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The Shootist

Portrait in Black

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

Right, a gay movie producer could enshrine the allure of ultra-glamourous stars like Lana Turner in the face of life's difficulties as they moved against these impossible odds in an  almost-protective cocoon of knock-out fashion that said, "I will survive". 

Having five mink or chinchilla coats that you could sell anytime would also help in that survival. ;)

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I just watched Lana Turner in "The Big Cube" - again.

The first time I saw it at a revival house in the West Village (NYC) shortly after her death - the audience laughed continuously.

I had to ask for my money back.

It isn't a very good film.

And you wonder why she'd make it at this late stage of her career.

Alright, she still looks "young" and chic.

However, it does have a superb performance from George Chikaris as a totally amoral young man.

About Miss Turner, though, she had been making movies for so long that she probably couldn't stop "the habit".

There is such a thing as "retirement". 

 MV5BNTNjMzQ4NDAtMThjZS00ZjUxLWE4NzEtNDBm

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It's a good question about why Lana Turner (or the other few holdovers from the golden era still working at the time) would agree to participate in a film like The Big Cube. My guess was that she miscalculated the amount of added value her name would bring to what was essentially a youth market exploitation film. The counterculture of that era was especially vulnerable to misrepresentation by the press and by Hollywood in particular, so though Lana may have expected to "speak" to a new generation of moviegoers, she was caught in yet another cynical and ultimately failed ripoff of "hippie" culture. The hippies themselves had declared the death of hippie at the end of the much-hyped "summer of Love" in 1967, so a movie like this in 1969 was way wide of the mark.

Vanity probably entered into it too, as rayban suggested. She may have thought of it as her turn to do a Let's-scare-the-old-lady movie like Lady in a Cage or Baby Jane, which had been relative hits but whose genre had run its course by 1969. Plus the movie was schizoid, with old-timers Turner, Richard Egan and Dan O'Herlihey split against a much younger cast, appealing to an audience of probably nobody. The idea that her character was a much-revered actress supposedly at the top of her game probably piqued Lana's vanity too. 

It was definitely a miscalculation on Lana's part and it's a shame she couldn't have channeled her desire to keep working into more worthy projects the way Bette Davis was able to do, with a string of television "movie of the week"-type films which only enhanced her reputation. Madame X had only been three years before The Big Cube so she would have still been capable of better work. I guess it's the curse of the actor to not really know what a film will be until it's ready to present to the public, but Lana should have had the good sense to steer clear of this embarrassment, which apparently did effectively end her movie career. 

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6 minutes ago, DougieB said:

...Madame X had only been three years before The Big Cube so she would have still been capable of better work. I guess it's the curse of the actor to not really know what a film will be until it's ready to present to the public, but Lana should have had the good sense to steer clear of this embarrassment, which apparently did effectively end her movie career. 

Oh, I dunno, Doug.

Don't ya ever wonder if Lana could've maybe made Trog a better movie than what IT turned out to be?!

(...or maybe not)

;)

 

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33 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Oh, I dunno, Doug.

Don't ya ever wonder if Lana could've maybe made Trog a better movie than what IT turned out to be?!

(...or maybe not)

;)

 

Joan Crawford actually gave a good performance in "Trog".

The woman was always committed to what she decided to do.

The failure of "Trog" is the so-called beast - obviously an actor in a hideous mask.

trog-joan-doll.png

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Just now, rayban said:

Joan Crawford actually gave a good performance in "Trog".

The woman was always committed to what she decided to do.

The failure of "Trog" is the so-called beast - obviously an actor in a hideous mask.

Yep Ray, you're right. Joan is actually pretty good in this movie swan song of hers.

And yeah, it's pretty much the low budget production values which sabotage that movie.

(...but ya know I just couldn't resist posting that anyway, doncha) ;)

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6 minutes ago, rayban said:

Joan Crawford actually gave a good performance in "Trog".

The woman was always committed to what she decided to do.

The failure of "Trog" is the so-called beast - obviously an actor in a hideous mask.

Yes, Crawford was a pro right up to the end. I don't think anyone can ever accuse her of phoning in a performance. Costar Cliff Robertson said she had the best control of any actress he ever worked with. Even when the material was obviously inferior, as it certainly was in TROG, she never gave less than a decent performance.

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4 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, Crawford was a pro right up to the end. I don't think anyone can ever accuse her of phoning in a performance. Costar Cliff Robertson said she had the best control of any actress he ever worked with. Even when the material was obviously inferior, as it certainly was in TROG, she never gave less than a decent performance.

