There—I said it.
Norma Shearer Totally Deserved the Oscar for *The Divorcee*
|by Anonymous||reply 248||March 24, 2023 11:19 PM|
Joan Crawford said she was terribly "cross-eyed" and would have never made it in hollywood if she hadn't had connections.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||August 22, 2022 12:51 AM|
She deserved an award for fucking every powerful man in Hollywood, but it wasn't an Oscar she deserved.
She certainly did a lot with that wonky eye and so little else to offer...I'll give her that.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||August 22, 2022 1:25 AM|
^ “Don’t tell me! I fucked every one of you bastards on the way up.”
|by Anonymous||reply 3||August 22, 2022 1:42 AM|
Norma bravely paved the way for wonky-eyed Karen Black.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||August 22, 2022 1:47 AM|
At least they got her Oscar out of the way early . So no one felt obligated to give her one for Juliet or Marie Antoinette.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||March 1, 2023 6:59 PM|
I agree, OP! Nobody did art nouveau sophisticate as well as Norma. Norma's perforance record was uneven, but she had a natural ease in her onscreen presence, so even when she was 'mannered' or 'studied' it didn't feel forced or like it was hard work. I actually think her performance mode matches Streep quite a bit, minus the accents/impersonations. Sometimes its fun to watch them 'act' because they are good at what they do even if the artiface is evident.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||March 1, 2023 7:13 PM|
"She has such pretty little eyes — And they're so close together!"
|by Anonymous||reply 7||March 1, 2023 7:26 PM|
Greta Garbo and Ruth Chatterton were nominated. Either or both should have won that year.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||March 1, 2023 7:48 PM|
That ham didn't deserve an Oscar for anything, especially her portrayal of Marie Antoinette as a menopausal teen.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||March 1, 2023 7:55 PM|
I'm pretty sure Marie Antoinette was one of the first movies I ever saw, on our old b&w set in our den. I didn't realize it until years later when I saw it on TCM. I recognized some of the big scenes.
Norma was usually better in her more demanding roles, that other actresses were famous for playing on stage, such as Jane Cowl (Smilin' Through), Lynn Fontanne (Strange Interlude, Idiot's Delight), Katherine Cornell (Romeo and Juliet, The Barretts Of Wimpole Street) and Gertrude Lawrence (Private Lives). She was also great in A Free Soul (w/ Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, and Lionel Barrymore).
|by Anonymous||reply 10||March 1, 2023 8:29 PM|
Norma went a bit wild after Thalberg died.
She had a fling with Mickey Rooney and then a lengthy romance with George Raft.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||March 1, 2023 8:33 PM|
R11 And Jimmy Stewart.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||March 1, 2023 8:45 PM|
Jimmy knocked up Marlene Dietrich during the filming of “Destry Rides Again” and she had an abortion.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||March 1, 2023 8:50 PM|
I guess that's not surprising since she was married and her career wouldn't have survived it.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||March 1, 2023 8:57 PM|
A Broadway musical was actually based on the Shearer-Stewart affair with Ethel Merman as the movie star (Stars In Your Eyes).
|by Anonymous||reply 15||March 1, 2023 9:00 PM|
Ethel as Marlene. Wow.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||March 1, 2023 9:02 PM|
R16 No, as Norma Shearer
|by Anonymous||reply 17||March 1, 2023 9:03 PM|
R14, Don’t be so sure . . .
|by Anonymous||reply 18||March 1, 2023 9:05 PM|
Jimmy Stewart seems to have been quite the cocksman. Shearer, Dietrich, Kim Novak...
|by Anonymous||reply 19||March 1, 2023 9:31 PM|
R19, Ginger Rogers, as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||March 1, 2023 9:38 PM|
Look for me in the future where the primroses grow. And catch your man's pride with the rest! And from now on, your the only man in the world that my door is closed to!
|by Anonymous||reply 21||March 1, 2023 9:41 PM|
The scene with the above monologue.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||March 1, 2023 9:43 PM|
The R21 quote should be ... pack your man's pride ...
|by Anonymous||reply 23||March 1, 2023 9:54 PM|
R19 Olivia de Havilland was another of Jimmy's girlfriends. And Margaret Sullavan (not sure what kind of relationship they had). I think he also went out with Rita Hayworth. Not sure Kim Novak was a conquest, Jimmy was supposedly faithful to his wife once he got marries (at 41).
|by Anonymous||reply 24||March 1, 2023 10:05 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 25||March 1, 2023 10:06 PM|
Was Jimmy Stewart the only co-star Grace Kelly didn’t fuck?
|by Anonymous||reply 26||March 1, 2023 10:36 PM|
Grace was too busy with Bill Holden, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper and attempting to get Cary Grant in bed to have any time for skinny old Jimmy Stewart.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||March 1, 2023 10:56 PM|
Oh, how could I forget Clark Gable?
|by Anonymous||reply 28||March 1, 2023 10:57 PM|
I discovered Norma Shearer when I saw THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! the same week I saw THE WOMEN in that upper westside revival movie house in Manhattan.
Heaven! Even in that briefest of reaction shots to Clark Gable's "Puttin' on the Ritz" in IDIOT'S DELIGHT in TE!, she made a huge impression, only confirmed by her stellar and unforgettable performance as Mrs. Stephen Haines.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||March 1, 2023 11:01 PM|
Regarding "The Divorcee", have we ever talked about Chester Morris on DL? I think he was very hot, though I know nothing about his private life.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||March 1, 2023 11:05 PM|
Jungle Red, mother, Jungle Red!
|by Anonymous||reply 31||March 1, 2023 11:38 PM|
OP has not seen "The Divorcee."
|by Anonymous||reply 32||March 1, 2023 11:43 PM|
A profile that rivaled any Barrymore’s…
|by Anonymous||reply 33||March 1, 2023 11:44 PM|
R27, Don’t forget Ray Milland.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||March 1, 2023 11:44 PM|
Her range was narrower than one of my pussy hairs. , , , , , , He's a Burmese.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||March 1, 2023 11:45 PM|
Gosh, I love these old movie threads. Always learn something. Thanks, DLers.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||March 1, 2023 11:49 PM|
My grandmother had a crush on Chester Morris.
By 26 he was starting to look like a budgerigar. I do enjoy him in his B movies.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||March 1, 2023 11:58 PM|
Morris was married twice. He first married Suzanne Kilbourne on November 8, 1926. They had two children, John Brooks and Cynthia. Kilbourne was granted an interlocutory divorce in November 1939 which was finalized on November 26, 1940.
On November 30, 1940, Morris married socialite Lillian Kenton Barker at the home of actor Frank Morgan. They had a son, Kenton, born in 1944. The couple remained married until Morris' death in 1970.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||March 2, 2023 12:41 AM|
I must have seen that scene half a dozen times in MGM tribute shows and it always makes me cringe because of her bad acting.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||March 2, 2023 12:45 AM|
I know it’s de rigeur to make fun of Norma but I think she’s a fine actor. Not perfect by any stretch (who is) but certainly not offensive or amateurish in anything I’ve ever seen. I think she was wonderful in The Women and yes, in Marie Antoinette - especially the scene in which her son is taken from her.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||March 2, 2023 12:54 AM|
R1, Joan was threatened by Norma. And just about every other actress in Hollywood. Hollywood’s original mean girl.
