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Entries in Bette Davis (41)

Sunday
May152016

Whatever Happened to Baby Jessica

I'm gagging at this photo. Bette Davis and Jessica Lange at an AFI event in June 1983. (Thanks to Dan Callahan for sharing it.)  Which means this photo was taken just two months after Lange won her first Oscar (Tootsie... she'd eventually be a two-time winner like Bette) and shortly before Davis suffered from multiple strokes...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May072016

The Mother of all Feuds

a must readAs you've surely heard by now, since it's one of the most striking actressy announcements in some time, Ryan Murphy's next anthology series will be called "Feud" and for its first season the subject is the über showbiz catfight: Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford. Bette & Joan's famous loathing for each other was not confined to just the horror classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) but the series will be confined there since that set is the natural place to dramatize. It was the only film the two combative actresses made together. After the success of Baby JaneHush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) was intended as a reunion but ultimately Olivia de Havilland (who had her own legendary feud with sister Joan Fontaine) took Crawford's place.

Since Ryan Murphy can't live without Jessica Lange he's cast her as Joan Crawford. It's a terrible call because their screen personas are antithetical...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr012016

Remember When...

...Julianne Moore posed as other famous movie stars?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar162016

Judy by the Numbers: "If I Forget You"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Click to embiggenToday's clip is a plea for the importance of film preservation. The following 3 minute clip is all that is currently known to survive of a short called "If I Forget You" starring Judy Garland and Bette Davis. That's right, two of Classic Hollywood's biggest stars once shared the screen and we know virtually nothing about it.

The little we do know about this teeny number and the tiny short surrounding it comes from reviews and an ad (pictured left) that ran in a few trade papers circa April of 1940. The short was part of the third annual tribute to Will Rogers, who passed away in 1935. It featred Kay Kyser and his Kollege of Musical Knowledge, then Judy singing the title song, then Bette Davis stepped onscreen to ask audiences to donate to the Will Rogers Memorial Commission (which benefited the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital).

The Movie: If I Forget You (MGM short, 1940)
The Songwriters: Irving Caesar (music & lyrics)
The Players: Judy Garland, Kay Kyser, Bette Davis, director unknown.

The Story: On the surface, a one reel ad for a charity seems underwhelming enough (and certainly Judy's performance, while sweet, is standard fare for the starlet), but when taken in context, If I Forget You shows how powerful one star's image can be even after death. The comedic cowboy had been gone 3 years, but the charity bearing his name could sway a week of exhibition ("Will Rogers National Theatres Week") and get two uncooperative giants (MGM & WB) to lend major talent for a brief cameo. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Will Rogers was a 20th Century Fox star. Will Rogers's image had the power to cross studio lines and exhibition rules. It probably didn't occur to Judy Garland as she sang Caesar's song that her image may one day become as powerful as Rogers's had been. Nonetheless this small (nearly forgotten) short reminds fans and academics that the aura of studio system stars can have tangible effects even after their deaths.

previously: "The Land of Let's Pretend" (1930), "The Texas Tornado" (1936), "Americana" (1936), "Dear Mr Gable" (1937), "Got a New Pair of Shoes" (1937), "Why? Because!" (1938), "Inbetween" (1938), “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (1938), "Over the Rainbow" (1939), "Good Morning" (1939)

Wednesday
Feb172016

11 Days Until Oscar! Trivia Party

I'm beginning to have butterflies. You? Just for fun some random trivia surrounding the number 11 today. Links go to previous articles here at TFE on these films or performers

Pictures with exactly 11 Oscar nominations
Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Rebecca (1940), Sergeant York (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), Sunset Blvd (1950), West Side Story (1961), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Oliver! (1968), The Godfather Pt II (1974), Chinatown (1974), The Turning Point (1977), Gandhi (1982), Terms of Endearment (1983), Amadeus (1984), A Passage to India (1984), Out of Africa (1985), The Color Purple (1985), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Aviator (2004), Hugo (2011), and Life of Pi (2012)

Movies that won exactly 11 Oscars
That's the most any movie has ever won and it's a three way tie: Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997), The Lord of the Ring: Return of the King (2003). Currently Ben-Hur is being remade and is supposedly opening this very summer... wish them good luck because living up to such a legendary film is never easy and remaking one at all is a fool's errand. 

Only person to win exactly 11 Oscars
Cedric Gibbons won the Production Design category 11 times, back when it was called Art Direction. His first was for The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) and his last for the Paul Newman film Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956). That's the second most Oscars won by anyone. Walt Disney has the most with 20.

