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The night Mrs. Crosbie shot her lover dead

 

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There was nothing else she could do. Her lover had been unfaithful. So she sent him a letter to come to the house after dark. Then she waited to confront him.
 

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Mrs. Crosbie fired the gun several times, and she watched her lover die. She would make it seem like he had attacked her. She certainly couldn’t jeopardize her standing as a highly respected woman in the community. After all, she was married to an important man. And though he was often away on business, she was expected to be a model wife during those terribly long absences.
 

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It shouldn’t have even gone to court. What a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. She could afford a good defense attorney, and she wouldn’t have to testify. The stupid jury wanted so badly to believe she couldn’t possibly have committed cold-blooded murder– you could see it in their eyes. No surprise they found her ‘not guilty.’ Just as well, too, because convictions are meant for pathetic people who don’t have parties to attend or anything exciting to look forward to.
 

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Before Mrs. Crosbie could attend the next society function or begin a new affair, she faced a different sort of problem. Another woman now had in her possession a letter. Yes, the letter. The one Mrs. Crosbie wrote and sent to her dead lover. Mrs. Crosbie needed to get the letter back. So she summoned the chauffeur to bring the car around. Then she went into town to take care of this blackmail business once and for all. But people in the Chinese quarter had their own ideas about justice.
 

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Bad acting

 

The thing about bad acting (and I mean really bad acting) is it makes you appreciate good acting (even mediocre acting). In a column like this, I have to provide examples, and I must start with the disclaimer that I have no real malice towards any one performer. Mostly I am commenting on individual efforts that just don’t seem effective. These people might have done better work in other projects. So they could be ‘bad’ in one thing and brilliant in something else.

 

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I think performers who do things on camera that don’t work are just unprepared. They didn’t workshop the basic scenario or look at the script carefully to determine the dynamics of the scene(s). One actor who comes across very unprepared is Shane Conrad in Mike Hammer, Private Eye— a syndicated series that originally aired from 1997-1998. Shane plays a supporting character that assists Hammer (Stacy Keach) on various cases. Nearly all his line deliveries are unconvincing. I don’t think there is one time in 26 episodes that he ever gets into character. Did he even know who the character was supposed to be?

 

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Another performer who does a bad job is Tanya Roberts in A VIEW TO A KILL. She was acceptable as one of Charlie’s Angels, but seems out of her league as a Bond girl. Primarily she is unwilling to take on the identity of the character and create someone on screen who’s even remotely believable. She’s too busy paying attention to the camera in relation to the stunts, which leads to a very artificial and ultimately contrived performance. She tries to make up for her acting with good hair and a pouty look.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-11-at-8-14-00-pm.png

There’s a 1970s TV series called Movin’ On. It was filmed across the country and the producers hired many local non-professional people. Typically these novices have small roles in diner scenes or they appear in shots that are filmed at outdoor events. Some of them are quite bad, but in this case it adds to the charm and ‘realism’ of the series. Probably the most common mistake they make is shouting their lines. Plus they’re prone to doing those expressions that seem to say “oh my gosh, look at me– I’m acting on a show that will be seen by my grandma and everyone on her bowling team; and it might even be seen by Shane Conrad and Tanya Roberts…I hope they think I’m as great as they are!”

 

screen-shot-2017-04-11-at-8-11-54-pm.png

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Bad acting

 

The thing about bad acting (and I mean really bad acting) is it makes you appreciate good acting (even mediocre acting). In a column like this, I have to provide examples, and I must start with the disclaimer that I have no real malice towards any one performer. Mostly I am commenting on individual efforts that just don’t seem effective. These people might have done better work in other projects. So they could be ‘bad’ in one thing and brilliant in something else.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-11-at-8-04-51-pm.png

I think performers who do things on camera that don’t work are just unprepared. They didn’t workshop the basic scenario or look at the script carefully to determine the dynamics of the scene(s). One actor who comes across very unprepared is Shane Conrad in Mike Hammer, Private Eye— a syndicated series that originally aired from 1997-1998. Shane plays a supporting character that assists Hammer (Stacy Keach) on various cases. Nearly all his line deliveries are unconvincing. I don’t think there is one time in 26 episodes that he ever gets into character. Did he even know who the character was supposed to be?

