Tisher Price

Fave "Swan Song" Movies--Name an actor, Name His/Her Last Movie...

42 posts in this topic

​Jean Harlow

 

​Saratoga (1937) ​with Clark Gable. Not the BEST movie she's done, but very interesting to watch since she was dying, her body bloated in some scenes, emaciated in others, and an eerie foreshadowing scene where Harlow has a long, hard-to-watch coughing fit near the end of the film where Gable had to improv a couple lines.

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Boris Karloff in Targets.  He made a few films after that but they were foreign clunkers so I don't count them.

 

I always wanted to watch Targets. It sounds interesting...

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​Jean Harlow

 

​Saratoga (1937) ​with Clark Gable. Not the BEST movie she's done, but very interesting to watch since she was dying, her body bloated in some scenes, emaciated in others, and an eerie foreshadowing scene where Harlow has a long, hard-to-watch coughing fit near the end of the film where Gable had to improv a couple lines.

 

Interesting comment. I think they (MGM) made a mistake releasing the film. They should have scrapped it or reshot it with another actress. I read somewhere they toyed with the idea of redoing it with Virginia Bruce. But supposedly, fans wanted to see Harlow in it so they used a double and finished it. But for the reasons you mentioned, it does not exactly show the actress at her best. It's a sad one to watch. PERSONAL PROPERTY, the one she did before SARATOGA, would have been a better swan song for her.

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Another interesting swan song movie is SATAN NEVER SLEEPS (Clifton Webb). Spoiler ahead-- the final shot of Webb has him driving his car off a cliff. When I watched that, I realized he was really driving off our movie screens forever. To imagine the guy sitting in a bathtub in LAURA ending up over a cliff.

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Tallulah Bankhead

 

Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)

 

Ironically, when I first became a Tallulah Bankhead fan, my first Tallulah movie I watched was this one from Hammer Films. I had heard of Tallulah Bankhead but never knew what she looked like, or seen her movies. I didn't feel so bad when I noticed that Bankhead was more a stage actor than a movie actor, though there are few movies she has acted in--so I kind of saw Tallulah's movies going backwards... her swan song movie mentioned above which I enjoyed and even chuckled at for being almost too campy...I then saw her other movies from her "latest" to her debut film. She's unforgettable....

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​Bela Legosi

 

​Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)...yeah...THAT one....

 

​I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I heard that Bela Legosi's last movie was the "worst-movie-ever" cult film Plan 9. ​Though we will always remember him as Dracula, I feel that Bela Legosi could have blossomed into a more versatile actor since he was very talented and well-educated. Sometimes it could be a curse or a blessing when an actor is typecast as a certain character or role. Since his death, Legosi's fan base has been growing with new generations of classic movie watchers, not to mention being immortalized in the Bauhaus song "Bela Legosi's Dead."

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Tallulah Bankhead

 

Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)

 

Ironically, when I first became a Tallulah Bankhead fan, my first Tallulah movie I watched was this one from Hammer Films. I had heard of Tallulah Bankhead but never knew what she looked like, or seen her movies. I didn't feel so bad when I noticed that Bankhead was more a stage actor than a movie actor, though there are few movies she has acted in--so I kind of saw Tallulah's movies going backwards... her swan song movie mentioned above which I enjoyed and even chuckled at for being almost too campy...I then saw her other movies from her "latest" to her debut film. She's unforgettable....

 

One of our posters, Dargo, went to a fan event where Stefanie Powers talked about her career, including the time she worked with Tallulah in that film. (Dargo and his wife had their picture taken with Stefanie afterwards and he shared it with us.)

 

According to Dargo, Stefanie said Tallulah often blurred fantasy with reality, especially at the end of her life. Every time Stefanie called or visited her, Tallulah thought of Stefanie as the character she played in the movie and called her by that name! Can you believe that. Later, Stefanie played Tallulah on stage in a one-woman show that toured the country.