Directors who've helmed exactly 11 Best Picture nominees:
None. Steven Spielberg is almost there, with Bridge of Spies being his 10th. He's in second place currently for most with only William Wyler ahead of him with 13. Wyler's record, which once seemed invulnerable, is sure to be defeated in the future now that we have more Best Picture nominees per year.

Oscar winner of 2011
The Artist, a silent comic homage to the early days of Old Hollywood. And speaking of...

Oscar winner of 1911
Just kidding, the Oscars didn't exist back then. The first American "feature films" as we know them (i.e. over an hour in length) started showing up soon thereafter and by the mid-teens 100 years ago Hollywood was on fire, and I'm not talking about the flammability of celluloid. By the mid teens the industry was producing over 500 features a year (most of them lost now of course) and some of them totally epic. See: D.W. Griffith's influential 3 hour double whammys of The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916)

Bette in DARK VICTORY (1939) which I might call her third best performance

Actors with exactly 11 Oscar nominations
None. Unless you count Bette Davis's write in for Of Human Bondage (1934) in which case she has 11 nominations. Curiously she won for her first two official nominations (Dangerous and Jezebel) and then just got better and better but never won again despite frequent nominations!

YOUR TURN. Use the number 11 wisely in the comments, however you'd like! 

Monday
Feb152016

Blog Wars Episode VIII: Some New Links

• AV Club loves on the dearly departed Bunheads
Guardian Cynthia Nixon, who plays Emily Dickinson in a new film, thinks she'd have loved social media
• E! Online Dakota Johnson wants Jamie Dornan to bare all in Fifty Shades sequel. (I mean, why not? It's not like he's NSFW shy about it.)
EW looks at a handful of AMPAS ballots Supporting Actress and Picture votes are all over the place

Awards Daily on two previous shakeups in Hollywood (the late 1920s) & Academy (the late 1960s) business
Towleroad Gay Iconography: All About Bette Davis 
Film School Rejects Ben Stiller's most iconic characters from best to worst 
Coming Soon Ghostbusters gets a teaser poster. Don't get excited. It's basically just the old logo. Trailer coming on March 3rd
Coming Soon Salt, Angelina Jolie's would be franchise that never became one headed to TV in series form - without Angie of course
/Film Alexander Payne lines up his next next film. It's called My Saga, a road trip movie. He still hasn't shot Downsizing with Reese Witherspoon though.

Today's Watch
Daredevil Season 2 Trailer - Pt 1

 

Elektra and The Punisher get their own trailers, looks like. I'll be disappointed if we don't get a follow up on Madame Gao though, since she was fierce/mysterious. 

• And finally, Star Wars Episode VIII: As Yet Untitled began filming this morning at Pinewood Studios in the UK aiming for the Christmas friendly release date of December 15th, 2017. All the major players, sans Harrison Ford of course, will return. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) and all the major cast members return (sans Harrison Ford *sniffle*). New cast members will include Benicio Del Toro, newcomer Kelly Marie Tran and 'The Face,' herself Laura Dern! No, wait, that deserves more exclamation points. Laura Dern !!!!!!!!


Thursday
Oct222015

Jennifer Lawrence & The Race to Break Oscar Records

Nine year-old Jacob Tremblay (Room), fourteen year-old Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation), and 21 year-old Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) are the youngest actors who appear to be in the mix for possible Oscar nominations this year. But none of them will be breaking any records if they are as younger actors have been nominated in their categories. It's actually Jennifer Lawrence, an old lady at 25 (Kidding, but she sure does like playing older women) who is the one to watch for trivia's sake. She is likely to break a record that is currently held by another Jennifer. 

Jennifer in Duel in the Sun (1946) / Jennifer in Joy (2015)

 

Do you think Jennifer Lawrence will take Jennifer Jones Oscar record?
Duh! JLaw will be gunning for Bette/Katharine/Meryl records
Yes. JLaw will get another Oscar and a few more nods.
We'll see. Enjoy it while it lasts Jennifer.
No. This JLaw obsession must stop!
Poll Maker

 

Should Lawrence be nominated for Joy (talk about the new trailer here), she will have amassed an incredible four acting nominations by the age of 25. I assumed that record was held by Elizabeth Taylor but the record is actually held by one of the more forgotten superstars of the 1940s, Jennifer Jones.

A HUGE TRIVIA LIST AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...