Sunday Reads: What shall we hang…the holly or each other?Posted: December 22, 2013 Filed under: abortion rights, American Gun Fetish, Fox News, History, income inequality, just because, morning reads, public education, Real Life Horror, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Women's Healthcare | Tags: Claire Davis, classic movies, Duck Dynasty, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, EPA, Jaycee Dugard, John C. Beale, open thread, Peter O'Toole, Scott Gurney, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Terry McAuliffe 40 Comments
**Post updated below**
“I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.”
Actor Peter O’Toole, who died last week at 81, in a note to himself as a young man.
So says a minor character toward the end of 2006’s “Venus,” looking at an obituary photo of an elderly actor named Maurice. The actor is played by Peter O’Toole, and God, he was.
Funny, that quote above about the scene from Venus…its from the Boston Globe, but the thing is that is what I was going to use for the opening of this post. It is the only line I remember from that movie, the one line that stuck with me…that I made a mental note for, remember that one JJ, it is a good one.
What can I say about Peter O’Toole that hasn’t been said in obituaries and blog post or commentaries posted online the last week since his death. Hell, you will be able to read a bunch of them in a minute, I’ve got plenty of links for you below.
Peter O’Toole was more than a magnificent screen presence to me. I don’t think there has been another actor who had such a profound effect on my life, and I know that sound sappy…but you all know how important film is to me. I always felt his role as Henry II in both Beckett and The Lion in Winter is one of the reasons I decided to major in Medieval History. (I should say specialize in Medieval History.)
Then again, my adoration of O’Toole goes back before college. Way back, to 1981 when he starred in a mini-series called Masada.
At that time girls my age had pictures of the Fonz and Scott Baio on their walls. Me? My walls had photos of Peter O’Toole, Jonathan Frid and Rod Stewart. (What can I say, I was a strange kid.)
My favorite movies star Peter O’Toole…Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year, The Lion In Winter, these films are the kind of movies that I can see over and over again, they are fucking awesome. (Check out some clips down at the end of the thread.)
Other films of O’Toole are outstanding as well, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Stuntman, Creator, hell…the list goes on. But for now we will get to the various links for Peter…starting with his home country of Ireland:
Farewell to hellraiser O’Toole – Independent.ie
16 December 2013
Tributes were paid last night to actor and hellraiser Peter O’Toole, who died at the age of 81.
The Connemara-born actor, who rose to fame in the 1962 Oscar-winning epic ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ (left), died in London on Saturday.
Actors Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren attend the Miramax Films pre-Oscar party celebrating Oscar nominees in Los Angeles…REUTERS/Fred Prouser
Although he received eight Academy Award nominations for best actor, O’Toole never won the ultimate accolade. In 2003 he was given a special Oscar from his peers for his contribution to film.
He is survived by his family, including his daughters Pat and Kate, his son Lorcan, and former wife, actress Sian Phillips.
Peter O’Toole and the saucy Dublin nuns – Independent.ie
So farewell then, Peter O’Toole, the man who was either born in Connemara or Leeds, depending on who you believe.
O’Toole once said that as a boy he was terrified by “the horrible sexlessness” of nuns.
He later said this phenomenon had changed dramatically.
“They’re sipping gin and tonic in the Dublin pubs now, and a couple of them flashed their pretty ankles at me just the other day.”
Saucy nuns? It is quite possible that the notoriously bibulous O’Toole had a touch too much of the gargle, and was imagining things.
Peter the Great – Independent.ie
Asked once what being Irish meant to him, the legendary actor, Peter O’Toole deliberated slowly, before replying: “It’s almost the centre of my being.”
The occasion was an interview with US talk show host Charlie Rose to mark the release of the first part of his autobiography, Loitering with Intent in 1992.
“Everything I think of is coloured by its history, by its literature, by its people, by its geography,” he continued.
O’Toole went on to recount how a return trip to Ireland in 1946 after the end of the Second World War, affirmed his sense of Irishness.