I ADORE Norma.
As for Chester, yes. So sexy. Checkout “The Big House”. It’s terrific— and he’s terrific in it.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||March 2, 2023 1:00 AM|
Jimmy Stewart& Margaret Sullavan were married briefly in the 1930's. Op, is that correct?
|by Anonymous||reply 42||March 2, 2023 1:07 AM|
R38 - Kenton Brooks died in a plane crash in 2008 leaving no survivors. The obituaries don't mention his famous father (one does by name, but doesn't mention that he was an actor).
|by Anonymous||reply 43||March 2, 2023 1:18 AM|
No that was Henry Fonda.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||March 2, 2023 1:28 AM|
Sullavan married actor Henry Fonda on December 25, 1931, while both were performing with the University Players in its 18-week winter season in Baltimore, at the Congress Hotel Ballroom on West Franklin Street near North Howard St." Sullavan and Fonda separated after two months and divorced in 1933
|by Anonymous||reply 45||March 2, 2023 1:30 AM|
Funny about Jimmy. He's the most un-sexy star of the Golden Age.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||March 2, 2023 1:48 AM|
Thanks You OP, I knew it was one of those 2 men.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||March 2, 2023 1:49 AM|
At least Claudette Colbert had one good side.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||March 2, 2023 2:04 AM|
Janet Leigh was "discovered" by Norma Shearer, who saw a photo of her on her father's desk. Her folks were working at a ski resort and Miss Shearer, who was famously married to a skier, asked if she could borrow it. That led to Miss Leigh's screen test.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||March 2, 2023 2:19 AM|
Glad someone was brave enough to say it. In solidarity I will say Our American Cousin is a wonderful play, despite the unfortunate incident involving Mr. Lincoln.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||March 2, 2023 2:24 AM|
The only person who could calm and soothe Margaret Sullivan, was Jimmy Stewart.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||March 2, 2023 2:30 AM|
Another vote for sexy Chester Morris and “The Big House.”
|by Anonymous||reply 52||March 2, 2023 2:50 AM|
R49, Norma also “discovered “ Robert Evans by encouraging his casting in “Man of a Thousand Faces” because she thought he resembled Irving Thalberg who was portrayed in the film.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||March 2, 2023 3:13 AM|
Fonda and Sullavan weren't married long, but later in the 30s they costarred in a screwball comedy called The Moon's Our Home, rekindled their romance, and nearly got married again. They were close most of their lives and lived next door to each other, their kids were also close (Brooke Hayward and Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda and Bridget Hayward, and Bill Hayward). Brooke was married to Dennis Hopper, Peter's costar and director of Easy Rider. Fonda and Stewart were best friends.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||March 2, 2023 4:25 AM|
By the way Norma winner for The Divorcee over Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (and Romance) is almost comparable to Grace Kelly beating Judy Garland.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||March 2, 2023 4:39 AM|
After the divorce from Henry Fonda, Margaret Sullavan was married to director William Wyler, both marriages lasting only two years.
Sullavan died of an accidental overdose in 1960 at age 50 in New Haven, CT. She was in rehearsals for a play which continued on to Broadway with DL icon Arlene Francis replacing Sullavan, but the play was a huge flop.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||March 2, 2023 7:31 AM|
Why the hell are you talking about Margaret Sullavan in my damn thread! It's wrong! Shockingly wrong!!
|by Anonymous||reply 57||March 2, 2023 1:10 PM|
Should have won: Barbara Stanwyck, Frank Capra's LADIES OF LEISURE (not even nominated).
Shearer was nominated for TWO performances (also THEIR OWN DESIRE). Mrs. Thalberg had it rigged, I tell you.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||March 2, 2023 1:58 PM|
R58, Columbia, where LADIES OF LEISURE was made, was a small studio with limited resources to “push” their films. MGM did.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||March 2, 2023 2:07 PM|
…have the resources. Pushed my POST button too soon.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||March 2, 2023 2:07 PM|
Sullavan's longest marriage was to agent/producer Leland Hayward, for twelve years, then British producer Kenneth Wagg for ten years.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||March 2, 2023 2:27 PM|
As MGM indeed had the resources to push their films for Oscars, why do you suppose Garbo never won one, and wasn't even nominated that often?
|by Anonymous||reply 62||March 2, 2023 2:27 PM|
R22 My God, she was awful.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||March 2, 2023 2:27 PM|
Did actors participate in any sort of campaigning for Oscars in the 30s and 40s?
|by Anonymous||reply 64||March 2, 2023 2:28 PM|
[quote]Funny about Jimmy. He's the most un-sexy star of the Golden Age.
He's such a delicate thing
But when he starts into squeeze
You'd be surprised
He doesn't look very strong
But when you sit on his knee
You'd be surprised
At a party or at a ball
I've got to admit
He's nothing at all
But in a modest chair
You'd be surprised
He doesn't look like much of a lover
Don't judge a book by its cover
'cause he's got the face of an angel
But there's a devil in his eyes
|by Anonymous||reply 65||March 2, 2023 2:35 PM|
People need to read a good history of the Academy Awards.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||March 2, 2023 2:37 PM|
The reference to primroses is to the path to Hell, correct?
|by Anonymous||reply 67||March 2, 2023 2:42 PM|
Much like NoPAlmOil, I don't really get the hate for her.
She had an absolutely gorgeous face and wore clothes really well--despite being so tiny. I would love to see anyone do Mrs. Haines better than she did.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||March 2, 2023 2:53 PM|
[quote]I would love to see anyone do Mrs. Haines better than she did.
She was the weak link in that movie.
She was so annoying, it was very clear why her husband cheated on her with an old whole like Crystal.
"It's wrong. It's shockingly wrong!" is THE line to make fun of that phony mid-Atlantic MGM acting.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||March 2, 2023 2:56 PM|
R13, Jimmy Stewart always seemed so asexual and effete, I can’t imagine him impregnating ol’ man-face Marlene.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||March 2, 2023 3:20 PM|
Incidentally, Norma Shearer was Eva Peron's favorite actress as an Argentine teenager in the 1930s. She dreamed of becoming an movie star like her idol, who had also escaped a poverty-stricken childhood. However, as a actress in the 1940s, she purposely emulated Lana Turner.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||March 2, 2023 3:43 PM|
Evita looked trans.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||March 2, 2023 3:45 PM|
[quote]"It's wrong. It's shockingly wrong!" is THE line to make fun of that phony mid-Atlantic MGM acting.
I don't think Norma Shearer had a mid-Atlantic accent. She was a Canadian, she sounded Canadian or American to me. She pronounced her "r's" and didn't strike me as trying to sound remotely British.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||March 2, 2023 3:47 PM|
People are really over-using the Mid-Atlantic thing to describe anyone who spoke well.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||March 2, 2023 3:48 PM|
R72 sure, only to gay DLers who thinks everyone is gay or trans.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||March 2, 2023 3:49 PM|
I wonder if Myrna Loy had been considered for Mary Haines in THE WOMEN? She even was nicknamed The Perfect Wife in MGM publicity. Would the film have been very different with Myrna instead of Norma as Mary?
|by Anonymous||reply 76||March 2, 2023 5:45 PM|
I think Norma is fine in the part except she isn't great playing a mom (she supposedly was not a very good one in real life, either, but I don't know)., and her big phone "the divorce came through" scene is just overblown for this comedy. By the way, iirc, Irving Jr. became a professor, and her daughter had a boutique in Aspen and was involved in the community.
|by Anonymous||reply 77||March 2, 2023 5:54 PM|
I think the Oscar should have gone to the very underrated Nancy Carroll.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||March 2, 2023 6:04 PM|
I've liked Nancy Carroll in the few Paramount films I've seen her in. She was what they used to call "nervy" and fairly natural compared to Shearer's "grand dame" ways.