 

screen-shot-2017-04-11-at-8-13-13-pm.png

Another performer who does a bad job is Tanya Roberts in A VIEW TO A KILL. She was acceptable as one of Charlie’s Angels, but seems out of her league as a Bond girl. Primarily she is unwilling to take on the identity of the character and create someone on screen who’s even remotely believable. She’s too busy paying attention to the camera in relation to the stunts, which leads to a very artificial and ultimately contrived performance. She tries to make up for her acting with good hair and a pouty look.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-11-at-8-14-00-pm.png

There’s a 1970s TV series called Movin’ On. It was filmed across the country and the producers hired many local non-professional people. Typically these novices have small roles in diner scenes or they appear in shots that are filmed at outdoor events. Some of them are quite bad, but in this case it adds to the charm and ‘realism’ of the series. Probably the most common mistake they make is shouting their lines. Plus they’re prone to doing those expressions that seem to say “oh my gosh, look at me– I’m acting on a show that will be seen by my grandma and everyone on her bowling team; and it might even be seen by Shane Conrad and Tanya Roberts…I hope they think I’m as great as they are!”

 

screen-shot-2017-04-11-at-8-11-54-pm.png

 

How about STARS who seemed to have no idea "of how to work"?

 

Kim Novak

 

and

 

Cary Cooper

 

are two of the most prominent.

 

They relied - primarily - on their presence.

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How about STARS who seemed to have no idea "of how to work"?

 

Kim Novak

 

and

 

Gary Cooper

 

are two of the most prominent.

 

They relied - primarily - on their presence.

 

Right. It's more than just showing up. You have to do something while you're there. Though interestingly Cooper did earn two Oscars. Imagine how many more awards he might have earned if he had gone deeper with his other film roles.

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Right. It's more than just showing up. You have to do something while you're there. Though interestingly Cooper did earn two Oscars. Imagine how many more awards he might have earned if he had gone deeper with his other film roles.

 

Not sure I'm understanding what '"of how to work" means in the context of acting.   Funny but I'm on the jazz guitar website and the discussion is about those that play 'by ear' and those that read music and understand musical theory.    As it relates to guitar this is a discussion about '"of how to work".    

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Not sure I'm understanding what '"of how to work" means in the context of acting.   Funny but I'm on the jazz guitar website and the discussion is about those that play 'by ear' and those that read music and understand musical theory.    As it relates to guitar this is a discussion about '"of how to work".    

 

I won't speak for Ray but I interpreted his comment to mean Novak and Cooper could have gone deeper with the characterizations. Suggesting they were merely showing up on the set and delivering their lines without any real feeling, then expecting the audience to be okay with a flat performance, or at least a performance that wasn't as multi-dimensional as it could have been. I don't think it's the same as a musician who plays by ear. A musician who plays by ear is still tapping into the creative process. A better analogy would be someone who sits with a guitar and pretends to play it, while there is someone else alongside who is actually strumming and being creative.

 

In some of John Wayne's films, I think Duke's line deliveries are poorly executed. These aren't his early films, these are in some of his later films from the 60s. He is not always successful at getting into the character but he's trying. He gives it his all. He's not pretending to be a great actor; he knows he's not Olivier but he's still making an honest effort. With some of Cooper's "work," I think he's pretending-- and he's wasting everyone's time when he does that. He earned those Oscars because he really did have great skill, but only when he applied himself fully.

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I won't speak for Ray but I interpreted his comment to mean Novak and Cooper could have gone deeper with the characterizations. Suggesting they were merely showing up on the set and delivering their lines without any real feeling, then expecting the audience to be okay with a flat performance, or at least a performance that wasn't as multi-dimensional as it could have been. I don't think it's the same as a musician who plays by ear. A musician who plays by ear is still tapping into the creative process. A better analogy would be someone who sits with a guitar and pretends to play it, while there is someone else alongside who is actually strumming and being creative.

