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Eleanor Parker - An Underrated Star


Kuklapolitan

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*I have really been enjoying Mondays in June because of all the Eleanor Parker films I have finally seen after all these years. It must be a by-product of the fact that Ms. Parkers films are not heavily touted that I missed most of the body of her work outside of the films she did with major studio stars such as Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Paul Henreid, Stewart Granger, John Garfield, Kirk Douglas and more! I seem to have missed many of the films she made in the 40's and I am surprised at that since I've been a classic movie lover all my life! I am more familiar with what she did in the 50's than those that were done earler and never considered her a 40's star! Well, I've been pleasantly surprised and have found a new talent to watch for here on TCM!*

 

*One impression I never had of her is something I just noticed...and that is what an ice queen she really was. There is something in the eyes that seems to be impenetrable and rather disturbing!* *Even when she plays a woman in love it is there and I cannot help but be curious as to the impression she made on her leading men through the years.* *I really think her talents might have been put to extended use by having her play more of the rather borderline crazy and disturbed characters ala "Caged" as well as women who were steely and calculating ala "Of Human Bondage."*

 

*One genre I do not see her in is anything comedic and a**lthough she had much better than adequate looks she never quite made it click as a screen beauty both of which might have been evident in a film such as "Scaramouche!" I think that may be because there didn't seem to be a palpable or reachable heart and soul in there. She could register pain fairly well but even that had a "Stop right there" quality to it.* *There always seemed to be an unknown quality, a mysterious reason for her inability to fully blossom that was underlying in all her films.*

 

*Despite her three Academy Award nominations Eleanor Parker did not leave the lasting impression of stars like Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Deborah Kerr and several others whose names and performances are so memorable and have stood the test of time.* *I must say that now that I've mentioned so many of her films I have seen more than I thought I had to begin with. It's curious then that the impression I am still left with is one that is disjointed!* *In the end, perhaps that is exactly as she would have liked it to be...every performance unique and every performance unlike the one before. But still...the Ice Queen theme runs through!*

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*That is a beautiful photograph of her! There's no doubt about the fact that this red headed star had a certain kind of beauty but again, there is something in the eyes that was rather cold and impenetrable. It seemed as though you might be able to get just so far with Ms. Parker but no farther...not one inch! I did watch all the films broadcast in June and haven't seen anything to change my mind but that doesn't change the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the films I had missed through the years. She never seemed to overplay anything and perhaps that's exactly what she meant to do. The only thing is that I realized I had seen some of the films she was in before but thoroughly discounted her performance as one of a secondary player rather than the star of the film! I don't know if I can explain that to anyone's satisfaction but I do hope someone out there knows what I mean when I say that!* B-)

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