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Actress Jane Powell (1929-2021)


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I kind of accidentally became a fan of Jane Powell after watching a lot of Debbie Reynolds' early filmography that featured her playing the younger sister of Jane Powell.  I think my favorite movies that they starred in together were Two Weeks With Love and Hit the Deck. Athena isn't too shabby either but it's definitely an odd film. 

Here are my favorite musical scenes from those films: 

Two Weeks With Love(1950) Oceania Roll also featuring Carlton Carpenter and Debbie Reynolds

Athena(1954) Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds

Hit the Deck(1955) Featuring Ann Miller, Jane Powell, and Debbie Reynolds

 

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Actress/Singer Jane Powell would be better. Or maybe Singer/Actress Jane Powell.

...or better yet simply, Jane Powell.  Especially here, we all know who she is.

Sorry, I was ruined in High School. I wrote an essay and wrote ...Bob Hope, the comedian ...  whereupon I was criticized by teach. "Don't say 'comedian', everybody knows who Bob Hope is".

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I have not seen most of her films but what I have seen I have always been impressed. A natural. Not only singing and acting, but in dance routines she was very convincing the say she moves about. In Royal Wedding she has this song and dance number with Fred Astaire. She is dressed up like a floozie and exhibits wonderful pantomime and general dance movements. Did she get credit for her dancing? Not sure. 

 

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@LAFITTE:  Jane Powell's film career was basically over by the time she turned 29.  After 1958 her film work was very sporadic.  Jane had a small part in the 1976 made-for-television movie MAYDAY AT 40,000 FEET.  She played pilot David Janssen's wife waiting nervously on the ground. 

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It's sad to know Jane Powell is gone.  One more of the stars from the golden era.  RIP.

I don't know if anyone mentioned Holiday In Mexico.  One of her smaller films that also stars Walter Pidgeon as her father and US ambassador to Mexico (a perfect role for him), Xavier Cugat, Jose and Amparo Iturbi, and Roddy McDowall.  It's a cute little story that revolves around her putting on her own party in Mexico with Jose Iturbi in mind, and Iturbi not being able to attend, much to her disappointment as he is her big secret crush.  Pidgeon and Iturbi gain an understanding of the situation and amicably work things out.  Cute movie.  I'm not ashamed to admit this was one of my "gateway" classic movies. 

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/holiday-in-mexico-2.jpg

https://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/holiday-in-mexico.jpg

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16 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

My favorite Jane Powell song performance is "Love Is Where You Find It" from A DATE WITH JUDY. 

 

 

A Date With Judy is one of my go to movies when I just want to relax and be entertained. I love all the songs in the film. Scotty Beckett serenating Jane with Judaline, Jane's singing It's A Most Unusaual Day, etc. Besides wonderful Jane, Carmen Miranda is so much fun in this film. Just a darling film.

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Correct me if I'm wrong but is she  the last MGM musical star that was UNDER contract? I can't think of anyone else from that era that's still alive. I mean, I guess Margaret O'Brien but she wasn't considered an MGM musical star. 

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39 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

Wasn't Leslie Caron under contract at MGM for awhile?

Yes. She was, in the 1950s.

Powell was also one of the people in the famous 1949 MGM picture of most of their contractees at that time. I think the only ones left are Angela Lansbury, Arlene Dahl,  Claude Jarman Jr, and Dean Stockwell.

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37 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Yes. She was, in the 1950s.

Powell was also one of the people in the famous 1949 MGM picture of most of their contractees at that time. I think the only ones left are Angela Lansbury, Arlene Dahl,  Claude Jarman Jr, and Dean Stockwell.

Screen Shot 2021-09-18 at 4.21.12 PM

Top row: Alexis Smith; Ann Sothern; J. Carrol Naish; Dean Stockwell; Lewis Stone; Clinton Sundberg; Robert Taylor; Audrey Totter; Spencer Tracy; Esther Williams; Keenan Wynn

Second row: Peter Lawford; Jeanette MacDonald; Ann Miller; Ricardo Montalban; Jules Munshin; George Murphy; Reginald Owen; Walter Pidgeon; Jane Powell; Ginger Rogers; Frank Sinatra; Red Skelton

Third row: Katharine Hepburn; John Hodiak; Claude Jarman; Van Johnson; Jennifer Jones; Louis Jourdan; Howard Keel; Gene Kelly; Christopher Kent; Angela Lansbury; Mario Lanza; Janet Leigh

Fourth row: Gloria DeHaven; Tom Drake; Jimmy Durante; Vera-Ellen; Errol Flynn; Clark Gable; Ava Gardner; Judy Garland; Betty Garrett; Edmund Gwenn; Kathryn Grayson; Van Heflin

Bottom row: Lionel Barrymore; June Allyson; Leon Ames; Fred Astaire; Edward Arnold; Pal (Lassie); Mary Astor; Ethel Barrymore; Spring Byington; James Craig; Arlene Dahl

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22 hours ago, MerryPickford said:

Correct me if I'm wrong but is she  the last MGM musical star that was UNDER contract? I can't think of anyone else from that era that's still alive. I mean, I guess Margaret O'Brien but she wasn't considered an MGM musical star. 