 

In some of John Wayne's films, I think Duke's line deliveries are poorly executed. These aren't his early films, these are in some of his later films from the 60s. He is not always successful at getting into the character but he's trying. He gives it his all. He's not pretending to be a great actor; he knows he's not Olivier but he's still making an honest effort. With some of Cooper's "work," I think he's pretending-- and he's wasting everyone's time when he does that. He earned those Oscars because he really did have great skill, but only when he applied himself fully.

 

Ok,  I get what you're saying here as it relates to acting.   Note that as it relates to jazz guitar it is those that depend too much on musical theory when performing that give a flat performance that isn't as multi-dimensional as it could have been and isn't tapping into the creative process.    I.e.  use musical theory and reading music when practicing but play by ear (and with your soul), when performing.     I have been playing jazz guitar for over 30 years but only in the last 5 or so years have I reached this point.  

 

But back to acting;  Yea,  I call that phoning it in.   In addition I would say that some fall back too much on their screen persona instead of playing the character as envisioned by the screenwriter and \ or director.    (which was the case for some of Wayne's later work IMO).

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But back to acting;  Yea,  I call that phoning it in.   In addition I would say that some fall back too much on their screen persona instead of playing the character as envisioned by the screenwriter and \ or director.    (which was the case for some of Wayne's later work IMO).

 

Yes and I think in Wayne's case, that was the point. He bought stories and sought original scripts to fit his established "persona." He felt it ensured his popularity as a box office name with audiences. Though in something like THE SHOOTIST he still renders a moving portrayal of a doomed gunman.

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Yes, John Wayne in THE SHOOTIST is quite good.  Right up there with THE SEARCHERS, in my opinion.

 

I like that phrase "phoning it in" and I've heard it many, many times before.  It certainly fits a lot of acting performances I've seen over the years.

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Yes, John Wayne in THE SHOOTIST is quite good.  Right up there with THE SEARCHERS, in my opinion.

 

I like that phrase "phoning it in" and I've heard it many, many times before.  It certainly fits a lot of acting performances I've seen over the years.

 

Yes,  while I only enjoy a handful of Wayne performances he is quite good in The Shootist.   I really like how Bacall and him interact in this film.    Very moving as TB said.

 

I also like the character he plays;  not a hero but not a killer \ bad man either.    I.e. someone that was more than a one dimensional character.

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I won't speak for Ray but I interpreted his comment to mean Novak and Cooper could have gone deeper with the characterizations. Suggesting they were merely showing up on the set and delivering their lines without any real feeling, then expecting the audience to be okay with a flat performance, or at least a performance that wasn't as multi-dimensional as it could have been. I don't think it's the same as a musician who plays by ear. A musician who plays by ear is still tapping into the creative process. A better analogy would be someone who sits with a guitar and pretends to play it, while there is someone else alongside who is actually strumming and being creative.

 

In some of John Wayne's films, I think Duke's line deliveries are poorly executed. These aren't his early films, these are in some of his later films from the 60s. He is not always successful at getting into the character but he's trying. He gives it his all. He's not pretending to be a great actor; he knows he's not Olivier but he's still making an honest effort. With some of Cooper's "work," I think he's pretending-- and he's wasting everyone's time when he does that. He earned those Oscars because he really did have great skill, but only when he applied himself fully.

Gary Cooper's last film, "The Hanging Tree" is a superb example of "an actor" trying to be "an actor".

 

He made an attempt to break his long-established image and embrace the taboo subject of homosexuality.

 

That plot point centered on his character's relationship with the young man that he had hired "to take care of him" - Ben Piazza.

 

But Gary Cooper's inability to be "suggestive" and "subtle" were extremely noticeable.

 

He could not delve into the material.

 

Yet, there it was staring both Gary Cooper and Ben Piazza in the face.

 

This film is one that could have been a revelation.

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Gary Cooper's last film, "The Hanging Tree" is a superb example of "an actor" trying to be "an actor".

 

He made an attempt to break his long-established image and embrace the taboo subject of homosexuality.

 

That plot point centered on his character's relationship with the young man that he had hired "to take care of him" - Ben Piazza.

 

But Gary Cooper's inability to be "suggestive" and "subtle" were extremely noticeable.

 

He could not delve into the material.

 

Yet, there it was staring both Gary Cooper and Ben Piazza in the face.