Sadly, she was also too temperamental, Paramount kicked her to the curb, and she was out of the business by 1938.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||March 2, 2023 6:29 PM|
R77, I really have to disagree with you about Norma's portrayal of motherhood in THE WOMEN. I think all of her scenes with Virginia (Little Mary) Weidler are incredibly warm and poignant and very realistic. Love them together even in the "home movies" we see. The two actresses were very well cast as mother and daughter and totally deliver (BRAVO Mr. Cukor!).
And while I have no definitive info about Norma as a good mother in real life, her two children were clearly well-brought up, even fatherless through most of their formative years, had interesting and successful careers (interestingly enough, outside of show biz) with happy marriages of their own, and never embarrassed their mother, unlike the children of Joan, Bette and Barbara, to name just three. That says something.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||March 2, 2023 7:51 PM|
Norma's acting style is laughably dated now.
Just like those shrill sopranos people in the 1930s seemed to like so much.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||March 2, 2023 8:01 PM|
Joian deserved to be embarrassed, r80, and not over any of her children's actions.
|by Anonymous||reply 82||March 2, 2023 8:07 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 83||March 2, 2023 8:07 PM|
R80 Well, I said she "isn't great" because it seems like she's giving a performance of what she thinks she should act like, at times. At other times, she's very good. I wasn't convinced she was really the girl's mother, unlike, say, Irene Dunne with the kids in My Favorite Wife. Not gonna lie because I do enjoy Norma's performances and her magnetism. But she was less artificial in the silent The Student Prince, let's say, where she was just lovely and touching.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||March 2, 2023 9:01 PM|
Slept with the boss. Douche and repeat.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||March 2, 2023 9:14 PM|
Shearer is especially inept as an actress when she tries to be "sexy" in her Pre-Code flicks.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||March 2, 2023 10:36 PM|
[quote] Just like those shrill sopranos people in the 1930s seemed to like so much.
Remember that recording technology was not very good. What you hear on a digitalized record is not what they sounded like.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||March 2, 2023 11:52 PM|
Could anyone really believe that Myrna Loy would cry over some guy leaving her? She seemed too chic, too worldly wise for that kind of role.
Anyway, I forgot who, but someone in their autobiography said that Norma told her her favorite thing to do on screen was cry. She was perfect for Mrs. Haines.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||March 2, 2023 11:57 PM|
^^It came to me. It was Agnes de Mille.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||March 2, 2023 11:58 PM|
I enjoy Norma Shearer's performances, partly because her acting style is dated. She's also watchable, she has on screen charisma regardless of her acting style, a combination of silent screen dramatics and great lady of the theater poses but dialed down enough to play to the camera rather than the back row balcony of a Broadway house.
|by Anonymous||reply 90||March 3, 2023 12:07 AM|
She sure was a dish.
Well, maybe more a platter.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||March 3, 2023 12:08 AM|
She seemed to convey the belief that she could convince one she was beautiful through the force of her will.
No, Norma. Desirable? No, Norma.
Appealing? At times.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||March 3, 2023 12:12 AM|
[quote] r62 As MGM indeed had the resources to push their films for Oscars, why do you suppose Garbo never won one, and wasn't even nominated that often?
Garbo didn't play the game. And she wasn't really that good of an actress. It was all about her mysterious, aloof image. Did she even do interviews?
|by Anonymous||reply 93||March 3, 2023 12:19 AM|
^I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t bowled over by Garbo’s acting. She is certainly a great screen presence but ranges from superlative (Camille) to self-parody (Grand Hotel where she’s outacted by Joan Crawford.) She was a much better actress in silents than talkies.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||March 3, 2023 12:50 AM|
Garbo was brilliant in “Ninotchka”. Even Bette Davis said that what Garbo did on the screen was witchcraft. An amazing actress and screen star. I love actresses like Shearer and Garbo who brought the best of their silent screen acting into modern age. They really knew how to handle a closeup without dialogue.
|by Anonymous||reply 95||March 3, 2023 1:16 AM|
Whatever we may think of her acting now, I believe Garbo was held in very high esteem by her peers and colleagues and certainly by the MGM studio heads, including LB Mayer. So it does seem strange to me that she wasn't awarded an Oscar.....except perhaps everyone knew she wouldn't appear at the ceremony to accept it (though that never prevented Kate Hepburn from getting her 4 Oscars).
|by Anonymous||reply 96||March 3, 2023 1:25 AM|
Did someone suggest upthread that Norma grew up poor?
I don't really know anything about her background, but I seem to remember that she had wanted to (and had the training to) be a classical pianist. Isn't that something that only sort of middle class and up families can afford for their children?
|by Anonymous||reply 97||March 3, 2023 1:29 AM|
R97 Wouldn't it be easier to just Google her biography?
|by Anonymous||reply 98||March 3, 2023 1:34 AM|
R94 Well. see, Garbo was miscast in Grand Hotel as a temperamental diva, and Crawford was playing a stenographer, which wasn't a stretch for her. And because Crawford was better in one movie it doesn't mean she was a better actress than Garbo.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||March 3, 2023 1:37 AM|
R98, well, I'd like to elicit conversation.
Also, we used to have a DL poster a few years ago who knew one of her kids.
|by Anonymous||reply 100||March 3, 2023 1:40 AM|
R100 Well I think you could have done this same research but here you go.
|by Anonymous||reply 101||March 3, 2023 1:45 AM|
I don't think Garbo is very good in Camille. I watched it a couple of years ago again, and was unimpressed with her and the movie. She is fun in Ninotchka, though, and I do like her in Anna Karenina.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||March 3, 2023 1:48 AM|
I think Garbo was great in Camille.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||March 3, 2023 2:07 AM|
Norma as "Lotta Miles" in a tire ad pre-fame.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||March 3, 2023 2:37 AM|
I understand why Norma won for the Oscar for “The Divorcee”. It is a difficult role that was totally against type. She was perceived by her own husband (Head of Production, Irving Thalburg) not to be sexy enough on screen to play the role. Joan Crawford would’ve been the natural choice though I’m not sure at that point in her career that she could’ve handled the complexities of Jerry’s predicament Norma was savvy enough to realize after seeing the incredible work of George Hurrell for Ramon Navarro that she needed some new photos Norma was definitely up to the challenge and made history by winning the Oscar but also putting Groerge Hurrell on the map. After this film she became known as “The First Lady of the Screen”. Nobody since has had the career of Norma being the Queen of the greatest movie studio.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||March 3, 2023 9:30 PM|
I waited many years to see this movie because as a kid I used to get Robert Osborne's first Academy Awards book out of the library, and I was intrigued by all the movies and performances I hadn't seen. I didn't see it until a few years ago on TCM. I found it hard to sit through. And as Lillian Hellman said, Norma had "a face unclouded by thought." But R105 is right. The film was a departure for her and she proved she could do it, which is often a reason for Oscars to be awarded.