 Ann Blyth was under contract to MGM in the 1950s.  She sang beautifully in a few musicals:  The Great Caruso, The Student Prince, Rosemarie and Kismet.  Still with us at 93 years!

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23 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

Interesting that Greer isn't in the picture since she was making "That Forsyte Woman" with Errol at the time.

She was at the famous luncheon that was filmed, right?  Must have been different days.

According to the long out of print book the MGM Story, the contractees who were not there that day in the picture were Greer Garson, Margaret O'Brien, Louis Calhern, Cyd Charisse, Gladys Cooper, Nancy Reagan, Jean Hagen, Lena Horne, Jose Iturbi, Lana Turner, Deborah Kerr, Marjorie Main, William Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, James Whitmore, Paula Raymond, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, Frank Morgan, Barry Sullivan, Robert Walker, and Jimmy Stewart.

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

According to the long out of print book the MGM Story, the contractees who were not there that day in the picture were Greer Garson, Margaret O'Brien, Louis Calhern, Cyd Charisse, Gladys Cooper, Nancy Reagan, Jean Hagen, Lena Horne, Jose Iturbi, Lana Turner, Deborah Kerr, Marjorie Main, William Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, James Whitmore, Paula Raymond, Marshall Thompson, Don Taylor, Frank Morgan, Barry Sullivan, Robert Walker, and Jimmy Stewart.

Some clarifications:

Horne was no longer on contract at this point. Neither was William Powell, who had signed a multi-picture deal at Universal in 1948 after his contract with MGM ended in 1947. Stewart was a freelancer after the war, but he did appear in MALAYA, so he should have been included in the photo. 

Robert Young, a former MGM star, was now at RKO but he came back to make THAT FORSYTE WOMAN so he also should have been in the photo.

As for the others...Alexis Smith was on loan out from Warner Brothers to do ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY, which means she wasn't technically an MGM contract star. Her contract with Warners ended later in 1949 and she moved over to Universal. Errol Flynn was also a loan out from WB, so not really an MGM star. And Ginger Rogers was freelancing at this point and THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY was a rare MGM film for her. She would soon go to Warners to make PERFECT STRANGERS and STORM WARNING.

Jennifer Jones and Louis Jourdan were under contract to David Selznick who loaned them to MGM for MADAME BOVARY. Incidentally Van Heflin was eager to cut strings with the studio and MADAME BOVARY was his last picture at MGM until the mid-60s.

Lana Turner was on a lengthy suspension at this time. And Judy Garland was either on suspension or in the process of being fired.

 

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5 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

Still doesn't tell me why Greer wasn't in the pic even though she'd been traipsing  bout the lot in Irene Forsyte finery.

Maybe she was ill the day the photo was taken. She really wasn't one to quarrel with the front office and go out on suspension. And as you say, she was in the middle of making THAT FORSYTE WOMAN.

***

Marjorie Main was probably over at Universal on loan out making one of those MA AND PA KETTLE films.

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

Maybe she was ill the day the photo was taken. She really wasn't one to quarrel with the front office and go out on suspension. And as you say, she was in the middle of making THAT FORSYTE WOMAN.

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Marjorie Main was probably over at Universal on loan out making one of those MA AND PA KETTLE films.

Garson definitely didn't squabble with top MGM brass. If you look at an earlier group photo of MGM players (1943? 1944?) She flanks Louis B Mayer on one side, while Katharine Hepburn is on the other side of him.

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7 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Garson definitely didn't squabble with top MGM brass. If you look at an earlier group photo of MGM players (1943? 1944?) She flanks Louis B Mayer on one side, while Katharine Hepburn is on the other side of him.

Do you know if they took a group photo every year? Or if this just happened sporadically?

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3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Do you know if they took a group photo every year? Or if this just happened sporadically?

Usually just sporatically. I have the feeling the one I just mention was either as a  unity statement during the WWII period, or if it was for MGM's 20th anniversary in 1944.

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I guess what would clarify it for me would be the time frame of the picture taking and the big luncheon.  I can't find details anywhere but they appear to have taken place the same week.

Greer was at the lunch, I believe in costume and Lena Horne was also present,  seated next to Kate.

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