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Hibi

Joan Bennett for SOTM

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While we're at it. (I cant find the old thread I started about this) Sister Constance was SOTM 3 yrs or more ago. Still waiting on Joan. :(

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I haven't seen anywhere near as much of Constance Bennett's work as I have Joan Bennett's, but I FAR prefer Joan.

Joan seems like a fun gal, a good bridge partner and a friend you could call to bring a shovel at three am if so needed.

Connie just rubs me wrong.

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3 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I haven't seen anywhere near as much of Constance Bennett's work as I have Joan Bennett's, but I FAR prefer Joan.

Joan seems like a fun gal, a good bridge partner and a friend you could call to bring a shovel at three am if so needed.

Connie just rubs me wrong.

Agree, and i still get a kick watching her on Dark Shadows.

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Hibi, fyi....it took me several tries over a couple of days to find the Linda Darnell SOTM thread.  I found a function to edit search, i used the thread title, the subforum and the author, me.  It came Up that way.

A couple of weeks ago, after being frustrated in trying to find the George Brent thread in Off-Topic Chit Chat, I went back page by page.  I found it exactly on Page 100.

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9 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I haven't seen anywhere near as much of Constance Bennett's work as I have Joan Bennett's, but I FAR prefer Joan.

Joan seems like a fun gal, a good bridge partner and a friend you could call to bring a shovel at three am if so needed.

Connie just rubs me wrong.

LOL. Agree. I think she had more range......

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2 minutes ago, Arturo said:

Hibi, fyi....it took me several tries over a couple of days to find the Linda Darnell SOTM thread.  I found a function to edit search, i used the thread title, the subforum and the author, me.  It came Up that way.

A couple of weeks ago, after being frustrated in trying to find the George Brent thread in Off-Topic Chit Chat, I went back page by page.  I found it exactly on Page 100.

LOL. I gave up after about 20 pages. Just lost my patience! I know it's back there somewhere.

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Thanks! I didn't have the topic title quite right. That was probably part of it.

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I think that Joan Bennett would be a great SOTM.  Linda Darnell for that matter as well. I like Joan.  She reminds me of a more jaded version of Jane Russell, sans the bosom, but add acting ability. 

I loved Joan in Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street.  Her 1950s roles playing Elizabeth Taylor's mother in Father of the Bride and Fred MacMurray's wife in There's Always Tomorrow are not as exciting as her 1940s output, but she still turns in a solid performance.  

I think I have The Man I Married recorded on the DVR.

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13 hours ago, Arturo said:

Hibi, fyi....it took me several tries over a couple of days to find the Linda Darnell SOTM thread.  I found a function to edit search, i used the thread title, the subforum and the author, me.  It came Up that way.

A couple of weeks ago, after being frustrated in trying to find the George Brent thread in Off-Topic Chit Chat, I went back page by page.  I found it exactly on Page 100.

Frustrating, isn't it? Sometimes the search works, sometimes it doesn't. 😕

I'd like to see Joan Bennett as SOTM, too.

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15 hours ago, Arturo said:

I went back page by page.  I found it exactly on Page 100.

Wow that's perseverance!

I love Joan Bennett too. She seems to have a "modern" quality to her looks, much like Paulette Goddard. Joan also has a unique voice which really helps sell her acting.

I like Constance enough, but her roles aren't as memorable as Joan's -especially Joan in noirs- previously mentioned.

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The sisters Constance and Joan had an interesting reversal of fortunes.  In the early 1930s, Constance was a huge star, at one point being publicized as the Highest Paid Woman in the World, or something similar.  Her image was of a chic woman of the world; she had married, and divorced, European royalty.  But this image in the depths of the Depression, and too many potboilers at RKO, drove down this popularity, and by the mid-30s, she was an expensive "name" no longer worth her huge salary.  She got a new lease on her career with screwball comedies, beginning with TOPPER in 1937.  But this was not sustained, and by the 1940s, her popularity was again shaky.  She did more and more marginal films, or featured roles in major films.  She plummeted down the cast list in billing, but usually remained a chic presence in whatever film she was in.

Joan, Otoh, was a very pretty, blonde, and often bland, leading lady through most of the 30s, perhaps best known as Constance's younger sister.  In 1938, she had a change in fortunes with TRADE WINDS, where midway through the film, the script called for her to become a brunette.  She took on the Hedy Lamarr hairdo and look; Hedy was then the latest rage, after her success in ALGIERS.  Walter Wanger, soon to be her husband, and who produced both films, realized that this look would change Joan's image, which it did.  In the 40s, she found a new level of success, and became a prime purveyor of femme fatales in the burgeoning Film Noir of the mid and late 40s.  This success in noirs is what keeps Joan well-known now, as well as contributing to why she is more highly regarded than her sister.

