The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon Is Here!

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We are all very excited because it’s today that my very first Blogathon, The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon, starts until August 29, on the day on Ingrid 100th Birthday, but also death anniversary. Ingrid is fantastic, so I can’t wait to read your fabulous articles!

Here are the entries for the blogathon. I will add yours to the list when it will be published.

One Gal’s Musings – When Ingrid Met Edith

Silver Screenings – Questioning Your Way to Better Mental Health

Now Voyaging – The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon: INTERMEZZO; A Love Story (1939)

Flickin’ Out – Bergman Under the Direction of Alfred Hitchcock

Le Mot du Cinephiliaque – Elena et les hommes (Jean Renoir, 1956)

Speakeasy – Indiscreet (1958)

The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog – The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon – JUNE NIGHT

Old Hollywood Films – The Bells of St-Mary’s

Karin Mustvedt-PlÜss (Guess at CineMaven’s – Essays from the Couch): Ingrid the Scandanavian 

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – Happy 100th Birthday Ingrid Bergman! 

The Cinematic Frontier – Journey to Italy (1954) 

Defiant Success – Stromboli

Critica Retrô – Joana D’Arc/ Joan of Arc (1948)

Back to Golden Days – The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon: Saratoga Trunk (1945)

BNoirDetour – Gaslight : The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon

Once Upon a Screen – On Her Centennial – The NOTORIOUS Ingrid Bergman

A Shroud of Thoughts – Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight (1944)

Wolffian Classics Movies Digest – Spellbound

CineMaven’s ESSAYS from the COUCH – Ingrid Bergman in “Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

Pop Culture Reverie – Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

The Wonderful World of Cinema – Ingrid Bergman: A Fascinating Woman

Classic Movie Hub Blog – The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon: Cactus Flower

Movies Silently – After the Silents: Walpurgis Night (1935)

The Stop Button – Anastasia (1956, Anatole Litvak)

Outspoken and Freckled – Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – A Centenary Remembrance to Ingrid Bergman on her 100th Birthday

Criterion Blues – Stromboli, 1950, Roberto Rossellini

Moon in Gemini – The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon: A Woman’s Face

Mildred’s Fatburgers – The Visit (1964)

Love Letters to Old Hollywood – Ingrid and Cary Learn to Avoid Coffee in Notorious (1946)

Sister Celluloid – Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant : An “Indiscreet” Friendship

The Movie Rat – Ingrid Bergman Blogathon – A Tale of Two Bergmans: Autumn Sonata (1978)


Thanks so much for your participation everybody! This is a success!

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Ingrid Bergman: A Fascinating Woman

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Ingrid Bergman. What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think of this name. For some it’s “beauty”, for some it’s “talent”, for some it’s “Casablanca”. For me, it’s all this, and more… As I wrote in my letter to Isabella Rossellini (yes, I’ve send her a letter very recently. I hope she will answer!), the word that, to me,  describes the best Ingrid Bergman is “fascinating”. Her talent, her personality, her beauty and her life are all this: fascinating. You all know that Audrey Hepburn is my favourite actress, but in a more objective point of view, Ingrid Bergman is, in my opinion, the most talented of them all. She is a model of acting, for the world of cinema, but also of theatre. Ingrid also had the talent to act in many languages: Swedish, English, German, Italian and even French! Today, we’re celebrating her 100th birthday. Sadly, Ingrid Bergman also left us on the day of her 67th birthday on August 29, 1982. She was only 67 and was suffering of a severe breast cancer. 😦

A dream came true for Grace Kelly. Ingrid Bergman was her favourite actress!
A dream came true for Grace Kelly. Ingrid Bergman was her favourite actress!

The following article will pay a great tribute to this legendary actress who would have been 100 on this day, August 29. I wrote it for The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon, the very first blogathon hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema (in other words, by me). How exciting is that! I wouldn’t be able to write about only one Ingrid Bergman’s films, because I would like to tell you why I love her in general, and not only for one of her films. I want to tell you how much I admire this actress and why. Well, just like I do sometimes when it’s the birthday of one of my favourite movie stars.