|by Anonymous||reply 106||March 3, 2023 10:49 PM|
Lillian Hellman is not one to talk about any woman’s face. Maureen O’Sullivan who was featured in “The Barrettes of Wimple Street” said that Norma had the most expressive face. That was also one of her greatest performances and biggest hits.
|by Anonymous||reply 107||March 3, 2023 11:56 PM|
OP’s picture isn’t from “The Divorcee” but from “Strangers May Kiss”. I love that outfit though it’s only seen briefly in the movie.
|by Anonymous||reply 108||March 4, 2023 12:08 AM|
R107 It wasn't about the beauty of anyone's face, so who cares what Lillian Hellman's face looked like? She was talking about acting. And that was a problem for Norma. I was watching a movie with Crawford (who I don't like much) she was in bed, and she was listening to a conversation in another room. You could tell what she was thinking, and the thoughts changed. The same with Garbo, a similar scene - she heard people talking through the wall. You could see exactly what she was thinking. Norma would bite her bottom lip and shift her eyes, maybe wring her hands. I mean Hellman was exaggerating but Norma was not the best at it.
|by Anonymous||reply 109||March 4, 2023 2:53 PM|
I just want everyone to know that Norma forced the cameraman to expose for her face, so everyone else in the scene always looked a bit off.
That's the kind of gal she was.
|by Anonymous||reply 110||March 4, 2023 2:57 PM|
R110 She also wore super-light-colored pancake makeup. If you ever notice in a scene with her and a man, her skin is much, much lighter and it makes her seem to have 'alabaster' skin. No blemishes or wrinkles can be seen in this high-key lighting with the ghostly makeup.
|by Anonymous||reply 111||March 4, 2023 3:07 PM|
That style of makeup was typical of every leading lady in film from the dawn of time until at least 1970, r111.
|by Anonymous||reply 112||March 4, 2023 3:35 PM|
In a way you're right, in a way, not. They did wear light pancake but Shearer's makeup was relatively normal until she got into her 30s. I wouldn't have noticed it if it wasn't extra-pale. In Escape, and Marie Antoinette, for instance. And, having such extra-pale makeup, as someone else said, meant the scene had to be lit around her and everyone else was in shadow.
|by Anonymous||reply 113||March 4, 2023 3:43 PM|
Oh please, r113, you're trying too hard.
Just look at some stills from the films of Myrna Loy, Garbo, Jeanette MacDonald, Joan Crawford, Harlow, Hedy Lamarr, Greer Garson, Lana Turner, Kate Hepburn, even Luise Rainer as a Chinese peasant, against their leading men, ALL of those MGM ladies were treated with the same makeup and lighting in their b&w films as Norma.
Nothing unique to Norma about it. It was the studio style at MGM and all the major studios in the 1930s and 40s.
|by Anonymous||reply 114||March 4, 2023 3:54 PM|
R106 Lillian was probably jealous of Norma’s looks, something that she definitely didn’t have.
|by Anonymous||reply 115||March 4, 2023 4:08 PM|
R114 It's well-known Shearere wore white makeup base. No, Hepburn didn't. And other actors were often in the shade.
|by Anonymous||reply 116||March 4, 2023 4:18 PM|
I always thought she was great onscreen.
|by Anonymous||reply 117||March 4, 2023 4:18 PM|
r116, I hope you don't believe Joan is actually wearing darker makeup in that photo?
|by Anonymous||reply 118||March 4, 2023 7:09 PM|
[R-109] I know it wasn’t about the beauty. I was think of Hellman’s face and that she always had the same expression. Even when she was being interviewed by Dick Cavett it never changed. Anyway she was just trying to be clever because that quote was a funny review of Norma’s silent film “A Clouded Name”. Norma could act circles around Joan Crawford. When Joan finally got a part intended for Norma who turned it down (“Susan And God”) she was never convincing. Joan was never believable to me as a posh girl. She had great diction but it was always seemed a bit forced. Norma could patrician of an ordinary girl effortlessly. She had a marvelous speaking voice that was very natural. I like what Janet Leigh said about Norma her mentor of how in Norma’s scenes you could see the emotion washing over her face.
|by Anonymous||reply 119||March 5, 2023 3:32 AM|
[R-114] it’s true that Norma used an extra light base that was unique to her. It had something to do with how the color of her eyes photographed in those early films. The running joke was “Norma and her Ethiopian cast”. Everyone else was left in the shadows. Oddly enough she used a really light base in real life decades after she left the screen.
Even the pic with Tyrone Power she seems almost radioactive. As beautiful as he was he doesn’t stand a chance against Norma’s divine profile. In “Marie Antoinette” she was actually prettier than he.
|by Anonymous||reply 120||March 5, 2023 3:43 AM|
R114 See above
|by Anonymous||reply 121||March 5, 2023 3:38 PM|
Norma Shearer did deserve shit.
|by Anonymous||reply 122||March 5, 2023 3:40 PM|
I want to be alone
|by Anonymous||reply 123||March 5, 2023 6:12 PM|
She will always be “The First Lady of the Screen”.
|by Anonymous||reply 124||March 7, 2023 4:29 AM|
[quote]She seemed to convey the belief that she could convince one she was beautiful through the force of her will.
And your point?
|by Anonymous||reply 125||March 7, 2023 4:49 AM|
She was excellent when she was playing sexy young women suffering in satin for their misdeeds in the late 20s and earl 30s, but her roles became fearfully noble because that's how Irving Thalberg convinced her she could become the prestige queen of the MGM screen. So she played all those awful roles no one enjoys her in unless they just want to enjoy the camp: "The Barretts of Wimpole Street," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Marie Antoinette" ("Muh-MAH, I am to be Queen of FRAWNCE!"). Even in a fun film like "The Women" she's usually a pain in the ass as the noble, weeping wife, although she's at her best in that film when she gets to mix it up a bit with Crystal at the fashion show.
|by Anonymous||reply 126||March 7, 2023 4:56 AM|
I do hope R124 is referring to the grace with which Norma endured the process of going through security at the airport.
|by Anonymous||reply 127||March 7, 2023 4:57 AM|
[R-127] The problem sometimes is many people only look at things through their own times and their own point of reference. It’s hard to imagine the kind of fame adoration that Norma had during her time on the screen. [R-126] Norma was known as “The Queen of MGM” long before she ever made any of as you say “those awful roles that no one enjoys”. Let’s not forget that she was nominated for all three of those roles. She is to this day the only actress ever nominated in Oscar history as Juliet. Those films were successful with public when they were released. “The Barretts” were a huge box office hit. Norma image change was due in part because of the production code. The risqué roles that Norma excelled in weren’t being made. She actually channels some of that subversiveness into later roles. There is today no equivalent to Norma.
|by Anonymous||reply 128||March 7, 2023 11:09 PM|
I don't know if anyone's mentioned Smilin' Through (except me, once, above). It's a real tearjerker but not a syrupy one. Hard to describe. Norma plays a dual role (1800s, and WWI era) and I quite liked her in it, with Fredric March and Leslie Howard as her leading men. I don't think anyone could have played it better.
|by Anonymous||reply 129||March 7, 2023 11:21 PM|
She was amazing in “Smilin’ Through”.. .
|by Anonymous||reply 130||March 7, 2023 11:36 PM|
[quote]That style of makeup was typical of every leading lady in film from the dawn of time until at least 1970, [R111].
