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Fans thoughts on Debbie Reynolds?


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I'm very miffed by myself as it relates to how neutral I am when it comes to Debbie Reynolds.    (and until I saw this thread I never realized this).

Of course she was in some fine films but it isn't Reynolds  that 'drives' those films for me.      I have never gotten a vibe of  "I love this film mainly because of Reynolds' performance".

BUT at the same time Reynolds has never been a turn-off;   I.e.   I don't need to see that film again mainly due to her being in it (unlike say June Allyson).

 

 

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Never really cared for Debbie Reynolds.   Maybe it is just the movies that she was in.  But then I like James Garner a lot and The Thrill of it All is my kind of movie, but I don't like it.  She just seems too silly in most roles.  Also, I find her hard to accept in serious roles.

On the other hand, I do like Reynolds is One for The Money (2012), but then she is part of the supporting cast.

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I'm noticing a real divide between the sexes here:

Seems like Debbie's movie performances have little impact for the men in this group while the women mention her strength, personal struggles and giving-her-all in her performances, adding to her likability.

I'll stick my neck out and reckon it may possibly have something to do with her as forever "cute" and not innately sexy. June Allison, Jane Powell are also mostly perceived as "cute" and not as well liked by men in general as well. Leslie Caron, in contrast is "cute" but still retains a sexiness about her.

Be kind. It's only an observation and a guess at best.

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

I'm noticing a real divide between the sexes here:

Seems like Debbie's movie performances have little impact for the men in this group while the women mention her strength, personal struggles and giving-her-all in her performances, adding to her likability.

I'll stick my neck out and reckon it may possibly have something to do with her as forever "cute" and not innately sexy. June Allison, Jane Powell are also mostly perceived as "cute" and not as well liked by men in general as well. Leslie Caron, in contrast is "cute" but still retains a sexiness about her.

Be kind. It's only an observation and a guess at best.

It’s like early on in the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mr. Grant tells Mary that she has spunk and he hates spunk.  

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I'm noticing a real divide between the sexes here:

Seems like Debbie's movie performances have little impact for the men in this group while the women mention her strength, personal struggles and giving-her-all in her performances, adding to her likability.

I'll stick my neck out and reckon it may possibly have something to do with her as forever "cute" and not innately sexy. June Allison, Jane Powell are also mostly perceived as "cute" and not as well liked by men in general as well. Leslie Caron, in contrast is "cute" but still retains a sexiness about her.

Be kind. It's only an observation and a guess at best.

I guess I'm in the minority here but I've never been a big Debbie Reynolds fan.  I find some of those "giving-her-all" performances unappealing, verging on hammy with a "I'm going to make you love me" element.  I don't hate Reynolds as a performer but I don't need to see "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" again, either.  I love Leslie Caron who was "cute" but even in "Lili" was vulnerable and touching.  She graduated from orphaned waif to more adult roles like "The L-Shaped Room" where she gave a lovely performance.     Just offering a different take.

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I'm noticing a real divide between the sexes here:

Seems like Debbie's movie performances have little impact for the men in this group while the women mention her strength, personal struggles and giving-her-all in her performances, adding to her likability.

I'll stick my neck out and reckon it may possibly have something to do with her as forever "cute" and not innately sexy. June Allison, Jane Powell are also mostly perceived as "cute" and not as well liked by men in general as well. Leslie Caron, in contrast is "cute" but still retains a sexiness about her.

Be kind. It's only an observation and a guess at best.

Don't disagree with any of this, but how do you know who the men and women on this site are?  

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On 6/26/2020 at 5:35 AM, TikiSoo said:

I certainly got that vibe. I thought it an honest portrayal of the burdens of aging & fame. I found the whole wig thing very brave of MacLaine to do.

I like both Sage & Helen's insights & comments about Debbie's hard work & talent. She certainly persevered through some of the most personal & rude publicity, never succumbing to failure. A true survivor, who engaged her personality and hard work over plastic surgery & favors.

All her performances on film are noteworthy, she certainly could do it all-don't forget HOW THE WEST WAS WON to her dramatic, serious roles. 

I was lucky enough to have seen her perform on stage, she was wonderful. You could absolutely hear a pin drop, she had the audience in the palm of her hands-THAT'S a talent in itself that you don't experience from a film role. She graciously greeted a long line of fans afterward, & autographed a photo for me. My 2 seconds with her I thanked her profusely for "saving the costumes" and we talked about how important they are as part of the art of film. 

