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Jeanne Eagels (1957) on Dec. 6th at 9:15AM on TCM


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Some may be interested to know that tomorrow morning on Dec. 6th at 9:15AM ET, TCM will be showing the seldom seen Jeanne Eagels (1957) with Kim Novak and Jeff Chandler. It may not be great cinema, but it is a fun biopic about a theatrical legend who burned the candle at both ends.

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Hope that you'll share your observations of this movie! The only thing that would make this better would be if TCM could follow it up with Ann Blyth and Paul Newman in The Helen Morgan Story (1957), another biographical doozie about a '20s legend...but, let's not ask for the moon, right? ;)

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I will be watching Jeanne Eagels tomorrow morning. If TCM has shown this film previously, I missed seeing the film. The Helen Morgan Story was orignally done on TV`s Playhouse 90. If I am not mistaken, Polly Bergen won an Emmy for her performance as Ms. Morgan.

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Moira, the movie "Jeanne Eagels" is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Although it is a whitewash version of the life of he real actress, it's fun to watch Kim Novak act her way out of a paper bag...or at least try.

Look for a neat performance from Virginia Grey as washed-up actess Elsie Desmond, and of course the never disappointing Agnes Moorehead. Jeff Chandler is his usual handsome self.

I'll be watching.

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I watched a bit of JEANNE EAGELS this morning while I was recording it. I liked what I saw, so I googled Jeanne Eagels...sadly, I found out that several things in the Kim Novak film were fictionalized. Eagels was not a carnival performer--she began acting with a travelling troupe that performed tent shows at the age of 12. The tent shows performed actual plays--comedy, melodrama, musical. In the winters, they moved into theatres. Eagels DID marry a man who ran the tent shows when she was a teenager, whom she later divorced. Jeff Chandler's character seems to be a composite of this man and others in Eagels life.

 

Also, the Elsie Desmond story (where Eagels steals her part in Rain) is fictional. Eagels was already an established actress who had worked with no less than celebrated actor George Arliss when she created a sensation in Rain.

 

The things that the film got right: On the opening night of Rain, a three-act play, the ovation from the audience was so great after Eagels speech at the end of the second act that she went out in front of the curtain and took a bow. Also, Eagels had a fiery temperament, and did die of an alcohol/drug overdose.

 

Still, as a Kim Novak fan, I'm glad that TCM showed JEANNE EAGELS this morning. The film is rarely shown.

 

Now, if only the Jeanne Eagels version of THE LETTER would be released on dvd! Or at least shown on TCM.

 

Sandy K

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Moira, the movie "Jeanne Eagels" is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Although it is a whitewash version of the life of he real actress, it's fun to watch Kim Novak act her way out of a paper bag...or at least try.

 

 

On another board I frequent, we are having a discussion about the term, "guilty pleasure". I hate the term, and frankly find it stupid. What's it supposed to mean? Why should anyone feel guilt about enjoying a film? It just makes no sense. Somewhere along the way, we've allowed others to tell us what is worthy and what is not. The AFI tells us that Citizen Kane is the best motion picture ever made. It isn't. That's Entertainment told us that MGM produced the greatest musicals. They didn't. Dr. Phil and Oprah tell us what to think and how to feel, and people believe them! If you enjoy Jeanne Eagles, why qualify it with the term, "guilty pleasure"? I know it isn't of any great world importance, but I'd love to see that term eradicated from the english language.

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Good point, john. If one enjoys a certain film, book, tv show, etc., why should one care what others think about it?

 

I love the musical remake of THE WOMEN, THE OPPOSITE SEX. No, it's not as good as the original, but it makes me laugh and I like it.

 

I know that Kim Novak has many detractors, but I find her fascinating to watch. So there.

 

Sandy K

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

 

I still have a sexy photo from Life Magazine when Kim Novak played 'Dardinella' at the carvinal scene in "Jeanne Eagels".

