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Entries in Joan Fontaine (8)

Wednesday
Mar192014

A Year With Kate: Quality Street (1937)

Episode 12 of 52 wherein Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order

In which Katharine Hepburn is an old maid at 30 and sometimes I hate Old Hollywood.

It's strangely fitting that the last movie before Kate's string of classics turns out to be the worst film of her RKO career. Yes, I'm including Spitfire. Spitfire was laughably bad. Quality Street is downright insulting. But while groaning through the longest 82 minutes of my life, I did a little research, and I managed to solve the mystery behind the last 11 weeks of (mostly) bad movies. Better yet, I solved it with science. But first a little exposition.

I've been informed that I occasionally skip over major movie details/actor information/whatnot. Here's a quick summary: Based on a J.M. Barrie play, Quality Street is the story of a spinster teacher who, at 30 years old, finds herself too worn and ugly for her recently-returned beau (Franchot Tone, remember him?). Determined to win his heart, the spinster disguises herself as her prettier, (fictional) younger niece. This only works because by Hollywood Logic, Hepburn's bonnets have the same beauty-dampening power as Rachael Leigh Cook's glasses in She's All That.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb232014

So long, linkwell, au wiedersehen, adieu

Policy Mic Olivia Wilde humorously condemns Hollywood's sexism with a gender reversal anecdote
Chicago Tribune really strong piece on the camerawork and cutting (or lack of it) in the three films dominating the Oscar race: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle 
Gawker a sad day for Sound of Music fans. The last remaining member of the original Von Trapp family singers has died.


NY Times great interview with RuPaul on his unlikely career now in its second huge act
Salon looks at Oscar Original Songs that time forgot. But this is really just scratching the surface. There's a couple of them each year!
Backlots a letter about Joan Fontaine from her friend and secretary
In Contention 12 Years a Slave wins 4 prizes and The Butler wins Best Actor at the NAACP Image Awards

Wednesday
Feb122014

Beauty vs. Beast: An Introduction

JA from MNPP here with a fun new weekly game for us to play!

One of the reasons I love horror films is because more than most genres they give us the chance to see how movies can manipulate their audience into morally tricky identification territory. I find it fascinating, from a psychological standpoint, seeing how a master like say Alfred Hitchcock can use cinema to turn the simple act of mopping up a bathroom into widespread criminal complicity. Some times the bad guys are just so much more interesting than the good guys, ya know? So that's what this here series is about - I'm going to give you a film's protagonist and its antagonist, list a couple of their pros and their cons, and then you're gonna tell me whose team you're on. This week I give you...

Mrs. Danvers vs. The Second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca (1940)

This Monday was the 117th anniversary of Judith Anderson's birth, not to mention that we just lost Joan Fontaine in December, so this seems like the perfect place to begin. (In case you're wondering, Rebecca is usually a good place to begin, no matter the circumstances.)

 

 

You have until Monday to vote, at which time we'll crown a winner and give you a spiffy new pair to choose between. And feel free to make your cases pro and con whomever in the comments!

Wednesday
Dec182013

Top Ten: The Best Sister Acts in Hollywood History

Today's top ten list was inspired by the passing of the great Joan Fontaine, half of Hollywood's most embittered AND most successful sibling rivalry, all-female division. Usually when a movie star has a sibling, one is considerably less successful than the other which is why the Fontaine & de Havilland business was so enduringly fascinating. (If we're talking mixed gender siblings only Warren Beatty & Shirley Maclaine are truly comparable in terms of parallel mega-careers). I'm dedicating this list to the Talmadge sisters, silent screen stars (though most of their work did not survive) as well as the one and only Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac (her gorgeous elder sister who died way too young)... those Young Girls of Rochefort. But Rochefort is a long way from Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD'S TOP TEN FOURTEEN (ACTRESS) SISTER ACTS

The Sisters Mara: Kate & Rooney

14 Kate Mara (1983-) & Rooney Mara (1985-)
Rooney, currently playing Joaquin's ex-wife in Her, became a very big deal two years ago with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Kate is currently working the Netflix original House of Cards. If Hollywood futures are kind they'll climb this informal list.

13 more actressy-sibling sets after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec162013

Joan Fontaine (1917-2013)

First Peter O'Toole, and now Joan Fontaine (née Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland)? It's going to be a rough week. Hollywood lost another of its living giants this weekend when Ms Fontaine passed away of natural causes at 96 years of age. The two-time Hitchcock heroine, bizarrely the only actor to ever win an Oscar in one of his films, is survived by her daughter Debbie and her older estranged sister Olivia. Though Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland are the most successful sister movie stars of all time (both A listers, Oscar winners, and stars of at least one immortal classic) they were famously competitive, never got on well, and haven't spoken since 1975!

The actress would undoubtedly shoot us one of those delicious cocked eyebrow looks to hear her sister mentioned so prominently in all of her obituaries but Old Hollywood Mythology is too enticing to ignore. 

Though her career was very successful in the 40s, the 50s weren't as kind and like many Oscar winning actresses of her time she went Grande Dame Guignol in the 60s (American Horror Story didn't invent the stunt casting tradition of aging Best Actress winners in horror flicks); her last film was the Hammer Horror The Witches (1966). Have any of you seen it?

Five Must-Sees For Your Queue: The Women (1939), Rebecca (1940, Best Actress nomination, Best Picture winner), Suspicion (1941 Best Actress Oscar), The Constant Nymph (1943, Best Actress nomination) and Letters from an Unknown Woman (1948)