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JackFavell

Our Favorite Brunettes

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Well folks...there are none so blind, as those who will not see. I haven't exactly been blind, but after reading Jack Favell's post, my eyes are seriously OPENED.

 

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY

 

MARYASTOR2.jpg

 

I just read the loveliest post written by Jack Favell about one of Hollywood's most solid actresses: MARY ASTOR.

 

After reading what Jack wrote about Astor, I thought Astor deserved to be feted here. She was a good actress. And after all...she is a brunette.

 

You can head over to Bronxgirl's very popular thread over in Hot Topics: "BRONXGIRL'S MOTHER, HENRY FONDA'S HIRSUTENESS, ETC." to read Jack's post in all its uninterrupted glory. I'll include some excerpts here of her post: (J.F.) and if I make a comment on Ms. Astor, I'll put my initials next to it (C.M.).

 

*********

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"I've always liked Mary Astor, but I never paid attention to her acting specifically. She was always so good I didn't think about it. 'Act of Violence' shocked me, made me go back and watch her in a more critical way, and say, 'Yeahh, she's good. Real good.' " (J.F.)

 

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"In the comedy 'Midnight', Mary has these few scenes where she lets the b**chiness drop, and she takes my breath away, every time I watch. The hurt on her face when Francis Lederer walks away with Claudette Colbert.... there is so much more to it than just losing a man - it's fear - she is losing her youth. The way she and Barrymore come together at the end, and she tells him she doesn't mind that it's just the two of them, after all.... it's so touching, partly because of their real life relationship years before, and just because Mary's voice is so warm toward him." (J.F.)

 

I've never seen "MIDNIGHT" but I've got to check it out. The pix above is Mary with Barrymore many years before. (C.M.)

 

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"I've watched her in dramas and those MGM mom roles, and I can't find a fault with her in anything. She's able to dig a little even in the roles where she is a silly divorcee or a mom in a trailer with her kids." (J.F.)

 

"Above is Mary with a coupla kids. I recognize Freddie Bartholomew and that little cutie pie: Scotty Beckett with Mary's arm around them. She projects wholesomeness. Check her out in the photo with Lizabeth Scott from "Desert Fury." Arms folded...slight smirk on her face. Lizabeth's head is down and her hands are in her lap. Any doubt who is in control here? Astor's whole body language has changed in the second photo. (C.M.)

 

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"I don't know where she found her technique, but she is revealing, rather than putting it on. Even as Brigid, who is almost all put on, at the very end she lets it go for a minute, then goes all cold and blank." (J.F.)

 

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"Astor does a fantastic job in 'THE MALTESE FALCON.' If I'm not mistaken, her character doesn't tell the truth ONCE in this movie. She survives by using her feminine wiles. Doesn't she look fetching and vulnerable next to big strong capable Sam Spade?" (C.M.)

 

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"The scene in the cabin in 'The Great Lie', when Mary is pregnant, it's so hysterically funny, except there isn't a woman alive who doesn't know exactly how Mary feels. She's great." (J.F.)

 

"Well I've never had kids...but even to me, it doesn't look like a picnic. That whole cabin scene was wonderful... Bette paces back and forth like an expectant father. Mary breaks down crying, b'cuz she can't smoke or eat what she wants. Very cute scene." (C.M.)

 

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"She never felt she was any good, because she started so young, and never got over that feeling that she didn't know what she was doing... she felt the others had done stage work or had schooling, but she was thrust into the spotlight with no experience and pretty much stayed there." (J.F.)

 

"Here is Mary as 'Jewel Mayhew' in 'Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte.' Oh man, what I wouldn't have given to see Bette and Mary do one more scene together in that macabre classic gothic horror film. Agnes Moorehead was also in it and she is a hoot." (C.M.)

 

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"I recommend 'Act of Violence', she's amazing, kind of creepy. She only has a section of the movie, though. She's so darn good, it hurts. She made me stop thinking of Robert Ryan and Van Heflin. She made the movie for me." (J.F.)

 

Whoa! That's high praise JackaaaaAaaay. Mary could do the most with a small part. I'm really going to have to re-visit this film soon. I remember noticing her as well." (C.M.)

 

MARYASTOR6.jpg

 

Mary Astor...older here, but her face still looks kind and wise.

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Thanks for the lovely compliment - I love Mary. More and more she stands out to me. I'll reprint my post here, she deserves to be recognized for her work:

 

 

I've always liked *Mary Astor*, but I never paid attention to her acting specifically. She was always so good I didn't think about it. *Act of Violence* shocked me, made me go back and watch her in a more critical way, and say, "Yeahh, she's good. Real good."

 

She always lends a moment of gut wrenching truthfulness, even in the most spongey or saccharin films. In *Cynthia*, it's the time where she and Goerge have their talk, after she lets Cynthia go to the dance.... I love how she gears up for it as he drives up to the house. She has my full sympathy, before she even speaks. I like the seriousness she gives the scene, one which could have been overdone, or silly in the hands of two less skilled performers. George too, gets a little deeper here, and he does a good job. It's something he wasn't allowed much.

 

In the comedy *Midnight*, Mary has these few scenes where she lets the b**chiness drop, and she takes my breath away, every time I watch. The hurt on her face when Francis Lederer walks away with Claudette Colbert....there is so much more to it than just losing a man - it's fear - she is losing her youth. The way she and Barrymore come together at the end, and she tells him she doesn't mind that it's just the two of them, after all.... it's so touching, partly because of their real life relationship years before, and just because Mary's voice is so warm toward him.

