Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Doesn't Fredric March Deserve to be a Star of the Month?


Recommended Posts

Well, The Eagle and the Hawk (1932) made it on to TCM last night as part of the Carole Lombard SOTM celebration, but frankly, in my mind, it belongs to a potential, much needed Fredric March Star of the Month fest sometime in the future, (or possibly, only in my dreams). I am so grateful that TCM unearthed this film for those of us who have only heard of it as one of the better WWI aviation stories by John Monk Saunders brought to the screen. Using remarkable footage leftover from Wings (1927), and featuring a rough around the edges Cary Grant in a role well before his screen persona had been indelibly established, along with an unlikely rambunctious Jack Oakie as a fellow, amenable flier, (who spends his spare time reading "A Night in a Turkish Harem" and teaching a Frenchwoman English based on this dubious text), the mood grows from boyish enthusiasm to somber realization of the futility of war. This may seem well trod ground to moviegoers today, but the acting of March truly raised the film's impact to another level.

339703987.jpg

Grant, Lombard & March in a still for the movie. I'm glad that Carole lost the bangs later on.

 

Lombard, who appeared to lovely effect in one brief sequence as "The Beautiful Lady", who takes pity on Fred's near the breaking point WWI pilot on leave in London, is barely in this movie for five minutes. TCM must have received one of those 1939 prints of this movie, since a significant scene, reportedly showing Carole awakening and finding a flower on her pillow as a goodbye from March after a night of blessed forgetfulness, never appeared! It's probably lost, I suppose. Darn that PCA!

 

339702185.jpg

The primary reason to make this movie part of a Fredric March fest? His great performance which builds with mounting disquiet after his first day in the air in France to his nearly honest conversation with a small, bellicose boy about the nature of war, and culminating in his still powerful speech to his fellow pilots celebrating his nailing a German ace who turns out to be a blond boy of 20. In this climactic banquet scene, he seems to be drunk as he claws at his medals, calling them bits of flesh, and asking what it was all for. This may sound melodramatic, but thanks to March's expressive performance, his interplay with Jack Oakie and a very young, gruff Cary Grant, and the beautifully framed scenes photographed by Harry Fischbeck.

 

Though March could occasionally be a bit of a ham when a part was poorly written or he was badly directed, (see the hootworthy The Sign of the Cross as primary evidence), when he relished a well-conceived part, such as this one, his parts in The Royal Family of Broadway, Les Miserables, Death Takes a Holiday, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Dark Angel, Design for Living, Nothing Sacred, and others from this very early part of his career, the guy was incredibly good even when fairly young.

 

I think that there was something of value in each decade of his career, whether So Ends Our Night, I Married a Witch, The Best Years of Our Lives, An Act of Murder, Death of a Salesman, Middle of the Night, Inherit the Wind, Hombre, or The Iceman Cometh. This actor may not be among the best remembered, but I really think that his career deserves a real retrospective. TCM is one of the few places that is capable of doing this well. They literally don't make actors like him anymore.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you completely, moirafinnie, I think he really should be SOTM and I'm actually a bit surprised it hasn't happened already. But I did really enjoy *The Eagle and the Hawk* last night, and it was certainly March's film all the way through, even when sharing the screen with stars like Cary Grant and Carole Lombard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't post here much, but I have to join in here and express how much I would love a Fredric March SOTM festival! His performance in The Eagle and the Hawk was haunting and powerful and he is so under appreciated today it makes me crazy! Besides the fact that he was beautiful to look at, every performance I have seen of his is unique and charming and yet also shows how serious and dedicated he was to his craft! Please, TCM-honor Fredric March as he deserves to be!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Moira!!! Where've you been??? Miss you on the Boards.

 

I've never been a big Fredric March fan. But I did find he did a great job in "The Best Years of Our Lives" and "Middle of the Night" with Kim Novak and "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit."

 

He was very attractive as a young man.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree as well. I can't believe Fredric March was never made SOTM on TCM. He has an entire vault of films dating back to the early talkies and moving forward thru the 30's, 40's and 50's.

He should definitely be on TCM's roster as a future SOTM soon.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably because so many of his films were made at Paramount. Still, you think they could scrounge enough films from later in his career. I didnt realize he never had been a SOTM......

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it's utterly shameless to promote one's favorite stars' films on these here boards! *Big City* (1948). ;-)

 

Moira, I am surprised that Mr. March has not been showcased before. Maybe they just can't get the rights to show many of his films at once. I'd love to see a month of Betty Hutton, too, but again, Paramount.

 

*Big City* (1948)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...