This is one of my all time favorite photos, I have it framed in my home:

lawrence-schiller-carrie-fisher-backstag

Would that be an authorized NASCAR garage door holder being used as a prop?

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4 hours ago, Peebs said:

I guess I'm in the minority here but I've never been a big Debbie Reynolds fan.  I find some of those "giving-her-all" performances unappealing, verging on hammy with a "I'm going to make you love me" element.  I don't hate Reynolds as a performer but I don't need to see "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" again, either.  I love Leslie Caron who was "cute" but even in "Lili" was vulnerable and touching.  She graduated from orphaned waif to more adult roles like "The L-Shaped Room" where she gave a lovely performance.     Just offering a different take.

Betty Hutton is another of those giving-her-all type performers but at least,  for me,  she has the natural kookiness to pull it off;  Still a little goes a long way and I prefer such performers as supporting players instead of them carrying a film.     For a male performer I view this way,   Joe E. Brown  comes to mind.  

Debbie Reynolds lacks the type of natural kookiness of a Hutton and thus her persona does feel like it is being forced on the audience (well at least it does to me).

  

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Except for Singin in the Rain, in which I find her very sweet and natural in an ingenue role, and perhaps Three Little Words and Two Weeks in Love, in which she plays secondary parts, I'm not a fan.  I find her over the top and too cute.  I can't get Postcards on the Edge out of my mind when I watch some of her other roles.

 

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17 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

 

Debbie Reynolds lacks the type of natural kookiness of a Hutton and thus her persona does feel like it is being forced on the audience (well at least it does to me).

  

I'm assuming you mean that she lacked a natural kookiness onscreen. I think you're right that she sometimes came across as forced in movies, but sometimes that can be at least partially blamed on the quality of the material. I'm thinking in particular of  Susan Slept Here  (though I know it's now a Christmas favorite around here) and The Tender Trap, both of which had a kind of male-centric smarmy undertone which would never pass muster today. In cases like that the "kookiness" of her character was forced in the script, before she ever uttered a word. Anyway, the point I want to make is that off-screen she seems to have been generally regarded as truly witty and as a great raconteur, with a "natural" kookiness.  Dargo mentioned what a great mimic she was and there are many examples on YouTube. I'm sure Carrie was right that her mother could be a trial, but there's no doubt in my mind where Carrie's off-beat, "kooky" humor came from. 

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I just remembered another Reynolds film I like which hasn't been mentioned yet, Frank Tashlin's Say One For Me (1959). It was done as part of a multi-picture deal with Fox by producer Bing Crosby and features Bing as a priest in a parish largely serving actors and nightclub performers. Against her father's wishes Debbie takes a job in Robert Wagner's club to pay for the father's hospital bills and they begin a troubled relationship. He's a player and she doesn't appreciate being played. Ray Walston is also good as an alcoholic songwriter who has lost sight of his talent. The movie is fairly straightforward (although somewhat cliched), not overblown in the signature Tashlin manner, and the musical numbers are good and let Debbie's musical talent shine. The priest, of course, guides them all through to a happy ending. I'm not sure whether or not it's ever been fully restored because all The Fox Movie Channel has ever shown is pan-and-scan. Anway, I'm mentioning it because I wanted to add it to The Catered Affair and The Rat Race (and How The West Was Won) as an example of what Debbie was capable of outside strictly musical and comedy formats. 

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Thank you! A number of years ago, I read a biography of Mickey Mantle, and the opening sentence of the book talks about the New York Yankees making a visit to the 20th Century Fox studios while making a spring training jaunt to California where they got to watch Debbie Reynolds rehearsing a number. I blinked a few times and thought to myself, "When did Debbie Reynolds ever make a movie at Fox?" I asked on here, and I don't recall ever getting an answer. This would have been square in the middle of the Mick's career, so this might have been it.

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On 6/28/2020 at 4:40 AM, TikiSoo said:

I'm noticing a real divide between the sexes here:

Seems like Debbie's movie performances have little impact for the men in this group while the women mention her strength, personal struggles and giving-her-all in her performances, adding to her likability.

I'll stick my neck out and reckon it may possibly have something to do with her as forever "cute" and not innately sexy. June Allison, Jane Powell are also mostly perceived as "cute" and not as well liked by men in general as well. Leslie Caron, in contrast is "cute" but still retains a sexiness about her.