Not really, r112. It seems specific to leading ladies in the '30s (it wouldn't have worked in color films at all) and they didn't all use that particular very pale powder. Norma was one who did. I can't remember how Lambert described it. But on the few times he met with her, she was still wearing it.
|by Anonymous||reply 131||March 8, 2023 2:41 AM|
Case in point...
|by Anonymous||reply 132||March 8, 2023 2:45 AM|
I believe it was in her contract that no one else could use the same foundation powder.
|by Anonymous||reply 133||March 8, 2023 2:55 AM|
Very possibly, r133, I don't remember.
|by Anonymous||reply 134||March 8, 2023 2:56 AM|
[quote] “The Barretts” were a huge box office hit.
Kit Cornell did it better.
[quote] Norma image change was due in part because of the production code. The risqué roles that Norma excelled in weren’t being made.
She got old.
|by Anonymous||reply 135||March 8, 2023 2:59 AM|
I guess in those days (this was the early 1960s) older people couldn't do all that much about their teeth to make them look better.
A funny thing I notice today is that young stars will look very grungy sometimes with messy hair, stubble, thrift store clothes, but their teeth are blazing white and perfect.
|by Anonymous||reply 136||March 8, 2023 3:01 AM|
[quote]She got old.
She got grand lady.
|by Anonymous||reply 137||March 8, 2023 3:02 AM|
I imagine Norma was a smoker, r136.
|by Anonymous||reply 138||March 8, 2023 3:02 AM|
R128 If you put a dash between the R and the post number, the person you're replying to or referring to doesn't get the notification.
|by Anonymous||reply 139||March 8, 2023 3:03 AM|
R138 She might have been, or a coffee drinker. But people's just teeth deteriorate, as they get older, sometimes. Not everyone has great teeth.
|by Anonymous||reply 140||March 8, 2023 3:05 AM|
With Van Johnson
|by Anonymous||reply 141||March 8, 2023 3:11 AM|
Other candids from that blog
|by Anonymous||reply 142||March 8, 2023 3:54 AM|
^ Whatever happened to *style*?
|by Anonymous||reply 143||March 8, 2023 4:08 AM|
Norma was a smoker which wasn’t unusual for the time and she drank coffee. At least we know that she had her own teeth.
R135, Kit may have been better but she got to practice every night. Kit didn’t photograph as well as Norma for the screen. Norma received her fourth Oscar nomination for the role of Elizabeth.
Age was not the issue, it was censorship. Mae West was a great example of that. When Mae started in films she well into her forties. Mae was smart enough to know that the fans and critics wouldn’t buy her in Shakespearean and grand lady roles. Norma had the versatility to do almost any kind of role and make it work. It’s a pity that she retired at forty.
|by Anonymous||reply 144||March 10, 2023 12:25 PM|
The only reason ROMEO AND JULIET is bearable is Oliver Messel, for his sets and costumes. He was truly fabulous!
|by Anonymous||reply 145||March 10, 2023 8:10 PM|
[quote] Kit may have been better but she got to practice every night.
True, though I also meant to add that the Barretts of Wimpole Street was a box office sensation everywhere--long before they made the movie. It was huge in London and in New York--so there was already an audience for that sort of thing.
Also, a lot of stage actresses complained that Hollywood actresses were ripping off (by mimicking) their performances--the interpretations that they came up with for a character. (Way of speaking, gestures, etc.) Certainly, Tallulah Bankhead thought BD was doing this to her and that she should have gotten the parts in film, since she originated them on the stage.
This doesn't really happen so much these days, but a lot of Hollywood actresses used to fly to Hollywood to see the original productions that they would later take over in film. (Barbara Stanwyck, too, loved catching up on all the new plays.)
|by Anonymous||reply 146||March 11, 2023 1:36 AM|
Thalburg actually filmed “Private Lives” with Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence so that Norma and Robert Montgomery had a guide to go by for the film version which they are excellent in. R145, the best costumes in “Romeo and Juliet” are Norma’s and they were designed by Adrian. “”The Barrett’s of Wimpole Street” was a huge hit in the American heartland as well as the cities.
|by Anonymous||reply 147||March 11, 2023 2:32 AM|
Pia Zadora bought Mary Pickford’s estate and demolished it then built a huge ass mansion on the lot. She sold it for 15 mil in 2006
|by Anonymous||reply 148||March 11, 2023 2:36 AM|
R147 I thought it was just a sound recording, so they'd know how to time for the laughs.
|by Anonymous||reply 149||March 11, 2023 4:19 AM|
Private Lives is probably Norma's best comedy, though she's not particularly great in it. Comedy wasn't something she excelled at (she was no Colbert or Jean Arthur). By the way, Jennifer Jones was great in the remake of The Barretts Of Wimpole Street, in the '50s (directed - as was the original - by Sidney Franklin).
|by Anonymous||reply 150||March 11, 2023 4:52 AM|
I know Greer Garson took Norma Shearer's mantle at MGM as their prestigious "great lady" dramatic star, but Jennifer Jones, due to Selznick's backing, was also a star in the Shearer mold in certain respects.
|by Anonymous||reply 151||March 11, 2023 11:51 AM|
I love Norma BECAUSE of the cast in her eye, her short, stumpy, inelegant legs, etc. Desire these obstacles she made the absolute most of her good features (her profile was exquisite and she made sure we saw it often, even when she was out and about in real life) and rise to the top of the top movie studio of the time, MGM.
Yes, of course her marriage to Thalberg (which she laboriously engineered and which took her years before he finally proposed) helped, but audiences responded to her. Her films were mostly big hits and if they hadn't been, her husband would not have been able to keep putting her in starring roles. She also was apparently a very good wife to him and that must have been challenging, considering his sickliness.
All the things Crawford hated Shearer for were things she was envious about, because if she could have married Thalberg to help her career, she absolutely would have. Ditto being able to use whiter pancake makeup to stand out - of Joan would have had the pull to insist on that, she would have.