 

By the way we had a few 'Guilty Pleasure' threads on the TCM boards throughout the years which were a hoot. Perhaps if you saw some of the titles chosen you may reconsider the term.

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Novak was sexy and beautiful with a throaty voice. She was one 50's blonde who got thru unscathed and found contentment with her vet husband and animals. in retirement. She had a wonderful career with top leading men and fine pictures like "Picnic" and "Vertigo", but you get the feeling she never truly lived for acting.

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I always found her dreadful as a actress and rather silly-looking, as a "beauty". The best she ever looked to me was in Picnic, with her red hair, and the most I ever enjoyed her was in Boys Night Out. Otherwise, I've always found her to be a major dud, and a reason to avoid a film.

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Novak was sexy and beautiful with a throaty voice. She was one 50's blonde who got thru unscathed and found contentment with her vet husband and animals. in retirement. She had a wonderful career with top leading men and fine pictures like "Picnic" and "Vertigo", but you get the feeling she never truly lived for acting.

 

And that may not have been a bad thing altogether, it's good to know that she's had a good retirement!

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Hi Mongo, I watched the movie today, and it wasn`t bad. The film was shown in honor of Agnes Moorehead`s birthday today, but her role wasn`t large. George Sidney was a decent director, and the film had enough good scenes to satisify me. I liked the first half of the movie better especially the dialogue between Kim Novak and Jeff Chandler before she bacame famous.Personally, I enjoyed the performance of Jeff Chandler the most.

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Well as usual a Hollywood biopic but I thought Kim Novak was excellent. I always thought she had 2 terrific performances--VERTIGO and PICNIC--but now I add a third--JEANNE EAGELS.

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I think that I'll call this chapter of my cinematic adventures "Live and Learn Part CXXVVIII", okay?

 

Whew, what's that smell?? Must be Jeanne Eagels (1957). Hmmm, so much for the cinematic memories of girlhood. This movie was purty bad, don't you think, kids? Sometimes there's a good reason why movies lie mouldering in the vault. This one wasn't going to do a thing for the likable, talented people who appeared in it, except for one: Virginia Grey

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Ms. Grey was wonderfully touching and managed to almost evoke a real person in her few moments on screen as an actress at the end of her tether. Thanks for the heads up about her acting in this flick, Mongo, which, with my usual amnesia for dimly remembered movies, I didn't recall at all.

 

All the other poor actors were in desperate need of good, firm direction and a less hackneyed script. One thing that this movie did make one wish was to learn a few facts about Jeanne Eagels, now that I've seen what I suspect is largely the fanciful version again. And, interestingly, I've learned that one other reason that this movie might've been out of sight for so long was that Eagels' family apparently sued Columbia for their distortion of the facts of her life.

 

Poor Kim Novak. She's obviously working like a ditch-digger to evoke the doomed glamour of this actress, but with little visible support from from the script. Jeff Chandler hadn't much to do either but appear to be Mr. Nice Guy who, not so mysteriously, perhaps, doffed his shirt every other scene. The next to last scene in this movie with Kim Novak descending the stairs was delightfully over the top, but most of this movie made me laugh derisively at the movie and my younger self, who ate this nonsense up last time I saw it at about age 11.

 

I'm still hoping that someday TCM will be able to show some of the few fragments of the real Jeanne Eagels left on film, such as her role in The Letter (1929).

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I think you are being way too harsh. Novak was very good in JEANNE EAGELS. She was always good at playing "young and fetching" a la PICNIC and she does well in the beginning as the naive girl.

 

I thought she was terrific in her drunken/drugged scenes, etc. If anything it was the choppy screenplay that hurt the film. It paid little attention to time so we never knew from scene to scene how much time had passed. And I'm not sure Jeff Chandler was cast right.

 

Yes Virginia Grey was good (even better in THE ROSE TATTOO) and so was Agnes Moorehead.