“I was a bit of a misfit, a bit of an odd man out, but when I went to Kerry with my friend, Father Leo Walsh, and it all clicked. I wasn’t different at all,” he said.
This particular obit has some good stories, so be sure to read that one in full. This tidbit about an interview with Letterman is something that I remember seeing when it first aired:
He was a chat show host’s dream guest and the theatrical format with its live audience appealed to the actor who knew exactly how to play to the crowd.
He appeared on The Letterman Show in London in 1995, cigarette in hand, astride a camel. As if that wasn’t suitably outrageous, he proceeded to open a can of beer and feed it to the animal.
Asked once by Lettermen [sic] had he thought about a message on his gravestone, he told the story of an old leather jacket he once had, stained “with Guinness and blood”, that his wife had sent to the dry cleaners.
It came back with a note pinned to it saying, ‘It distresses us to return work which is not perfect’.
“I am having that on my tombstone. That’s my epitaph,” he said.
Which is why I was smiling when I saw this tribute Peter O’Toole obit by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee
If any of you get to see the dvd commentary that goes with the film My Favorite Year, you will hear some great stories about Peter O’Toole. He sounded like one of those actors you would love to work with. One of the interesting things Richard Benjamin said was, O’Toole had not done a comedy, and because of that…
Peter O’Toole was originally hesitant about doing the film. However, in the script, the date of Swann’s death was, in fact, the date of O’Toole’s birthday. O’Toole phoned Richard Benjamin to find out if they did that with all of the actors they had offered the part to. The director replied that the script had not been given to anybody else, at which O’Toole agreed to do the film.
Anyway, back to the links:
Culture Shock: Peter O’Toole – a great actor undazzled by his own star – | The Irish Times – Sat, Dec 21, 2013
Much of the British commentary on O’Toole since his death has painted him as a rather anachronistic actor, a 19th-century heroic performer in an age of method psychological realism. It is certainly true that, with his fellow so-called Celts Richard Burton and Richard Harris, he was a rebel against the new method orthodoxy. What is not true is the general depiction of the trio as Romantic, emotional, hot-blooded Celts at odds with the realism that was in the ascendant from the 1950s onwards.
Quite the contrary: O’Toole’s acting, like Burton’s, was sceptical, cool, intellectual. Far from being a fruity thesp, he was, at his best, almost a meta-actor. His best screen performances all comment on the nature of performance.
Of O’Toole’s other best roles, two (in My Favourite Year and in Venus) are satiric portrayals of washed-up actors and one, in The Stunt Man, is a satiric portrayal of an insane film director. O’Toole’s best performances have quotation marks around them.
But what of the role that created the star in the first place? It too is a “performance”. O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia is so uncannily beautiful, so eerily mesmerising that you almost don’t notice that he’s just another actor: a strange Englishman, dressed in foreign clothes, pretending to be an Arab. O’Toole’s brilliance is to create a man who is utterly convinced by the role he is playing. But he himself was never so convinced: what made him great was the keen, appraising intelligence with which he seems to stand outside himself, undazzled by his own star.
It looks like O’Toole had two films in production, one Katherine of Alexandria is in post-production according to iMDB.
‘Lawrence of Arabia’s’ Peter O’Toole Dead at 81
O’Toole announced in July 2012 that he was retiring from acting. “The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back,” he said. He did, however, return with announced parts in Katherine of Alexandria and Mary, two films yet to be released.
During a career that spanned nearly six decades, the son of an Irish father and Scottish mother also received Oscar noms for his turns in Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006). No one else has ever earned as many acting noms without a win.
‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star Peter O’Toole dead at 81 | AccessNorthGa
He was fearsomely handsome, with burning blue eyes and a penchant for hard living which long outlived his decision to give up alcohol. Broadcaster Michael Parkinson told Sky News television it was hard to be too sad about his passing.
“Peter didn’t leave much of life unlived, did he?” he said.
A reformed – but unrepentant – hell-raiser, O’Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of outrageous drinking.
But nothing diminished his flamboyant manner and candor.
