LawrenceA

Henry Fonda

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Henry Fonda (1905-1982) was one of the great American actors of the stage and screen. Starting out playing naive, wide-eyed country bumpkins or other harmless romantic types, he gradually got better roles that showed a broad range of talent. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) established him as one of our best dramatic actors. Once WWII broke out, he defied conventional wisdom by joining the U.S. Navy. He was one of the leading stars of the day, he was married with two young children (daughter Jane and son Peter), and he was 38 years old. But he joined anyway, and refused a cushy assignment, serving with distinction on board a Destroyer as well as in Intelligence.

 

When the war ended, he returned to films, but the lack of good roles and a spiritual restlessness caused by his war service drove him out of Hollywood and back to the NY stage where he had started his career. He originated the title role in the smash hit Mr. Roberts, and he stayed with the play for the next 8 years, only returning to films in 1955 for the movie version. Audiences loved seeing him again, and his film career began again in earnest, although this was an older, wiser Henry Fonda than his previous screen image. One of his first films back was the movie version of the hit TV play 12 Angry Men, another portrayal for which he is warmly remembered.

 

He worked consistently for the next 20 years, although the quality of the films and the size of the roles would vary greatly. Fonda needed the money and he also relished the work, as it kept his mind off of his various personal demons. He was married 5 times, and his second marriage ended tragically. His relationships with his children were strained, as daughter Jane followed him into films and established a reputation as a big-screen sex kitten, before embracing left-wing politics to such an extent during the Vietnam War that it embarrassed and infuriated the liberal Henry. His son Peter, who had barely survived a terrible accidental (?) gunshot wound to the stomach at the age of 11, also entered film acting, where he drifted into a heavy drug scene that also alienated his father.

 

Henry Fonda had two more iconic roles left in his career, first in Sergio Leone's 1968 spaghetti western masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West, where he atypically played a ruthless hired killer. His last major role was in 1981's On Golden Pond, co-starring with Katharine Hepburn and his own daughter Jane. It was for this sentimental favorite that he was finally awarded an Oscar for Best Actor, a few short months before his death. He had also received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar the year before.

 

In the biography The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda, the author Devin McKinney recounts in gruesome detail how, at a young age, Fonda's father took the young boy to the center of the Nebraska town they lived in. He held the boy tightly and forced him to watch through the second story window of the printing press offices where he worked as an angry mob descended on the jail and removed a man who was incarcerated there. The mob lynched the man, hanging him from a tall tree in the town square, and then flayed the body before setting it on fire. His father forced him to watch to teach him about injustice and the horrors of the world, and it seems it may have deeply affected the actor for the rest of his days. His deep sense of societal right and wrong and his drive for truth and fair justice can be seen in his choice of works and he set a sterling example in the best of his performances.

 

 

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Hi, Lawrence.

 

I am a big fan of the Fonda family, especially Henry.  And I am more of a fan of Jane than of Peter.

 

Regarding his politics and friendships, he and best friend Jimmy Stewart were polar opposites politically and they got into a huge fight that nearly ended their friendship. They stayed friends because they agreed not to talk about politics. So they talked about fishing and model airplanes.  My favourite film of theirs together is Firecreek.

 

Fonda was also lifelong friends with Richard Widmark.  My favourite film of theirs together is Madigan.They were around each other  a lot so Peter knew Widmark well.  after Widmark's lifelong marriage ended when Jean Hazelwood died, Widmark married Susan Blanchard who had been married to Fonda.

 

Because of this, Peter Fonda considered him to be a step-father.

 

I will talk about which Fonda's films I've seen and about my preferences in a separate post.

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Now I've double checked imdb to make sure I remembered which of his lesser known works I have seen and the total number of films I have seen.

 

So far, I have seen 40 of Fonda's movies in a variety of genres.

 

He worked one time with Hitchcock in The Wrong Man which was based on a true story - makes it all the more frightening.

 

Here are some favourites of mine, in no particular order:

 

 

12 Angry Men

Once Upon a Time in the West

Madigan

Warlock (western where we get to see Deforest Kelley share the screen with both Widmark and Fonda)

The Lady Eve

Fail Safe

Sex and the Single Girl

How the west Was Won

The Rounders (with a favourite of mine: Glenn Ford)

Mr. Roberts

Fort Apache

The Ox-Bow Incident

the Grapes of Wrath

Jesse James

The Return of Jesse James

Jezebel

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell

Young Mr. Lincoln

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I have seen 64 of the 95 movies Henry Fonda appeared in. My favorite Fonda performances are:

 

 

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

12 Angry Men (1957)

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Mr. Roberts (1955)

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

My Darling Clementine (1946)

The Lady Eve (1941)

The Long Night (1947)

Fail-Safe (1964)

 

 

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Sex and the Single Girl was recently on television and I watched that for Henry Fonda's birthday earlier today.

