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Entries in Jane Wyman (4)


What's your favorite Jane Wyman?

It's Jane Wyman's Centennial.  The actress was born on this day in Missouri in 1917 as Sara Jane Mayfield.

Like many major stars her legacy rests on a period that's only about a decade long -- in Wyman's case the mid 40s through the 50s, or more specifically the Best Picture winner The Lost Weekend (1945) through the Douglas Sirk classic All that Heaven Allows (1955) a period in which she specialized in childlike women and their inverse young widows-- but her career was long, stretching from bit parts in the early 30s through TV stardom in the 80s.

Her greatest hits and Oscar triumphs after the jump. Which is your favorite?

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Tues Top Ten: Me Blogger, You Janes.

Today is the anniversary of the first day of Lady Jane Grey's infamous reign as the Queen of England. "Infamous why?" you ask. On account of its length, see. Her days as Queen numbered only nine.

They made a movie of the short event in 1985 (Lady Jane) which is all but forgotten today. Maybe it shouldn't be since it starred baby faced rising stars Cary Elwes and the now resurgent Helena Bonham Carter. HBC quickly became the go-to actress of choice for directors who wanted a porcelain dress up doll for their costume pictures. And by directors I mean the great James Ivory.

So herewith a top ten top nine list in Lady Jane's and Helena's honor...


With apologies to four time Oscar nominee Jane Alexander, Susan Sarandon's delightful Jane Spofford, Jane Lynch (before Glee), Fun with Dick and Jane, and Demi Moore's G.I. Jane, Thomas Jane, and Jane Goodall. I'm sure I forgot someone wonderful but that's what the comments are for.

09 Jane Wyman
I didn't really understand Wyman until I finally saw Magnificent Obsession (1954) in which she can't see. I highly recommend that you don't remind blind to it because what a good picture that is.

Judy Bernly: What did you call this again?
Violet Newstead: Mowie Wowie!
Judy: Well, I love it.
Violet: Primo. 

08 "Mary Jane"
Or as Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton like to call it "Maui Wowie." Recently while watching a terrible 80s movie, (not 9 to 5 which is great) The Boyfriend and I were discussing which drugs make good movies and which ruin them. And Mary Jane is clearly the winner. Case evidence: Robert Altman's filmography. In the 80s Hollywood was on cocaine and it shows. Not in a good way!

Seven more classic "Janes" after the jump!

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The Link Menagerie

Stale Popcorn defines "Xanadusiasm" and we're all about it. Make it official, Websters.
Towleroad in which I make New Year's Resolutions for Hollywood since they keep having dumb ideas like remaking Carrie (1976) of all things. Just... NO.
Observer Rex Reed laments the many cultural departures of 2011 from La Liz to another Oz Munchkin.
Best Week Ever who knew that Michael Shannon had this much adorable cuteness in him?

THR Jessica Chastain coming to Broadway in 2012. I guess she wants the EGOT by 2017 or something. Over Achiever!
Some Came Running Glenn Kenny has a J. Hoberman top ten to mark the Village Voice's strange decision to dump their famous critic. 
Cinephilia & Sass has a letter to the fading James McAvoy... who does need his "Here I Am!" role surely. 
Acidemic If I were a TCM programmer... 

Your Movie Buddy shares his Oscar ballot. Kurt is also busy over at...
The House Next Door ...offering up Oscar prospects for The Tree of Life
Super Punch why your clothes don't look as good as in magazines (illustrated by Antonio Banderas)
Tom Shone wonders why Best Picture so rarely lands a Leading Acting Oscar to go with it anymore. Oddly, he seems to be complaining about it. Me, I love the spreading of wealth at the Oscars since the best film of any given year rarely has the best everything. 

This week's most actressy event -- other than my interview with Charlize ;) -- is Nicks Flick Picks announcement of a Best Actress Birthday Party project. Here's the calendar and the first birthday party favor: Jane Wyman in The Glass Menagerie. Nick's been busy! In related news it's also Annie Hall's birthday today. Ms Diane Keaton turns 66. I'm itching for her to be in a good movie again so here's hoping one of her recently completed pictures works. It's not that she doesn't work.


Ronald Reagan Centennial

It's a big day for USA history today. 100 years ago today in 1911 Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois. He lived there until his college graduation in the early 30s. By 1937, after a brief dip in Iowa, he was seeking movie stardom in Hollywood. Forty-four years later he became the 40th President of the United States.

Reagan in the late 20s or early 30s in Illinois

He remains the only US President who ever starred in motion pictures, though he isn't remotely the only entertainer who has been elected to public office. Even when movie stars don't express a desire to run for office, they often dive in in a big way. (Warren Beatty is a prime example. His political life has a supporting role in the book STAR. Today is the last day to enter the contest to win the book).

Jane Wyman & Reagan in 1940. She won "Best Actress" shortly after divorcing him.My own feelings on Reagan are mixed.

I loved the idea of a movie star president as a kid and because of my general proclivities towards arts & entertainment I'm still fascinated -- sometimes against my better judgement -- by stories in which politics and the arts are entangled such as the political leanings of various actors, Lincoln's assassination in a theater, political battles over arts funding, the assassination attempt on Reagan himself by a deranged fan of Jodie Foster and Taxi Driver, etcetera.

I wasn't politically aware in the 80s but as I mapped out my own political feelings later on, I became horrified. I think the play Angels in America  which takes place during the AIDS crisis when Reagan ruled America and was unforgivably silent on the matter helped me along the way to that. Imagine what immediate funding for research and prevention could have done early on; speeding us to a cure or saving millions and millions of lives.

Though Reagan himself was more liberal than today's right-wing (what past Republican isn't? Things have become... extreme.) the movements that he pushed forward like the deregulation of the economy have had disastrous long term effects: see Oscar's documentary frontrunner Inside Job next time you're in the mood for the scariest movie of the year.

Confession: Strangely, I have never seen a Ronald Reagan movie. Not even King's Row or Bedtime for Bonzo! Have you?