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An appreciation of Grace Kelly


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#1 Mashinka

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 08:59 AM

Written to coincide with an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, this article is all about a teenage love affair with Grace Kelly.

She really was a screen icon and her very brief film career gave her a unique status amongst screen stars as she was always eternally young and beautiful to her adoring public. Much of the emphasis is on her clothes, but she was a star of the '50's and women's fashion was never more flattering than in that decade.

I visited her grave in the cathedral in Monaco a few years ago and joined a lengthy, slow moving queue for which a quick look at her resting place was a kind of modern pilgrimage. Sadly the wonderful pictures in the original newspaper article aren't reproduced on line, but the prose on its own conjures up memories. For the record my favourite among her films was To Catch a Thief.

http://www.independe...ly-1925369.html

#2 dirac

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:12 PM

Thanks for the article, Mashinka. Walsh sounds as if he's pretty far gone. :D Kelly was a beautiful woman and a decent actress. I love looking at her. She was certainly the perfect 50s mannequin. She also has a distinctive and appealing voice, like many great stars.

Rear Window is her best picture, I think.

#3 atm711

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:29 AM

[quote name='Mashinka' post='265419' date='Mar 23 2010, 12:59 PM']but she was a star of the '50's and women's fashion was never more flattering than in that decade.

Yes. and I never enjoyed wearing fashion more--it was the time of the 'Dior look'. I also visited her grave in Monaco and found it so sad---as I looked down at that cold slab circled by all the Grimaldis, I thought---how did this American girl end up here.....

#4 PeggyR

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:17 AM

When I was a child 1950's Philadelphia, I used to see trucks for her family's John B. Kelly Brickworks driving around. Somebody told me that was her father (or brother, or something). Somehow I could never make the connection between Grace Kelly and bricks. :wink:

#5 Mashinka

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:02 AM

I also visited her grave in Monaco and found it so sad---as I looked down at that cold slab circled by all the Grimaldis, I thought---how did this American girl end up here.....


She is buried close to her husband and near the home of her son, what is sad about that?

#6 dirac

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 11:07 AM

A link to the famous Howell Conant photograph of a bare-shouldered Kelly in the water. It was a departure for its time, a cover girl picture taken without obvious artifice. Note that Kelly’s head is at a slight angle; this was to downplay her square jaw. Nobody is quite perfect. :wub:

#7 sidwich

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 11:21 AM

When I was a child 1950's Philadelphia, I used to see trucks for her family's John B. Kelly Brickworks driving around. Somebody told me that was her father (or brother, or something). Somehow I could never make the connection between Grace Kelly and bricks.


Yes, the Kellys are quite prominent. When my mother worked on the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, one of the members of the USOC was John Kelly, her brother. I think the family has quite a history in crew.

#8 4mrdncr

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 05:52 PM

I have different memories of Grace Kelly...

I think it's odd that we all remember her for "To Catch a Thief", or "Rear Window", (Hitchcock and his blondes), or for myself "The Swan", rather than her Oscar winning "Country Girl" or even "High Noon". Was it because her poise and distinctive voice/accent never quite allowed us to believe her in those other roles? Personally, whenever I heard her, I always remembered F. Scott Fitzgerald's description of Daisy Buchanan's voice in "Great Gatsby": (paraphrasing because I don't have it in front of me...) her voice was "the sound of money". Yup, that said it all for me.

I also remember that she was a gracious, composed, private, and professional princess at the start of Lady Diana Spencer's ascension as the future Princess of Wales . It was sad Ms. Kelly died so shortly afterwards. I thought she (Grace) would have been a good role model for Diana, especially in the later years, when marital problems and the overwhelming (and annoying/obnoxious) overexposure in the press had begun to affect her and us.

A beautiful lady. And of course, we must all be grateful for her love of ballet, and efforts to sustain it here in the US and elsewhere.

#9 papeetepatrick

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:09 PM

I think it's odd that we all remember her for "To Catch a Thief", or "Rear Window", (Hitchcock and his blondes), or for myself "The Swan", rather than her Oscar winning "Country Girl" or even "High Noon". Was it because her poise and distinctive voice/accent never quite allowed us to believe her in those other roles? Personally, whenever I heard her, I always remembered F. Scott Fitzgerald's description of Daisy Buchanan's voice in "Great Gatsby": (paraphrasing because I don't have it in front of me...) her voice was "the sound of money". Yup, that said it all for me.


I think it's 'her voice is full of money'. Didion/Dunne did a take-off on it with Pfeiffer and Redford in their screenplay of 'Up Close and Personal'.

I didn't find that the case with Grace Kelly, but did think her unconvincing in 'the Country Girl' and not especially distinguished in 'High Noon' either (I always only remember Gary Cooper), as opposed to 'To Catch a Thief', which is the only thing I ever really remember vividly, because of this shining look she always had in it--she and Cary Grant do look good together. Maybe I get the 'voice full of money' part when the character obviously has it or is wearing it. Agree her death was very sad.

#10 dirac

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:35 PM

Was it because her poise and distinctive voice/accent never quite allowed us to believe her in those other roles?


I accepted her in High Noon and The Country Girl although the first is apprentice work and she's too pretty for the second. Her range as an actress doesn't seem to have been especially wide and even in 'upper class' roles she shows certain limitations. But, you know, who cares. :wub:

Daisy might have been a very good part for her, though - hadn't thought of that one.

The Swan is one of those movies I'd like to like more but can't quite. Kelly and Guinness have a wonderful rapport, though.

#11 dirac

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 11:57 AM

Vanity Fair cover story, by Laura Jacobs.

In The Face of the World, the photographer Cecil Beaton explains why the camera was insane for Grace Kelly. "She has, most important of all, a nice nose for photography: flat, it hardly exists at all in profile." This meant it wouldn't cast shadows that could trouble the cameraman. Furthermore, Beaton writes, "all photogenic people have square faces.…[Grace's] mouth, the tip of her nose, her nostrils—all are extremely sensitive. Their beauty is effective against the rugged background of the square face."

.........Grace was not unlike the ballerina Margot Fonteyn, another midcentury artist who was cherished for her aura of chastity and purity, a fairy-tale femininity girded for greater things. Fonteyn, it was later revealed, was accomplished in bed and often in bed. There is a connection between art and sex, with arousal in one realm speaking to arousal in another. Performers, like gods and goddesses, must assert themselves in space, which takes all kinds of energy pulled from all kinds of sources. While no one had a problem with this when it came to men and their muses, women of that era had to be quieter. Grace and Margot, who knew each other, were both quiet. But sex, Don Richardson remembers Grace saying, "put lights" in her eyes.


Hmmm......


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