Don't get me wrong - I enjoy both women's movies. But let's not pretend Joan Crawford was a saint and Norma Shearer. evil incarnate. They were both a couple of nobodies who were insanely ambitious and hard-working and became silver screen divas by sheer force of will, and that's why I love 'em.
|by Anonymous||reply 152||March 11, 2023 2:31 PM|
I remember seeing these photos (there's a set) from the Tailwaggers ball (Bette Davis was I think the head of the organization - to raise funds for stray dogs). Norma with Bette and Miriam Hopkins. I recall reading that Bette actually wanted Norma for her costar in The Old Maid, and asked her to do it (which would have necessitated Warner Bros. borrowing Norma from MGM). This struck me as somewhat odd, as Bette's was really the better role - as well as the title role. Did Bette seriously expect Norma to play "the other lead"? Not really subordinate, but much of the sympathy goes to Bette's role.
|by Anonymous||reply 153||March 11, 2023 3:54 PM|
R153, Bette despised Miriam Hopkins.
|by Anonymous||reply 154||March 11, 2023 6:22 PM|
I don't think she liked acting beyond it being her job. Relatively soon after Irving died, she sent her children away, quit acting, and spent the remaining decades of her life on vacation (skiing).
|by Anonymous||reply 155||March 11, 2023 6:24 PM|
R154 That is true, but did she despise her before working with her? (Also I found it odd Miriam is sitting with Bette in all these photos from the event. if they hated each other so much they seemed very chummy.)
|by Anonymous||reply 156||March 11, 2023 8:07 PM|
I don't think she liked acting beyond it being her job.
R155 She did seem to give up on it pretty quick - but when was the last time she had gotten any great reviews or Academy nominations? Maybe she realized she was past her prime - or that she had to face playing mothers of grown children (as they wanted her to do in Mrs Miniver) and didn't want to do that.
What makes me suspect she liked acting is that she didn't just play easy, glamour roles. Which she could have. She chose to play roles like Juliet and sickly Elizabeth Barrett Browning (The Barretts Of Wimpole Street) and Marie Antoinette. These were "acting" roles. And all the big scenes and even the costumes in Marie Antoinette must have been hard work to go through.
|by Anonymous||reply 157||March 11, 2023 8:15 PM|
Norma "camera ready" at the premiere of Young Bess (1953) with the stars of the film, Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, all seemingly caught unawares.
|by Anonymous||reply 158||March 11, 2023 8:39 PM|
I can only admire Norma for retiring when she did and going out by her own choice and on top. I would imagine she felt, justifiably, that she'd accomplished everything and more she'd set out to do, could see the younger stars encroaching and probably wasn't thrilled with the aging she saw in herself in The Women and the next couple of films. She'd made a great new marriage and she was smart to enjoy it and live off all that precious MGM stock.
r153, I'm wondering if the film Bette wanted Norma for was Old Acquaintance? That would have made more sense logically than The Old Maid.
r142, thanks for that link with all the fabulous Norma photos. I can't help but notice in all of those b&w candids, and there must be at least 40 of them, Norma never looks paler than any of the other women in the same photos.
And I'm pleased to se this thread is turning a bit more pro-Norma!
|by Anonymous||reply 159||March 11, 2023 8:41 PM|
R159 I was the one who broought up her ghostly makeup, but I only said it was onscreen.
Yes, you're right, it must have been Old Acquaintance.
|by Anonymous||reply 160||March 11, 2023 8:58 PM|
[quote] I can't help but notice in all of those b&w candids
You can't do that "white makeup" trick with candid photos.
On a movie--using film--in that time, you only had a few options of dealing with this woman. You either closed the aperture of the lens a bit (which would also affect how deep the scene was in focus) OR turn down the lights a bit, which was hard to deal with because they had standard sets and the crew was used to having the lights set a certain way for all the movies. (Also, you really didn't want to waste shitloads of film experimenting.)
Not to mention, the movies are in B&W, but we don't (and they didn't) live in a B&W world. Someone as vain as Norma would never show up to a party with starch white foundation on her face.
|by Anonymous||reply 161||March 13, 2023 9:32 AM|
It was a question of her using white makeup on set and how that worked with the key light on her face (I assume). The effect would be to hide wrinkles/blemishes and give the skin that alabaster look. As well as put her under-chin and neck in the shadows.
|by Anonymous||reply 162||March 13, 2023 4:53 PM|
I just wanted to add I notice, when I see her onscreen, her somewhat stumpy arms and fingers. Usually I don't even notice hands or arms onscreen but hers are hard to miss. When she makes expansive gestures, it looks kind of weird. Similarly, I've noticed Jennifer Jones has very long fingers and long hands.
|by Anonymous||reply 163||March 13, 2023 4:56 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 164||March 13, 2023 4:59 PM|
I, for one, think Jennifer Jones is one of the worst actresses in Golden Age Hollywood history. That mealy-mouthed way she spoke drives me nuts. She was pretty, in a refreshing way as an ingenue, I'll give her that. But as she grew into more mature roles in the late 1940s, her looks became less interesting. David Selznick foisted her into roles that were beyond her capabilities in a way that Irving Thalberg never did with Norma Shearer.
There was really nobody like Norma in the 1930s, an actress with with so little physical beauty, who could, nevertheless, convince audiences of her leading lady status by her charismatic presence onscreen, well beyond her humble beginnings. I imagine for a lot of the female population, which was probably the majority of her fandom, she held the promise: If I can do it, so can you.
|by Anonymous||reply 165||March 13, 2023 6:56 PM|
R165, I agree with you about Norma but on the surface she may not have had conventional beauty but she had an exquisitely shaped head and neck, perfect shoulders which inspired Adrian to create the halter. Adrian may have created the padded shoulder look because Crawford’s were considered too broad but Norma inspired him highlight what was great about her body. Of course Norma had no peer when it came to her patrician profile. Not even Garbo, Del Rio or Crawford could touch it and she always made sure that she was photographed in a way that it was visible.
She had a lot of strikes against her but how she manage to downplay them and highlight her good features was amazing. Even in her films it’s not easy to spot her eye condition.
|by Anonymous||reply 166||March 13, 2023 7:45 PM|
R166, My lazy eye never hindered my career.
|by Anonymous||reply 167||March 13, 2023 8:30 PM|
R165 Yeah some people hate her. I don't think anyone has ever played Emma Bovary better. I thought she was perfect as Bernadette and I liked her a lot in Love Letters, Since You Went Away, Ruby Gentry and Portrait Of Jennie. And (despite playing Eurasian) I enjoyed her in Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing. Also good in The Barretts of Wimpole Street. Not great in everything, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 168||March 14, 2023 1:14 AM|
Jennifer was great playing ingenues, and later, playing warmhearted older women. But she was laughable playing fiery sirens and whores. I think she's hilariously awful in Ruby Gentry and Duel in the Sun.
|by Anonymous||reply 169||March 14, 2023 3:10 AM|
Jennifer Jones is lovely in "Portrait of Jennie" and quite good in comedy playing the lady plumber in Ernst Lubitsch's "Cluny Brown".
|by Anonymous||reply 170||March 14, 2023 3:50 AM|
[quote] What makes me suspect she liked acting is that she didn't just play easy, glamour roles. Which she could have. She chose to play roles like Juliet and sickly Elizabeth Barrett Browning (The Barretts Of Wimpole Street) and Marie Antoinette.
She enjoyed pretending to cry--as she told Agnes de Mille. It was her favorite thing to do in a role.
She picked the perfect roles for herself in that respect.
|by Anonymous||reply 171||March 14, 2023 4:00 AM|
Have you seen that documentary Complicated Women? Norma is in it a lot.
|by Anonymous||reply 172||March 14, 2023 4:02 AM|
Yeah, Mick LaSalle, the SF Chronicle writer who authored the book, seemed to have a real hard-on for Norma.
|by Anonymous||reply 173||March 14, 2023 3:53 PM|
There's nothing wrong with that, R173
|by Anonymous||reply 174||March 14, 2023 4:48 PM|
R174, She took every inch.
|by Anonymous||reply 175||March 14, 2023 6:25 PM|
[quote]Someone as vain as Norma would never show up to a party with starch white foundation on her face.