“If you can’t do something willingly and joyfully, then don’t do it,” he once said. “If you give up drinking, don’t go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt.”
His sensitive portrayal of Lawrence’s complex character garnered O’Toole his first Oscar nomination, and the spectacularly photographed desert epic remains his best known role. O’Toole was tall, fair and strikingly handsome, and the image of his bright blue eyes peering out of an Arab headdress in Lean’s film was unforgettable.
Playwright Noel Coward once said that if O’Toole had been any prettier, they would have had to call the movie “Florence of Arabia.”
That is another good Obituary…give it some of your attention too.
I remember another story O’Toole told, about the filming of Lawrence of Arabia. The scene where he walks down the stairs after telling the general about taking Aqaba was shot a year apart. So when he starts walking down the stairs, he is one year younger than the age he is when he reaches the bottom step.
Peter O’Toole’s Most Iconic Movie Roles, From ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ To ‘Ratatouille’
O’Toole’s last years were quiet, but that doesn’t detract from his stalwart presence throughout much of the 20th century. Here’s a look back at a handful of his most iconic roles.
Peter O’Toole: Tales of the late film icon – People – News – The Independent
Peter O’Toole, who has died aged 81, possessed a prodigious acting talent, heart-stopping good looks, and an enormous capacity for booze. Here, he is remembered by those who knew him
Michael Caine, who had been his understudy for the 1959 play ‘The Long and the Short and the Tall’ at the Royal Court Theatre went out to dinner with O’Toole and woke up in a strange flat days later.
“There was a wild weekend that I don’t remember… ‘What time is it?’ I asked. ‘Never mind what time it is,’ said O’Toole. ‘What fucking day is it?’
I love it!
Peter O’Toole with daughter Kate and son Lorcan
More pictures of Peter here: Peter O’Toole’s Life and Career in Pictures Gallery – The Hollywood Reporter
Postscript: Peter O’Toole : The New Yorker
The deaths, over the weekend, of Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine reminded us, once again, what a strange principality movie stardom is. Think of it as a kind of Monaco: few are born there, but many arrive, some to disport themselves at the watering holes and gaming tables, others to cultivate that notorious anonymity that is the last redoubt of fame. The church mouse may be the neighbor of the libertine. Costs of living (not merely financial) can be exorbitant, and personal loyalties prone to decay; expulsions are cruel and common, and you dare not appeal against them, for they are ordained not by a court of the land but by the judgment of the world beyond. On the other hand, re-admittance to stardom, after exile, is not unknown; in the case of O’Toole, he would drift away, out of sight but never quite out of mind, and then, just as we—and, by all accounts, he himself—started to ask if he were technically alive, he would stroll back into the light.
Now don’t forget, TCM is going to have a tribute to Peter O’Toole on Sunday, December 29th: TCM Remembers Peter O’Toole (1932 – 2013)
BTW, we lost quite a few people this year…you can find a gallery of pictures here: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2013 Gallery – The Hollywood Reporter
Anyway, enjoy the videos below, some are clips but…the last two are full interviews. One, the Charlie Rose interview. The other is the hour-long interview with Robert Osborne. It is fantastic!
The Lion in Winter:
My Favorite Year:
Lawrence of Arabia:
Interview with Charlie Rose:
Interview with Robert Osborn, at TCM Film Festival April 2011:
The special wraps with O’Toole providing his personal definition of acting: “In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh. That is, to me, is what acting is. You make the words flesh.” Which is exactly what the man did…
Think of this as an open thread.
(Just a note, it is now 4:45 am and I am finally finished with this post. The formatting was a bitch! So I probably won’t be seeing you any time soon…have a great day!)
**Updated post with added links**
Since it is a very slow day, I’ve decided to just update this post with a few newsy links…in a dump-a-roo fashion.