 

This film is one that could have been a revelation.

 

Interesting viewpoint, Ray. It actually was Coop's penultimate film. Two years later, right before his death, he made a British suspense drama with Deborah Kerr called THE NAKED EDGE. It was released posthumously and is on YouTube--or at least it was a month ago. I watched it, because I was curious to see what he looked like near the end of his life. It's a different type of movie for him. I think he was trying to reinvent himself with more "serious" types of roles in those last few years, with mixed results.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Edge

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gary cooper was always likeable in his films...except for bright leaf.

 

I never thought I would ever see a cooper film where I did not like him on screen before seeing that turkey.

 

cooper is so mean and unlikeable that even his redemption at the end doan come off.

 

by the way, I think it's time for tcm to break out ten north frederick. a great watchable drama with cooper slthough it's dumb for him to pass up on the younger babe.

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by the way, I think it's time for tcm to break out ten north frederick. a great watchable drama with cooper 

 

I don't think it's ever aired on TCM. I am not exactly a fan of these older movie stars drooling over younger chicks (that are probably the same age as their real-life granddaughters). LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON is another one that seems kind of silly to me.

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gary cooper was always likeable in his films...except for bright leaf.

 

I never thought I would ever see a cooper film where I did not like him on screen before seeing that turkey.

 

cooper is so mean and unlikeable that even his redemption at the end doan come off.

 

by the way, I think it's time for tcm to break out ten north frederick. a great watchable drama with cooper slthough it's dumb for him to pass up on the younger babe.

 

I have to agree that Cooper played a very unlikeable character in Bright Leaf.   Bogie should have punched him for how he treated his wife (ha ha).   In how many films is the leading man,  especially one like Cooper more of a skunk than Jack Carson!

 

But the film is worth seeing just to see Patricia Neal crew up all the scenery.    It was like what sheep do to grazing land. 

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Do you mask what you feel?

 

It’s not easy to hide what you feel inside. All those emotions have been kept bottled up for so long, and inevitably, they have to come out.

 

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Some people express their emotions seriously, while others choose a lighter or more comical approach. And there are some who manage to play it both ways, combining sadness with a joke. That’s a two-for-one special.

 

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Sex appeal is a whole other area. Some people mask their romantic intentions by trying to play hero, when they really want to turn the lights off and do very villainous things.

 

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And I’ve never understood the whole amnesia thing, where a person can’t remember anything yet they are able to remember they should remember something. Take James Garner as MISTER BUDDWING. His past is masked by confusion. Or Rock Hudson in SECONDS, where the slate has been wiped clean and a new set of emotions can be experienced.

 

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And then there’s poor Eric Stoltz. He has that hideously grotesque face. But despite such physical deformity, his mother and girlfriend still manage to love him anyway. Someone else wanted to be loved like that, too.

 

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More observations from Pauline Kael

 

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IRENE DUNNE in Paramount’s HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME (1937)

She calls Dunne the Julie Andrews of her generation. Dunne is “ever-noble” in her acting and stylishly presents her numbers in this lavish musical western. Especially when she does a beer hall song. Did Julie Andrews ever attempt a scene like that?

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-11-35-pm.pn

SYLVIA SIDNEY in Paramount’s AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (1931)

Kael has effusive praise for Sylvia Sidney, saying her performance in the movie is appealing and intense. After Sidney’s character is killed off, and the actress leaves the screen, it’s no longer the same.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-17-34-pm1.p

GRETA GARBO in MGM’s GRAND HOTEL (1932)

She says Garbo, only 26 at the time this picture was made, perfectly captures the world weariness of the woman she’s portraying. Also Garbo shows us what glamour is all about, despite the crudeness of the story and most of its characters. Kael thinks Garbo’s clothes get in the way of some of her scenes. Take that to mean what you like.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-20-35-pm.pn

DEANNA DURBIN in Universal’s FIRST LOVE (1939)

Deanna Durbin is playing Cinderella; Kael says it as if she’s a jealous stepsister. She explains how Durbin is made to star in nicely polished stories– which people tend to mistake for grand entertainment. Durbin is too wholesome for Kael, who will probably try to lock her up when the prince comes with the glass slipper.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-22-04-pm.pn

KATHARINE HEPBURN in RKO’s ALICE ADAMS (1935)

She says Hepburn gave three good movie performances, and one of them was in this film. She dislikes the ending, feels it’s not at all realistic and doesn’t seem to care for Fred MacMurray as RKO’s idea of Prince Charming. But that is hardly Hepburn’s fault.