Take it up with Gavin Lambert. She was wearing the pale powder/foundation in his meetings with her.
|by Anonymous||reply 176||March 14, 2023 6:37 PM|
“I made 30 stag films and I never faked an orgasm!”
|by Anonymous||reply 177||March 14, 2023 6:54 PM|
R169 She starts out kind of big in Ruby Gentry then settles down, actually.
|by Anonymous||reply 178||March 14, 2023 6:56 PM|
R171 I don't think she cried in Strange Interlude or Barretts. Maybe R&J, I'm not sure. If she did it was no more than was called for by the roles I'm sure.
|by Anonymous||reply 179||March 14, 2023 6:59 PM|
R176, Unfortunately, that is no longer possible.
|by Anonymous||reply 180||March 14, 2023 7:22 PM|
Oh, ye of little belief, r180.
|by Anonymous||reply 181||March 14, 2023 7:29 PM|
Nobody has mentioned one of her best films, ESCAPE. It's really good and she's wonderful in it.
|by Anonymous||reply 182||March 14, 2023 8:06 PM|
R182, Her co-star, Alla Nazimova, was godmother to DL icon, Nancy Reagan.
|by Anonymous||reply 183||March 14, 2023 8:12 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 184||March 14, 2023 8:15 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 185||March 14, 2023 8:31 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 186||March 14, 2023 8:34 PM|
[quote] She was excellent when she was playing sexy young women suffering in satin for their misdeeds in the late 20s and earl 30s, but her roles became fearfully noble because that's how Irving Thalberg convinced her she could become the prestige queen of the MGM screen.
R126 Also film styles changed after the early 30s, because of the introduction of the Production Code. Norma couldn't play those roles any more, they didn't exist. There was a historical/costume film trend, as well, in the mid-to-late 30s.
|by Anonymous||reply 187||March 15, 2023 2:15 AM|
Norma was one of the few who excelled at both. Norma was already a prestige artist before the Production Code. Her name was 5he only name above the title and she was already nicknamed “The First Lady of the Screen”.
|by Anonymous||reply 188||March 15, 2023 2:43 AM|
How do you explain the great success of The Barretts of Wimpole Street in Depression-torn America? It's hard to imagine audiences craving that kind of bs, especially back then. I get the appeal of the Dickens adaptations Selznick promoted, at least they were based on great stories, even the Jeanette ad Nelson MGM operettas. but Barretts is a real head-scratcher for me.
|by Anonymous||reply 189||March 15, 2023 2:06 PM|
It was a Cornell hit on Broadway, r189, and with “The First Lady of the Screen”....wouldn't you expect it to be a hit?
|by Anonymous||reply 190||March 15, 2023 4:21 PM|
Thalberg is the one who pushed her into great lady sentimental material like "Smilin' Through" and "Barretts"....she herself was the one who wanted to do the sexy lady roles in "The Divorcee" and "A Free Soul."
|by Anonymous||reply 191||March 15, 2023 6:44 PM|
Thalberg wanted Kit to do the movie. He even promised that if she didn't like the results, he'd burn the negative, but she still said no. (Of course, who knows if that was true or the publicity dept.)
|by Anonymous||reply 192||March 15, 2023 7:32 PM|
This is Kit's only movie appearance.
|by Anonymous||reply 193||March 15, 2023 9:12 PM|
Lon McAllister is the squeeing little gay fanboi who recognizes her.
|by Anonymous||reply 194||March 15, 2023 9:30 PM|
When patriotism actually meant something.
|by Anonymous||reply 195||March 15, 2023 9:40 PM|
R193, thank you for posting the clip of Katherine Cornell. She was very beautiful I loved seeing her perform Juliet. After watching this now I really understand why Norma was tasked with playing the role. Katherine’s reciting was exquisite and Norma brings a naturalness to her reading of Juliet. I couldn’t see Stanwyck or Crawford playing Juliet. Not even Davis or Hepburn who would both be to distracting with their mannerisms and New England accents.
|by Anonymous||reply 196||March 15, 2023 9:47 PM|
Hepburn was never a Juliet, r196, but she did just fine with Shakespeare.
|by Anonymous||reply 197||March 15, 2023 9:52 PM|
Criminy Judy I thought my 12yo cock was gonna fall off!
|by Anonymous||reply 198||March 15, 2023 10:15 PM|
Mickey got spooked when he looked into one of Norma's eyes and saw the other one.
|by Anonymous||reply 199||March 16, 2023 12:11 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 200||March 16, 2023 12:15 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 201||March 16, 2023 12:43 AM|
Were there any BIG Hollywood stars (close to Norma's caliber) in their early twenties who could have been reasonably cast as Juliet in 1936?
I don't think so.
|by Anonymous||reply 202||March 16, 2023 3:43 AM|
It didn't matter. Back then Juliet was being played by old bags on stage.
|by Anonymous||reply 203||March 16, 2023 3:51 AM|
R189 It's a good story, well made, with three top stars and a pre-sold title. Top-grossing films of 1934:
|by Anonymous||reply 204||March 16, 2023 6:10 AM|
This 1/2 year old thread only had 3 or 4 replies until someone revived it by posting this month.
|by Anonymous||reply 205||March 16, 2023 6:25 AM|
[quote] How do you explain the great success of The Barretts of Wimpole Street in Depression-torn America?
Are you joking?
Americans, at that time, LOVED British stuff. All of our actors learned to speak in a fakey half-Brit accent ("mid-Atlantic). (And if they couldn't get Brit, they would settle for Boston Brahmin accent--our closest thing.) Half of our actors (especially in smaller parts) were Brits themselves.
It seems strange today, but anything that did well in the UK was guaranteed to do well here.
|by Anonymous||reply 206||March 16, 2023 6:58 AM|
The Barretts Of Wimpole Street, strangely enough, as a play, was very, very hard to get off the ground in the US. The playwright tried over and over with very little success until Katherine Cornell showed an interest in it.
MGM (where Barrett's was eventually filmed) was the most Anglophile of the studios. The few years David O. Selznick was there he did some Dickens adaptations.
Obviously not "all" of our actors learned to speak in a mid-Atlantic accent. I'm not sure who really did. Cary Cooper, Clark Gable. Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers, Alice Faye, Jean Harlow didn't. Some stars already had English accents - Merle Oberon, Charles Laughton, Basil Rathbone. And some stars had other accents: Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Greta Garbo.
|by Anonymous||reply 207||March 16, 2023 7:16 AM|
[quote] The Barretts Of Wimpole Street, strangely enough, as a play, was very, very hard to get off the ground in the US
Just for fun, I grabbed by Portable Dorothy Parker to re-read her review of Barretts.
