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

Actors/actresses' swan songs.


Recommended Posts

There are quite a few actors who managed to end their distinguished careers on a high note (even if you didn't care for the films themselves). Here are my examples:

Spencer Tracy (GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER)

Fredric March (THE ICEMAN COMETH)

Henry Fonda (ON GOLDEN POND)

John Wayne (THE SHOOTIST)

Oliver Reed (GLADIATOR)

Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe (THE MISFITS)

And then there are others who didn't vanish from the screen with such a  great lasting impression, such as Gene Hackman in WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT, Bette Davis in WICKED STEPMOTHER and Joan Crawford in TROG. Great actors all of them, but IMO their final films were not something to brag about.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard to beat how Paul Muni began and ended his career. He received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor for his first film, 1929's "The Valiant." His final performance 30 years later in "The Last Angry Man" (pictured below with Claudia McNeil and Billy Dee Williams) earned him a fifth Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

See the source image

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good topic. Several years ago I created a thread on this sub-forum about swan song movies.

My goal was to post on it each time someone's big swan song was playing on TCM. But I think it's just as interesting to mention swan songs for lesser known actors who were not household names but still managed to have durable careers in Hollywood.

Then there is the difference between a feature film swan song and a TV movie swan song. Some stars' final work was made for television.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ghost Story I haven't seen, but I remember the trailers looking quite creepy on HBO when I was barely a teenager. I hope to check it out some day. It was the final film for both Fred Astaire and Melvyn Douglas.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard Burton in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

Richard Burton in 1984. A good version of the George Orwell classic and Burton's last theatrical film. He passed away before it was released and he looks so old and weary in the film.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some swan song movies have to be finished with stand-ins or voice-over artists because the stars weren't quite finished with the role when they died.

Examples:

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 10.34.22 AM.png

Jean Harlow in SARATOGA (1937)

Natalie Wood in BRAINSTORM (1983)

Heath Ledger in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS (2009)

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Gene Kelly, who had to sit down for nearly all of That's Entertainment, Pt. III (1994).

6562-2.jpg

(...What, you thought he went out on some other movie?)

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Some swan song movies have to be finished with stand-ins or voice-over artists because the stars weren't quite finished with the role when they died.

 

 

 

 

Don't forget Bela Lugosi in "Plan 9 from Outerspace"....  (or maybe you should). 

image.png.cb3a1d16261c510de7987b9ea161e126.pngUnscripted: You gotta love the worst film ever made: 'Plan 9 From ...

  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Ghost Story I haven't seen, but I remember the trailers looking quite creepy on HBO when I was barely a teenager. I hope to check it out some day. It was the final film for both Fred Astaire and Melvyn Douglas.

It was lambasted by the critics at the time, but it gave me shivers and I now own it on DVD.

Also, ever since, I've been affected by a kind of fascination with Alice Krige.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CallMeTim said:

Don't forget Bela Lugosi in "Plan 9 from Outerspace"....  (or maybe you should). image.png.cb3a1d16261c510de7987b9ea161e126.pngUnscripted: You gotta love the worst film ever made: 'Plan 9 From ...

Oh yeah, we cannot forget that one! :) 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Ghost Story I haven't seen, but I remember the trailers looking quite creepy on HBO when I was barely a teenager. I hope to check it out some day. It was the final film for both Fred Astaire and Melvyn Douglas.

And for Douglas Fairbanks Jr too. I kind of find it darkly amusing that it was Astaire's last. I have a book at home about Irving Berlin, and it contains a page near the end where, in a letter to Berlin, Astaire bemoans all the nudity in modern films, and his final film ends up showing tons of nudity from Alice Krige and an infamous scene where Craig Wasson does the full monty with his member flapping in the breeze.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite swan song is Robert Donat in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)He was not well during filming but managed to complete the film, in which he played the Mandarin of Yang Cheng.

His last line in the film, spoken to Ingrid Bergman: "We shall not see each other again, I think. Farewell."

He died a few months before the film opened.

various-shutterstock-editorial-140579a.j

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ronald Colman  The Story of Mankind  1957  He got a Cadillac, i think for 2 days on the set or as he said 'for the work of a lifetime'

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Arsan404 said:

Cary Grant in  Walk, Don't Run. His last scene sort of predicted his retirement.

At that point he was playing a supporting role but still getting top billing. It was the role Charles Coburn had played in THE MORE THE MERRIER. The writing was on the wall that Grant's movie star days were nearing an end, that he could no longer be cast as the "young" romantic lead. 

He probably could have reinvented himself by starring in a series of TV movies in the 70s, but he opted not to do that.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Swithin said:

My favorite swan song is Robert Donat in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)He was not well during filming but managed to complete the film, in which he played the Mandarin of Yang Cheng.

His last line in the film, spoken to Ingrid Bergman: "We shall not see each other again, I think. Farewell."

The second most accidentally touching swan-song line, of course, would be 007's Desmond "Q" Llewellyn from The World Is Not Enough (1999):

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Swithin said:

My favorite swan song is Robert Donat in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)He was not well during filming but managed to complete the film, in which he played the Mandarin of Yang Cheng.

Excellent.  If there's a role I love ROBERT DONAT in, it's that one.  "Yellowface" as it is. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Every actor has a swan song.

It will be interesting to see how some of today's big stars end their careers. 

People like Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Tom Cruise. Will they go out on a high note, or just quietly fade from view.

I suppose some of them "age out" of leading roles and cannot successfully transition to older character parts. Some of them have a hard time adjusting after having been a lead star for many years, to being faced with supporting roles, so they just walk away.

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
© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...