Starting of with a bit of sad news, Claire Davis, the shooting victim from Colorado, has died:
Family of Arapahoe High School shooting victim Claire Davis issues statement – San Jose Mercury News
Photo of Claire Davis. Provided by Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. (Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office)
A statement from the Davis family
It is with unspeakable sadness that we write and say that Claire has passed away from the gunshot wound she received at Arapahoe High School on December 13, 2013. Although we have lost our precious daughter, we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years—we were truly blessed to be Claire’s parents. The grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death; to the contrary, it will only get stronger.
Last week was truly a paradox in that we lost our daughter, yet we witnessed the wonderful love that exists in the world through the tremendous outpouring of support we received. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the first responders, the school resource officer, security guard and vice principal at Arapahoe High School, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office, and the physicians, nurses and staff at Littleton Adventist Hospital. Each played a significant role in giving Claire a chance to live, and demonstrated extreme amounts of professionalism, courage and love. Please know that we will never forget the extraordinary work you did on Claire’s behalf.
We ask that you give us time to grieve the death of our daughter by respecting our wishes for privacy.
With much loving-kindness,
The Davis Family
I don’t know what you can say about that. It is so painfully sad.
There is another heart-wrenching story out there, remember Jaycee Dugard? Jaycee Dugard’s new “terror”: Her father – Salon.com
The road back home hasn’t been easy for Jaycee Dugard. She was only 11 years old in June of 1991 when she was abducted from a California street in full sight of her stepfather, Carl Probyn. Last August, when she and the two young daughters she bore while in captivity were rescued, Probyn described their return as “a miracle.” But while her captors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, are behind bars and Dugard is quietly rebuilding her life with her mother and children, she now faces a new “terror”: her biological father.
Kenneth Slayton, who has had no prior relationship with the young woman, has been speaking out lately about the child he never knew, and his wish “to be united with my daughter ASAP.” To that end, he’s retained the services of scandal magnet Gloria Allred, has filed a court petition to definitively prove his paternity of Dugard, and held a press conference last week to plead for an establishment of family ties. Slayton claims that “The first time I knew there was a possibility that I had a daughter was when the FBI told me that she had been kidnapped.”
Dugard’s family, however, tells a different story. In a statement issued last week, they claim that Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, “told Mr. Slayton when she learned she was pregnant that he was the father and again when Jaycee was born. He showed no interest. The police advised him when Jaycee was kidnapped and again he showed no interest … At no point did Mr. Slayton offer any assistance beyond what was requested of him while Jaycee was missing. It is now Jaycee Dugard’s turn to express her feelings and she has no interest.”
Read more about this asshole at the link, and then think of the real motivation behind his lawsuit…and how much it must weigh on Dugard’s emotions.
Okay, did you all catch this other news story? Like I said, I’ve been awol from the blog so I don’t know if it has been mentioned.
Climate change expert’s fraud was ‘crime of massive proportion,’ say feds – Investigations
The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.
John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a “crime of massive proportion” and “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.
Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.
If you want a good report of these “tales” check out the video of Jon Stewart here: Jon Stewart Goes Off on Perhaps the Best Political Scandal of All Time | Mediaite
There are scandals, and there are SCANDALS. And the story of an EPA official who cheated the agency out of a million dollars with an incredibly elaborate hoax might very well be, in Jon Stewart‘s opinion, one of the most amazing and unbelievable political scandals of all time. But despite the sexiness of this story, Stewart said, “this man is a liar and boring as f*ck!” John Beale even lied to get a handicapped parking space, which wasn’t even necessary, because “he could have gotten a handicapped parking space for a legitimate medical reason: his gigantic balls.”
But hey, not all of us can lead exciting lives: Hullabaloo
Oh boy. Howie has the latest on the Duck Dynasty flap:
Do you know what a fluffer is? The clinical Wikipedia definition: “A fluffer is a person employed to keep a male adult film star aroused on the set. These duties, which do not necessarily involve touching the actors, are considered part of the makeup department. After setting up the desired angle, the director asks the actors to hold position and calls for the fluffer to ‘fluff’ the actors for the shot. Fluffing could also entail sexual acts such as fellatio or non-penetrative sex.” …
Fluffer is also the name of a 2001 gay porn film that got a buzz because Blondie (Debbie Harry) was in it. But it will have a whole new life now because so was Scott Gurney, the creator of Duck Dynasty.