 

I decided to watch a comedy instead of 12 Angry men

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Yeah, I have to say I'm surprised this thread died on the vine, so to speak. I would have thought there would be more fans of Hank Fonda around these parts. Or maybe there was nothing left to say.

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Yeah, I have to say I'm surprised this thread died on the vine, so to speak. I would have thought there would be more fans of Hank Fonda around these parts. Or maybe there was nothing left to say.

Well we do have Mr. Roberts on TCM's boards.  His biggest favourite of the movie is William Powell.

 

And there have been some great candids  by Banis.

 

But, yes- between your biography and my additions on Peter and Widmark, any background was finished quickly.

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Lawrence, you wrote:

...as daughter Jane followed him into films and established a reputation as a big-screen sex kitten, before embracing left-wing politics to such an extent during the Vietnam War that it embarrassed and infuriated the liberal Henry. [emphasis by laffite]

 

Did you mean "conservative Henry"?

 

==

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Yeah, I have to say I'm surprised this thread died on the vine, so to speak. I would have thought there would be more fans of Hank Fonda around these parts. Or maybe there was nothing left to say.

I think there is always something to say about Henry Fonda and his films. 

 

Recently, when looking at his filmography, I realized there were a handful of titles I still haven't seen yet. He sometimes picked roles that didn't suit him, and perhaps that's why those may be overlooked or forgotten. But even in pictures where he is miscast, there is usually a strength and integrity in his performances that makes them worth watching.

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Lawrence, you wrote:

...as daughter Jane followed him into films and established a reputation as a big-screen sex kitten, before embracing left-wing politics to such an extent during the Vietnam War that it embarrassed and infuriated the liberal Henry. [emphasis by laffite]

 

Did you mean "conservative Henry"?

 

==

Actually no, Lafitte.

 

Henry Fonda was a LIBERAL. his best friend James Stewart was a Conservative.

 

They had a huge fight over this and nearly ended their friendship over this. Then they just did not talk politics. 

 

It may be apt to point out that Stewart's son DIED in Vietnam.

 

Henry was a private man and likely objected to his daughter being a vocal opponent of anything controversial.

 

He and Jane never  really understood each other when she was younger.

 

You can see their complicated relationship when she touches him when he was not expecting it in On Golden Pond and he breaks character.

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Lawrence, you wrote:

...as daughter Jane followed him into films and established a reputation as a big-screen sex kitten, before embracing left-wing politics to such an extent during the Vietnam War that it embarrassed and infuriated the liberal Henry. [emphasis by laffite]

 

Did you mean "conservative Henry"?

 

==

 

No, I meant what I typed. My point being that Jane's behavior upset even a lifelong liberal like Henry. I could have clarified that more by adding "even the liberal Henry". Henry wasn't upset at the anti-war sentiment as much as the anti-military stance she was taking, and the unfortunate 'Hanoi Jane" shenanigans. Henry was a proud veteran and supporter of the military (No, being a liberal Democrat AND a supporter of the military are not mutually exclusive!). Henry's estrangement from Jane was also due to embarrassment over her overtly sexual screen roles (most dads aren't too keen on their daughters being seen as a lust object by the whole world, especially in the 60's), and other more personal family issues.

 

The major blow up between Fonda and Stewart wasn't due to a liberal vs conservative argument, but rather from Stewart confessing to Fonda that since the 1940's, after he returned from WWII, Stewart had been acting as a clandestine agent for J. Edgar Hoover, making reports on the activities of other actors and filmmakers. Hoover was trying to ferret out Communists or sympathizers, while Stewart was angered about a perceived encroachment by organized crime in the Hollywood community. Stewart had held a deep-seated hatred for the mafia after some unpleasant run-ins back in his pre-Hollywood New York stage acting days. When Stewart eventually realized that Hoover had no real concern about the Mob, but only Communists, Stewart was upset, and confessed to Fonda. Henry was furious, and their friendship ended for many years, with neither speaking to the other, until eventually they reconciled later in life. 

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No, I meant what I typed. My point being that Jane's behavior upset even a lifelong liberal like Henry. I could have clarified that more by adding "even the liberal Henry". Henry wasn't upset at the anti-war sentiment as much as the anti-military stance she was taking, and the unfortunate 'Hanoi Jane" shenanigans. Henry was a proud veteran and supporter of the military (No, being a liberal Democrat AND a supporter of the military are not mutually exclusive!). Henry's estrangement from Jane was also due to embarrassment over her overtly sexual screen roles (most dads aren't too keen on their daughters being seen as a lust object by the whole world, especially in the 60's), and other more personal family issues.