 

I've watched her in dramas and those MGM mom roles, and I can't find a fault with her in anything. She's able to dig a little even in the roles where she is a silly divorcee or a mom in a trailer with her kids. I don't know where she found her technique, but she is revealing, rather than putting it on. Even as Brigid, who is almost all put on, at the very end she lets it go for a minute, then goes all cold and blank.

 

The scene in the cabin in *The Great Lie,* when Mary is pregnant, it's so hysterically funny, except there isn't a woman alive who doesn't know exactly how Mary feels. She's great.

 

She never felt she was any good, because she started so young, and never got over that feeling that she didn't know what she was doing... she felt the others had done stage work or had schooling, but she was thrust into the spotlight with no experience and pretty much stayed there.

 

I recommend *Act of Violence*, she's amazing, kind of creepy. She only has a section of the movie, though. She's so darn good, it hurts. She made me stop thinking of Robert Ryan and Van Heflin. She made the movie for me.

 

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Maven, wow, thank you so much for complimenting my thread.

 

I am still a neophyte when it comes to Mary Astor, but the little I've seen has easily made her one of my favorite actresses. The depth of her emotion, her intuitive understanding of human nature that illuminates all her work, is quite a revelation to me.

 

Oooh, the hair on the back of my head just stood up looking at the photo of Mary as Jewel Mayhew from HUSH, HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE. Astor's face says it all, and with the utmost economy of expression. A great actress.

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Jackie, that Mary Astor tribute video is beautiful.

 

ACROSS THE PACIFIC, oh, man, priceless! It's not the bread pudding, you're just in love, lol.

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Ha! I love the ending of their "love" scene.... "You make me sick, and if you stay here any longer I'll prove it to you."

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LOL yes. THE MALTESE FALCON gang back together, and Mary is still being passive-aggressive.

 

Edited by: Bronxgirl48 on Aug 1, 2011 9:34 PM

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* Mary Astor is sexy.

 

* Mary Astor is Bogie's greatest leading lady.

 

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Looking at the YouTube tribute to Mary it IS, as you say, all in her eyes. How can a woman look like such a doe and then the next minute she looks like a cobra. It's amazing. Her eyes well up with tears of emotion, she looks up at our heroes. Her tremulous voice (it's distinctive) pleads. Then with the flip of a script her look is uber- sophisticated; her eyes are as cold as ice.

 

Love the scene from "Across the Pacific" It's the most natural I've heard Bogie spoke. And I liked how Mary was sidling up to Bogie. Their togetherness seems seasoned. I am hooked on Mary.

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Was it here you had posted a series of stars with their doggies? I found this cute one with Jane Russell and just had to share it:

 

janepuppy.jpg

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Oh How adorable! That puppy is so leetle! And he's so stylin with his tiny fifties glasses! I want one.

 

Thanks Maven for telling me that this post was here. I don't even get a notification for a thread I STARTED? Sheesh.

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Thanks, Maven.

 

Rutherford's screen personality encompassed a lot of complexity. She was sweet - a nice girl... yet she also embodied the fun loving, slightly dangerous All American Girl - who else could be a match for Andy Hardy? She's beautiful, gracious, fun loving, but heaven help you if you rouse her temper (I'm thinking Danny Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)! She is the epitome of femininity, and could wrap any man around her finger, in fact, she's used to it! And yet, she loves animals, even ones who don't deserve it (again, note Walter Mitty). She's spoiled but brave, foolishly emotional but sensible about the future. She likes to have a good time. I think Rutherford as an actress is having a little fun with us, making her all-female characters sweetly comic, without ever being politically incorrect.

 

When I think of Ann Rutherford, I think of fun and summer and sodas, and a time gone by.

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Gee. What you've written.

 

The 40's were filled with powerhouses (Stanwyck, Crawford...Bette) and glamour girls (Annie, Alexis and Gene) and vamps & femmes fatale (Jane Greer, Lana, Ava...and Rita). There were dancers and swimmers and ice-skaters, singers, sarongs and oomph. And then there were nice girls-next-door who wouldn't sit under the apple tree with just anybody. Ann Rutherford made a career for herself during all that. I think she was the best of many worlds for a lucky guy.

 

Funny you mention Walter Mitty...b'cuz right now in the West Village where I hang out on Fridays, Ben Stiller and Shirley MacLaine are steps away filming the re-make of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." My bartender even spoke to MacLaine coming out of her trailer inviting her in for a drink.

 

 

Like I've said, you have quite a way with words, and you've given Ann Rutherford a wonderful tribute for a pretty under-the-radar actress, with words and pictures. Thank you.

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Well, you aren't so bad yourself, Maven! I like the way you described Ms. Rutherford, as the best of many worlds.

 

I've been trying to figure out her lasting appeal, especially after this week, with so many people saying how much they loved her. And when I tried to put my finger on what it was about her, I came smack dab against those characters she played, who were not always particularly sympathetic. So why the outpouring, the sheer affection we felt for her?

 

I think it's that we could all see the smarts and energy behind this actress' image, I mean, how savvy she was! And maybe, much like some of the older actresses, Mary Boland, or say Laura Hope Crewes as Aunt Pittypat, or comedians like Buster Keaton or character actors like John Qualen, we secretly knew there was more to her than Polly Benedict, Carreen O'Hara, Lydia Bennett or any of the dozens of other flibertigibets she played.

 

She was very skillful at making us laugh at her foibles, or sometimes cry, and we saw her humanity, even if it wasn't pretty. She never asked for more than that.

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