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About markus21

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  1. That is surprising that she's never been Star of the Month. TCM has certainly saluted her in other ways (e.g, her birthday) on many occasions. As for Miller ditching her heels to dance with Astaire, I recall her laughing about it, saying that she had to do it so she wouln't be taller than he was onscreen. As for her being assigned second leads at MGM, I think she was simply too tall, statuesque and sensual to fit the conventional "ingenue/leading lady" mold of the time. Another interesting tidbit about the TIMES attitude toward Miller and EASTER PARADE. As a lifelong classic film buff, wh
  2. I think of WITH A SONG IN MY HEART as schmaltzy in spots, but not silly. To the contrary, it's one of the first musical biographies to show a "darker" side to the hero/heroine's life. For example, it makes no bones about the fact that Jane Froman's first marriage to Don Ross, was one of convenience. She married him out of gratitude and appreciation for what he had done for her career and because they seemed to be a good fit professionally. Although they have only one argument/fight onscreen, the narration, the dialogue makes it clear that they've had many similar ones earlier and the narration
  3. I agree with everything you said about Judy, Rose, but, as I hope my post suggests, people obviously could relate to Deanna. It's no mean feat to have the world fall instantaneously and enduringly in love with you when "all you do is sing" in the most unadorned circumstances the heavily-stylized, potentially moribund "classical" repertoire. Deanna was consistently praised for bringing qualities of purity, spontaneity, warmth, naturalness and ease to her performances as both a singer and an actress. These are qualities that one associates with The Great American Songbook repertoire, which
  4. Believe it or not, THE NEW YORK TIMES thought Ann Miller was a better partner for Fred Astaire in EASTER PARADE than Judy Garland. In its' review the TIMES said something like: "And Judy Garland gets some stiff competition from the long-legged Ann Miller. Miss Garland is a competent trouper: nimble on her feet and professional sounding vocally, but somehow we feel that Miss Miller teams better with Mr. Astaire." I was surprised when I read that review, because Judy is so delightful in EP, but I agree that Ann Miller was a wonderful talent in her own right. It's no mean feat that she make
  5. As a big fan of both Deanna and Judy, I've enjoyed reading these comments on their talents and careers, though I must say, I disagree with many of them, and, as Deanna generally seems to be getting "the fuzzy end of the lollipop" in most of these comments, I hope my fellow posters won't mind if I play "Devil's Advocate" in offering an alternate perspective on some of the issues raised when comparing Deanna and Judy: ON UNIVERSAL'S SIGNING DEANNA BECAUSE HER "CLASSICAL" STYLE FIT THEIR MUSICALS BETTER THAN JUDY'S "POP" STYLINGS: I disagree with this. Universal signed simply because of Ruf
  6. You're welcome: I forgot to add that, obviously, Rufus LeMaire didn't show EVERY SUNDAY to Pasternak and Koster when they were looking for a young singer for THREE SMART GIRLS, as EVERY SUNDAY hadn't yet been filmed. Rather, he apparently showed them parts of an Exhibitor's Reel short featuring the two girls. According to Pasternak's memoir, LeMaire first showed them a singing/acting clip featuring Judy. Pasternak and Koster were delighted by Judy and excited at the prospect of signing her, only to be told by LeMaire that Judy was the girl Metro had elected to keep. Dejected, Pas
  7. Hi Cakane: Deanna was signed by MGM to a six month contract in November 1935. Louis B. Mayer was out of town when she auditioned for the studio, but his associates were so blown away by her audition that they called Mayer and had her sing to him over the telephone. Mayer immediately ordered Deanna be signed to a contract, sight unseen. Deanna's contract with MGM expired at the end of May 1936 and she was released by the studio. Whether this was an accident (someone mistakenly allowed her contract to lapse) or she was formally released remains unclear, but she was immediately signed
