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Norma Shearer


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I read a great Norma story in Helen Hayes' My Life in Three Acts (one of the best autobiographies I've ever read).

 

She and her hubby took a trip to Panama with the Thalbergs. The bordellos there used the names of famous actresses to lure in customers. Their driver took them to the house where "Norma Shearer" worked. The women thought it was hilarious, but Irving was not amused.

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  • 4 months later...

Pesonally, Garbo is my favorite, but no one can exclude Norma Shearer from the Top List! People keep saying she wasn't the greatest actress, but she was. She was one of the GREATEST! I don't think anyone mentioned the book The Films of Norma Shearer by Jacobs and Braum. It has great pics of her and all her films. There is one older pic of her in 1953 with Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr. She looks Fab! I fell in love with Norma in Marie Antoinette. Later, I came to admire her acting ability and realize her true ranking as MGM's queen. Yes, Irving helped her career. And, yes Joan complained and even Greta lost directors, cameramen, and scripts to Norma because of Irving's drive to make her the queen, but she deserved it! There was no one like her, and I agree she has been forgotten. I think it is because of her retirement, even thought that didn't affect Garbo's memory. I understand why she retired, though. Everything had change. She simply had to finish her contract. Mayer didn't pay her any respect, and Irving was dead. Crawford was finished at MGM and Garbo never made another film. Harlow died, and Norma simply had had enough. But, when I think of MGM in the thirties, there were only four major stars: Garbo, Crawford, Harlow and Shearer. Yes, they had Myrna Loy, who was even crowned Queen of Hollywood one year, and Marion Davies, Judy Garland and Rosiland Russell, but MGM to me will alway be just those four!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I couldn't agree more...The enthusiasm expressed here is proof positive that it's time for "The Shearer Signature Collection" on DVD.

 

"Marie Antoinette" would be the centerpiece along with "Wimpole Street,"

"Idiot's Delight" and that gorgeous and pristine new print of "Romeo and Juliet."

 

An Alternative idea is a box set celebrating "MGM's Leading Ladies" with a bit of Norma, some additional Crawford, an early Lana Turner vehicle, perhaps a Jean Harlow gem or a Hedy Lamarr feature -- really mix things up so that the set would attract collectors of all of these goddesses and really rack up some impressive sales. I'm not saying that a solo Shearer package wouldn't bring home the bacon but offering a video buffet like this might also get a fan of one particular star interested in the work of the others. A good idea or insane?

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they should release a norma shearer signature collection:

-the divorcee

-a free soul

-the barretts of wimpole street

-romeo and juliet

-marie antoinette

-idiot's delight

 

Yes, yes, yes. But replace (or add) one of them with "Private Lives." Such a funny movie. I love the ending, when they're on the train and they're fighting like cats and dogs again and they look at each other like, "OMG. What have we done?"

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Shhh, Mr. Lydecker! I wouldn't want them getting any ideas about an "MGM's Leadiang Ladies" set if it's going to preclude a full Norma Shearer set. I too would prefer it if Private Lives were in there.

 

Marie Antoinette w/trailer; making-of documentary; and documentary of Cedric Gibbons

Idiot's Delight (including both endings) w/trailer; short subjects; and documentary about Adrian

Private Lives w/trailer; and "Noel Coward & Hollywood" documentary

Barretts of Wimpole Street w/ trailer; and Norma documentary

Romeo and Juliet w/trailer and documentary on Irving Thalberg

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i've revamped it the selection. it should be like this:

 

-the divorcee/ a free soul/ strangers may kiss (2 disc SE pre-code)

-private lives

-the barretts of wimpole street

-romeo and juliet

-marie antoinette

-idiots delight

 

would love to see escape down the line, maybe of another prmotion. it would be nice to have it in the one next year for movies that never went to vhs or dvd.

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Add "Let Us Be Gay" to the set,please! I wonder if I'll ever get to see that movie,as it's not on VHS or DVD,and no one ever shows it. I also wish "Hollywood Revue Of 1929" would come out on something besides laser disc,so that I could see the balcony scene from Romeo And Juliet Norma plays in the traditional way,and then in Jazz Age slang,whenever I like.Plus it's got a lot of other stars from the transitional time in it.