Howie’s got clips at the link. They’re actually quite tasteful, all things considered. Mr Gurney played one of the leads by the name of Johnny Rebel. He’s quite attractive.
Read more about Johnny Rebel at the link…
Since we touch on the subject of right-wing shitstorms…Keep Fox News out of the classroom! Rupert Murdoch, Common Core and the dangerous rise of for-profit public education – Salon.com
Take a look at that, but it isn’t only right wing…a big portion of the for-profit group is Bill Gates and friends.
Following the rich people connection: These 2 Cities Are Now Exclusively For Rich People
Few cities in the U.S. embody the growing divide between rich and poor quite like New York and San Francisco. In just the past 20 years, both have changed from economically diverse melting pots to exclusive playgrounds for the rich.
The change is clear in striking new visualizations from the U.S. Census Bureau, crunching data from its latest American Community Survey of population and income.
In each of the pictures below, the image to the left represents median household incomes in 1990 (“before”), and the image on the right is 2012 (“after”). Darker shades correlate with higher income, and brighter shades represent lower incomes. Use the slider tool (the button in the middle) to go back and forth in time between 1990 and 2012.
That is a fun interactive map, but to be honest…San Francisco hasn’t changed all that much.
Meanwhile: Prosecutors were ready to charge Va. Gov. McDonnell, but final decision delayed by Justice officials – The Washington Post
‘Hobbit’ Star Makes Truly Awful Joke About ‘Rape, or Whatever’
Women’s rights sold out again: McAuliffe’s betrayal – Salon.com
That story about McAuliffe is disgusting and it pisses me off…although it doesn’t surprise me.
Two links on the Boston Bombing brothers:
The fall of the house of Tsarnaev —Tamerlan’s dreams in shards, the voices inside grew louder – The Boston Globe
The fall of the house of Tsarnaev —Dzhokhar, the youngest, was drawn to risk and spiraled into infamy – The Boston Globe
Some history articles for you:
Women in the public life in late medieval England: A study through contemporary sources in the 1400s
Here Be Monsters by Marina Warner | The New York Review of Books
Parallels With The Era That Led To The First World War – Business Insider
And a couple of Christmas stories:
Why It Takes 8,500 Pairs Of Pointe Shoes To Put On ‘The Nutcracker’
The pointe shoe room
I look at that picture and I know what those new pointe shoes smell like.
But What If Elf Was Remade Entirely With Pugs Though [VIDEO] | Geekosystem
And finally, tomorrow is Festivus!
Wednesday Part One: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.Posted: December 18, 2013 Filed under: Art, Egypt, Foreign Affairs, History, morning reads | Tags: George Zimmerman, Joan Fontaine, Mohammed Morsi, Peter O'Toole 38 Comments
What a sad month this has been…we lost such legendary, tremendous actors and actresses. Yes, in a matter of hours, it seemed like the news hit us, one after another…as we lost…
Film Noir Star Audrey Totter Dies at 95
‘Billy Jack’ Star Tom Laughlin Dies at 82
‘Lawrence of Arabia’s’ Peter O’Toole Dead at 81
Legendary Actress Joan Fontaine Dies at 96
After losing Eleanor Parker last week, I have to admit the post I wrote with all those beautiful pictures was an enjoyable tribute to her, partly because I felt a strange connection to her. The passing of Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine are again personal to me…so it seems fitting to me that I will focus today’s post on two of the four actors above that passed away within the past few days.
All the photos on this post will be of Joan Fontaine…images that I have found or collected along the way via Pinterest or Google.
Legendary Actress Joan Fontaine Dies at 96 – The Hollywood Reporter
The star of the Hitchcock classics “Suspicion” and “Rebecca” famously won an Oscar in 1942 over her bitter rival — her older sister, Olivia de Havilland.