Lana Turner worked hard, too - but in the realm of beauty and glamour.

To her, an actual performance was secondary.

When you went to see a Lana Turner movie, you went to bask in her breathtaking "presence".

If she managed to give a performance, you considered yourself "lucky".

So many of Lana Turner's performances appealed to her "vanity" - she was a beautiful woman up against it - and somehow winning out against impossible odds.

She was attracted to soap-opera-ish material - in her greatest film success, "Imitation Of Life", she was a late-starter who became a Broadway sensation and had to deal with a daughter who was in love with her man and her adored black servant whose daughter hated her mother.

 

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1 minute ago, rayban said:

Lana Turner worked hard, too - but in the realm of beauty and glamour.

To her, an actual performance was secondary.

When you went to see a Lana Turner movie, you went to bask in her breathtaking "presence".

If she managed to give a performance, you considered yourself "lucky".

So many of Lana Turner's performances appealed to her "vanity" - she was a beautiful woman up against it - and somehow winning out against impossible odds.

She was attracted to soap-opera-ish material - in her greatest film success, "Imitation Of Life", she was a late-starter who became a Broadway sensation and had to deal with a daughter who was in love with her man and her adored black servant whose daughter hated her mother.

When we talked about Lana Turner and Jane Wyman earlier in the thread, I was reminded of Wyman's later battles on the set of Falcon Crest with Celeste Holm. Holm was another one who caused massive problems, and again Wyman who controlled the show demanded another firing. So Holm's character was quickly written out, like Lana's had been two seasons earlier. 

Holm was well-known for being a headache for lead actresses she was supposed to be in support of...Bette Davis fought with her on ALL ABOUT EVE. Davis wasn't able to get her removed off that picture, but Wyman's clout on FC was great and she did get rid of Holm, fast.

The key difference here is that Lana was self-absorbed. I think when she showed up hours late and caused delays, she wasn't doing it to take control. She just didn't see the needs of others beyond herself and the role she was playing. However, in Holm's case, she would deliberately set out to sabotage the lead, out of jealousy because she wasn't the lead herself.

So Lana probably could have lasted on this 80s soap, or at least had a longer run, if she had realized the importance of being a team player. Holm could never have been a team player, because she wanted to take over. She was much more competitive and resentful. Lana was disruptive to the production, but not in a spiteful way like Holm could be.

And we should add that Wyman did like to share center stage with actors who were respectful. She did some excellent work on the program with Lorenzo Lamas, Margaret Ladd, Abby Dalton, David Selby and Ana-Alicia. In fact she often let Ana's character upstage hers if it made the scenes funnier. Falcon Crest was one of the 80s best primetime soaps. And that soaring theme song was incredible. Look at all the great guest-stars (images of Celeste Holm and Lana Turner included);

 

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4 hours ago, rayban said:

The first time I saw it at a revival house in the West Village (NYC) [...]

OT alert

A memory awakens ... I remember that house. I lived in NYC '84-'86 and I went there, not often, but on occasion. It was on First Ave, right? I seem to recall that the seating was elevated and the viewer looked down to the screen. I wonder if it is still there.

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Yes, it's called The Film Forum at 209 West Houston St., NY, NY, 10014.

It is still going strong.

Their programming schedules, mailed to you on request, are almost collectors' items.

theateroutsidebig2050.jpg

 

 

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13 hours ago, rayban said:

I just watched Lana Turner in "The Big Cube" - again.

The first time I saw it at a revival house in the West Village (NYC) shortly after her death - the audience laughed continuously.

I had to ask for my money back.

It isn't a very good film.

And you wonder why she'd make it at this late stage of her career.

Alright, she still looks "young" and chic.

However, it does have a superb performance from George Chikaris as a totally amoral young man.

About Miss Turner, though, she had been making movies for so long that she probably couldn't stop "the habit".

There is such a thing as "retirement". 

 MV5BNTNjMzQ4NDAtMThjZS00ZjUxLWE4NzEtNDBm

I bought all the Lana Turner DVDs that we've discussed on this thread recently including The Cube.

It was the only one that really disappointed me. There was just really nothing to the movie at all. You can't entirely blame Lana because the whole movie is bad and she probably did the best she could with that material.   Or maybe she desperately needed the money. I don't know

I was crazy about George Chakiris after he won the Oscar for West Side Story and I was such a fan I even bought his record albums. He dances better than he sings, but not that entirely bad.

