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Constance Bennett Star of the Month


slaytonf
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I'm happy to see Constance Bennett get her time in the arclight. She was best known for playing high society sophisticates with a breezy pose of jaded detachment, but with a real appetite for fun and spontaneity. There were others who traded in a similar line, like Madge Evans and Claire Dodd, but she was unchallenged for the reigning position. She's one of my favorite actresses, yet I will be the first to wonder aloud if she really merits the distinction. I know she was popular, and some of her movies are among my most favorite--to watch, but comparing her work with, say, Olivia de Havilland, or Jean Arthur, leaves her coming up a little short. However, though her acting range was limited, what she was good at, she was very good at, and I won't make too big a deal about her filmography. I'll just sit back on her days and enjoy the evening.

 

Among my favorites of her films are What Price Hollywood?, the precursor to A Star is Born, and though inconsistent, is in parts, the equal of the latter film. Look also for an appearance by Lowell Sherman as the self-destructive director, who acts as her Svengali. Another one I like is After Office Hours, a film that starts off as a society scandal romp and strangely morphs into a murder mystery. Just pay attention to Ms. Bennett in that one. She runs rings around Clark Gable, who tries to make a big show, but comes off looking like a floppy puppy dog. Hey, it was early in his career.

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> Another one I like is After Office Hours, a film that starts off as a society scandal romp and strangely morphs into a murder mystery. Just pay attention to Ms. Bennett in that one. She runs rings around Clark Gable, who tries to make a big show, but comes off looking like a floppy puppy dog. Hey, it was early in his career.

 

Not that early; Gable had delivered his Oscar-winning performance in "It Happened One Night" the year before. I sense Clark viewed it as sort of a programmer (other films he made in 1935 were heftier fare, such as "Call Of The Wild," "China Seas," "Mutiny On The Bounty" and "Wife Vs. Secretary"). Clark had worked with Bennett before in "The Easiest Way," though their scenes together were few (most of his were with Anita Page, IIRC).

 

While I like her work, some actors considered Connie a bit flighty and difficult to work with. One was WIlliam Powell, who dissuaded Universal to cast her in the role of Irene Bullock in "My Man Godfrey" and hire his ex-wife, Carole Lombard.

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*_November 6th_*

 

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*LADY WITH A PAST* (1932)..RKO....Constance Bennett, Ben Lyon & David Manners

A good girl raises her popularity when she pretends to be bad.

 

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*SIN TAKES A HOLIDAY* (1930)..Path Exchange..Constance Bennett, Kenneth MacKenna & Basil Rathbone

A stenographer tries to save her boss from his divorcee girlfriend.

 

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*THE EASIEST WAY* (1931)..MGM..Constance Bennett, Adolphe Menjou & Robert Montgomery

A slum girl discovers the joys of life as a kept woman until she falls in love.

 

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*THE COMMON LAW* (1931)..RKO..Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea & Lew Cody

A kept woman gives up luxury to move in with a struggling artist.

 

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*SON OF THE GODS* (1930)..First National..Richard Barthelmess, Constance Bennett & Dorothy Mathews

A young man questions his Chinese ancestry when he falls in love.

 

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*BORN TO LOVE* (1931)..RKO..Constance Bennett, Joel McCrea & Paul Cavanagh

A World War I pilot thought dead turns up after the mother of his child has married.

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None of her Silents are being shown. It would have been nice to see *MY SON, SALLY, IRENE, AND MARY,* or *THE GOOSE WOMAN*. Constance impression of Garbo at the opening of *WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD* is simply hilarious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Constance in MY SON (1925)*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*CODE OF THE WEST (1924)*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*With Joan Crawford, and Sally O' Neil-SALLY, IRENE, AND MARY (1925)*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I dont think they are showing her last film, Madame X (the Lana Turner version) either. She died before it was released. Not a great movie, but she has a good part in it (and looks younger than Turner while playing her mother-in-law!) It pops up on TCM from time to time.....

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I keep checking the Fox Cinema Archives titles to see if CENTENNIAL SUMMER has been offered, because that is where I would expect to find it but nothing yet.

 

The fact that the studio just released SWANEE RIVER, another rare Technicolor musical, is encouraging and causes me to hope that CENTENNIAL SUMMER will eventually make it on to the home video market. I am standing next to a wishing well and tossing a coin in as I write this...

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> {quote:title=slaytonf wrote:}{quote}Wow! Constance Bennett had a silent career! I never even suspected it. Now I have a hankering to see 'em. Perhaps this omission can be addressed on her birthday. TCM has almost a year to arrange it--October 22.

 

 

 

UCLA Restored *THE GOOSE WOMAN (1925)* in 2008, Reinstating all the original authentic period tints. This is one of Kevin Brownlow's favorite Silent films. Constance gets 3rd billing behind Louise Dresser, and Jack Pickford. However, since Louise plays Jack's Mother, Constance is his leading lady here. Maybe TCM can eventually get a broadcast transfer of this film from Universal it is one of their biggest suviving Silents which they still hold the rights to. directed by Clarence Brown. Constnce got allot of attention from critics and the press in *THE GOOSE HANGS HIGH* also 1925, and no relation to *THE GOOSE WOMAN.*

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