Joan Fontaine, the polished actress who achieved stardom in the early 1940s with memorable performances in the Alfred Hitchcock films Suspicion — for which she earned the best actress Oscar over her bitter rival, sister Olivia de Havilland — and Rebecca, has died. She was 96.
The Hollywood Reporter awards analyst Scott Feinberg spoke with Fontaine’s assistant, Susan Pfeiffer, who confirmed the actress’ death of natural causes Sunday at her home in Carmel, Calif.
I think because news of Fontaine’s death came on the heels of the announcement of the loss of Peter O’Toole, she did not get the kind of press “notice” she deserved.
It was Hitchcock, with his penchant for “cool blondes,” who brought Fontaine to the forefront when he cast her as the second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca (1940), the director’s American debut. Her performance as the new wife of Laurence Olivier in a household haunted by the death of his first wife earned her an Academy Award nomination for best actress.
A year later, Hitchcock placed her opposite Cary Grant in Suspicion, and she won the Oscar for her turn as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth, a shy English woman who begins to suspect her charming new husband of trying to kill her. She thus became the only actor to win an Oscar in a Hitchcock film.
Among those Fontaine beat out at the 1942 Academy Awards was her older sister, de Havilland, up for Hold Back the Dawn (1941). Biographer Charles Higham wrote that as Fontaine came forward to accept her trophy, she rejected de Havilland’s attempt to congratulate her and that de Havilland was offended. (There may have been another similar incident after de Havilland won her first Oscar for To Each His Own in 1947.) The sisters, who never really got along since childhood, finally stopped speaking to each other in the mid-’70s.
More on that rivalry in a bit…for now just a few more Obits for Fontaine:
Joan Fontaine, star of ‘Suspicion’ and ‘Rebecca,’ dies at 96 – LA Times
She gave her Oscar-winning performance as the threatened wife in “Suspicion,” opposite Cary Grant, in 1941, the same year for which De Havilland was nominated for “Hold Back the Dawn” — a head-to-head sibling competition that had the Hollywood press buzzing.
“Now what had I done!” Fontaine wrote in her 1978 autobiography, “No Bed of Roses,” of her reaction at the awards ceremony when Fontaine’s name was announced. “All the animus we’d felt toward each other as children, the hair-pullings, the savage wrestling matches, the time Olivia tried to fracture my collarbone, all came rushing back in kaleidoscopic imagery.”
Career totals for the sisters would be: Fontaine, three Oscar nominations and one win; De Havilland, five nominations and two wins. De Havilland, partly because of her role as Melanie in 1939’s classic “Gone With the Wind,” would be the one with the more enduring film legacy.
“My sister was born a lion, and I a tiger, and in the laws of the jungle, they were never friends.”
Fontaine spent several years doing B movies and minor roles before one night, sitting at dinner next to producer David O. Selznick, she conversed with him about the book she had just read, Daphne du Maurier’s romance “Rebecca.”
Selznick eyed the young actress and said, “I bought it today. Will you test for it?”
“Would I!” Fontaine replied.
Fontaine was pitted against such stars of the era as Vivien Leigh, Susan Hayward, Virginia Mayo, Margaret Sullavan, Anne Baxter and Loretta Young. But the casting process was so protracted that by the time Fontaine got the part, she was thoroughly demoralized. This suited Hitchcock in preparing her for her role as “the second Mrs. de Winter.”
“Hitchcock built up his power over Fontaine while keeping her nervous and vulnerable enough to enhance the nervous, vulnerable character she was playing,” Patrick McGilligan wrote of Hitchcock in his 2003 biography of the director.
Fontaine was further humiliated when her costar, Laurence Olivier, treated her with disdain, in part because he was angry that Leigh, his then-fiancee and later wife, had not gotten the role.
“Hitch said that Larry had just come to him, saying Fontaine was awful and that Vivien was the only one who should play opposite him,” Fontaine wrote in “No Bed of Roses.” “I could hardly be friends with [him] after that.”