Several years ago when they were honoring West Side Story for some anniversary they interviewed George and asked him what in the world happened to his career. Last I heard he was making a living doing some kind of arts and crafts.

(Well,  the movie he did after West Side Story was Diamond Head with Charlton Heston--very good.  Then came Flight from Ashiya with Yul Brenner and Richard Widmark-- not bad at all.

By 1967, he had a nice role in the French musical classic Les Demoiselles  de Rochefort  with Catherine Deneuve, her sister Francoise Dorléac and, of all people, Gene Kelly--pretty good.)

So, George told the interviewer that he made some bad choices in his career-- and I'm just guessing The Cube in 1969 may well have been  one of those bad choices.

Rayban, good for you.  You got your money back; I didn't. LOL

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10 hours ago, rayban said:

Lana Turner worked hard, too - but in the realm of beauty and glamour.

To her, an actual performance was secondary.

When you went to see a Lana Turner movie, you went to bask in her breathtaking "presence".

If she managed to give a performance, you considered yourself "lucky".

So many of Lana Turner's performances appealed to her "vanity" - she was a beautiful woman up against it - and somehow winning out against impossible odds.

She was attracted to soap-opera-ish material - in her greatest film success, "Imitation Of Life", she was a late-starter who became a Broadway sensation and had to deal with a daughter who was in love with her man and her adored black servant whose daughter hated her mother.

 

 In talking about Lana Turner versus Jane Wyman in Falcon Crest, I think you're missing an important point. Even though Jane Wyman won the Oscar, Lana Turner was a bigger movie star and " name  " than Jane Wyman could have ever hope to be.

I think that with the Persona  Lana had from MGM she never lost the feeling that she was always the star, no matter what the vehicle was.

 In her mind, I wouldn't be surprised if she thought it was quite normal that Jane Wyman should wait for her.

In fact the whole reason I started watching Falcon Crest was because Lana Turner was in it-- not because Jane Wyman was starring. But I stayed for the long run, enjoying every minute of it and Jane Wyman is, indeed  a very good actress.

But it's always good to remember that movie stars are not average Everyday People and sometimes their actions or motivations don't make any sense to us Everyday People.

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6 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

I bought all the Lana Turner DVDs that we've discussed on this thread recently including The Cube.

It was the only one that really disappointed me. There was just really nothing to the movie at all. You can't entirely blame Lana because the whole movie is bad and she probably did the best she could with that material.   Or maybe she desperately needed the money. I don't know

I was crazy about George Chakiris after he won the Oscar for West Side Story and I was such a fan I even bought his record albums. He dances better than he sings, but not that entirely bad.

Several years ago when they were honoring West Side Story for some anniversary they interviewed George and asked him what in the world happened to his career. Last I heard he was making a living doing some kind of arts and crafts.

(Well,  the movie he did after West Side Story was Diamond Head with Charlton Heston--very good.  Then came Flight from Ashiya with Yul Brenner and Richard Widmark-- not bad at all.

By 1967, he had a nice role in the French musical classic Les Demoiselles  de Rochefort  with Catherine Deneuve, her sister Francoise Dorléac and, of all people, Gene Kelly--pretty good.)

So, George told the interviewer that he made some bad choices in his career-- and I'm just guessing The Cube in 1969 may well have been  one of those bad choices.

Rayban, good for you.  You got your money back; I didn't. LOL

Yes, I did get my money back.

But it wasn't easy.

The woman at the box office didn't believe what I was describing.

So, she sent her assistant to investigate.

As soon as the assistant opened the door to the theater, the boisterous laughter could be heard and echoed throughout the hallway.

The woman at the box office gave me back my money - reluctantly.

Miss Turner had just died recently - and I couldn't understand the disrespect.

Lana Turner was A MOVIE STAR.

The fact that she survived the Johnny Stompananto murder with the box-office triumph of "Imitation Of Life" is a testament to her enduring STAR POWER.

And you're right, movie stars are a different breed of people.

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10 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

 In talking about Lana Turner versus Jane Wyman in Falcon Crest, I think you're missing an important point. Even though Jane Wyman won the Oscar, Lana Turner was a bigger movie star and " name  " than Jane Wyman could have ever hope to be.

I think that with the Persona  Lana had from MGM she never lost the feeling that she was always the star, no matter what the vehicle was.

 In her mind, I wouldn't be surprised if she thought it was quite normal that Jane Wyman should wait for her.

In fact the whole reason I started watching Falcon Crest was because Lana Turner was in it-- not because Jane Wyman was starring. But I stayed for the long run, enjoying every minute of it and Jane Wyman is, indeed  a very good actress.