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Hi Drednm,

I like Kim Novak very much, as you do, but feel that her best work was not on display in this film despite the actress' hard work here. You're right, her evocation of the younger Eagels may have been the best part of her characterization. I love Agnes Moorehead's work, but wished that the part gave her more to do than wear some great hats and chide Novak's character repeatedly. Sorry if that seems harsh, but except for Virginia Grey's performance, the movie seems to have been more of a hoot than a dramatic highpoint for anyone. ;)

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LOL.... I liked it. I liked the different "voices" Novak used for her "real life" vs her "stage life" and her throaty voice when she was bombed....

 

I have Eagels in THE LETTER and MAN WOMAN & SIN but have not watched them since they are not very good quality.

 

By the way, the scene where she is making a movie with "Jack" was the silent film MAN WOMAN & SIN, which Eagels made with John Gilbert... and the director in that scene was indeed Frank Borzage.

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"I don't think Columbia has been very good about releasing some of Novak's earlier films on DVD."

 

Looks like Picnic (full-screen only?), The Eddy Duchin Story, and Pal Joey are the only three early Novak films Sony/Columbia has released on DVD. Pushover, Phffft, 5 Against the House, Pepe, Jeanne Eagels, and The Notorious Landlady have never had a legitimate home-video release, as far as I can tell.

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JEANNE EAGLES is a favorite of mine, although I haven't seen it in a few years I think the performances were excellent, especially Virginia Grey.as a drunken has-been trying to make a comeback- Kim Novak gave it her all and was very good,especially in her early scenes--I was very surprised at how revealing her 'Dardinella'

costume was and wonder how it ever got by the censors. The scene where Novak slowly waltzes

into the scene as Sadie Thompson in RAIN acompanied by the music Wabash Blues is a wonder to behold, she holds your attention and actually becomes Miss Thompson and the transformation is amazing - Her drunk scenes add another dimension to the character, it's as if Jeanne Eagles is being played by three different actresses. BRAVO:

 

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Thistledown wrote:

JEANNE EAGLES is a favorite of mine, although I haven't seen it in a few years I think the performances were excellent, especially Virginia Grey. Kim Novak gave it her all and was very good,especially in her early scenes--I was very surprised at how revealing her 'Dardinella'

costume was and wonder how it ever got by the censors.The scene where Novak slowly waltzes

into the scene as SADIE THOMPSON in RAIN acompanied by the music WABASH BLUES is a wonder to behold~

 

Ironic since I wrote in a 2001 preview on IMDb:

Also captured in the film "Jeanne Eagels" is the flavor of the era and the costumes are dazzling especially the one Novak wears as Princess Dardanella at a carnival where she gets busted by the police. The ultimate is when she prances on stage as Sadie Thompson in "Rain" to the tune of "Wabash Blues"....its actually a treat.

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I watched THE LETTER (1929) tonight......

 

Jeanne Eagels is brilliant in this short version of THE LETTER. My copy is lousy but I stuck with it because Eagels gives an amazing, Oscar nominated performance that keeps you riveted to the screen. I can only image the power this woman had on stage.

 

The story is the same as the Bette Davis version, but the narrative structure is all different. Eagels has two fabulous scenes: the trial and the finale. Her English accent slips a couple times but for a 1929 movie (and her talkie debut) it's a terrific performance as the amoral Leslie Crosbie.

 

Herbert Marshall, O.P. Heggie, and Reginald Owen co-star. But the film belongs to Miss Eagels. If only her follow-up and final film JEALOUSY could be found!

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THE LETTER is around.... 65 minutes and in need of restoration..... Eagels is BRILLIANT in it... and Herbert Marshall plays the "cad" in 1929 and played the husband in the 40s version with Bette Davis.

 

Eagels is, at least in THE LETTER, a combination of Bette Davis with her tics and mannerisms and eye movements but with the voice of Tallulah Bankhead. She was mesmerizing in the court room scene.

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