Fontaine played the part perfectly. As the reference to a review in this obituary from HuffPo states: Joan Fontaine Dead: Academy Award-Winning Actress Dies At 96
“Miss Du Maurier never really convinced me any one could behave quite as the second Mrs. de Winter behaved and still be sweet, modest, attractive and alive,” The New York Times’ Frank Nugent wrote upon the film’s release.
“But Miss Fontaine does it not simply with her eyes, her mouth, her hands and her words, but with her spine. Possibly it’s unethical to criticize performances anatomically. Still we insist Miss Fontaine has the most expressive spine — and shoulders we’ve bothered to notice this season.”
That has to be one of the best descriptions of her performance…because if you watch her, it is so true…she does speak with her shoulders.
You can see it when you watch her in Jane Eyre, I think the film she stars in with Orson Welles is the best movie production even made. Maybe it is the film itself, the look of the black and white and the master cinematography by George Barnes…(who won an Oscar for his work on Rebecca.)
I don’t know, as with Eleanor Parker, Joan Fontaine got me interesting in reading the classics. So those expressive shoulders have carried so much more of my childhood imaginations and dreams…they led me into a world of books and words.
But, back to the LA Times obit:
Her next role was also for Hitchcock, in “Suspicion,” playing the frightened wife of Cary Grant whom she suspects of trying to kill her. The film was given a Hollywood ending — her suspicions turn out to be a misunderstanding — because the filmmakers believed that Grant’s fans would not accept him as a murderer, as originally written. But Grant was quoted as saying that the casting was perfect because “anyone who knows me realizes that I couldn’t be married to Joan Fontaine for more than 24 hours without wanting to wring her neck.”
The book this film is based on originally ends when Fontaine’s character finds out she is pregnant…and realizing she is married to a murderer, she drinks the poisoned milk…killing herself and her baby, rather than to bring this murderer’s child into the world.
Film historian David Thomson wrote that after her Oscar, Fontaine “went after stately, romantic parts, lacking the real emotional sophistication of a Lombard or a Loy, and entered into weepies without the conviction of a Joan Crawford.”
In Hitchcock’s movies and later in Max Ophuls’ “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” Thomson said, she “was so good as to leave us baffled by her general indifference.”
Her last lead film performance was in “The Devil’s Own” (1966), in which the actress, who was nearing 50, became the latest aging star consigned to making a horror movie, joining contemporaries such as her sister and Bette Davis.
From the HuffPo link above, Fontaine is quoted as saying:
“You know, I’ve had a helluva life,” Fontaine once said. “Not just the acting part. I’ve flown in an international balloon race. I’ve piloted my own plane. I’ve ridden to the hounds. I’ve done a lot of exciting things.”
Now, about that sisterly rivalry…Joan Fontaine-Olivia de Havilland Feud: New Details Revealed
Getty ImagesJoan Fontaine, left, and Olivia de Havilland
At a luncheon earlier this month, I was seated beside the actresses Laura Dern and Meg Ryan and we began chatting about classic movies, a shared passion of ours. Eventually, the conversation led us to Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, the legendary Oscar-winning sisters. Within the last nine months I had interviewed both of the nonagenarians for a book that I am writing about old movies for young people; I spoke with Joan, who was living in Carmel, by telephone in March, and Olivia in-person at her home in Paris after the Cannes Film Festival wrapped up in May. Laura and Meg were anxious to know the answer to the same question that every person with whom I spoke after those interviews had asked me: Was “the feud” — a supposed decades-long cold war between the two sisters — finally over?
The answer was not so simple.
If that does not make you go and click the link to read the rest…I don’t know what the hell will!!!!
