I must admit, I first hesitated to host this blogathon again this year, but I’m glad I did because I read some excellent entries written by the participants. Grace Kelly is one of those personalities who highly deserves to be celebrated, who deserves to be honoured with a blogathon.
With their marvelously written work, the participants showed a beautiful admiration and respect for the graceful lady. If she was alive, I’m sure Grace would have been pleased by what she would have read.
I didn’t have many participants as I usually have in my other blogathons, but I think here we had the perfect example of “quality over quantity”.
If you haven’t read the entries yet, please do so. You won’t regret it. Here is the link:
I’m happy to host, for a third time, the Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon! Luckily, as I announced the event pretty late, we didn’t have to wait too long for it to arrive! As you know, the event starts today and will take an end on November 10, 2017, on Grace’s birthday.
I want to thank all those people who were willing to honour this iconic actress and princess that Grace Kelly was by participating to my blogathon. Even if she is, sadly, no longer with us, all the reasons are good to celebrate her.
I will add your entries to the roster as soon as they are submitted. If you can provide me your twitter handle as well, that would be great!
Let’ the ball begin!
The lovely entries
The blogathon stars in force with an excellent piece on To Catch a Thiefwritten by Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. This amazing blogger understands perfectly the type of actress Grace Kelly was.
Vinniehwrote a marvelous piece on Mogambo and gives us all the good reasons why this is a worthy movie despite not being Grace’s best.
Tynan from 4 Stars Filmswrote a fascinating piece on his two most favourite actresses: Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. We agree with him that these two stars are the definition of icon. We wish they would have been in a movie together!
After a first viewing, Crimson Kimonowrote a sweet article on The Swan, an underrated but worth seeing film.
Letícia from Crítica Retrô discusses another favourite subject of mine: fashion, in her piece on Grace Kelly as a Style Icon. The lady is, of course, the dream model of every great designers!
Amanda from Old Hollywood Filmsexplore the life of Grace Kelly through a series of beautiful pictures. Grace was one of the most photographed ladies in the world!
Emily over at The Flapper Dameexplains why she ADORES Grace Kelly in a post full of love and admiration for the iconic blonde.
Collin from Box Office Poison gives us a thoughtful reflexion on The Country Girl. Grace won an Oscar for her brilliant and complex performance!
Terence from A Shroud of Thoughts gives us a highly informative piece on Dial M For Murder, the first film Grace made under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock!
On my blog Three Enchanting Ladies, I explain the marvelous way Grace Kelly influences my life. Random and entertaining thoughts!
Alex from Anybody Got A Match? discusses Grace Kelly’s last film, High Society, in a great and interesting post!
Right now, I’m writing my text for the Food in Film BlogathonAND eating a sandwich at the same time. SO CONCEPT. I have to admit, I’m a pretty greedy person. Things I can’t resist? Ice cream, french fries, Champagne, and mojito (among other things). When I saw the announcement for Kristina and Ruth’s blogathon, the first film that immediately pop-uped in my mind was L’aile ou la cuisse (The Wing or the Thigh), a 1976’s French film directed by Claude Zidi and starring the crazy Louis de Funès, Coluche, Ann Zacharias, and Julien Guiomar. France has always had a reputation for its gastronomy. No wonder why they also make films where food is at the center of attention. I was happy to dive into that film again since I had only seen it once before and that was many years ago (I wasn’t even really watching classics at the time). I even remember watching it with my sister. Anyway, I don’t regret my choice as it is pretty perfect for this blogathon!
The central character of L’aile ou la cuisse is Charles Duchemin (Louis de Funès), the editor of an internationally reputed restaurant guide. He has just been elected at the French Academy and is about to retire after the publishing of the Duchemin Guide’s last edition. He hopes to transmit his knowledge of the French food to his son Gérard (Coluche), hoping he’ll eventually follow his vocation. However, Gérard is barely interested in a career in this field and prefers his life as a clown in a circus (something his father isn’t aware of). However, Charles has to face a more serious problem: Jacques Tricatel (Julien Guiomar), the owner of a mass-produced food company is about to buy some restaurants that were supposed to be awarded by the Duchemin Guide. If these restaurants are bought by a company producing cheap food, the future of high gastronomy might be at stake. Tricatel is also quite decided to tarnish Charles’ reputation. So, this one has to stop Tricatel and make people realize what kind of horrid food his company produces. So, with the help of Gérard (despite himself) and his new secretary, Marguerite nº2 (Ann Zacharias), he’ll tempt to stop Tricatel’s shenanigans, and this leads us to an unforgettable climax.
