This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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rudyfan
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by rudyfan »

Jeannette Nolan? Although I'd have paid good money to see Jeannette MacDonald as Lady Macbeth (just not Verdi's opera).
:-)
jdb1 wrote:A May 6 birthday:

Orson Welles - Scene from Macbeth. Whatta hunk he could be, when he wanted to. (It was scenes like this between Welles and Jeanette MacDonald that gave us Tim McIntyre.) :wink:
[youtube][/youtube]
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I thought it was only me who could see that, I agree when he wanted to be he was a hunk :wink:
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by movieman1957 »

My 18 year old daughter selected a Tiny Tim ringtone for herself. It's just a big deal that she knows who he was.
Chris

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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by jdb1 »

rudyfan wrote:Jeannette Nolan? Although I'd have paid good money to see Jeannette MacDonald as Lady Macbeth (just not Verdi's opera).
:-)
Oh, you are so right! Guess I was caught up in the Scottishness of it all, and in Orson's Alpha Male presence. I'm afraid Orsie affects me that way. I made the correction. (Welles and MacDonald -- now wouldn't that have been a hoot!)
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rudyfan
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by rudyfan »

jdb1 wrote:
rudyfan wrote:Jeannette Nolan? Although I'd have paid good money to see Jeannette MacDonald as Lady Macbeth (just not Verdi's opera).
:-)
Oh, you are so right! Guess I was caught up in the Scottishness of it all, and in Orson's Alpha Male presence. I'm afraid Orsie affects me that way. I made the correction. (Welles and MacDonald -- now wouldn't that have been a hoot!)
Yes, that would have been a hoot. For the record, Welles is my favorite Rochester in Jane Eyre. I need to revist Macbeth.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by jdb1 »

I've been wondering:

On Orson Welles' birthday, I took a look at most of the scenes from the Welles/Fontaine Jane Eyre that are on YouTube. Welles is so far above Fontaine in just about every way in this movie -- he is so incendiary to her bland, it's almost painful to watch. I watched a scene at lunchtime today where Rochester declares his love for Jane, and calls her "almost otherworldly," and Fontaine gives him her usual sexless, blank stare. Ugh. And let's not even go into the fact that there is always something rather wan and matronly about Fontaine, and she looked like she could easily have played Orson's mother.

So -- who could have done it better? This movie, good as it is, could have been a lot better with a better actress as Jane. I'm not a big fan of either Jennifer Jones or Ingrid Bergman, but I think either one of those would have brought so much more spark and steel to the role, something sorely lacking in Fontaine's performance. Even another of my not favorites, Loretta Young, held her own much better opposite Welles in The Stranger, and might have been able to play Jane Eyre with some very forgiving lighting.

So -- who would have been a better Jane to Welles' powerhouse Rochester?
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Garbomaniac
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by Garbomaniac »

Hedy Lamarr! Ha!


Well, although many actresses come to mind, they are either too old, too beautiful, or too something to play Plain Jane. Ann Sheridan: voice too husky, Gene Tierney: too beautiful, although she has played plain parts, Linda Darnell: too beautiful, Bette Davis: too old, Ingrid Bergman: too typical a part, Jennifer Jones: would have been just as sickening as Joan, Loretta Young: ditto, Vivian Leigh: Ah! Just right!

Yup, I think Vivian and Orson would have been dynamite together, and she was British! Remember, she tried out for the meek and plain second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca and would have been good in that one, too.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by knitwit45 »

he is so incendiary to her bland, it's almost painful to watch. I watched a scene at lunchtime today where Rochester declares his love for Jane, and calls her "almost otherworldly," and Fontaine gives him her usual sexless, blank stare.
But Judith, Jane was supposed to be meek and bland on the surface. I've said this recently on another thread (Bond, James Bond): The best Jane I've ever seen was done by a British actress, Zelah Clarke, in a 1983 adaptation of Jane Eyre for A&E. It was so faithful to the book, I got out my well worn copy and read dialog as they spoke the words. Timothy Dalton was terrific as Rochester, more depth and fire than Welles (sorry, I'm sure I will have to watch my back till the furor dies down)

I guess my point is that Jane was so suppressed by life, she wouldn't dream of standing up to anyone directly. Ms.Clarke showed the underlying fire in Jane's soul, and Ms. Fontaine never did.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by Professional Tourist »

I think Joan Fontaine did well as Jane Eyre. But someone who could have been brilliant in the role, who had good chemistry with Orson (they had a tryst a couple of years later) was Judy Garland. She wasn't given opportunity to play these kinds of dramatic roles in those days, but she really could have done this. 8)

If it weren't for the age issue, I'd say Agnes could have done very well. Agnes and Orson did play Jane and Rochester together on radio in September 1938 for the Mercury Theater on the Air. If you can believe it, this is one of the few episodes of that radio series that is missing and presumed lost, so I've never heard it. :cry:
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by Professional Tourist »

Garbomaniac wrote:Yup, I think Vivian and Orson would have been dynamite together, and she was British! Remember, she tried out for the meek and plain second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca and would have been good in that one, too.
Actually, Vivien Leigh did play the second Mrs. de Winter in 1950 for Lux Radio Theater, with Laurence Olivier. And she did well, I think, they were good together.