 

 

 

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Joan had an interesting off screen existence.

Her husband, producer Walter Wanger, was known for his jealous nature. David Niven related an anecdote in Bring on the Empty Horses about encountering Wanger hiding in the bushes of Errol Flynn's home, with a gun in his hand, convinced his wife was inside. Wanger eventually left (I believe it was after Niven convinced him she was not there). What Wanger didn't know, though, was that Joan was smuggled out through Flynn's back door.

In 1951 Wanger received four months imprisonment after he was convicted of shooting and wounding Joan's agent, Jennings Lang, suspecting them of having an affair. Wanger would resume his film career afterward. He and Bennett divorced in 1965.

I like to think that Bennett was effective at playing on screen slinky women during the '40s because she had done a bit of slinking around herself.

bennett.jpg?w=1920

"Is that you, Errol? Who's in those bushes there?"

 

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

Joan had an interesting off screen existence.

Her husband, producer Walter Wanger, was known for his jealous nature. David Niven related an anecdote in Bring on the Empty Horses about encountering Wanger hiding in the bushes of Errol Flynn's home, with a gun in his hand, convinced his wife was inside. Wanger eventually left (I believe it was after Niven convinced him she was not there). What Wanger didn't know, though, was that Joan was smuggled out through Flynn's back door.

In 1951 Wanger received four months imprisonment after he was convicted of shooting and wounding Joan's agent, Jennings Lang, suspecting them of having an affair. Wanger would resume his film career afterward. He and Bennett divorced in 1965.

I like to think that Bennett was effective at playing on screen slinky women during the '40s because she had done a bit of slinking around herself.

bennett.jpg?w=1920

"Is that you, Errol? Who's in those bushes there?"

 

Wow. I didnt know that about Joan and Flynn. Joan skipped that (and a lot of other things) in her memoirs. LOL. But I dont remember reading it in a later Bennett family book either by another author. The resulting scandal really hurt Joan's career. Her 50s output after the Bride films was slim and not top caliber. She had already hit 40, so that contributed too. She worked mostly on the stage during that period.

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1 hour ago, Arturo said:

The sisters Constance and Joan had an interesting reversal of fortunes.  In the early 1930s, Constance was a huge star, at one point being publicized as the Highest Paid Woman in the World, or something similar.  Her image was of a chic woman of the world; she had married, and divorced, European royalty.  But this image in the depths of the Depression, and too many potboilers at RKO, drove down this popularity, and by the mid-30s, she was an expensive "name" no longer worth her huge salary.  She got a new lease on her career with screwball comedies, beginning with TOPPER in 1937.  But this was not sustained, and by the 1940s, her popularity was again shaky.  She did more and more marginal films, or featured roles in major films.  She plummeted down the cast list in billing, but usually remained a chic presence in whatever film she was in.

Joan, Otoh, was a very pretty, blonde, and often bland, leading lady through most of the 30s, perhaps best known as Constance's younger sister.  In 1938, she had a change in fortunes with TRADE WINDS, where midway through the film, the script called for her to become a brunette.  She took on the Hedy Lamarr hairdo and look; Hedy was then the latest rage, after her success in ALGIERS.  Walter Wanger, soon to be her husband, and who produced both films, realized that this look would change Joan's image, which it did.  In the 40s, she found a new level of success, and became a prime purveyor of femme fatales in the burgeoning Film Noir of the mid and late 40s.  This success in noirs is what keeps Joan well-known now, as well as contributing to why she is more highly regarded than her sister.

 

 

 

Joan was a natural brunette, so she basically went back to her natural color from (dyed) blonde.

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That long luscious brunette hair helped to bring out Joan's sexiness when she was young. I always thought she looked a bit mousy as a blonde.

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25 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Wow. I didnt know that about Joan and Flynn. Joan skipped that (and a lot of other things) in her memoirs. LOL. But I dont remember reading it in a later Bennett family book either by another author. The resulting scandal really hurt Joan's career. Her 50s output after the Bride films was slim and not top caliber. She had already hit 40, so that contributed too. She worked mostly on the stage during that period.

Flynn never (or, at least, rarely) talked about his affairs. It took his pal, anecdote king Niven, to make the affair known.

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54 minutes ago, TomJH said:

That long luscious brunette hair helped to bring out Joan's sexiness when she was young. I always thought she looked a bit mousy as a blonde.

Yes, agree. Although I've seen few of her "blonde" roles thanks to TCM not showing them.....

