>In Hollywood happiness has always been a mith


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.

16 Comments to “>In Hollywood happiness has always been a mith”

  1. >that's an interesting story about gene tierney's baby. one of agatha chritie's murder mysteries used that premise as the reason for a character getting killed

  2. >thats really interesting, and your right about people like marilyn being "lucky" for dying young

  3. >I'm not sure if we can say it was "lucky" to die young… some like Audrey Hepburn died (in her case of cancer if i'm not mistaken)but also kept their elegance, while others like Liz Taylor are ageing very badly!I love that picture of Gene and her daughter… I've just posted about Pearls and that photo of her with that fabulous pearl necklace would have fit perfectly.

  4. >Romeika, conheço pouco da filmografia de Gene Tierney. Na verdade, que eu me lembre só assisti dois filmes com ela: "Em Busca do Prazer" e "O 4º Mandamento". Além de muito bonita, mostrou talento.Bjos!

  5. >Nursemyra, I believe I've heard about it before.AusAnna, yes, perhaps in a way it was.The Stiletto Effect, yes, but it's just a guess. Audrey was a very special lady, and as for Liz Taylor, she suffered a lot along her life.Kau, eu nunca vi nenhum filme da Gene Tierney, soh cenas em clipes curtos. Vc me animou ainda mais para ver os filmes dela, bjs!

  6. >Romeika, não conheço muita coisa sobre a Gene Tierney e, por isso, seu texto foi muito explicativo para mim. Que triste a história dela! E eu concordo com você o star system foi morrendo aos poucos no passar dos anos…

  7. >Kamila, eu nao conhecia nada ate assistir esta minibiografia dela (de uma olhada no link no inicio do texto, caso tenha interesse em saber um pouco mais). E realmente, triste demais a historia dela.

  8. >Não conhecia a atriz e nem essa história Romeika!

  9. >Cassiano, acho que sao muitos os cinefilos que desconhecem o nome da atriz.

  10. >i think you are spot on about marilyn not being able to handle holding growing old in hollywood. also – i love you in red!

  11. >Wow, great post. Really got me interessted and actuallty thinking about the point in question. Really want to get to know the actress!Ciao!

  12. >i think everyone has problems. but 'stars' are much more in the limelight than most, so their problems seem larger than life. like in greek tragedy, the higher you are, the farther one seems to fall.

  13. >Seraphine, this is so true.

  14. >ADORO assistir filmes desta 'era', amo tudo sobre eles: as atrizes (e atores), os costumes, sets, maquiagem…tao glamoroso (is that a word? Oops, meu portuingles…)Gene Tierney e muito linda!Agora quero alugar um destes filmes!

  15. >I know very little about films & actresses from the 40s. I think my interest in classic film tends to wane with the beginning of the war. However, this is a fascinating post that makes me want to take a look at her movies. And how very sad.

  16. >Brigadeiro, seu portugues eh otimo! heheAmbika, I don't know that much about the 1940s either, I'm like you, my fav stars are those from the post-war period. Glad you liked the post:-)

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