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CoopsGal

Ronald Colman: The man with the velvet voice

141 posts in this topic

It's me who will be seeing *Random Harvest* for the first time this sunday. I've seen a little bit of Greer before and she did have a lovely voice.

 

Another poster mentioned the silent version of *Beau Geste*, I have that one but just haven't got around to watching it yet. I definitely will at some point in the not too distant future. I really like Gary Cooper's remake of it from '39 and I'm curious to see the original.

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Welcome, Madeleine! And may I saw for an octogenarian your memory is leagues better than my own or many others much younger so don't fret over that! I thoroughly enjoyed your post and I hope more and more people my age, or any age, will "rediscover" the films of Ronald Colman. With a little help from TCM, I think it can happen.

 

He's definitely a thoughtful actor (by the way---the "italics" have to be added on this board by placing the letter "i" in brackets before the word(s) and after the words proceeded with a forward slash like this in brackets: /i ). I think Colman used his eyes and especially his voice more effectively than just about any other actor to convey thought as well as emotion. You would ejoy Juliet's book and you can find copies online through second-hand sellers at sites like Amazon or half.com. I've read that ironically, Colman was nervous about the advent of talkies! Can you imagine? But then, he was always a cautious man and took great care over each of his roles.

 

The radio program you referred to with wife Benita was indeed "The Halls of Ivy" and one day I've promised myself to purchase it on cd because I've heard it was really one of a kind. A most literate yet witty program. It was briefly tried out on television but abandoned. Colman (and I think Benita occasionally joined him) did host an anthology series, just one episdoe of which I have seen. It is similar in format to "Four Star Theater". Such quality programs they had back then, I feel so cheated by what I had to grow up with in comparison. :( However, thank goodeness for TCM and dvds!

 

I look forward to more of your postings in the future! And let us know what other films and stars are your favorites.

 

P.S. Here is a link to Amazon of Juliet's book:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ronald-Colman-Very-Private-Person/dp/0688002749/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200580455&sr=1-1

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Hi filmflub! I agree about the extraordinary voices (and talent) of the British (and Irish) performers of the era. They could really make a telephone listing sound enthralling! :)

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Yes Madeleine. You are sharp! I love George Sanders. He may not have appreciated his own talent, but I do. A fascinating life, ended with a stunningly witty but sadly acerbic suicide note. It's a shame he couldn't know the joy he gives me every time I watch "All About Eve", "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", "Rebecca", or "Foreign Correspondent". He just makes me smile. A lovely actor.

 

I suddenly perceive that many of my favorite movies have a sound that I like- a rhythm, pitch and cadence that is wonderful to listen to. You mentioned "A Lion in Winter" and this immediately comes to mind- Katharine Hepburn's catty purring pitted against Peter O'Toole's roaring bombast. I don't like the phony enunciation of an elocution instructor, but I do enjoy the pleasing sound of people speaking well. Many movies from the golden age have this quality, a sort of back and forth ping pong match of sound, but I think the advent of more naturalistic acting has killed the wit and fun of going to the movies, for the most part. The thrill of hearing Greer Garson and Ronald Colman speaking together is one I can never tire of. Or Colman and C. Aubrey Smith, or Colman and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.......

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HERE, HERE, JackFavell!! I'm raising my glass to you this very moment! I love your comment regarding the joy that some actors give us vicariously just by sharing their artistry. How bloody astute of you! I wonder if those actors ever got that. What may have been a "gig" for them has meant so much to audiences - not only at the time a film was released, but long after they've gone. Your GEORGE SANDERS example was perfect - not only from ALL ABOUT EVE (although that is about as good an example as they come), but as a kid, I remember how his Sher Khan from Disney's version of THE JUNGLE BOOK was absolutely frightening, yet brittle and LOADED with sophistication. Sure wish he would have consulted us before he called it a day. Thanks for the post!

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I just found this article by Danusha V. Goska (I found her accidentally while looking for pictures from the movie "Devotion"). She is a really interesting writer, and in this article she contemplates the demise of the "suave man". Though it doesn't mention Colman by name, I felt that he might just be the quintessential "suave man".

 

http://www.thescreamonline.com/commentary/comment4-1/suave.html

 

If you have time, she writes beautifully, and her article on Jane Eyre is fascinating.

 

http://thescreamonline.com/film/film7-1/eyre/jane_eyre.html

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I finally saw *Random Harvest* last night and I have to say WOW!! I had heard so many wonderful things about it so my expectations were pretty high and it exceeded all of them. It was such a beautiful story and so wonderfully acted by Greer Garson and Ronald Colman.

 

It's such a shame Hollywood can't make movies like that anymore. I wonder if the tide will ever turn back to movies like that. Movies that have a great story, great acting and dialogue, direction, just overall well put together wonderful films.

 

There is not a single new movie in release right now that I have any desire at all to see. The more old movies I watch the more spoiled to them I get and just can't sit through the stuff they pump out nowadays.

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I feel exactly the same, Angie. I literally wince at many scenes in movies today

and can't help but automatically think how much better any number of them would

have been filmed by the old-time directors.

 

I don't know if your cable provider does this but Time Warner has a rating system

for movies so when you press the "Info" button to learn more about what's currently

playing you'll see a Stars (one to four). I was upset that they gave RH only "three stars".

This is a four star movie if ever there was one. It's simply perfect.

 

I found this still from Ernst Lubitsch's *Lady Windemere's Fan* and Ronald Colman

is the man on the immediate left of May MacAvoy.

 

Colman-LadyWindemeresfan.jpg

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I have satellite so I don't think I have that same rating thing. I'd give *Random Harvest* 5 stars out of 4 ;).