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Ingrid Bergman certainly didn’t have an easy life. Luckily, she was a strong and courageous woman. She was born in Stockholm in 1915. Her German mother died when she was only 2 years old and her father, a Swedish photographer died when she was still quite young: 12. Being an orphan, she had to live with her aunts and her uncles. Ingrid has always been interested in the art of acting. She explains in a few interviews that, when she was young, she was pretending she was someone else and created stories with her great imagination. When she went to the theatre for the first time, she discovered that what she was doing was acting. Ingrid Bergman started her acting studies at the Royal Dramatic Theatre School of Stocklhom. This led her to the world of cinema. She starred in her first film in 1935: Munkbrogreven. In 1936, she starred in the original Swedish version of Intermezzo. While she was in Sweden, she starred in a dozen of films, including A Woman’s Face and June Nights.

Little Ingrid and her father
Little Ingrid and her father
A 19 years old Ingrid
A 19 years old Ingrid

Even if she was a Swedish actress, Ingrid Bergman’s talent was noticed by the Hollywood film industry. It’s David O’Selznick who gave us her first part in an American film: Intermezzo: A Love story (1939), opposite Leslie Howard. A remake of the original Swedish Intermezzo. When she arrived in Hollywood, Ingrid had to face the challenge of not speaking English or well, just a little. Of course, she learned and how can we not love her adorable accent. She also had to face the Hollywood industry who wanted to change her name and her look (not conformed to the beauty standards of Hollywood), but Ingrid, who knew what she wanted, treated them to return to Sweden if they dare try to change her look and her name. We’re glad they didn’t because, first she was one of the most beautiful women on Earth and, second, her name became legendary. So, Ingrid started her Hollywoodian career with Intermezzo that led her to a series of notorious masterpieces : For Whom the Bell Tolls, Casablanca (probably her most famous film), Gaslight (for which she won her first Oscar), The Bell’s of St. Mary’s, etc. She also became one of Hitchcock’s blond muses and acted in three of his films: Spellbound, Notorious and Under Capricorn.

Casablanca
Casablanca
Notorious
Notorious
A lovely Ingrid with her Oscar for Gaslight
A lovely Ingrid with her Oscar for Gaslight
Ingrid and her friend Alfred Hitchcock
Ingrid and her friend Alfred Hitchcock

In the 40’s, Ingrid Bergman was one of the most appreciated star in Hollywood, but that was not to last…

In 1937, Ingrid  married the doctor Petter Lindström with whom she had a daughter, Pia. They divorced in 1950 and their marriage ended because of one of Hollywood’s most famous loving scandal. Well, you probably all know what it is. And just to let you know, before I continue, I’m on Ingrid’s side. Ingrid Bergman has noticed the work of Roberto Rossellini and desperately wanted to act in one of his films. So, she sent him a letter explaining her interest. Luckily for her, her dream came true and she had the chance to star in Rossellini neorealism film’s Stromboli. During the shooting of this film, Roberto and Ingrid fell in love with each others and started having an affair, which created a scandal in United States as she was married and had a daughter. We have to know that Ingrid had then already asked to Petter for a divorce, but he didn’t agree to it. So, their wedding was already not very strong anymore. Because of this scandal, Ingrid was not welcomed in the United States anymore so, she returned to Italy. She finally obtained the divorce from Petter in 1950, but this one did everything so Ingrid won’t be able to meet her daughter Pia. Of course, she was very sad about that and finally had the chance to see her again many years later.

Ingrid and Petter Lindström
Ingrid and Petter Lindström
Ingrid and Roberto Rossellini
Ingrid and Roberto Rossellini

Ingrid Bergman married Roberto Rossellini in 1950. They had three children together: Roberto and the twins Isabella and Ingrid Isotta. Isabella Rossellini, model and actress, is probably Ingrid’s most famous child. And, just like her mum, she’s an incredibly extraordinary and beautiful woman. During her years in Italy, Ingrid shot five films under the direction of her husband: Stromboli, Europa ’51, Viaggo in Italia, Giovanna d’Arco al rogo and La Paura.

Ingrid and baby Pia
Ingrid and baby Pia
A beautiful picture of Ingrid and Isabella. She looks so proud of her daughter!
A beautiful picture of Ingrid and Isabella. She looks so proud of her daughter!
The Italian Family!
The Italian Family!