But it's always good to remember that movie stars are not average Everyday People and sometimes their actions or motivations don't make any sense to us Everyday People.

Good post. And not to argue, but I am sure Lana (and her agent in the early 80s) knew the reality that offers weren't pouring in. She was lucky to get the gig on Falcon Crest. So was Wyman. It had originally been offered to Stanwyck who turned it down (but would later accept Aaron Spelling's offer to do The Colbys). Wyman had a whole late-career renaissance playing Angela Channing. After JOHNNY BELINDA, it became what she is most remembered for doing.

Besides us ardent fans, not sure how many people remember Lana on FC or on The Love Boat. Her career was seriously in decline. But she was still great playing the scheming Jacqueline Perrault. Incidentally, they later undid one of her main story points-- and had it turn out that Jacqueline did not really give birth to Richard Channing (David Selby)-- that she had in fact stolen Angela's "dead" son at childbirth, so Richard turned out to be Angela's pain in the side. Wyman adored working with Selby and wanted him to be her son on the show. So for the sixth season cliffhanger, they concocted this whole new storyline that effectively voided most of Lana's earlier material in the second season.

Much of the cast of FC was practicing Catholic. Wyman's own priest said mass each morning, and he also heard confessions on the set. Plus he was also given a recurring role on the show. His image is in the YouTube clip I provided. 

So if Lana was late getting to the set and didn't go to mass, I'm sure that would have irked Wyman. She wanted them all focused and ready for work. They might have been stars to the outside world, but to Wyman they were all pupils in the Catholic school she was running that just also happened to put on a weekly show. The ongoing elements of Catholicism are one of the things that make Falcon Crest stand out.

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Perhaps Lana Turner's off-screen reputation, which was somewhat "notorious" to Hollywood insiders, influenced Jane Wyman's attitudes toward Lana Turner.

Jane Wyman might have enjoyed having the upper hand with one of Hollywood's fabled greats.

   

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19 hours ago, rayban said:

Lana Turner worked hard, too - but in the realm of beauty and glamour.

To her, an actual performance was secondary.

When you went to see a Lana Turner movie, you went to bask in her breathtaking "presence".

If she managed to give a performance, you considered yourself "lucky".

So many of Lana Turner's performances appealed to her "vanity" - she was a beautiful woman up against it - and somehow winning out against impossible odds.

She was attracted to soap-opera-ish material - in her greatest film success, "Imitation Of Life", she was a late-starter who became a Broadway sensation and had to deal with a daughter who was in love with her man and her adored black servant whose daughter hated her mother.

 

True, but I guess we can't necessarily blame an actress from the studio system for the roles she played; they were pretty much coerced by the whims of the bosses. Lana's last MGM roles were in Diane and The Prodigal, both way overripe historical costume epics, The Prodigal being a particularly lousy choice. Once she was on her own, the roles made a little more sense in terms of her specific abilities. Both Peyton Place and The Rains of Ranchipur for Fox were more than respectable efforts in terms of commercial appeal and Lana's perfomances. Falling somewhere in between was Another Time, Another Place which she made in England and featured her as a wartime foreign correspondent with an inexplicably glamorous wardrobe (and a hot boyfriend: Sean Connery in an early role). Then, of course, Ross Hunter got his hooks into her and she did her series of ultra-soapers, which came to define her later work.

One performance I do consider myself "lucky" for has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle, though thankfully it was shown during Lana's SOTM reign. Love Has Many Faces (1964) was a total gamble for her. (I think today it would be called an "indie".) She played a jaded heiress hanging out with lowlifes and opportunists in Acapulco. That included "beach boy" Hugh O'Brien, wooing rich American tourists Ruth Roman and Virginia Grey. That alone could have made the movie laughable, but somehow it works if you actually do what is supposedly the prime requirement for film and theater, suspend disbelief. O'Brien's sort of blowsy machismo is actually perfect for this tale of people who are all in one way or another "over the hill", with the exception of fresh face Stephanie Powers, who enters the picture looking for answers about her brother's death, in which Lana may be implicated. I may be giving Lana too much credit...perhaps she was merely channeling her personal experience of privilege as a "movie star"...but her performance as a woman operating outside norms of morality and "class" has a kind of sustained clarity which makes this movie a standout in her body of work. (In my opinion, of course.) 

Overall, I think Lana was the sort of actress, like Elizabeth Taylor perhaps, who was able to pull a major performance out of her a-s-s on occasion, but who was equally capable of coasting on prior glories. I love it all.

