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Lazyking

Joan Blondell

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I was watching "Three on a match" today the TCM ondemand feature and it struck me.. That was my first Joan Blondell movie and once again I'm upset that I missed her movies with my man Cagney X-( Well anyway, Joan was radiant, bubbly and pretty brilliant in this movie which tbh seems more like an Ann Dvorak picture (Who I liked as well but not as much as Joan) now, I'm not big on Blondes in fact, most of my favorite ladies are brunettes but Joan charmed her way into my heart.

 

 

 

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I watched "Three on a Match" this weekend too, for the first time, and Joan was good in it. Also loved Ann and wonder why she did not make it bigger...she was very beautiful. Bette was quite the looker too at that age.

 

Also saw Joan in "Nightmare Alley" tonight, where she does not fare as well, physically, although her acting is always top rate. She looks worn and old in this one, partly due to the role, I'm sure, but she just doesn't sparkle like she usually does.

 

She was a tough woman...read a great bio of her life, very interesting.

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> {quote:title=Im4movies2 wrote:}{quote}I've read that Joan Blondell, not her real name, was great friends with Bette Davis. They both studied acting together.

 

Well, Joan wasn't her real first name -- that's Rose -- but it is her middle name, as she was born Rose Joan Blondell on Aug. 30, 1906. (Believe it or not, Warners actually wanted to change her name to Inez Holmes!) Learn more about Joan at http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/436757.html.

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On Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 7:15 PM, Lazyking said:

I was watching "Three on a match" today the TCM ondemand feature and it struck me.. That was my first Joan Blondell movie and once again I'm upset that I missed her movies with my man Cagney X-( Well anyway, Joan was radiant, bubbly and pretty brilliant in this movie which tbh seems more like an Ann Dvorak picture (Who I liked as well but not as much as Joan) now, I'm not big on Blondes in fact, most of my favorite ladies are brunettes but Joan charmed her way into my heart.

 

 

 

Footlight parade is the film I believe you're thinking of with Joan and your man James Cagney. She was excellent in that film, as well as in Dames, Gold diggers 33, and 37. I have the boxed DVD set of Busby Berkeley films with all the above mentioned films, with my favorite wonderful beautiful star Ruby Keeler, and also (the king of crooning) Dick Powell, Guy Kibbee, and Hugh Herbert (excellent in Dames as billionaire Ezra Ounce who wants to cut off Kibbee like a ripe banana, and loves his Dr. Silver's golden elixer). I've at this time only seen Joan Blondell in the 1930s Busby films and in early 1960s Twilight zone ep What's in the box, as William Deamarest's bitter wife.  I still have on my list some of Joan's other films I want to see, including Three on a match, Stage struck, The office wife, and others. Oh, I have seen parts of Public enemy with the amazing bombshell Jean Harlow, Blondell and Cagney, was that the one you may have been referring to, not Footlight parade?

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I used to wonder if Ann Dvorak was related to the composer ANTONIN DVORAK , but then discovered it wasn't her real last name.  Anyway....

Joan has been a long time favorite of mine.  My Dad liked her too, but he'd say, "You know, she had those big beautiful, um, er... EYES! " ;) 

I once told of a niece of mine, who only knew Joan through her appearance in the movie GREASE came over one day when one of Joan's older movies was on and how surprised she was that the waitress from Grease had a long time movie career.  And she also remarked, "GOSH! She was GORGEOUS!" 

Indeed.

Sepiatone

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She really was gorgeous. She had an amazing smile. My favorite role of hers was as Aunt Sissy in A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLIN.

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Even though it was a small part, I really liked Joan in Desk Set.  I agree, I think she was gorgeous.  Even when she was older and definitely looked a little more matronly, she still had a gorgeous face.  I wish that TCM would make her SOTM.

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Joan never quite had the career that she deserved, but you can't deny she had a certain charisma about her whenever she came on screen. 

I think she was at her best in FOOTLIGHT PARADE, as Cagney's loyal secretary and friend who stands by him even when he didn't deserve it.

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21 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Joan never quite had the career that she deserved, but you can't deny she had a certain charisma about her whenever she came on screen. 

She's practically the textbook example of how to transition from leading to supporting roles. She kept her career going through the 1970's, a remarkable achievement in an industry where you were pretty disposable once your looks started to go. I remember the little thrill I got when she popped up in Grease (1978). Totally agree about SOTM. Has she been featured on Summer Under the Stars? I can't remember.