L’aile ou la cuisse doesn’t lose time to introduce food in the story. The opening titles present us a most entertaining animation made with kitchen tools, plates, and pans. It’s accompanied by Vladimir Cosma’s dynamic scores. These opening titles give the spectator two clues: that this will certainly be a film about food and that it will be a lively one.
Watch this. The “song” will probably be stuck in your head for a while, but, believe me, it’s worthy.
Seriously, I love that music! Somehow, I can imagine majorettes dancing on that with giant kitchen tools instead of batons.
After these credits, we move to the introductory scene, the one presenting us the Duchemin Guide. I believe it’s a perfect way to begin the movie as it gives you a good idea of what the Duchemin guide is about and the importance it has. The reputation of French cuisine very much depends on this guide, so the great restaurants have to give their best to keep their good status.
Charles Duchemin is known to be someone quite “mysterious”. Us, spectators, know who he is since we witness his everyday life, but, when he visits a restaurant to rate it, he always disguises himself not to be recognized. This creates some pretty hilarious scenes. Thus, Louis de Funès is not introduced to us as the veritable Duchemin but as a fancy old lady. One of his employees has been appointed to rate a restaurant but Duchemin prefers to assist as a second judge. The restaurant staff has obviously recognized the “assistant” and treats him like a king. They serve him the best food they have and multiple plates. Meanwhile, Duchemin (as an old lady) is neglected by the waiters, which indicates that, even if they serve good food, their customer service isn’t the best.
Duchemin will also visit restaurants as a cowboy, a bride’s father, and a cab driver.
Claude Ziddi’s film is an interesting one as it shows us different facets of the “food world”. Indeed, we and Duchemin’s crew encounter the best and the worst of French cuisine. At some point, some meals are real masterpieces, but some other are made by cooks who doesn’t really seem to give a damn about what they are serving to their customers.
In this Japanese restaurant, cooking becomes a real performance.
This wine has a similar colour to the one Mr. Alexander serves to Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange…
Tricatel “food” (if we can call it food) is the perfect example of anti-French gastronomy. Indeed, when Charles and Gérard manage to enter in the factory, they discover how their food is made, which is a process that has to be denounced. Sadly, even if L’aile ou la cuisse is “just a film” it certainly reflects a certain reality.
At one point in the film, Duchemin faces a pretty challenging problem: to Tricatel greatest amusement, he has lost his sense of taste! However, the renowned editor hasn’t finished to impress us. Indeed, in a scene, he manages to guess the name, grape variety, and year of a red wine only by looking at it.
If you haven’t seen L’aile ou la cuisse yet, I highly recommend it. Not only it will make you travel in the world of French cuisine, but you’ll also appreciate it’s humour.
As it is said in the title, I’m simply publishing this post to thanks all the participants of the Joan Fontaine Centenary Blogathon for their marvelous pieces about Joan Fontaine’s films and their love and admiration for her.
Of course, it also was a pleasure for me to co-host it with Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood! As bloggers, I don’t think we could have thought of a better way to celebrate this Hitchcockian star!
You might like to know that your entries were not only shared on Twitter but also on my Joan Fontaine Facebook group and its members enjoy them very much! By the way, if you’d like to join us, you are most welcome. 😉 We are nice and like a big family!
With 20 submitted entries (and maybe some late entries to come!), we can definitely say that this was a success. 🙂
If you haven’t read the entries yet, make sure to do so. You’ll find them here.
Do you remember the first time you ever heard about the more than extraordinary Joan Fontaine? I do as if it was yesterday. I was looking at this book called Les Stars de cinema that I had bought for my own curiosity (I was 15 and yet not really familiar with classic movie stars, but I thought the pictures were beautiful) and came across this picture of Joan Fontaine. I thought she was simply gorgeous, and even if I didn’t immediately watch one of her films, I stayed forever fascinated by this photo.
The book mentioned the film Rebecca and since I had always been curious to see more Hitchcock’s film, it obviously was quite high on my to-see list. However, the first Joan Fontaine’s film I saw was Suspicion (also directed by Hitchcock) for which she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1941 (she is the only actress who won an Oscar for a Hitchcock’s film). And then, I watched Rebecca. Two films were enough for her to become one of my favourite actresses. I was charmed by her softness, which is present in her smooth voice, her kind gaze and her her skillful ways. When I watched Suspicion for the first time, I was with my mother who also agreed that her performance was brilliant. She made an observation that I think defines perfectly Joan’s talent: she is able to change emotions very easily.