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Joan Bennett films that I've seen:

  • The Divine Lady (1929)
  • Bulldog Drummond (1929)
  • Disraeli (1929)
  • Me and My Gal (1932)
  • Little Women (1933)
  • The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934)
  • Private Worlds (1935)
  • The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935)
  • Big Brown Eyes (1936)
  • Wedding Present (1936)
  • I Met My Love Again (1938)
  • Trade Winds (1938)
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
  • Green Hell (1940)
  • Man Hunt (1941)
  • Wild Geese Calling (1941)
  • The Woman in the Window (1944)
  • Scarlet Street (1945)
  • Colonel Effingham's Raid (1946)
  • The Macomber Affair (1947)
  • The Woman on the Beach (1947)
  • Secret Beyond the Door (1948)
  • The Scar (1948)
  • The Reckless Moment  (1949)
  • Father of the Bride (1950)
  • Father's Little Dividend (1951)
  • Highway Dragnet (1954)
  • We're No Angels (1955)
  • House of Dark Shadows (1970)
  • Suspiria (1977)

That's more than I expected!

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I enjoyed Bennett's dripping with insincerity "compliments" and increasing all round b i t c hiness towards husband Robert Preston in The Macomber Affair. Her little verbal digs make the skin crawl. Preston is a standout in the film playing a flawed but very human guy.

Too bad the film (and it's a good one) copped out on Hemingway's ending by softening its take on Bennett's character.

the-macomber-affair-lg.jpg

 

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7 hours ago, TomJH said:

I enjoyed Bennett's dripping with insincerity "compliments" and increasing all round b i t c hiness towards husband Robert Preston in The Macomber Affair. Her little verbal digs make the skin crawl. Preston is a standout in the film playing a flawed but very human guy.

Too bad the film (and it's a good one) copped out on Hemingway's ending by softening its take on Bennett's character.

the-macomber-affair-lg.jpg

 

Maybe it's just me or maybe because of the colorization done on his lobby card for this film, but the way Joan looks in it makes her almost look like Kim Hunter more than herself.

(...anybody else seein' this at all?)

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8 hours ago, Dargo said:

Maybe it's just me or maybe because of the colorization done on his lobby card for this film, but the way Joan looks in it makes her almost look like Kim Hunter more than herself.

(...anybody else seein' this at all?)

Actually Robert Preston and Gregory Peck are the hunters in this film.

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20 hours ago, Arturo said:

But this was not sustained, and by the 1940s, her popularity was again shaky.  She did more and more marginal films, or featured roles in major films.  She plummeted down the cast list in billing, but usually remained a chic presence in whatever film she was in.

That just sounds like how every woman was treated in Hollywood, once they turned 30 and even moreso after 40. So sad that so much revolves around a woman's looks; quick fleeting "sex appeal".

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

That just sounds like how every woman was treated in Hollywood, once they turned 30 and even moreso after 40. So sad that so much revolves around a woman's looks; quick fleeting "sex appeal".

Funny you mentioned this Tiki.

One of the questions on Jeopardy last night was something like:

"It is said Hollywood tends to cast actresses during their careers in three primary roles: First Babes, then District Attorneys, and finally Driving......."

(...and yeah, one of the contestants answered correctly with: "What is Miss Daisy?")

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Cute saying, although Jessica Tandy never had the Babe phase.

Constance Bennett had a reputation in the thirties as . . . well, not the easiest person to work with. When her films were no longer box-office magic, the people she'd met on her way up were happy to see her on her way down.

I think I've seen 17 of the films on Lawrence's list, plus There's Always Tomorrow. A rough sketch of her career: in Disraeli she's appealing, but not that much of an actress. She has learned a lot by Me and My Gal, where she's a comic delight as a platinum blonde waitress. She and Spencer Tracy make a good comic team; too bad she didn't make more comedies. She's a hoot as the selfish Amy in Little Women. Trade Winds is the film where she goes brunette in mid-film, and it's an enjoyable mix of comedy and melodrama. All four Fritz Lang films are special: she's delightful as a spirited Cockney gal in Man Hunt; gets to play an ultimate femme fatale in Scarlet Street and The Woman in the Window; and Secret Beyond the Door reverses the sexes, with Michael Redgrave as a possible "homme fatal" threatening her. The Macomber Affair (directed by Zoltan Korda) gives her the chance to play a kind of ultimate biotch. In The Reckless Moment, expertly directed by Max Ophuls, she plays a woman trying to protect her daughter from a blackmailer. (Ah, already playing mother roles.) She did a lot of stage work in the 50s and 60s, not on Broadway but in various playhouses across the country. In Douglas Sirk's There's Always Tomorrow she plays a 1950s housewife whose life revolves around her home and children, and whose lack of interest in sex drives her husband toward the arms of another woman. Dark Shadows gives her another audience in the 1960s.

Joan Bennett was fortunate to work with so many fine directors whose work has held up well. I'd love to see her as SOTM, but because her films are from so many different studios, TCM would need to purchase the rights all at the same time.

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