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It would be nice too if they would put her silent movies on too..This will show that she was on her way before Irving came in to the picture...They say she really ruin her own career at the end with Her Cardboard Lover and We Were Dancing...Well i really enjoy them now...They just can 't make movie with that type of enjoyment and fun...

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Yes! Two of the ones I have never seen, but would like to are:

 

He Who Gets Slapped: with Gilbert and Chaney (1924)

 

The Actress: with Ralph Forbes (1928)

 

I would also like to see her first two talkies:

 

The Trial of Mary Dugan: with Lewis Stone and H. B. Warner (1929)

 

The Last of Mrs. Cheney: with Basil Rathbone (1929)

 

Are these last two available?

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Lady of the Night seems to be pretty popular as it was shown at the SF Silent Film festival and was one of her films done with Monta Bell. When they do release her silents, it will most likely be under the TCM Archives line and done like how Garbo's was. So if they do 3-4 films, I'd like to have:

 

-Lady of the Night

-The Devil's Circus

-The Student Prince

-After Midnight

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George Feltenstein at WB said that Hollywood Revue is already to go, but they just don't know how to release it. They have to come up with the proper way to promote it, but they said it would be out with the MGM documentary, When the Lion Roars. :)

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Norma did ruin her career. We know that looking young onscreen was more important, but those last two movies she made at MGM were embarassing pieces of tripe. They were worse than Two Faced Woman with Garbo. At least we got to see Garbo do the Chica-Choca. MGM were still offering her plum roles like Susan and God and Mrs Miniver. Even after she left MGM, Jack Warner tried to sign her at WB and to appear in Now Voyager and Old Acquaintance. That's 4 hits she could've had and 2 additional Oscar noms.

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LET US BE GAY and LAST OF MRS CHENEY have been on TCM -- I recorded them both within the last couple of years.

 

HOLLYWOOD REVUE is on pretty regularly, although it would be nice to have a set with extras -- perhaps stuff from GREAT DAY or that other aborted revue.

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Gosh, that's terrible! Not that I am comparing, because there is no comparison, but that sounds just like Hedy. Wow, what terrible choices these gals made sometimes! When you think about what should have been or what could have been! Oh, well, hindsight!

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If you read her bio. she stated it herself that she ruin it. Also in the book it mention that Irving told her if she was to marry , don't marry anyone in the business..

I look at it this way,she new when to get out and she still had a GREAT SECOND marriage as well..This doesn't happen in this era...LOL

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I know, Hedy Lamarr was so stupid to turn down Gaslight and Casablanca. What this would have done to cement her in the minds of the American public!

Lets not forget about the career mis-steps of George Raft: The Sea Wolf, High Sierra, and Double Idemnity.

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George Feltenstein at WB said that Hollywood Revue is already to go, but they just don't know how to release it. They have to come up with the proper way to promote it, but they said it would be out with the MGM documentary, When the Lion Roars.

 

 

 

 

That's great,thanks! Where would be the best place to keep track of when it's released,if you know? And do you know if "Let Us Be Gay" is on track to be released anytime soon(relatively speaking)?

 

 

 

Norma Shearer had a great career,even if her last two films were kinda duds. Until the very end,she had a happy life,and I don't think that two films should cancel out an entire body of great work,and they weren't total stinkers,they were just mediocre compared to almost everything else she'd done,which says a lot! Norma made some movies that will stand forever,especially her Pre-Codes.

 

 

 

As is said in "Complicated Women",she was the prototype for the liberated modern woman during those films,and nobody did the role with her class and elegance. I really believe that she played the first truly liberated women on screen(unless you count Mary Pickford's roles,which were liberated in a subversive way,as she played feisty adolescents,kind of a "safety net",so that her subversiveness wasn't obviously threatening). Norma played grown-up full-fledged adult liberated women during her Pre-Code days,and she didn't "cheat" like Clara Bow and the flappers of the silents,by being liberated in manner(outwardly "liberated"-dancing,smoking,staying out,etc,but in the end always succumbing to the big strong he-man on society's terms-"liberated" in appearance only).

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