After six years of exile apart from United States, Ingrid Bergman came back to Hollywood and starred in Anastasia. This was a success and she won her second Oscar. She divorced Roberto Rossellini not a very long time after in 1957. Her last husband was Lars Schmidt, probably the less stressful of the three! They remained married from 1958 t0 1975.  She then starred in appreciated movies like Indiscreet, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Goodbye Again, The Yellow Roll Royce, etc. In 1975, she won her third Oscar for her performance in Murder on the Orient Express. Ingrid Bergman’s last film was Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, opposite Liv Ullman. Ingrid Bergman published her autobiography in 1980: My Life, which became a best-seller. I still have to read it. She died in 1982 on the day of her 67’s anniversary.

With Liv Ullman in Autumn Sonata
With Liv Ullman in Autumn Sonata

Ok, I was first not really supposed to write a biography of our beloved actress, but I thought that would be a good (and long!) introduction to my explanations of why I love this actress. Ingrid Bergman has always been a favourite of mine since I saw her in Casablanca. However, when I watched her first films I was always observing her acting in a very superficial way. I was loving her, but not the way I loved Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly for example. But now I do, oh yes I do! So, for a long time, I hadn’t seen many of her films: Casablanca, Anastasia, Notorious and some others. She was incredible in all of these, but the film that was a revelation to me was Spellbound. In this film, Ingrid was acting with so much sincerity and love, it became my favourite movie of hers and also a turning point. I then re-watched some of her movies I had already seen and observed her acting on a completely different angle. Now I’m able to say that I don’t  only admire her, but also love her.

Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck on the set of Spellbound. They are just so cute with their ice cream!
Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck on the set of Spellbound. They are just so cute with their ice cream!

Not a very long time ago, I also read an excellent biography about Ingrid Bergman : La véritable Ingrid Bergman  written by Bertrand Meyer-Stabley. So, with this book, I was able to understand, not only what type of actress she was, but also what type of woman she was. Ingrid was brave, she was passionate by her profession, she knew what she wanted and didn’t need others to tell her what to do (a little like me), she was strong and well, had every qualities to be a highly admired woman. After I read this book, I wanted to see all Ingrid Bergman’s films and know everything about her. Of course, I haven’t seen all her films yet, but, for the moment, I’ve seen 15 of them, which is not so bad : Casablanca, Stromboli, Spellbound, Notorious, Under Capricorn, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Murder on the Orient Express, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Indiscreet, Anastasia, A Woman’s Face, Intermezzo (1936’s Swedish version), Gaslight, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Edda Gabler. Of course, I have much more to watch, but I think, among this list, I’ve seen some of her best films.

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I never was disappointed by an Ingrid Bergman’s acting performance. She is sincere in each one of them and we can feel how hard she worked to give her best. Looking at Ingrid Bergman’s acting is like looking at  painting of Jerome Bosh. There is so much to see an to analyze, so many facets and interesting details. Plus, Ingrid could do everything. Her great versatility allowed her to play many types of characters. She could cry and then be the happiest girl in the world. Ingrid Bergman’s smile and laugh are some other things I love so much about her. She can be nasty or the sweetest person in the world. She can be crazy or very clever. But one thing is sure, she is unique. Even if she plays two very different characters (for example, Paula in Gaslight and Gladys Aylward in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness), she has a way to act that is unique, unlike any other actresses. And it also seems that each one of her movie roles was made for her. Ingrid was, indeed, very selective  and never, or rarely, played a character she didn’t like.

Gaslight
Gaslight
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

Like I said at the beginning of this text, Ingrid Bergman had the ability to act in more than one language. Very recently, I bought a DVD box set with three of her early Swedish film: Intermezzo, A Woman’s Face and June Nights. I watched the first two and will watch the last one today to celebrate her birthday. I must say, it’s so interesting to see her acting in her native language. And, even if I don’t speak Swedish (don’t worry, there are English subtitles available), I think it’s just wonderful to listen to that because Ingrid’s acting is so magic and there is also something very poetic about her speaking Swedish. It is, actually, a very beautiful language, but it seems difficult to learn!