Vivien Leigh was Orson's first choice to play his Lady MacBeth. But Olivier didn't want her to do it, so she didn't accept the part (which eventually went to Jeanette Nolan).
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by jdb1 »

All good points, and the idea of Judy Garland as Eyre is intriguing. I have no doubt she could have handled the part. Another Welles amour who could have done it is Geraldine Fitzgerald. I like the idea of Vivienne Leigh, too. Although they are both probably "too American" for Jane, I've also thought about Teresa Wright or even Anne Shirley. And what is the name of the English actress who played the nurse in Lifeboat? I can see her as Jane as well. In fact, that actress looked a lot like Jessica Tandy, and I can see Tandy as Jane, too.

Both of the more prominent British TV versions are on YouTube, but I haven't looked at either one yet. I don't remember watching them when they were shown on PBS. Timothy Dalton isn't my cup of tea, and I keep comparing him in looks to Patrick Stewart (whose tea I like a lot better).

Knitty, take a look on Youtube at the Welles version of Jane Eyre, and watch the first appearance of Rochester section, where fiery Orson comes galloping up out of the fog on a fiery black stallion. Hot stuff.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by knitwit45 »

JD, my first love of Rochester was Welles..I wasn't old enough to understand all the underlying currents of the fire raging around him, but he made me swoon anyway. (Do people still swoon?? I can't think of too many actors/actresses out there today who have a high swoon factor. Hm'm that might make a great thread....)
For me to shift allegiance to Dalton's Rochester was BIG and I need to re-visit both versions, to see if I still feel the same.

The Welles version in glorious black and white is so moody and dark and romantic, while the Dalton version, in color, just makes the story seem more alive, and it draws me into the story, while the former is a movie to watch on a cold winter's night.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by MissGoddess »


Oh, I can't resist! If I may weigh in on one of my favorite novels of all time, which I've read at least 30 times, and my favorite actress of all time. :)

Vivien Leigh was a beautiful woman with a beautiful woman's sensibilities---the exact OPPOSITE of Jane Eyre. See her audition footage for "Rebecca" and you'll see why she's all wrong for such reserved, inward and inhibited characters. Maybe on the radio she'd be fine in the role, lol, never on film. She wasn't the type to completely submerge her qualities, either, so it isn't a question of acting prowess but appropriate casting.

I also think when they cast handsome actors as Rochester it's contrary to the author's intent---Rochester was, in the eyes of the world at least, an ugly man---stocky, below average height, swarthy and dark browed. Timothy Dalton had the dark brows but he was a beautiful looking man, all wrong physically. With such well known characters from literature, I do think some degree of faithfulness to their appearance is important.

Orson Welles made the perfect Rochester in my opinion, and though Joan Fontaine was a lovely looking woman, she was a very tense, tightly controlled actress which works for the character of "Jane", unlike an emotional loose cannon like Leigh.

Vivling is my favorite actress and could do almost any role, in my opnion---except homely or plain and repressed types, not in her youth anyway. She was too irrepressible.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by jdb1 »

Yes, MissG, the Rochester of the book was not a man to love easily, but I don't think that was the purpose of the movie. The movie was another of Classic Hollywood's versions of a Harlequin Romance Novel, and Orson fit the bill perfectly. If this movie were truer to the book, perhaps Claude Rains or Edward G. might have played Rochester. But -- obviously the studio was aiming for a different sort of audience.

You know, this movie always make me think of another, which is actually something of a Jane Eyre in reverse: My Cousin Rachel. In that movie, we have a similiar casting situation -- the too hot to be true young Richard Burton, burning up the screen and completely overwhelming the far too old and rather lackluster Olivia deHavilland, who is supposedly the mystery woman, but seems much more like the president of the ladies' auxilliary of the local country club.
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Re: This Is Dedicated to the Ones We Love

Post by MissGoddess »

jdb1 wrote:Yes, MissG, the Rochester of the book was not a man to love easily, but I don't think that was the purpose of the movie. The movie was another of Classic Hollywood's versions of a Harlequin Romance Novel, and Orson fit the bill perfectly. If this movie were truer to the book, perhaps Claude Rains or Edward G. might have played Rochester. But -- obviously the studio was aiming for a different sort of audience.


For myself, I don't find Orson Welles handsome at all so I think he was good for Rochester physically (if rather too tall, but heights don't register as much with me on film). I don't see the '44 version as a glamorized so much as rendered almost expressionistically. It goes for the overall mood of the story rather than the details. I love it, the cinematography is among the most stunning of any movie made that year.


You know, this movie always make me think of another, which is actually something of a Jane Eyre in reverse: My Cousin Rachel. In that movie, we have a similiar casting situation -- the too hot to be true young Richard Burton, burning up the screen and completely overwhelming the far too old and rather lackluster Olivia deHavilland, who is supposedly the mystery woman, but seems much more like the president of the ladies' auxilliary of the local country club.


Oh yes! I tend to see these two films as very similar. Dragonwyck has something of the same style, too.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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