Be kind. It's only an observation and a guess at best.

Not to say there aren't exceptions (women who don't care for her or men who think she's wonderful) but I think you're onto something here! I'm also of the generation that first really knew her from Halloweentown and then as Bobbi Adler in Will & Grace - but going back through her filmography I definitely consider myself a fan!

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4 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Thank you! A number of years ago, I read a biography of Mickey Mantle, and the opening sentence of the book talks about the New York Yankees making a visit to the 20th Century Fox studios while making a spring training jaunt to California where they got to watch Debbie Reynolds rehearsing a number. I blinked a few times and thought to myself, "When did Debbie Reynolds ever make a movie at Fox?" I asked on here, and I don't recall ever getting an answer. This would have been square in the middle of the Mick's career, so this might have been it.

I'm sure that's the one. The movie had a Christmas element to it and featured an original Bing Crosby Christmas song, so it was probably timed for a near-Christmas release, which means filming was probably underway in the spring, at the time of his spring training visit. Debbie had a solo musical number as well as a number with Robert Wagner. I wonder if Mickey had an inkling that a few years later he'd end up sitting in the dugout next to Doris Day and Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you want to see Debbie in her "break-out" performance, watch the MGM musical from 1950---Two Weeks with Love starring Jane Powell.  Debbie plays her younger sister and made a big hit with the public by singing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with Carleton Carpenter.  It's been on TCM in the past.

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1 minute ago, filmnoirguy said:

If you want to see Debbie in her "break-out" performance, watch the MGM musical from 1950---Two Weeks with Love starring Jane Powell.  Debbie plays her younger sister and made a big hit with the public by singing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" with Carleton Carpenter.  It's been on TCM in the past.

 

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On 6/26/2020 at 1:52 AM, MerryPickford said:

I guess, what I want to ask, is what do you think of her? Is she an acting legend, a great singer, or a great dancer? Or all three? and then some?

 

In the early days of film, most actors were expected to be able to dance, sing and act. This followed the vaudeville era where all skills were necessary. For many, that's what drew them to classic films. Reynolds is a good example of being multi skilled. Winning awards really isn't the best barometer of achievement because the competition was so stiff. But, Singing in the Rain is considered by many to be the best musical. And she's prominent in that film.

I'm a fan of hers. I enjoy her films.

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On 6/28/2020 at 7:40 AM, TikiSoo said:

I'm noticing a real divide between the sexes here:

Seems like Debbie's movie performances have little impact for the men in this group while the women mention her strength, personal struggles and giving-her-all in her performances, adding to her likability.

I'll stick my neck out and reckon it may possibly have something to do with her as forever "cute" and not innately sexy. June Allison, Jane Powell are also mostly perceived as "cute" and not as well liked by men in general as well. Leslie Caron, in contrast is "cute" but still retains a sexiness about her.

Be kind. It's only an observation and a guess at best.

Well I'm a guy, but you probably knew that already.  With Debbie Reynolds, "girl next door" comes to mind for me.  Since she is young in the movies I have seen, I appreciate her in a brotherly or fatherly sort of way.  In the movies she is someone I'd instinctively look out for or protect, despite the obvious generation gap in real life.

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On 6/29/2020 at 6:25 AM, DougieB said:

I'm assuming you mean that she lacked a natural kookiness onscreen. I think you're right that she sometimes came across as forced in movies, but sometimes that can be at least partially blamed on the quality of the material. I'm thinking in particular of  Susan Slept Here  (though I know it's now a Christmas favorite around here) and The Tender Trap, both of which had a kind of male-centric smarmy undertone which would never pass muster today. In cases like that the "kookiness" of her character was forced in the script, before she ever uttered a word. Anyway, the point I want to make is that off-screen she seems to have been generally regarded as truly witty and as a great raconteur, with a "natural" kookiness.  Dargo mentioned what a great mimic she was and there are many examples on YouTube. I'm sure Carrie was right that her mother could be a trial, but there's no doubt in my mind where Carrie's off-beat, "kooky" humor came from. 

Yep, and which always shown through whenever she was a guest on some talk show.

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On 6/26/2020 at 4:52 AM, MerryPickford said:

I guess, what I want to ask, is what do you think of her? 

She was a major star when I was growing up, but I never once went to a movie of hers with any enthusiasm.

Sorry to have to say it, but she bored me to death.

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