When I discovered Joan, one thing I found quite nice about her is the fact that she was still alive. That was something rare enough as most of the great classic movie stars are now dead. But, unfortunately, as I was thinking for the x time on how it would be nice (and impossible) to meet her, I read a fatal Facebook post announcing her death. That made me very sad and I didn’t sleep a lot that night. Poor Joan, she can’t be gone forever! December 15, 2013 was metaphorically a very cold day.
Another of Joan’s talents is the fact that she was always able to give the right essence to her characters, her performances. For this reason, I cannot think of a role where she was miscast. She often plays gentle and innocent dames, but movies like Ivy and Born to Be Bad are a proof that she could also play fascinating villain without, however, losing her charm and by staying faithful to herself.
If Joan is often associated with one of Daphné Du Maurier’s most famous characters, many will agree that she was also the perfect Jane Eyre. Indeed, I can hardly imagine someone else than her for the role. The only problem might be that Jane is described as someone plain, but Joan certainly wasn’t!
If we continue to discuss her movie roles and how talented she was in their execution, one thing that always fascinated me is how she was able to play teenage girls and be convincing. Indeed, in The Constance Nymph, Joan was 26 when she played the role of the young Tessa and 30 when she played the role of Lisa in Letter from an Unknown Woman. Here, her acting is convincing both as a teenager and an elegant lady. It’s perhaps the innocence that she embodied that made it easy for her to play these roles.
When we hear Joan’s voice narrating the film at the beginning of Rebecca, we are enchanted by this sweet melody. She had a voice that inspired calm and serenity and one of these movie star voices that I could recognize everywhere. I love the way she talks, with an incredible fluidity. I could listen to her all day, even if she was reading the back of a cereal box. The tenderness in her gaze is also something absolutely seducing about Joan. One of the best examples would be this scene in September Affair when she and Joseph Cotten listen to September Song sang by Walter Huston on the radio. The way she looks at Joseph, with nothing but love in her eyes, creates one of the most beautiful scenes of the film.
In another tribute I wrote to her, I explained that what I liked the most about Joan, and this time, Joan the woman and not Joan the actress, was her sense of humour. Indeed, this one can easily be seized in her interviews. Even if she didn’t give many of those, her ease was admirable. One can only smile when listening to her laugh and stories. By embodying my favourite quality ever (sense of humour), Joan only gains my sympathy and make me regret I could never be one of her friends. But, she remains a friend at heart and a precious spiritual companion for all those who love her.
There is also this video of an amazing meeting between Joan and another of my idols: Doris Day. The circumstances were indeed perfect for them to meet: Both love/loved animals and live/lived in Carmel.
Joan the woman can also be admired for a multitude of other reasons. Indeed, apart from being a gifted actress, she also was a talented cook, a licensed pilot, an expert rider, a licensed interior decorator and certainly a clever woman: at the age of 3, she scored no less than 160 on an IQ test! (IMDB)
In 2015, I read Joan’s autobiography No Bed Of Roses where she tells her fascinating story. However, I think I should read it again as, at the time, I was still not used to reading long books in English and probably missed a few things. the nicest thing about this book is that it has Joan’s autograph inside of it! She didn’t autograph it for me, but just to think that she held this book is quite satisfying. One thing that particularly marked me about her life story is when she tells how she met Evita Peron (who thought they looked alike). Can anyone find a picture of them together??
To this day, I have seen a total of 21 Joan’s films. This is quite good I think, but not even half of her filmography! So, of course, there are much more I have to discover. So far, the ones I’ve seen are Rebecca, Suspicion, Gunga Din, The Women, This Above All, The Constant Nymph, Jane Eyre, The Affairs of Susan, Letter from an Unknown Woman, The Emperor Waltz, You Gotta Stay Happy, Kiss The Blood Off My Hands, September Affair, Something to Live For, The Bigamist, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Island in the Sun, Until They Sail, Ivy, Born to Be Bad and Darling, How Could You! For various reasons, I’ll recommend them all, but I’ll also be curious to know which one you think I should watch next!
It is not surprising that a rose was named after Joan Fontaine because this is really what she was, a true rose who embellishes our screens and seduces us forever. Today, this great lady would have had the honourable age of 100. Unfortunately, she didn’t have her sister’s Olivia de Havilland magic potion and already left us for a different world, but her memory is with us forever.