 

That's a beautiful pic from *Lady Windermere's Fan*. I have that one and just watched it about a week or so ago. I really enjoyed it too. It's a fantastically beautiful print. I wish all old movies looked as good as that one. It's as clear as that picture.

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I'm very happy to read that RANDOM HARVEST met your expectations. I caught a little bit of it on TCM (I have the DVD, so I didn't sit through the whole thing), and I found myself wondering if you were watching it.

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*Random Harvest* has definitely become one of my very favorite movies. It truly is one of those rare ?perfect? movies. There?s not a thing about it I would change. Here?s a beautiful pic I found of Greer Garson and Colman from the film. I put it on my PC at work and since that honor is normally reserved for Gary Cooper and Clara Bow (or Astros during baseball season), this should tell y?all how much I loved the film. Of course I have pics of both of them all over my cube so I can still see ?em ;).

 

randomharvest.jpg

 

I was already upset that James Cagney won Best Actor for *Skankee Doodle Dandy* in ?42 over Gary in *Pride of the Skankees* (can y?all tell I?m not a Yankees or a Cagney fan?) and now I?m even more upset that he beat Gary *and* Ronald Colman. They had much more Oscar worthy parts than Cagney did in that particular film.

 

I already liked Ronnie and knew he was a good actor but I was really impressed with him in this one. He?s basically playing two different characters; the sweet and charming Smithy and then the cool, detached business man Charles. My heart just broke for him when that couple came to see him at the beginning and they weren?t his parents. He did such a great job as Smithy that those scenes alone should have given him the Oscar in a tie with Gary who was also outstanding as Lou Gehrig.

 

Message was edited by: coopsgirl

That pic was huge so I resized it.

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I recorded it and watched it the next day. I'll definitely have to watch it again pretty soon. I was getting tickled at myself and my mom b/c we were talking to the tv the whole time we were watching it. During the part where Ronald is getting ready to leave Greer and the baby to go to Liverpool my mom said 'things are going to good, something bad is about to happen' and sure enough it did. Then later in the movie when he's working in his office and Greer walks in as his secretary we were freaking out!!! At first we didn't know she was his secretary and we thought 'oh man she's gonna see him and freak out!' and when she didn't we were so confused until we realized what her plan was. Can you imagine how hard it was to see him everyday and not tell him that you're his long lost wife? And then being married to him and still not able to say it?

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oh my goodness! the first time i saw this, i was freaking too!

 

when she first walked in as the scretary i was like, "there are two of them!" but then i realized what her plan was. at first i was like, "are you kidding? i wouldnt be wating this long to tell him", but then as i watched it more and more i was thinking,"you know, if i did tell him, he would think i am crazy and insane". so i mean i think i would have done the same thing she did.

 

i first watched it with my grandmama in her living room and i was just silent through the whole thing, just thinking all of this, and she was so surprised i wasso quiet. at the end she told me that i was so surprised that i was so quiet and i said,"it was such an amazing movie, that i didnt have anything to say." i was like 7 or 8 at the time, and from then on i was obssessed with this movie. heehee!

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*when she first walked in as the scretary i was like, "there are two of them!"*

 

For just a brief second that's what I thought too!!! I just looked at my mom and muttered "I'm so confused!". Yeah, it would be awfully hard to just sit there and not be able to tell him he's your husband.

 

It's just such a sweet love story too b/c they were only together a couple years and were separated for something like 15 (even though they were together around the last 5 of those years, he didn't know her so it doesn't count) yet they were still deeply in love with each other.

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Awwww, I'm so glad you liked it, Angie! We knew you would.

Now we'll be feudin' on who's gonna use that plot as their very own for another one of our adventures. ;)

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I just saw Talk of the Town for the first time. I thought it was definitely Colman's film all the way. Why on earth did Grant do this film? His role was interesting, and maybe he wanted to explore the darker side of his persona at that time? But Colman was spot on in every scene, his timing a joy to watch, the way he slipped from the serious to the comedic, masterful. I can't remember anyone ever upstaging Cary Grant... but Colman! He seemed to know exactly what the script required, and played it perfectly. I felt that some of the scenes were sort of in limbo, but Colman would come in and ground the whole thing again. A very enjoyable film, with Arthur charming as ever. I felt Arthur was all on one level - the comedic; Grant on another - dramatic; and Colman deftly shuttling between the two, gliding gracefully from one note to the other. He held the movie together.

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Yes, he's in *Lost Horizon*. It's one of the few big Capra films I haven't seen so you'll have to let us know what you think of it.

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*Lost Horizon* is a very unique film---a fantasy and an allegory. It's beautifully designed and photographed---though in the middle there is a sequence in which apparently some footage was lost and had to be replaced with stills. This was one of Colman's favorite films that he did.

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I always feel so very sad watching Lost Horizon. It is a plea for peace, but only a year or so later Europe was in the midst of WWII.

 

Goodbye, Mr. Chips also makes me weep uncontrollably- not just the story, but the history that goes along with it.

 

Oh, well. Even now, we can still hope that people will "be kind".

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*Oh, well. Even now, we can still hope that people will "be kind".*

 

It's a great hope, Jack -- we should never lose sight of it; no matter what comes our way.

That's why I love Frank Capra films so much -- so much truth, with such boldness. It's such a simple virtue, but its practice is fading so quickly.

 

I love Robert Donat in *Goodbye, Mr. Chips.* It's such a wonderful movie...

 

*Lost Horizon* makes me sad, because they have to travel all that way to find such untainted kindness. I know it sounds goofy, but I love M. Night's idea with *The Village* about creating a town to bring back the memories of so long ago. If only we could bring back what we had even 150 years ago, we'd be so much better off. I truly think all of this technology is slowly killing us.

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