  8. Hi Top-Billed: Although it has its' schmaltzy moments, and I can see why Bosley Crowther stated in his NEW YORK TIMES review that sometimes Hayward looks as if she's "miming for posterity," I enjoy WITH A SONG IN MY HEART and wouldn't consider it the corniest musical ever made. First of all, I don't consider it a "musical" in the strict sense of that term. It's a biography of a vocalist, but, other than the big production number of the title song and the performance of "The Right Kind," "Jane Froman" is pretty much the only vocalist/musical performer in the film. For a non-singer,
  9. What amazes me about Ann Miller's performance in EASTER PARADE (aside from her tremendous talent as a tap dancer...and being one of the few screen dancing ladies who did her own singing!) is that she performed all her musical numbers in a back brace. Prior to filming she had been thrown down a flight of stairs by her intoxicated husband, causing her to break her back and lose the child she was carrying. Her back muscles had not completely healed when the she was cast at the last minute to replace an injured Cyd Charisse in EP, so she wore the back brace throughout the film's production. I
  10. Perhaps the difference was one of expectation and perception: I agree that OZ was marketed as a lavish film adaptation of a beloved classic. (The publicity for it played entirely on audience familiarity with the book/story rather than Judy's participation in the film and her "regular" billing with the rest of the cast and the film's special introduction pointing up its' "timeless" confirm that the studio was counting on the public's affection for the property more than its' burgeoning awareness of Judy.) Still, OZ had just as long a production history as BLUEBIRD, and while it received
  11. Excellent Post, MissWonderly: I would just say that "star power" isn't "almost mysterious," It IS mysterious. If it could be bottled and effectively produced, the studios and other entertainment venues (not to mention the performers who seek stardom) would have done so long ago. Incidentally, in her book THE STAR MACHINE, Jeanine Basinger has some interesting thoughts on the lack of star quality of the early Marilyn Monroe: [Marilyn] Monroe had no impact on audiences in the movie houses I ushered in, not the way I had seen Debbie Reynolds come across in her "Abba Dabba Honeymoon" n
  12. Another Great Post, Arturo: I find it interesting that all of the reservations you've expressed re THE BLUEBIRD are just as applicable to THE WIZARD OF OZ, yet OZ was perceived as a "hit," perhaps not as big a hit as MGM hoped it would be, but a hit nonetheless, while THE BLUE BIRD was perceived as laying a big critical/box office egg and marked as the beginning of the end of Shirley's career as a box office phenomenon/superstar.
  13. Hi Arturo: I agree that Universal probably didn't borrow bigger box office names for Deanna's co-stars because they felt she could carry her films on her own. Another factor, at least in the latter part of her career may have been the enormous salary Universal-International was paying her. For several years during the 1940s, Deanna was either the highest, or one of the highest paid women in the country. In fact, I've read that when Deanna complained about the poor quality of her last films under Universal-International, the studio countered that Technicolor and more important co-stars coul
  14. Well said, Arturo: Though she had a somewhat rocky beginning at the studio (a year of inactivity with several film projects proposed for her but none greenlighted and then a loan-out to Fox to play a barefoot hillbilly in PIGSKIN PARADE) I agree that MGM always had faith in Judy's potential stardom, and by the time of BABES IN ARMS at latest, realized she'd make a graceful transition from young teen actress to ingénue. Perhaps the reason, she was initially put in relatively inexpensive programmers (pre-OZ) is because OZ had been given the go-ahead and its' hugely expensive production cost
  15. Hi Speedracer5: Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you enjoyed my comments, but I think I should clarify one or two of them. I agree that OZ was Judy's breakthrough role. As I said, it enabled her to make the transition from starlet to star. Among other indications of her new, more important status at MGM because of OZ: she won a special Oscar for her performance, had a hit recording with "Over the Rainbow" (which also won an Oscar) and, at the premiere of BABES IN ARMS later in 1939, she planted her hands and footprints in the forecourt of Gramann's Chinese Theatre. I think the studio a
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