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9 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

 In talking about Lana Turner versus Jane Wyman in Falcon Crest, I think you're missing an important point. Even though Jane Wyman won the Oscar, Lana Turner was a bigger movie star and " name  " than Jane Wyman could have ever hope to be.

 

While there is no question that Turner was a true movie star and a bigger name than Wyman, the latter enjoyed a period of critical respectability after her Oscar win that Lana never had. During the early '50s Wyman had some major hits at the box office, once (1954) being listed as one of the top ten box office stars of the year by the Quigley poll of motion picture distributors, a feat that Turner never achieved.

But when I watch Wyman in her later "serious" roles, while her performances are adequate she also comes across as rather dull to me. For enjoyment I much prefer to watch the earlier Wyman at Warners during her blonde period as fast talking dames. She was a bit of a ball of fire in those days, in complete contrast to the post-Johnny Belinda Wyman.

As an illustration of her versatility I always look at two performances she gave the same year, 1946. She was at her fast talking, perky best in a small role (a wasted part some might say) in Night and Day as a glitzy show biz character. Then she was all earnest and slow talkin' as a rural type in The Yearling. Is anyone going to argue that she wasn't more fun to watch in the Cole Porter bio, no matter how superficial the part may be?

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You're right about Wyman's "critical respectability" as opposed to the more iffy regard for Turner. Also about Wyman's versatility; I personally love Just for You, her musical with Bing Crosby in which she did her own singing.  The two musicals TCM recently showed featuring Lana, Mr. Imperium with Ezio Pinza and The Merry Widow with Fernando Lamas, both had Lana dubbed.

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

True, but I guess we can't necessarily blame an actress from the studio system for the roles she played; they were pretty much coerced by the whims of the bosses. Lana's last MGM roles were in Diane and The Prodigal, both way overripe historical costume epics, The Prodigal being a particularly lousy choice. Once she was on her own, the roles made a little more sense in terms of her specific abilities. Both Peyton Place and The Rains of Ranchipur for Fox were more than respectable efforts in terms of commercial appeal and Lana's perfomances. Falling somewhere in between was Another Time, Another Place which she made in England and featured her as a wartime foreign correspondent with an inexplicably glamorous wardrobe (and a hot boyfriend: Sean Connery in an early role). Then, of course, Ross Hunter got his hooks into her and she did her series of ultra-soapers, which came to define her later work.

One performance I do consider myself "lucky" for has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle, though thankfully it was shown during Lana's SOTM reign. Love Has Many Faces (1964) was a total gamble for her. (I think today it would be called an "indie".) She played a jaded heiress hanging out with lowlifes and opportunists in Acapulco. That included "beach boy" Hugh O'Brien, wooing rich American tourists Ruth Roman and Virginia Grey. That alone could have made the movie laughable, but somehow it works if you actually do what is supposedly the prime requirement for film and theater, suspend disbelief. O'Brien's sort of blowsy machismo is actually perfect for this tale of people who are all in one way or another "over the hill", with the exception of fresh face Stephanie Powers, who enters the picture looking for answers about her brother's death, in which Lana may be implicated. I may be giving Lana too much credit...perhaps she was merely channeling her personal experience of privilege as a "movie star"...but her performance as a woman operating outside norms of morality and "class" has a kind of sustained clarity which makes this movie a standout in her body of work. (In my opinion, of course.) 

Overall, I think Lana was the sort of actress, like Elizabeth Taylor perhaps, who was able to pull a major performance out of her a-s-s on occasion, but who was equally capable of coasting on prior glories. I love it all.

DougieB, I agree with you, "Love Has Many Faces" should be much better known.

I, too, enjoyed the over-the-hill likeness of the characters.

They had definitely seen better days.

Hugh O'Brien was a particular delight, still working hard, at his age, giving older women what he thought they wanted/needed.

At this stage in her career, the seediness of the material actually worked well for her.

After she was dropped by MGM after an eighteen-year reign, the effectivenss of "Peyton Place" was an unexpected re-birth for her.

It couldn't have been easy for her - she would not have been anybody's first choice for Constance MacKenzie.

But she delivered an unglamourous and decent performance.

When Diane Varsi tells her that she is going to New York and, if she doesn't succeed, she'll live off a man like her mother did, Lana Turner's reign supreme at MGM comes into full swing.

With "Peyton Place", she told us - unequivocably - that her career was not over.

It was beginning - again.