TCM will be showing Joan Fontaine films on December 29th:
TCM Remembers Joan Fontaine (1917 – 2013)
Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland in Tokyo, Japan on Oct. 22, 1917, she was the daughter of British patent attorney Walter de Havilland and Lillian Augusta Ruse, a former stage actress; as both she and her father would often recount, the family counted two English kings in their lineage. Plagued by illness as a child, including bouts with anemia and measles, Fontaine was sent with her sister and mother to live in Saratoga, CA, while her father remained in Japan. Her parents’ marriage was already in trouble prior to the move to the States, and the separation preceded a divorce, which became final when Fontaine was two. Academic tests proved Joan to be an exceptionally bright child with an IQ of 160, and she excelled at school. Home life, however, was a different story; she had an uneasy relationship with de Havilland, who was reportedly favored by her mother. The feud eventually became the stuff of Hollywood legend, and by all accounts, was alive and well when both sisters had entered their ninth decades.
Now, we turn to Peter O’Toole…and since this post has taken longer than I expected it to…Peter will be in Wednesday Reads Part Two: What shall we hang…the holly, or each other? a little later today.
Quickly a few headlines:
Mega Millions: Winners in California, Georgia to split jackpot – latimes.com
Bipartisan Budget Agreement Nears Final Passage – ABC News
Egypt’s Ousted President Mohammed Morsi To Be Tried Over Conspiracy With Foreigners
And one last thing…I was very busy yesterday, in fact I did not get online at all until early this morning when I started to write this post…Is this shit for real? CNN Art Critic Calls Zimmerman Painting ‘Psychotic,’ Compares Him with Manson and Gacy | Mediaite
Neighborhood watchman-turned-painter George Zimmerman is headed for a big payday, but instead of being the toast of the art world, he’s getting roasted over his initial effort, a flag-themed homage to Picasso, stock photography, and concrete poetry. On CNN’s New Day Wednesday morning, host Chris Cuomo tapped the expertise of New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, who blasted Zimmerman’s effort, and was beside himself at the thought that the “travesty” puts Zimmerman in the price range of artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.
Bidding on Zimmerman’s painting now stands at $110,100.00 on eBay, despite the revelation that the piece, entitled “America,” is a derivation of an arguably superior work: “American Flag” by Shutterstock.
Oh my fucking gawd! Are you kidding me?
Zimmerman’s painting is a multi-layered homage/commentary on 20th century art. He cleverly inverts the artistic conceit of Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” instead taking a meaningful symbol of American culture and turning it into a cheap object of commerce. Zimmerman also pays subtle homage to Picasso’s Blue Period, which was inspired by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. It might also be a dig at the paltry selection at his local Michael’s craft store. Finally, Zimmerman’s placement of the words “one nation” physically beneath the word “God” is a clear reference to the grade-school pictograms of Salvador Dali, particularly his famous “Man Overboard.”
Cuomo brought Saltz in to explain “How can someone like this, assuming you believe the worst about George Zimmerman, how could someone ever want art from someone like this?”
“Mass murderers have made art, and people have tried to buy it, have bought it, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy,” Saltz noted, adding that “In my humble opinion, this person got away with a crime and in that sense, that is the only reason that anybody would want to buy anything that he made.”
“What have we seen in terms of why, what is the fascination?” Cuomo asked. “What is the desire to buy the artwork of someone who’s been connected to, or convicted for, a horrible crime?”
That’s when Saltz delivered his blistering critique, telling Cuomo that Zimmerman’s painting is “a travesty, a placard, a poster, something you might see in protest,” but also opining that “It’s a bit of confession to me.”
“It’s talking about liberty, justice for all,” Saltz continued, marking up the painting with a telestrator. “Well, you know, it’s almost like none of this ever happened. And then also, you have this is his funny little — he’s almost trying to be a cause. And the cause is that I think he is is a travesty of justice, a crime. It’s insipid, it’s not — there’s no thought in it. It’s needing to be the center of attention. I think it’s a bit psychotic.”
Saltz also noted the similarities to the Shutterstock photo, and added that Zimmerman “Just needs attention. It’s just the beginning. This guy is, I think, a kind of person heading for a fall.”
Uh, you don’t need to be some expert art critic to come to that conclusion there…this guy is living out some kind of Mike Judge satire, but it is real life, and that is the horror of this story.
Treat this as an Open Thread…