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Being a great admirer of Ingrid Bergman, I don’t only want to see all her movies, but also know the most things as possible about her. I watched some of her interviews on YouTube. Those are so interesting. I alternate between her interviews and Isabella Rossellini’s ones, which are also very worth watching. What makes me laugh is the fact that, not in all her interviews, but in many of them, Ingrid Bergman always explains the fact that, when they were shooting Casablanca, the script wasn’t complete, so she didn’t know if she was to end with Humphrey Bogart or Paul Henreid. Because of that, she had to act considering the two options. Not an easy job, but she did great. Recently, I also bought the beautiful book: Ingrid Bergman: A Life in Pictures. A  500 pages book full of marvellous photos, edited by her daughter Isabella Rossellini and Lothar Schrimer. The book contains an introduction by Liv Ullman and a written interview with Ingrid. I just started looking at it and I have the feeling I’m going to have a good time reading it!

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Ingrid Bergman spoke french (my native language), so I cannot leave you without a french interview with her! One of my favourites. Of course, some of you might not speak French, but that’s Ingrid Bergman you know, so you don’t have to understand everything to admire her. 😉

I then invite you to watch my tribute to this marvellous actress. The visual quality is not  perfect and there is a little bug at the end of the video, but I hope you’ll enjoy it just the same.

Finally, this wouldn’t be a Wonderful World of Cinema’s article without a top list! So, let me present to you my top 5 of Ingrid Bergman’s films:

1- Spellbound
2- The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
3- Casablanca
4- Gaslight
5- Notorious
Ingrid Bergman would have been 100 years old today. That’s something. She is an actress we shall never forget. The new generation HAS to discover her (or they’ll miss something). We have to do everything to honour her memory for ever and ever. Dear Ingrid Bergman, may you have a wonderful heavenly 100th birthday!

This article was part of The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon hosted by my own blog. I invite you to read all the other great entries:

The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon

And joining my facebook group dedicated to her:

Ingrid Bergman: A Fascinating Woman

Vive Ingrid!

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Top of the World: My Ultimate Top 50 Favourite Actresses

I know you’ve all been waiting for this! Well, here it is, my top 50 favourite actresses (you know how I love top list)! Of course it may change some day, number 34 might become number 33, but that will give you a general idea for the moment (and a ton of beautiful pictures). Of course, if your favourite actress is not on the list, it’s not because I don’t like her (!), but maybe because I haven’t seen some of her movies yet or not enough or maybe she’s number 55 or maybe she hasn’t conquer me yet. This is a very subjective top, so it’s possible that your favourite actress might be my number 40, but just want you to know that I love all the actresses in this top, otherwise they wouldn’t be part of the top!

Oh and I also decided to tell you what is my favourite film for each one of these actresses.

Enjoy!

