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TCM: Anna Kendrick ♥s "The Women" (So do we.)

It's Diana's last report from the TCM Film Festival which closed this weekend. One more from Anne Marie is coming up and it's a wrap. Take it away, Diana...

Ben & Anna Kendrick at The Women screening

In one of the few overlaps in our TCMFF schedule, Anne Marie and I sat down for the all-star classic The Women (1939). We've both watched the film a countless number of times - it's such a treat. The El Capitan organist played a variety of film standards (including the Star Wars theme) as we chuckled and waited for the introduction. The cherry on top? Anna Kendrick, cool girl exemplar, was the special guest, there to introduce the comedy classic alongside TCM stalwart (and object of many TCM fangirls’ affections) Ben Mankiewicz.

 Walking out on stage, Kendrick sported a chic yet casual look with a black tee, black skinny jeans and black heeled boots paired with hipster glasses and gently messed hair. Within moments of sitting down, she nonchalantly revealed she was also still wearing her retainer. Kendrick opened up about how she stumbled on the film and fell head over heels for it, feeling the biggest connection to Rosalind Russell...

'While working on Broadway ' (Kendrick put laughing emphasis on the "way" and sidebarred that “it was a douchey thing to say, no matter how I say it”), the then 12 year-old Kendrick was introduced to the film by two older fellow actresses who considered the a rite of passage for the then-tween. Like many of us, Kendrick couldn’t keep the unbridled passion to herself and forced friends to watch it. Also, like many of us, she realized that not all tweens are that keen on a black-and-white 1939 comedy. Nonetheless, she persevered with her own interest in classic films, thanks in large part to a father who would rent things like The African Queen for them to watch at home to counteract her frequent video store choice of Spiceworld.

Stating that The Women is part of her D.N.A., Kendrick vowed that she would incorporate the Sylvia (Russell) leg-chair-hook “into a movie, if it’s the death of me.” (You know the one, early in the picture, when she’s gossiping in the Haines’ powder room and hooks the chair with her leg and without missing a beat sits down to dish even more.) Later on in the screening, that moment elicited a raucous amount of applause, thanks pretty much entirely to Kendrick’s introduction.

the cast of The Women (1939). Accept no substitutes

On a current note, Kendrick revealed a great, passive aggressive way actors give shade to each other on-set. Whereas Joan Crawford would knit while feeding lines to Norma Shearer during reaction shots on “The Women,” apparently the thing to do on a modern-day film set is to break strategically, meaning to laugh a bit too heartily and flub the scene all the while crediting your fellow actor with being too good and too funny. Not that Kendrick has done anything like this, just that she 'heard about it' from other actors.

Anna Kendrick on stage as a tweenWhen introducing the young actress, Ben Mankiewicz said that she was one of the few actors working today who could have easily been a star in any other Hollywood era. From her martini glass-shattering performance in Camp to her Academy Award-nominated performance in Up in the Air to her full-hearted introduction at this screening, Kendrick continues to win the hearts of new fans. As Mankiewicz predicted (and I agree), she’s on her way to legendary, award-winning stardom herself.         


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Reader Comments (11)

I have such a man crush on Ben Mankiewicz. I got to know him through The Young Turks before TCM, but he's so sharp and funny that I'll follow him anywhere.

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

While this isn't one of my absolute favorites it is a great movie. All the ladies tear into the material but Roz Russell steals the film.

As with all the other updates from the TCM festival I enjoyed reading about this screening. Would love to go someday. Robert Osborne is extremely knowledgeable but I have to say I love Ben Mankiewicz.

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

there's no-one more pedantic than an old show queen, and with that being said....
that last pic isn't from high society; it's from the carnegie hall concert my favourite broadway: the leading ladies in which anna kendrick sings 'life upon the wicked stage' backed by the kit-kat girls from the broadway revival of cabaret (well worth youtubing)

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

par - duly noted. i did think it was weird that i had to crop out kit-kat girls. but the photos were labelled as high society. ah well.

April 18, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I have to say that all of these folks with man-crushes or girl-crushes or movie crushes on Ben Mankiewicz opens a door to a world I had no idea about. I thought he was just a (very good) host on TCM, but clearly I was mistaken because the man has a fan club that follows him (stalks him?) around TCMFF. I'll say this: he does have very good hair.

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

While I don't quite get the crushes on Ben Mankiewicz (I'm with you, Anne Marie - he's a good host and has nice hair and that's about it), I am ALL ABOUT The Women. Anna Kendrick, too, for that matter. Roz Russell is my favorite (how does that woman speak so goddamn fast?!?), but the entire cast is incredible. True to the films of its time, it's immensely quotable ("L'amour, l'amour!") and gorgeously designed (that bathroom!). If only we could get more films like it today. The world would be a better place. It just would be.

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I love this film. Across the board, they are all wonderful and I agree with Denny, that we need more like this.

I don't get Kendrick. I've tried, but she just falls flat for me. Nice hair. And I felt she was just right for the Twilight series.

I've been on sets where shade was thrown. Its very rarely (Crawford aside) A-listers who engage in this boorish behavior (more likely C and D listers). For one thing, you damage your chances of being hired again because you are damaging the film. More often than not, its self-centered, clueless and seen more as a joke (joke is on the shader) by the other actors and not necessarily malicious. And, because everyone else knows they need to "fill in the blanks" it often leads to better perfs from the co-star because they are working off a full (if imagined) character the shader is failing to provide. I've only heard of one, well documented case of a contemporary A-lister throwing shade and she, while oft nominated, has yet to win that much wanted Oscar. And I'm not even sure it actually happened the way the A-lister said (it may have just been something cute to say) but it has hurt her because deliberately trying to damage another actors performance is not kosher.

Stage work is a different story.

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I was at the TCM film festival of this and I can confirm every word, even the awesome organ

April 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Gouveia

What are you getting at, Anne Marie? ;)
For those interested, a fellow film blogger and I are attempting to make #manksmane a thing over on twitter. So anyone with "man-crushes or girl-crushes or movie crushes on Ben Mankiewicz," feel free to join in the handsome hair-related chat, most likely around high-traffic #tcmparty times. Glad you all enjoyed the read.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

I fully admit to crushin' on both Ben Mank and his brother Josh. #manksmane is a good enough reason but for me it's the personality. He's a lovely person and very genuine and takes the fangirls he meets in good humor. Glad he was able to wriggle out of the goatee part of his contract though. ;)

As for The Women, it is one of my all-time favorite movies, though I can't watch it at TCMFF anymore because I fell asleep during it one year, and I'm deathly afraid I'll do it again. :) (don't judge me, it was Sunday, and my 3rd movie of the day!) I adore every actress in it and the relationships in the movie.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJax

Wow, this post is shocking. People actually like Ben Mankiewicz?? He's absolutely horrible at co-hosting TCM.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentero.s.

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