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IRENE DUNNE


Guest dredagain

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How bizarre that the TCM ads for superstar Irene Dunne show her with MALE stars in almost every picture. Dunne was one of the most versatile and biggest stars of the 30s and 40s and still they have to advertise her with Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, etc. As if she can't stand on her own?

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The sad and awful truth is that Irene Dunne is not remembered by most of mainstream America today.....certainly not as much as Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, etc. For many people, their first exposure to Irene Dunne is from seeing her in a film with a male co-star that has more present-day "marquee value". I have to admit that that's how I became an Irene Dunne fan....by seeing her in "The Awful Truth", but I initially watched that film because I was a fan of Cary Grant. At that time, Irene was just "part of the package" to me, but I instantly took to her and later sought out other films with Irene Dunne in them.

 

That's the way that it works with many classic film stars.....you don't know much about them, or don't really care about seeing them until you see them in a film playing opposite one of your established favorites....then you're exposed to that "unknown" star, you're impressed and you're HOOKED!

 

Just for the record, this can also work with the sexes reversed.....one could become an avid Paul Henreid, Claude Rains or George Brent fan by seeing these gentlemen in a film with the "more famous" or "more popular" Bette Davis. I think that it's more a matter of "marketability" to present-day viewers rather than sexism.

 

Hey, whatever it takes to draw viewers to these films and become aware of the great performers in them....if it works, I'm for it!

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Yes, it's sad that she's not as well remembered as some other stars, as she was such a wonderful actress! But I'm glad at least TCM is keeping her memory alive and winning new fans for her. I was shocked how little notice accompanied her passing back in the 90s.

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Last night I watched Five of Irene`s films. The films ranged from fair to very good, but Irene was always the best part of the film. Unfortunately she never received an Honorary Oscar for her body of work, but in 1985 Irene was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor.

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Yes, at least she got that award! Sadly, she fell ill before the televised program and had to be hospitalized. I was hoping to get a glimpse of her. She did attend the actual award reception before that.......(Not televised!) I agree Irene was often better than her material (at least in the early days) Once she left RKO and got better scripts her career really took off!

 

Message was edited by: Hibi

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As fine and versatile an actress as ever to appear in movies. Everything she did was solid gold. An artist, more than a star. That may have actually worked against the fame and fortune concept. But it left a lasting impression on classic film fans.

 

RR

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Cinemaven, go to the youtube.com website.Type in Irene Dunne on the search line. It will bring up all kinds of goodies. Tonight I watched another clip from "Back Street". Zasu Pitts was in this clip, and Irene was at her loveliest.

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Hi Cinemaven, I hope that you enjoy Irene`s clips on youtube. How many actress`s had sang beautifully, and was equally adept in comedy and drama. My favorite movies from last Thursday were "The Secret Of Madame Blanche and "Ann Vickers". Border`s sells used copies of Irene Dunne "First Lady Of Hollywood" which came out on 06/28/06. I want to know more about this talanted lady, so I am planning on purchasing this book.

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Hibi you're right...scandal-less doesn't sell unless one's just a plain big fan of a star.

 

Cashette...would that be the Borders bookstore in NYC carrying that used book on Irene Dunne???

 

Doris Day comes to mind as an actress who could perform drama, comedy and musicals and dances. She was wonderful as well.

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Hi Cinemaven, The biography "Irene Dunne, First Lady Of Hollywood Filmmakers Series" by Wes D. Gehring is at Border`s.com online. We could wait until doomsday for another biography to come out on her. Two years ago I saw Robert Wagner being interviewed for a new biography on Barbara Stanwyck. I am still waiting. Today I found two buys in the used book section. I bought the bio of Louis B. Mayer MGM Lion for $7, and "Chinese Hollywood At Your Feet" for $10. Irene and Rex Harrison had the footprints taken at Grauman`s on July 8,1946. At the time, they were making "Anna And The King Of Siam" Tonight I am looking forward to spending the night with Irene. The only movie that I have previously seen is "Roberta..

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As much as I love Dunne, I'm not a big fan of the musicals she's done. I'm recording them, and I've got my tv on TCM as I'm going through the boards but I'm kind of waiting for her later 30's fare. She's still my girl though. "Showboat" is on now and I've never seen it before. I'm making up for that now. Great the importance Whale's direction gives Paul Robeson with his stunning close-up singing "Ol' Man River." I don't remember seeing a Black actor in a close-up in movies back then. Go on & correct me if I'm wrong on that score.

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And how about the real Helen Morgan and her clear soprano voice-sounds nothing like Ann Blyth

although she was dubbed by Gogi Grant for The Helen Morgan Story and I loved Hattie McDaniel!

the irony was Ann Blyth really had a clear soprano voice, but the studio wanted a popular voice.

so they went with Gogi.

 

:

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I enjoyed all of Irene`s movies last night except "Sweet Adelaide". The best part of that movie was the last thirty minutes and Irene`s singing. When TCM the serials in November, I saw Richard Dix in "The Whistler". He had matinee looks, and I liked his teaming with Irene in "Stingaree". Paul Robeson did have closeups in "Showboat". In my opinion, Allen Jones was a bland leading man. I did remember that he was the father of the popular singer Jack Jones. Howard Keel was much better in the 1951 version. Irene was fine except, she was too old to play the younger Magnola. Sometimes success doesn`t happen in when an actor is in their twenties. Irene was over 30 when she made her first movie. Charles Winnineger and Hatie McDaniel were wonderful.It has been awhile since I saw the 1951 version of "Showboat", but the screenplay had changes.

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I'm ticked, because I set my machine to record all of her films after Showboat (which I've seen many times) and for some reason, it didnt record any!!! At least it did work last week and I can watch those (another stowstorm on the way for the wknd. SIGH).

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Sorry about your technological mis-hap. You've got to be really careful when programming; a lot of these movies are one-shot deals and may never see the light of day again.

 

Having imdb'd Helen Morgan, knowing that "Show Boat" was her last film and that her future was not long on this earth from that point on made it even more poignant to watch her. But the minstrel show theme and etc. was a little painful to watch. But I can now say I've got "Show Boat" under my belt. Good job to the director of "Frankenstein."

 

Still love Dunne but those early thirties story sure are painful to listen to.

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