1- Audrey Hepburn
Favourite film: Roman Holiday
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2- Grace Kelly
Favourite Film: Rear Window
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3- Ingrid Bergman
Favourite Film: Spellbound
1944 Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight
4- Joan Fontaine
Favourite Film: Rebecca
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5- Katharine Hepburn
Favourite Film: Bringing Up Baby
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6- Jean Simmons
Favourite Film: Guys and Dolls
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7- Margaret Lockwood
Favourite Film: The Lady Vanishes
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8-Vivien Leigh
Favourite Film: Gone With the Wind
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9- Teresa Wright
Favourite Film: Shadow of a Doubt
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10- Donna Reed
Favourite Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
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11- Anne Baxter
Favourite Film: The Magnificent Ambersons
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12- Olivia de Havilland
Favourite Film: Gone With the Wind
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13- Barbara Stanwyck
Favourite Film: Golden Boy
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14- Deborah Kerr
Favourite Film: The Innocents
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15- Marilyn Monroe
Favourite Film: Some Like it Hot
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16- Shirley McLaine
Favourite Film: Irma La Douce
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17- Joan Crawford
Favourite Film: Mildred Pierce
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18- Faye Dunaway
Favourite Film: Bonnie & Clyde
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19- Thelma Ritter
Favourite Film: Rear Window
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20- Dolores Hart
Favourite Film: Come Fly With Me
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21- Carole Lombard
Favourite Film: To Be or Not To Be
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22- Vera Miles
Favourite Film: The Wrong Man
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23- Diane Keaton
Favourite Film: Annie Hall
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24- Natalie Wood
Favourite Film: West Side Story
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25- Doris Day
Favourite Film: The Man Who Knew Too Much
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26- Lillian Gish
Favourite Film: The Night of the Hunter
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27- Phyllis Calvert
Favourite Film: The Man in Grey
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28- Elsa Lanchester
Favourite Film: Witness for the Prosecution
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29- Irene Dunne
Favourite Film: The Awful Truth
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30- Patricia Roc
Favourite Film: The Wicked Lady
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31- Julie Andrews
Favourite Film: The Sound of Music
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32- Barbara Bel Geddes
Favourite Film: Vertigo
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33- Rita Hayworth
Favourite Film: Music in my Heart
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34- Jessie Royce Landis
Favourite Film: To Catch a Thief
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35- Debbie Reynolds
Favourite Film: Singin’ in the Rain
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36- Helen Hayes
Favourite Film: Airport
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37- Nova Pilbeam
Favourite Film: Young and Innocent
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38- Elizabeth Taylor
Favourite Film: National Velvet
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39- Bette Davis
Favourite Film: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
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40- Tippi Hedren
Favourite Film: The Birds
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41- Jean Arthur
Favourite Film: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
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42- Myrna Loy
Favourite Film: The Best Years of Our Lives
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43- Joan Bennett
Favourite Film: Little Women
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44- Geena Davis
Favourite Film: Thelma & Louise
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45- Agnes Moorehead
Favourite Film: 14 Hours
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46- Cate Blanchett
Favourite Film: The Aviator
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47- Natalie Portman
Favourite Film: Black Swan
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48- Celest Holm
Favourite Film: High Society
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49- Julia Roberts
Favourite Film: Erin Brockovich
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50- Katharine Ross
Favourite Film: The Graduate
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Honorable mention to Anita Page and Dame May Whitty. Hope you liked my top! 🙂

The 2015 Summer Under the Stars Blogathon: Daddy Lee J. Cobb

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Does it sometimes happen to you to have a BIG and sudden revelation concerning a movie star? It happens to me all the time these days. Recently, my revelation was that Lee. J. Cobb was an awesomely great actor. I mean he really is. Lee J. Cobb is  well known for having starred in classics such as On the Waterfront, Twelve Angry Men, Golden Boy, How the West Was Won, The Exorcist and more. This actor certainly ought to be honoured and that’s what I’ll do today. You see, I’m participating to the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Kristen from Journeys in Classic Films. This blogathon ties in with the TCM Under the Star. During all month of August, a star is honoured each day and the channel  only shows some of his or her movies during the day. So, the idea is the same for this blogathon. Each day is dedicated to a movie star (the same as on TCM) and participants have to write a text about this star. It can be a movie review, a top 10, anything. Participants can subscribe for more than one day if they want to.

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Well, today, on August 17th, it’s Lee J. Cobb day! When I saw he was on the schedule, I said to myself “ok, that’s the day I chose. It will be a great opportunity to write about him”. Lee J. Cobb had twice played a father in two of his most famous films: Golden Boy ( Rouben Mamoulian, 1939) and Twelve Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957). However, his characters are very different in each movie. He is not the same kind of father in Golden Boy than in Twelve Angry Men. So, for the blogathon, instead of writing a general tribute about Lee J. Cobb or concentring myself on only one of his films, I’ve decided to compare his performances in Golden Boy and Twelve Angry Men. Two very different films and two quite different characters. This will be similar to what I did during my Olivia de Havilland’s marathon, my William Holden’s marathon and my Dolores Hart’s marathon. That will be my way to prove you Lee J. Cobb’s great versatility and great acting abilities of course.

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In Golden Boy, Lee J. Cobb plays a sensible father, in Twelve Angry Men, he plays a disappointed father, but in both cases, a very emotional one. You might remember, I already wrote a little paragraph about Golden Boy, but it was about William Holden’s performance in the film. It will certainly be interesting to talk about another actor’s performance : this time it’s Lee J. Cobb. The plot goes like this: Joe Bonaparte (William Holden) is a violinist who wants to start boxing because it’s a better way to have a safe financial future. His father ( Lee J. Cobb) opposes to this decision, because he knows that his son is made for music and not for boxing. He knows that this will make him unhappy. Barbara Stanwyck is William Holden boxing agent’s girlfriend (Adolphe Menjou) who, at first, manipulates Joe so he won’t quit the boxing. But after a visit to Joe’s family house, she understands, like Joe’s father, that he belongs to the world of music.