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Joan Blondell, unlike a Davis or a Cagney, never challenged the establishment at Warner Bros. She was a work horse, fearful of suspension, who accepted any assignment handed to her by the studio. Thus you see how ordinary and routine so many of her films (the vast majority, in fact) were.

She's a saucer eyed delight in them, of course, and adds tremendously to the enjoyment of many a Warners programmer. She was also quite voluptuous and could be very sexy.

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Yowza! That is one beautiful, sexy lady!

Only rarely, though, such as with Gold Diggers of 1933 or Footlight Parade, did she have the opportunity to shine as part of an ensemble cast in a film of noteworthy quality. Her forte was comedy, though she was certainly adept at working in musical sequences, too. She brought a soulful quality to the "Forgotten Man" finale of Gold Diggers of 1933. Joan's empathy for those forgotten veterans helps to make that presentation as memorable as it is, along with Busby Berkeley's choreography.

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But the same Joan could also have a sassy delivery of a stinging one liner. One of my favourites occurs in Footlight Parade, the scene in which she gives snooty Claire Dodd a boot in the butt as she shows her the door, along with the line, "So long, Countess. As long as there are sidewalks you've got a job!"

Blondell was one of the very few actresses (along with Ann Sheridan) who could hold her own with James Cagney on the screen. The films in which they were co-starred may have been minor (excluding Footlight Parade) but it was always a pleasure to watch their chemistry. Their final film together, He Was Her Man, has the distinction of being Cagney's only film of his early years at Warners that failed to make money. It's a surprisingly downbeat little film, with Cagney as a gangster hiding out in the countryside from hoods that want to bump him off, and Blondell as a girl he meets there.

What most distinguishes this still interesting, if minor, effort, is the sensitivity that Blondell brought to her dramatic role. She is engaged to a good man (Victor Jory) whom she hopes she may eventually love but is irresistibly drawn to Cagney, knowing fully well his character is nothing but bad news for any future happiness. And she tries to pull back from him. Joan touchingly conveys the torment her character feels in a lovely, quiet performance that revealed she had a range as an actress far beyond that of musical comedy and playing wise cracking gold diggers.

Unfortunately, particularly with a film that died at the box office, Warners had no interest in recasting Joan in similar efforts, and Blondell, being Blondell, went along with whatever assignment was offered to her by the studio, no matter how trivial.

But more than a decade later, now a middle aged actress working at Fox, she had the opportunity to memorably stretch her dramatic wings once again, with her role as Aunt Cissy in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn then, not long afterward, as Zeena, the sensual carny act fortune teller who can't resist an attractive man's embrace in Nightmare Alley.

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I can't, unfortunately, think of any followup films in her career that gave her similarly strong acting opportunities as those two films. She was back to making a living, accepting assignments while dealing with a highly tempestuous marriage and divorce from an obsessive, spiteful Mike Todd, who tried to hurt her career, if memory serves me correctly.

At least, thanks to TCM, we can still see the perky, sassy Joan of her early Warners years, as well as, on the rare occasion, a Nightmare Alley or even a He Was Her Man to show us that Joan had the potential as an actress to be so much more.

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

But more than a decade later, now a middle aged actress working at Fox, she had the opportunity to memorably stretch her dramatic wings once again, with her role as Aunt Cissy in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn then, not long afterward, as Zeena, the sensual carny act fortune teller who can't resist an attractive man's embrace in Nightmare Alley.

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The last time I saw Nightmare Alley, I realized how incredibly hot Joan was.

She was so versatile. I get a kick out of her performance in The Twilight Zone episode "What's In the Box" where she and William Demarest basically beat the crap out of each other.

 

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And too, IMHO, she was the only bright spot in the otherwise overly maudlin THE BLUE VEIL.

Sepiatone

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On Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:50 AM, scsu1975 said:

The last time I saw Nightmare Alley, I realized how incredibly hot Joan was.

She was so versatile. I get a kick out of her performance in The Twilight Zone episode "What's In the Box" where she and William Demarest basically beat the crap out of each other.

 

Yes, I loved the 55 year old Blondell in Twilight zone ep What's in the box as bitter wife of taxi cab driver William Demearest when he starts seeing the past and then his rather disturbing future on TV. Blondell's good during her yelling tirade at his unfaithful taxi cab affairs to Yonkers and her yelling at him "Yonkers! Yonkers! Yonkers!!"

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