 

The major blow up between Fonda and Stewart wasn't due to a liberal vs conservative argument, but rather from Stewart confessing to Fonda that since the 1940's, after he returned from WWII, Stewart had been acting as a clandestine agent for J. Edgar Hoover, making reports on the activities of other actors and filmmakers. Hoover was trying to ferret out Communists or sympathizers, while Stewart was angered about a perceived encroachment by organized crime in the Hollywood community. Stewart had held a deep-seated hatred for the mafia after some unpleasant run-ins back in his pre-Hollywood New York stage acting days. When Stewart eventually realized that Hoover had no real concern about the Mob, but only Communists, Stewart was upset, and confessed to Fonda. Henry was furious, and their friendship ended for many years, with neither speaking to the other, until eventually they reconciled later in life. 

I was referring to earlier in their life before the war, Lawrence.  Not the later blow up.

 

Anyway - this reference to pro-military vs, anti-military  and political stance is important to emphasize.

 

Perhaps because of Vietnam being controversial, people have forgotten what it is to be DRAFTED into a war  versus being a career military man and going to the draft board as ordered.

 

To go back to Fonda and Stewart's era of WWII;

 

Paul Newman wanted to be a pilot in WWII and failed the medical because of his colour-blindness.

 

So he joined the navy.

 

Peter Falk had a glass eye but could cook, so he was on board a ship during the war.

 

My grandparents were in WWII. I have both American (Dad) and Canadian (Mom) backgrounds.

 

My great-great Uncle on my mother's side died in WWI and his body was never recovered - he is literally the poppies In Flanders  fields.

 

My father fully expected to go to Vietnam when he was drafted. He failed the medical.  His best friend died.  He spent the rest of his life blaming himself.

 

My father's first cousin recently retired from being a career military nurse.

 

and by the way, Lafitte:

 

I am a liberal. I have never in my life voted Conservative.

 

And I am pro-military.  I respect and am always thanking war vets - of any war - for their service.

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I've seen 60 of his films but some have been a very long time. One performance not mentioned as I think it was a TV movie was "Gideon's Trumpet." Also, if you can get your hands on a copy of his televised stage show of Clarence Darrow please do it.

 

Some him the other day in "Advise and Consent" but it is a relatively small part but handled with a fine touch.

 

It may not be much of a film but I love watching Stewart and Fonda together in "Cheyenne Social Club." The little political discussion as they walk down the street, knowing their history, makes it more fun. 

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I've seen 60 of his films but some have been a very long time. One performance not mentioned as I think it was a TV movie was "Gideon's Trumpet." Also, if you can get your hands on a copy of his televised stage show of Clarence Darrow please do it.

 

Some him the other day in "Advise and Consent" but it is a relatively small part but handled with a fine touch.

 

It may not be much of a film but I love watching Stewart and Fonda together in "Cheyenne Social Club." The little political discussion as they walk down the street, knowing their history, makes it more fun. 

The Cheyenne Social Club is a fun movie to  watch. You can tell that they, leading lady Shirley Jones and director Gene Kelly had a lot of fun making this movie. 

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   Some *Fonda trivia, although & by far, the majority of Hollywoods Golden age-(l925-60) performers always cited *"The Great: Spencer Tracy" as the greatest film actor, John Carradine always voted for *Henry Fonda!

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The Cheyenne Social Club is a fun movie to  watch. You can tell that they, leading lady Shirley Jones and director Gene Kelly had a lot of fun making this movie. 

LISTENING TO SINATRA IS A "SUPERB HANDLE!"  Or not truly "Handle" I reckon' it's a "prase" what exactly do you call it on here?

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LISTENING TO SINATRA IS A "SUPERB HANDLE!"  Or not truly "Handle" I reckon' it's a "prase" what exactly do you call it on here?

Thanks, Spence!

 

I used to refer to myself as "Off Somewhere Singing" but I decided to change it to "listening to Sinatra."

 

I believe the phrase  is "Membership Title"

 

My favourite is the one that Speedracer5 has.

 

She is a big fan of Errol Flynn, so she calls herself

 

'Errol Flynn's girlfriend in an alternate, parallel universe."

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   Don't know if anyone touched on this great bit of trivia or not, but  nxt time you see the beginning of "0n Golden Pond" ($118m.) he * kate arrive alone to the cabin & *Fonda is wearing an old frumpy "Fedora" *Kate gave him this hat & it belonged to *Spencer Tracy, his favorite for 26yrs too!

You gotta' watch quickly, because he then puts on that fishing cap

 

Wonder who owns it now? :huh:

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There have been a lot of Henry Fonda westerns airing during the western festival this month.

 

Some of them have also been airing on Silver Screen Classics.

 

Westerns are very popular this month.

 

Of course, TCM recently aired The Lady Eve as well which is quite funny.

 

A lot of the actors of the classic era of Hollywood had great range in the careers.

 

I think I have seen Fort Apache air on both channels several times this month.