Annex - Cobb, Lee J. (Golden Boy)_01

I really thing that Golden Boy is the film that made me appreciate Lee J. Cobb. Yes, he was great in On the Waterfront (that I saw before Golden Boy), but somehow I was more able to notice is great talent thanks to his performance in Golden Boy. But in a way, maybe that’s because his character in Golden Boy is much more different than the one in On The Waterfront. In Golden Boy, he is a truly good man, unlike Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront. By watching a very different performance from Lee J. Cobb, I was conscious of his great versatility and knew then that he was an actor with a gifted talent. Mr. Bonaparte is an Italian father who desperately wants his son, Joe, to be happy . If Joe is happy, he will be too. That’s why he insists so much on him to continue is musician career, because he knows that THIS makes his son happy, not the boxing. There are some beautiful father and son scenes in this film marvellously lead by Lee J. Cobb and William Holden. It’s the fusion of the two characters’  emotions that make this film so memorable. Admiration and pride would be the right words to describe Mr Bonaparte’s feeling toward his son, but also sadness and deception during the more difficult moments. All these emotions were wonderful embody by Lee J. Cobb, who is really unrecognizable in this film if you compare it to some other films where he plays tough guys. What’s also incredible about this performance is the fact that Lee J. Cobb plays a middle age father, but, in real life, he only was 27 when he starred in it. It was one of his first films, but he seems to already have a long career behind him! I also have a feeling that, just like William Holden, Golden Boy is the film that putted Lee J. Cobb on the map. Well, according to his previous filmography, I think it was his first important role.

Title: GOLDEN BOY ¥ Pers: STANWYCK, BARBARA / COBB, LEE J. / HOLDEN, WILLIAM ¥ Year: 1939 ¥ Dir: MAMOULIAN, ROUBEN ¥ Ref: GOL017AG ¥ Credit: [ COLUMBIA / THE KOBAL COLLECTION ]

Twelve Angry Men‘s story is quite simple. A jury has to declare if a young boy is guilty or not of the murder of his own father. Eleven of the jurors think he is, only one of them (Henry Fonda) thinks he’s not. He will have to convince them the best he can. Lee J. Cobb’s character, Juror #3 really think he is guilty and is very hard to convince, but we realized that he is taking this case too personal. Juror #3 has a son. He hasn’t seen him since two years. He is a disappointed father who doesn’t accept his son’s reaction after “everything he done for him”.

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Of course, Lee J. Cobb plays a father in Twelve Angry Men, but we never saw him with his son (only on a picture where they both looks happy). Lee J. Cobb plays a frustrated man in this film who insists so much for the boy to be sent to the electric chair. He refuses to listen to others’ arguments. However, he’s not that much a bad person after all. We understand that he is just a very desperate man, because of his difficult relationship with his own son. The final scene is really heartbreaking and, once more, Lee J. Cobb brilliantly proves us is great ability to change emotions easily. His character sometimes has mood swings, but he always regrets it and apologizes to other jurors. There’s a scene where Henry Fonda tries to prove others that the boy couldn’t have killed his father with a certain type of knife. So, he asks to Lee J. Cobb to help him with a demonstration. At the moment, Lee. J. Cobb is about to plants the knife in his chest, but not for real, all the other jurors have a scared reaction just like if they were thinking he really was about to kill him with the knife. Lee J. Cobb stops is movement and says “Nobody’s hurt…” with a calm voice. He seems to be disappointed that others think he is that much a bad man. He knows what others think of him and doesn’t like this. Really, Lee J. Cobb is incredible in this film. His character is quite different from the one in Golden Boy, but, in a way, he is a little similar because, in Golden Boy too, he happens to be disappointed by his son at a certain point.

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I’m glad to have participated to this blogathon, a very original idea. Of course, don’t forget to read the other entries for Lee J. Cobb’s day and, if you are lucky to have TCM (not like me), don’t forget to watch some of his films! Thanks to Journeys in Classic Films for organizing this!

