Archive for November, 2008

November 17, 2008

>The Irony

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I couldn’t avoid making a certain comparisson after seeing the photo on the left, almost a movie still extracted from the film Charlie Wilson’s War, directed by Mike Nichols. Oscar winner actors Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts play powerful political figures, and powerful they are in Hollywood as well. On the right, there’s Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in the classic All About Eve, both nominated for an academy award for playing the diva and the actress wanna-be, respectively. Only in one film the characters are rivals, what’s the similarity, then? Their out of focus starlets, of course. In the 1950 film, it was Marilyn Monroe, in one of her first supporting roles, just an insignificant beauty that soon would outshine not only the powerful lead actress, as well as everyone else in Hollywood. Could it be the case of our favourite new red-haired girl in a couple of years?
November 10, 2008

>In Hollywood happiness has always been a mith

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I’ve recently watched a short TV biography about the early 1940s actress Gene Tierney which aroused me to look for her films and watch them, neither because of her alluring screen presence nor her striking beauty, but because I’m really curious about her performances, especially in films like Laura (1944) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945). I’ve read a few opinions of her cinephile fans, and it seems like Gene was extremely underrated during her movie star years, and I suppose, even these days. Like many actresses “created” by the star system, she had neither technique nor working experience to become a great performer. Actually she was discovered while vacationing in Hollywood with her parents, and afterwards took a screen test that qualified her to the job. After all, it was all about beauty in the first place. Or charisma, name it how you’d like it.
Gene and her second daughter

But Gene was serious and dedicated to struggle in order to become a good performer, and I can only imagine how hard it was during those times. Even late in the 1950s, it wasn’t easy for Marilyn Monroe, who bravely took to NY City to learn how to be a method actress. Another actress from the 1940s, Rita Hayworth, was never allowed to take singing lessons, despite her great willing to. All the scenes from movies where she sings, it’s someone else’s voice. Stars had to be beautiful. And glamorous. Like Elizabeth Taylor during her MGM times. Of course there were a few exceptions, but powerhouse women in Hollywood from the first cinema era to 1960 was quite rare.

One can observe that many stars from the 1950s went on with their film career in the next decade and so on, whereas stars from the previous decades didn’t. In a way some of them were “lucky” for dying young, like Jean Harlow and even Marilyn Monroe, who was so attached to the star system that wouldn’t probably be able to deal with aging and the rise of new starlets. Some left for once in a classy act, like Greta Garbo, who claimed she wanted to be alone. Others faced the worst, like Rita Hayworth and her alzheimer disease, and even Gene, who collapsed in a nervous breakdown and ended up taking continuous electric shock treatments, and after that, she was never the same again. According to the docu footage, the cause of the breakdown lies in her personal life, the fact her first daughter was born death, blind and with a serious mental condition due to the measles Gene was infected with during her pregnancy. Which led her to depression wasn’t her child’s condition alone, but the fact she blamed herself for what happened, as she was possibly infected by a soldier woman who so desperately needed to see her beloved film star… Therefore she blamed her own fame. It’s funny how Monroe’s tragic death is the so named cause of the end of the star system. I believe it was broken little by little along the years.
November 5, 2008

>Isn’t Kate Deneuvely?

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You can read the article, see the cover and the rest of the photo shoot in which she channels Catherine Deneuve’s character from Belle de Jour on Vanity Fair’s website. Kate = wonderful.