But I would like to list the plays that she reviewed for the New Yorker during 1931--
The Barretts of Wimpole Street Give Me Yesterday (written by AA Milnes of "Winnie-the-Poo fame") The Admirable Crichton by James Barrie The Silent Witness (written by Jack de Leon and Jack Celestin, British murder mystery) Gettin' Married (by GB Shaw)
Literally, the Brits took over Broadway--our spoken theatre was always anglo.
|by Anonymous||reply 208||March 16, 2023 7:47 AM|
^^MY Portable Dorothy, not by
|by Anonymous||reply 209||March 16, 2023 7:47 AM|
But I would like to list the plays that she reviewed for the New Yorker during 1931--
The Barretts of Wimpole Street
Give Me Yesterday (written by AA Milnes of "Winnie-the-Poo fame")
The Admirable Crichton by James Barrie
The Silent Witness (written by Jack de Leon and Jack Celestin, British murder mystery)
Gettin' Married (by GB Shaw)
|by Anonymous||reply 210||March 16, 2023 7:48 AM|
Mae Murray would have made a hysterical Juliet.
|by Anonymous||reply 211||March 16, 2023 5:25 PM|
So would I.
|by Anonymous||reply 212||March 16, 2023 7:05 PM|
Mae Clarke's Juliet woulda gotten a grapefruit in the face.
|by Anonymous||reply 213||March 16, 2023 7:15 PM|
Olivia deHaviland played Hermia the year before and could have played Juliet. But she wasn't at MGM. (Interestingly, Livvy played it on bway 10 years later.)
|by Anonymous||reply 214||March 16, 2023 7:16 PM|
Like I said, r214...old bags.
|by Anonymous||reply 215||March 16, 2023 7:18 PM|
Or what about Livvy's sister Joan who was YEARS YOUNGER?
|by Anonymous||reply 216||March 16, 2023 8:26 PM|
Deanna Durbin? Or Judy?
|by Anonymous||reply 217||March 16, 2023 8:55 PM|
Deanna could certainly sing Juliet, from Gounod's opera.
|by Anonymous||reply 218||March 16, 2023 9:34 PM|
I Want to Live, Deanna? I think not.
|by Anonymous||reply 219||March 16, 2023 9:39 PM|
Maybe MGM could have cast Mickey Rooney and Ann Rutherford as Romeo and Juliet.
|by Anonymous||reply 220||March 16, 2023 9:41 PM|
More likely Freddie Bartholomew and Maureen O'Sullivan.
|by Anonymous||reply 221||March 16, 2023 9:42 PM|
No movie at that time would have dared suggest two teenagers spent the night together.
|by Anonymous||reply 222||March 16, 2023 9:42 PM|
(...by casting actual teenagers.)
|by Anonymous||reply 223||March 16, 2023 9:42 PM|
Excuse me, I was 20 in 1936! That cross-eyed old bag, Norma, was 34!
|by Anonymous||reply 224||March 16, 2023 9:43 PM|
Oh, they'd have changed it by having the Nurse sleep in the room with them as a chaperone.
|by Anonymous||reply 225||March 16, 2023 9:43 PM|
R219 Glad you can understand French, Susie
|by Anonymous||reply 226||March 16, 2023 9:50 PM|
I want everyone to imagine Miss Bette Davis' delivery of this line...
[quote]"O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."
|by Anonymous||reply 227||March 16, 2023 9:50 PM|
Je pleurerai demain, r226.
|by Anonymous||reply 228||March 16, 2023 9:56 PM|
|by Anonymous||reply 229||March 16, 2023 10:12 PM|
I love Norma. But she needed to speak a bit faster in The Women. I don't think that film shows her at her best and she's overshadowed by some of other performances.
I would have liked to see her in Susan and God. She and Fredric March always had such great chemistry. Joan was a dud in the role.
|by Anonymous||reply 230||March 16, 2023 11:40 PM|
[quote]Joan was a dud in the role.
She sucked rocks, r230.
|by Anonymous||reply 231||March 16, 2023 11:49 PM|
Norma was the only actress ever nominated for an Oscar as Juliet. My favorite scene is the ball scene.
|by Anonymous||reply 232||March 17, 2023 2:56 AM|
That dress catches all of the light. It’s a pity that Norma didn’t preserve her dresses. They were truly works of art.
|by Anonymous||reply 233||March 17, 2023 3:06 AM|
[quote] Norma was the only actress ever nominated for an Oscar as Juliet. My favorite scene is the ball scene.
Agnes de Mille did a lot of research trying to get that scene right. I believe she asked for (and got) a composer to make the song in the signature most common in the middle ages for this kind of dancing.
|by Anonymous||reply 234||March 17, 2023 3:12 AM|
Jaime Lee should thank Norma for for her existence.
|by Anonymous||reply 235||March 17, 2023 3:15 AM|
R227 Bette Davis did play Juliet with Leslie Howard (in a comedy, with Olivia de Havilland).
|by Anonymous||reply 236||March 17, 2023 10:41 AM|
Well, if anyone still has any doubts about who this Shearer woman was and why she was so great, why audiences were enraptured by her, please watch that Janet Leigh tribute at r235, a great encapsulation of Norma's persona and career.
|by Anonymous||reply 237||March 17, 2023 1:29 PM|
Poor Joan, having to seethe her way through this movie.
|by Anonymous||reply 238||March 17, 2023 4:57 PM|
That’s about as close as Bette need to get near Shakespeare. Olivia looks lovely and was so shrewd to never be threatening to Bette.
|by Anonymous||reply 239||March 19, 2023 1:44 PM|
A study in profiles...
|by Anonymous||reply 240||March 20, 2023 12:14 AM|
There are two iconic roles that Norma would have been amazing in had she chose to resume her career. Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” and Blanch Hudson in “WHTBJ”. I also 5hink that she would have been great in “Now Voyager” and “Mrs. Miniver”. I wish that they would colorize “Marie Antoinette”
|by Anonymous||reply 241||March 23, 2023 2:35 AM|
[quote]Norma would have been amazing in had she chose to resume her career. Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” and Blanch Hudson in “WHTBJ”. I also 5hink that she would have been great in “Now Voyager” and “Mrs. Miniver”.
Each actress who played those parts was far better in them than Norma would have been.
|by Anonymous||reply 242||March 23, 2023 2:41 AM|
Three of those roles she turned down but we will never know. The only one that won an Oscar for any of those roles was Greer Garson in “Mrs. Miniver”. Joan wasn’t even nominated for Blanch.
|by Anonymous||reply 243||March 23, 2023 3:05 AM|
R243 Well, you're right, we'll never know. But those were four roles where the actresses seemed perfectly cast, to me.
If there was ever a remake of Dodsworth she might have made a good Fran Dodsworth.
|by Anonymous||reply 244||March 23, 2023 3:47 AM|
|by Anonymous||reply 245||March 24, 2023 2:00 AM|
It's interesting to thing of... Does anyone think there would have been a remake of Dodsworth after the original?
Like, did the American public have an interest (or an understanding, even) of that kind of story post WWII?
|by Anonymous||reply 246||March 24, 2023 9:20 PM|
R246 If you have a subscription the NYT here's an article about plans for a 1991 remake. There were plans for several other remakes over the years that didn't happen. It was also done on TV in the 50s.
|by Anonymous||reply 247||March 24, 2023 11:16 PM|
R246 I don't think the public would find the story hard to understand. It seems pretty relevant today with so many people having a horror of growing older.
|by Anonymous||reply 248||March 24, 2023 11:19 PM|