With such dreck as "The Big Cube", in which she appeared younger than she had in years, she could claim a kind of courage that was rare in a long-enduring movie star.

She was Lana Turner once more, young, beautiful, glamourous - and winning out over impossible odds.

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

While there is no question that Turner was a true movie star and a bigger name than Wyman, the latter enjoyed a period of critical respectability after her Oscar win that Lana never had. During the early '50s Wyman had some major hits at the box office, once (1954) being listed as one of the top ten box office stars of the year by the Quigley poll of motion picture distributors, a feat that Turner never achieved.

But when I watch Wyman in her later "serious" roles, while her performances are adequate she also comes across as rather dull to me. For enjoyment I much prefer to watch the earlier Wyman at Warners during her blonde period as fast talking dames. She was a bit of a ball of fire in those days, in complete contrast to the post-Johnny Belinda Wyman.

As an illustration of her versatility I always look at two performances she gave the same year, 1946. She was at her fast talking, perky best in a small role (a wasted part some might say) in Night and Day as a glitzy show biz character. Then she was all earnest and slow talkin' as a rural type in The Yearling. Is anyone going to argue that she wasn't more fun to watch in the Cole Porter bio, no matter how superficial the part may be?

You are right, there were two Jane Wymans - the early Jane and the older Jane.

I, too, prefer her in her younger days.

But I am grateful for her unforgettable work in "The Yearling" and "Johnny Belinda".

For Douglas Sirk, Jane Wyman became an "Everywoman".

And, as an "Everywoman", she was enormously effective in "Magnificent Obsession" and "All That Heaven Allows".

If it could happen to Jane Wyman, it could happen to you, too.

She grounded both films - which were, essentially, flights of fantasy. 

 

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On 12/28/2017 at 4:32 PM, rayban said:

Right, a gay movie producer could enshrine the allure of ultra-glamourous stars like Lana Turner in the face of life's difficulties as they moved against these impossible odds in an  almost-protective cocoon of knock-out fashion that said, "I will survive". 

Ray-- Your post here made me think of Judy Garland.

Those last three words in your post--"I Will Survive"-- gives some of the reasoning why Judy had such a tremendous gay following.

Early on from the time she started having all those personal difficulties at MGM in the late 40s right up until she died in the late 60s, Judy's professional,  personal and health lives were  a public struggle.

Near the end just getting through Over the Rainbow for Judy was quite a struggle.

Or you could even say showing up for the performance was a struggle.

But, time and time again Judy pulled herself out of the Abyss, like some kind of a Lazarus, as she survived all kinds of tragedies to make numerous comebacks.

Judy used to say they would fly the flag at half-staff on Fire Island when she died. She had a great sense of humor and she probably said that as a joke.

But ironically her funeral took place on June 27th 1969. And early that next morning on June 28th 1969,  Stonewall occurred. 

 

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I think that "I will survive" element is a strong component in Lana Turner's appeal to gay men.

Often faced with impossible odds, she somehow manages to land on her own two feet.

And - she looks terrific doing it!

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I just watched Lana Turner in "The Prodigal".

Although the film is obsensibly about the destruction of an unworldly young man, Edmund Purdom, the true raison d'etre of the film is Lana Turner - her face and figure.

She enters scenes and is in scenes - and she is her own universe.

She is the High Priestess of Fertility - and you can see it, feel it, know it.

No man stands a chance.

She is so gorgeoous that she is almost an apparition.

When she is stoned to death at the end, standing above the crowd in her temple of love, she invites only one thought - God, she is just so beautiful!

Her stoning is like swatting flies - it seems a minor inconvenience.

The superb cast works hard in all of the supporting roles.

Her co-star, Edmund Purdom, so gorgeous in "The Egyptian" and "The Student Prince", is toned down with a heavy beard.

His own undeniable beauty could have been a distraction in terms of Lana Turner's beauty.

They knew what they were doing - but Edmund Purdom fans will be disappointed.

Like Lana Turner, you wallowed in Edmund Purdom's beauty - when you got the chance.

The story of "The Prodigal Son" does survive.

But, mostly, it is about Lana  Turner at her most decorative - and in form-fitting and revealing costumes - a vision from another world.

Before her priestess leaves her world, she destroys Edmund Purdom - but she manages to leave the bones behind.

Her High Priestess of Fertility is a goddess! 

Edmund Purdom knew Heaven and Hell - and her name is Lana Turner.

She hardly gave a thought to what she put him through.

As I said, she was Her Own Universe.

1955-film-title-prodigal-director-richar

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