Announcing the 120 “Screwball” Years of Jean Arthur Blogathon!

The first time I saw Jean Arthur in a film, I didn’t immediately become a fan of her. I was one of those people who was irritated by her unique voice, and my attention was overall more dragged towards Gary Cooper (the film was Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, 1936)). However, I have learned over the years to grow fond of Jean Arthur and understand the charm of that voice! She is now an undeniable favourite of mine. My opinion of her changed as soon as I saw in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, another Capra film. This time, she shared the screen with my favourite actor, James Stewart. They had starred the previous year in You Can’t Take It With You (Frank Capra, 1938) and the two had an undeniably good on-screen chemistry. I now admire the excellent tempo and dynamism Jean showed on the screen, as well as her excellent sense of comedy which made her the perfect candidate for everyday girls in 30s screwball comedy. As a matter of fact, along with Carole Lombard or Claudette Colbert, Jean Arthur is one of the actresses that we most often associate to the genre.

James Stewart and Jean Arthur

Talking of screwball comedy, Jean Arthur has taken a quite important part in my life as I’ve discussed some of her on-screen characters in my master thesis on the representation of social classes in screwball comedy. Indeed, I’ve discusses films such as Easy Living (Mitchell Leisen, 1937) or If You Could Only Cook (William A. Seiter, 1935).

Curiously, what Jean’s showed on screen was far different from her real-life self. She was, in fact, a very private person and acting made her quite nervous. That is another proof that she was actually a pretty brilliant actress.

Jean Arthur was born in 1900 and I never thought she looked her age! In the good sense. I mean, does she look 43 in The More the Merrier?? She started her career in the early 20s as a brunette in silent films and then became famous as a blond in 30s and 40s screwball comedies. Her last film was the reputed classic western Shane (George Stevens, 1953). She later appeared in TV episodes and eventually became a drama teacher at Vassar College and then at the North Carolina School of Arts. One of her students was Meryl Streep.

Ray Milland and Jean Arthur on the set of Easy Living

A few days ago, I realized that Jean Arthur’s birthday was approaching quite soon and that, OMG!, October 17 would actually mark what would have been her 120th birthday! And I thought “we can’t do nothing”! I was tempted to host a new blogathon soon and had a few people in mind that I thought worthy of a blogathon but, not only is 120 a pretty important number but, according to my researches, it seems that Jean had not been honoured in a blogathon and that it was not planned either. So, I decided to take the reins.

After celebrating Jean Harlow and Jean Simmons on The Wonderful World of Cinema, I invite you to celebrate the one and only Jean Arthur with the 120 Screwball Years of Jean Arthur Blogathon! The event will start on October 15 and will end on October 17, 2020, which marks what would have been Jean’s 120th birthday. I know this is short notice but, as I’ve said, it’s an occasion I can’t pass!

If you wish to participate, please read the following rules first:

1- Choose a subject by commenting on this post or sending me an email at virginie.pronovost@gmail.com. Make sure to tell me the name of your blog and provide the URL.

  • You can write about anything related to Jean Arthur. You don’t have to limit yourself to a film review.
  • I will allow duplicates, but a maximum of two people/topic.
  • All entries must be new material

2- You can participate even if you don’t own a blog. Just send me an email, and I’ll give you further details. Your article will be published on this website as a “guest post”.

3- Once your subject has been approved by yours truly, grab one of these banners and decorate your blog with it to help me promote the event!

4- Don’t forget that the event starts on October 15 and ends on October 17, 2020. It’s arriving quite fast, so I suggest you not to wait too long to subscribe! When the blogathon will start, I will create a new post where I will link the entries and where you will be able to submit yours. Please make sure to link that new post to your entry and not the one you are currently reading.

5- A few requests:

  • If you don’t like Jean Arthur, this blogathon might not be for you. Any blog post that seems disrespectful towards her won’t be included in the blogathon.
  • If you want to participate SUBSCRIBE first. I don’t mind last-minute subscription but subscribe.
  • Don’t forget to mention my blog and the blogathon in your post. Some people forget!
  • I will accept late entries, I always do. But keep in mind that after the blogathon I might be busy with other stuff and might not be able to read your entry right away.
  • You can post your article in advance if it’s ready when it’s ready. Still, I would prefer if you submitted it on the blogathon dates on the new post because, otherwise, it will just get lost on the blog and I might forget it. I won’t read it before the blogathon starts anyway. But if you have it ready in advance, you can always schedule it for being posted when the blogathon starts (in Post Settings)!

6- If you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

***

Subjects already claimed twice:

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

A Lady Takes a Chance

The More the Merrier

The Devil and Miss Jones

The Whole Town’s Talking

The participants

The Wonderful World of Cinema – Tribute to Jean Arthur

Taking Up RoomMr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

KN Winiarski Writes Too Many Husbands (1940)

The Stop Button The Talk of the Town (1942)

Wide Screen WorldA Lady Takes a Chance (1943)

A Shroud of ThoughtsThe More the Merrier (1943)

The Flapper DameMr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Catfan WomanIf You Could Only Cook (1935)

The Midine Drive-In A Lady Takes a Chance (1943)

Love Letters to Old HollywoodThe More the Merrier (1943)

Jess In a Yellow Dress Easy Living (1937)

Old Hollywood FilmsThe Whole Town’s Talking (1935)

Whimsically Classic The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Top 10 Film Lists A Foreign Affair (1948)

Poppity Talks Classic Film Public Hero #1 (1935)

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

Musings of a Classic Film AddictHistory in Made at Night (1937)

Critíca RetrôThe Whole Town’s Talking (1935)

***

I hope you’ll be many Jean Arthur enthusiasts willing to celebrate this incredible actress with me! Even if you can’t participate, you’re more than welcome to help me promote the event!

I can’t wait to honour Jean Arthur with you! See you in October!

34 thoughts on “Announcing the 120 “Screwball” Years of Jean Arthur Blogathon!

  1. I reneged on so many blogathon during the pandemic. One of them may have been yours. I spent two months just uninterested in much of anything. But I am trying to get back in it. This gives me a chance to add another John Wayne movie to my blog. I will take A Lady Takes A Chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually thought about doing a blogathon for Jean earlier this year and then life happened and I forgot all about it, so I’m thrilled you’re hosting this! She’s the best.

    I’d like to do The More the Merrier if it’s still available!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Virginie,

    I would like to write about “The Devil and Miss Jones” from 1941. I’m so glad that you’re hosting a blogathon to honor the great Jean Arthur!

    By the way, I’d like to invite you to join my upcoming blogathon, the Joe Pasternak Blogathon (https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/announcing-the-joe-pasternak-blogathon/). It’s a celebration of the many wonderful films, particularly musicals, produced by Joe Pasternak during his long career. We would be honored if you could join. We could really use your talent!

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, Virginie! It’s been FAR too long since I’ve participated in a blogathon, but I would love to sign up for History is Made at Night (even though it isn’t a screwball)!

    Liked by 1 person

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