Summer Under the Stars Blogathon: Lee J. Cobb

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The Anti-Damsel Blogathon: Lola Delaney (Shirley Booth) in Come Back Little Sheba

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Movie heroines are not always princesses waiting for a prince to rescue them, they are not always victims or damsels in distress. Female movie characters can be strong, they can have guts, determination and many other wonderful qualities. GIRL POWER! Is it clear? Well, because of movie business, a group of stereotypes was created around women, but these are only prejudices. Why am I telling you all this? Because today I’m participating to the Anti-Damsel blogathon hosted by Movies Silently and The Last Drive In. A blogathon created to defy those stereotypes and honour the powerful women of cinema. Those who really existed or simple movie characters. For the occasion, I’ve chosen to write about Lola Delaney, Shirley Booth’s character in Come Back Little Sheba ( Daniel Mann, 1952). Lola Delaney seems at first to be a weak lady, but I’ll prove you she’s not.

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To situate you a little, if you haven’t seen Come Back Little Sheba, I’ll first present you a quick plot of the film: Lola Delaney (Shirley Booth) and her husband Doc Delaney (Burt Lancaster) are married and have no children. Doc Delaney is recovering from alcoholism, but is still irritable. He is a member of the AA. Lola Delaney suffers from a big loneliness as her husband constantly has to go out. She has decided to rent a room for a student in need. The room is rented by the young Marie (Terry More), an art student. Marie is engaged to a certain Bruce (Welter Kelley). She is a young girl full of life and is greatly appreciated by both Lola and Doc. However, Marie sees another boy, Turk (Richard Jeakel). Doc, feeling he has a great responsibility over Marie, can’t stand the she’s seeing another man when she is already engaged, especially a boy like Turk who, according to Doc, is probably no good to her. Doc will take this too personal and will return in the old deep darkness. Lola will have to handle the situation the best she can. The Delaney once had a dog, Sheba, who unfortunately escaped one day and never come back. Lola is always hoping it will be back. That’s why the title of this film is “Come Back Little Sheba”. As they have no children, Sheba was probably like her child.

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Lola Delaney is not the typical beautiful girl. She seems, at first, quite ordinary. She is a little fat, she doesn’t comb her hair, she wears  ordinary clothes. Anyway, she doesn’t seem to care that much about her appearance, but her beauty is in her heart. Lola once was a beautiful lady, in her young years. She still has a certain charm, but in a different way. Physically, the most beautiful things about her is her smile and her eyes. Eyes full of emotions: joy, sadness, fear and hope. Lola Delaney is a woman full of compassion, for her husband, but also for the little Marie. Most of the time, when she’s having these emotions, she is feeling them for her those she loves. She is happy for Marie, who will get marry soon, she is sad for her husband who seems unhappy. She knows how to share her emotions with others, and that’s the first great thing about her. Lola Delaney is a woman who will do everything she can to please someone. She always thinks of others before thinking of herself. These can be very simple, but appreciated actions, like giving a glass of water to the postman or organizing a dinner for Lola and Bruce.

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Some might think she’s doing too much. For example, Turk thinks she’s too invasive and even her husband sometimes seems tired to see her always around and will eventually ask for some peace. That’s because they don’t see everything she’s doing for them. Lola doesn’t cook the breakfast for her husband like typical women these days, but she’s doing much more. More subtle things, but those remains more important and significant than cooking a simple breakfast.

Lola Delaney is also a strong woman and she has a great courage, mainly because she has to live with an alcoholic husband. Of course, this one hasn’t touched a bottle for a year, but he is still fragile. As I said in the plot, he will return in the old deep darkness. [SPOILER ALERT] Yes, this is a metaphor to explain that he will drink again, unable to face the situation concerning her too protective feelings toward Marie. In one of the scenes, around the end of the film, Doc is back home. He wasn’t here for two days and Lola was terribly worried. He is back and completely drunk. He is terrible at this moment of the film, saying awful things to Lola and being very violent. He grabs a knife and it seems that he wants to kill her. She calls a friend of Doc Ed (Phillip Ober), also a member of the AA, to come help her. Just when he grabs her throat, Ed arrives and Lola is trying to bring him back to reality, saying to him “That’s me, Lola!”. When he “seems” to realize what terrible thing he’s doing, Doc lets Lola go and faint. He is then taken to the hospital, for a cure and, when  he’s back home, he tells him that he doesn’t really remember what he did, but whatever he said, he didn’t mean it. [END OF SPOILER].

