Hurrell's photos this past weekend and I know which photos you are referring to. The photos are striking . . . without being iconic. Or, at least, iconic in the way Hurrell's photos of Joan Crawford from the same period are iconic.

I understand that Shearer didn't make a lot of great films but, then, neither did Louise Brooks. And yet, Brooks remains an icon to this day even though her career evaporated at the start of the talkie period. Fortune's fickle finger . . .

Shearer turned down a Big One, Mrs. Miniver, that might have rejuvenated her career, choosing a couple of weak comedies instead.


Her Wikipedia entry also states she turned down Now, Voyager and the Miriam Hopkins role in Old Acquaintance.

#90 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:44 PM

I understand that Shearer didn't make a lot of great films but, then, neither did Louise Brooks. And yet, Brooks remains an icon to this day even though her career evaporated at the start of the talkie period. Fortune's fickle finger . . .


Brooks made a magical impression in one undisputed classic, Pandora's Box. For her, it was enough - Brooks was never a big star at any time during her active career, strange to say when today she's a legend. Shearer was a superstar in her day without great beauty or talent whose vehicles haven't aged well. She made the most of what she had, though. Whereas a good time gal like Brooks gained immortality more or less by accident. Fortune, indeed.

Thanks for reviving this thread. :crying:


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