 

 

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I'm a big fan of Henry Fonda. My favorites:

 

The Grapes of Wrath

Drums Along the Mohawk

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

My Darling Clementine

The Lady Eve

The Male Animal

 

Of course The Grapes of Wrath towers above almost all films, but I'm a particular fan of Drums Along the Mohawk (John Ford) and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Henry Hathaway), two glorious early color films. 

 

8892_2.jpgThe+Trail+of+the+Lonesome+Pine+1936+5.jp

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I'm a big fan of Henry Fonda. My favorites:

 

The Grapes of Wrath

Drums Along the Mohawk

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

My Darling Clementine

The Lady Eve

The Male Animal

 

Of course The Grapes of Wrath towers above almost all films, but I'm a particular fan of Drums Along the Mohawk (John Ford) and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Henry Hathaway), two glorious early color films. 

 

8892_2.jpgThe+Trail+of+the+Lonesome+Pine+1936+5.jp

 

I wish I knew how to post pictures from movies like you and others do, Swithin.

 

These are fabulous.

 

Yes, I'm a big fan of Mr. Fonda.

 

Your choices are fabulous.

 

I just watched Mr. Fonda in The Best Man earlier tonight (Sunday -actually Monday now)

 

 

The day before:Fail Safe.

 

He really did have a huge spectrum of films in his career and a variety of genres.

 

I know that I make a big deal about listing actors in order - and I admit that after Gregory Peck, there is him and everyone else after him - sort of for me.

 

There are indeed times where listing performers in order is at best, like a machine with statistics.

 

The truth is, I am a fan of the entire Fonda family.

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No, I meant what I typed. My point being that Jane's behavior upset even a lifelong liberal like Henry. I could have clarified that more by adding "even the liberal Henry". Henry wasn't upset at the anti-war sentiment as much as the anti-military stance she was taking, and the unfortunate 'Hanoi Jane" shenanigans. Henry was a proud veteran and supporter of the military (No, being a liberal Democrat AND a supporter of the military are not mutually exclusive!). Henry's estrangement from Jane was also due to embarrassment over her overtly sexual screen roles (most dads aren't too keen on their daughters being seen as a lust object by the whole world, especially in the 60's), and other more personal family issues.

 

The major blow up between Fonda and Stewart wasn't due to a liberal vs conservative argument, but rather from Stewart confessing to Fonda that since the 1940's, after he returned from WWII, Stewart had been acting as a clandestine agent for J. Edgar Hoover, making reports on the activities of other actors and filmmakers. Hoover was trying to ferret out Communists or sympathizers, while Stewart was angered about a perceived encroachment by organized crime in the Hollywood community. Stewart had held a deep-seated hatred for the mafia after some unpleasant run-ins back in his pre-Hollywood New York stage acting days. When Stewart eventually realized that Hoover had no real concern about the Mob, but only Communists, Stewart was upset, and confessed to Fonda. Henry was furious, and their friendship ended for many years, with neither speaking to the other, until eventually they reconciled later in life. 

 

 

Interesting comment about Jimmy Stewart hating the mafia which I just reread.

 

Yes.

 

I love Jimmy Stewart but:

 

 

If Frank Sinatra had not been Italian, likely - his son would never have been kidnapped.

 

As an Italian, there are many positive Images about Italians.

 

But this Mafia thing - well -

 

Yes indeed.

 

I love being Italian for many things.

 

BUT:

 

I have said on record here and other places that I am ASHAMED of being Italian when it comes to the Mafia.

 

I have had long talks on this site with many people about this regarding my inabililty to watch any of The Godfather films even though I've seen gangster films from prior to the code.

 

and yes, there is a Fonda connection as Peter's daughter is in the 3rd film.

 

And I cannot watch it.

 

This despite the fact that I have no problem watching portrayals of my ancestor Captain Henry Morgan.

 

Morgan died a long time ago.

 

The Mafia still exists.

 

I do indeed understand and respect the fact that Italian Americans did not want the late James Gandolfini in their Pride Parade.

 

Yes he is an actor BUT:

 

 PRIOR to The Sopranos, a Soprano was not a gangster, but the highest female voice -

 

It still is.

 

I am a Soprano.

 

I respect actors and their work.

 

 

Again, I love James Stewart.

 

Too bad that there are any stereotypes about anyone.

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I wish I knew how to post pictures from movies like you and others do, Swithin.

 

It's pretty easy. When you are composing a message, you see a little square above, in the icons in the middle of the line that begins with B for bold.

 

You find a picture you want to post somewhere on the Internet, and save the address, as if to post a link. Then, before you post the link/address in your comment, click on the little box above. A screen will appear that says "image properties." Post your photo address in that screen, then click "ok." (I'm sure someone else can explain this better than I can.)

 

trail2.jpg

 

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

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