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Lola is strong, because she has to face a quite violent husband in this scene, but she doesn’t give up her love for him. She won’t stop loving him or won’t divorce him because  of that. Why? Because she knows her husband better than that. She knows he can be cured and she knows that, when he’s not drunk, he is a lovable person. Because of her great love for him, she is able to see over his alcoholic problems and, as she knows him well, deep in her heart, she knows that he will always belong to her. Lola’s first objective concerning her husband’s problems will be to help him the best she can, not to reject him. At the beginning of the film, when they go together to the AA meeting for a special celebration: his first “anniversary” of non-alcoholism, Lola is very proud of her husband who hasn’t touch a bottle since a year and has a great feeling he can become the man he once was, before he started drinking too much.

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As I said in the beginning of my review, Lola is a woman who suffers from a great loneliness. Most of the time, she’s alone at home and seems to be bored a bit. So, when Marie decided to rent the place she is very happy. That’s why she will do everything to please the persons walking into her home. She doesn’t want to lose them. Lola is generous, really she is. Another scene where she both prove her courage and her generosity is during the dinner scene with Bruce and Marie. She has cooked a delicious dinner for Marie, Bruce, Doc and herself. However, Doc is not at home and she hasn’t heard from him. She really worries and is unable to swallow anything. So, she decides to let Marie and Bruce eat alone together. She lights candles for them and serves them the dinner like if they were in a chic romantic restaurant. However, when she’s alone in the kitchen, we see her distress. She is afraid something bad happened to Doc. However, she doesn’t want to spoil the two lovers’ dinner by exposing her anxiety and keeps the smile when she’s with them.

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Finally, what I like about Lola is that she is a woman full of pep. She loves to listen to music and loves to dance. During one of the most beautiful scenes of the film, she dances with Doc in the living room just like in the good old days. He then sats on the coach and claps his hands while she is dancing with a great energy. They both smile and they both seem sincerely happy. That’s THEIR moment. Nobody can’t steal it from them. Unfortunately, this instant is abruptly stopped by Marie and Turk entering into the house. Doc loss his smile and Lola comes back to reality. So sad this moment could last longer… Doc certainly doesn’t appreciate Turk, but Lola knows how to forgive him. She knows he’s not the one Marie will marry. Fortunately, another beautiful moment like this will come at the end of the film, but I’ll let you see it by yourself. All I can say about this scene, is that we KNOW Doc and Lola really love each other. In this final scene, Doc seems very proud of her wife and that’s beautiful and very touching.

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Shirley Booth was really incredible in this film. She won the Oscar for Best actress and that was certainly very well deserved. I must say, it was one of my favourite performances by an actress. She plays the character with a great energy and is capable to share many emotions. She really was perfect is the role and certainly can be admired by those who enjoyed the film like me. Burt Lancaster was also great as Doc Delaney, despite the fact that he was maybe too young for the role. Well, he was 39 at the time. That’s not THAT much young, but he plays a 50 years old man. Anyway, he still looks younger than Shirley Booth so that’s probably why people say that he looks too young for the part. On my side, I kind of agree, but however I really appreciated the fact that he was in this film, too young or not because he really is one of my very favourite actors. I enjoyed every of his performances. He truly was one of a kind. And let’s admit it, he aged pretty well. I would certainly like to see more Shirley Booth’s films, because that’s the only one I saw so far. She is a less well known actress than Burt Lancaster, but I’m sure she is a very interesting one to discover. The film was also nominated at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Terry More) and Best editing.

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I must admit, when I started writing this article, I wasn’t sure I’ll have that much things to say, but I was wrong. I had more and more things to say while I was writing. Well, that always happens to me. I hope this article made you understand how Lola Delaney can be considered an anti-damsell and that you now understand better why we can highly admire her. Of course, don’t forget to read the other entries of this wonderful blogathon:

The Anti-Damsel Blogathon

Thanks to Movie Silently and The Last Drive-In for organizing this amazing event! 😀

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