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​Dominique Dunne

 

​Poltergeist (1982)

 

​The cast and crew in this movie had there share of going through "the curse," like The Omen and The Exorcist. What all these movies have in common is there are "supernatural mishaps" while shooting, which seem too coincidental, leaving the cast in crew thinking was it a good idea to play with the supernatural? I won't count all the things that "cursed" while filming Poltergeist. I was a bit young for watching Poltergeist, but in adulthood I got the story of what when down on the set, especially with poor Dominique Dunne. Craig T. Nelson and--the "mother's" name escapes me--do you think it was a coincidence that both didn't want to return for Poltergeist 2? Dominique Dunne, a young, lovable kind teenager was a casualty for the first film. She was pretty with her long dark hair, and fresh face, who would murder her. From what I heard tell, is that while practicing her role in Poltergeist with a male friend of hers, she put on the soundtrack (on LP at the time). That was roughly the same time her pathologically angry boyfriend showed up at the house, fought with Dunne proceeding to grab her by the next, knock her around a bit before dragging her bloodied murdered body across the driveway leaving her there to die. Poltergeist was a movie I liked though it didn't scare me... I think Dominque Dunne's murder left me more disturbed, keep in mind the Poltergeist soundtrack was playing in her living room, her guy friend who was helping her with her lines oblivious that the young starlet dead. I don't know if Dominque played in any other films before Poltergeist--she wanted to become a Theatre Major--but she will be forever immortalized in her Swan Song movie for her famous line when she cries "What's happening!!!!???" Or something along those lines.

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One of our posters, Dargo, went to a fan event where Stefanie Powers talked about her career, including the time she worked with Tallulah in that film. (Dargo and his wife had their picture taken with Stefanie afterwards and he shared it with us.)

 

According to Dargo, Stefanie said Tallulah often blurred fantasy with reality, especially at the end of her life. Every time Stefanie called or visited her, Tallulah thought of Stefanie as the character she played in the movie and called her by that name! Can you believe that. Later, Stefanie played Tallulah on stage in a one-woman show that toured the country.

 

Wow was she that far gone?? Was she sick during the making of this movie?

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Wow was she that far gone?? Was she sick during the making of this movie?

 

Either she was losing her marbles at the end, or she thought it was fun to address her costars by the names of the characters they played.

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​James Stewart

 

The Magic of Lassie (1978)

 

Never even heard of this film before. It's funny how sometimes we usually don't know much about a screen legend's first or last films.

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​Gary Cooper

 

The Naked Edge (1961)

 

I've long been curious about this film. It is never shown. Supposedly, it's because he looks terrible. He was ravaged by disease at the time and barely got through production. But I'd still like to see it, and I am sure it has a good Deborah Kerr performance. She was never less than great.

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​Montgomery Clift

​Clark Gable

​Marilyn Monroe

 

The Misfits (1961)

 

Clift's last film was THE DEFECTOR in 1966.

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Clift's last film was THE DEFECTOR in 1966.

 

It must have been filmed just before his tragic death... or was it during? He died in '66. I never understood how Clift died... did he have some kind of heart problem and his body seized up or something? He was found in his underwear on his bed, he was seated up but fell over. He also suffered from depression?

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​James Dean

 

​Giant (1956)--posthumously

 

​Great movie! He definitely would have been sought after to do more movies because of his wonderful performance in Giant. but of course we will never know...

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​James Cagney

 

​Ragtime (1981)

 

​Cagney died on Easter Sunday in 1986. He was plagued with a couple illnesses, complications to diabetes and he could dance no more after Ragtime.

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​John Garfield

 

​He Ran All the Way (1957)

 

​He died a year later of a heart attack, he had  since heart problems since he was little but it worsened after battling the powers-that-be in the movie industry (he may have even be blacklisted for a while). He was only 39 years old.

 

​His last movie, like a lot of his films, was great!

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​John Garfield

 

​He Ran All the Way (1957)

 

​He died a year later of a heart attack, he had  since heart problems since he was little but it worsened after battling the powers-that-be in the movie industry (he may have even be blacklisted for a while). He was only 39 years old.

 

​His last movie, like a lot of his films, was great!

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_blacklist#The_Red_Channels_list

 

He was listed in Red Channels, which means he was officially blacklisted. Fox mogul Darryl Zanuck was an admirer of his talent and hired him anyway for GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT and UNDER MY SKIN. When Garfield died, Zanuck had just cast him in a romance drama called TAXI. After Garfield's death, it was filmed with Dan Dailey instead.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046405/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_100

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​John Barrymore (d. 1942)

 

​Playmates (1941)

 

​Unfortunately, his last movie was his worst movie ever. By the time he finished the movie, he was suffering from liver damage and pneumonia. This movie made this one time distinguished actor, a caricature of himself, making a fool of himself.

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