 

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BETTE DAVIS in Warner Brothers’ JEZEBEL (1938)

She gives Davis credit for saving this drama which was put into production by the studio in response to GONE WITH THE WIND. She’s glad Davis’ character took the red dress out of mothballs and wore it to the dance. She says the ‘painful’ ballroom scene is Davis at her best, and so is the apology scene in white.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-24-17-pm.pn

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More observations from Pauline Kael

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-09-22-pm1.p

IRENE DUNNE in Paramount’s HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME (1937)

She calls Dunne the Julie Andrews of her generation. Dunne is “ever-noble” in her acting and stylishly presents her numbers in this lavish musical western. Especially when she does a beer hall song. Did Julie Andrews ever attempt a scene like that?

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-11-35-pm.pn

SYLVIA SIDNEY in Paramount’s AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (1931)

Kael has effusive praise for Sylvia Sidney, saying her performance in the movie is appealing and intense. After Sidney’s character is killed off, and the actress leaves the screen, it’s no longer the same.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-17-34-pm1.p

GRETA GARBO in MGM’s GRAND HOTEL (1932)

She says Garbo, only 26 at the time this picture was made, perfectly captures the world weariness of the woman she’s portraying. Also Garbo shows us what glamour is all about, despite the crudeness of the story and most of its characters. Kael thinks Garbo’s clothes get in the way of some of her scenes. Take that to mean what you like.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-20-35-pm.pn

DEANNA DURBIN in Universal’s FIRST LOVE (1939)

Deanna Durbin is playing Cinderella; Kael says it as if she’s a jealous stepsister. She explains how Durbin is made to star in nicely polished stories– which people tend to mistake for grand entertainment. Durbin is too wholesome for Kael, who will probably try to lock her up when the prince comes with the glass slipper.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-22-04-pm.pn

KATHARINE HEPBURN in RKO’s ALICE ADAMS (1935)

She says Hepburn gave three good movie performances, and one of them was in this film. She dislikes the ending, feels it’s not at all realistic and doesn’t seem to care for Fred MacMurray as RKO’s idea of Prince Charming. But that is hardly Hepburn’s fault.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-26-15-pm.pn

BETTE DAVIS in Warner Brothers’ JEZEBEL (1938)

She gives Davis credit for saving this drama which was put into production by the studio in response to GONE WITH THE WIND. She’s glad Davis’ character took the red dress out of mothballs and wore it to the dance. She says the ‘painful’ ballroom scene is Davis at her best, and so is the apology scene in white.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-24-17-pm.pn

 

Pauline Kael is certainly an over-praised film reviewer.

 

She was pushed onto a pedastal - and seems to be there still.

 

So many of her reviews are "peculiar", to say the least.

 

She was homophobic, too.

 

For example, "An American Tragedy" is not about Sylvia Syndey

 

It's about the "murkiness" of Phillips Holmes' character.

 

His "beauty" is an essential part of his characterization.

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Pauline Kael is certainly an over-praised film reviewer.

 

She was pushed onto a pedastal - and seems to be there still.

 

So many of her reviews are "peculiar", to say the least.

 

Aren't we all a bit peculiar (to some degree)...? :)

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Jeanette MacDonald’s husband

 

Gene Raymond is usually remembered for his prolific precode film career. Or else for the delightful musical comedies he made later on with Ann Sothern. He is also known for his marriage to Jeanette MacDonald which is perhaps the most fascinating thing about him.
 

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Their marriage came about because Louis B. Mayer insisted on it. Both were working at MGM and had been dating when the studio boss decided to play Cupid. Mayer’s a villain in this romance, if you’re a Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy fan; or if you’re someone who believes Gene should have been allowed to be more open about his bisexual relationships. When the two stars married, Gene couldn’t acknowledge his dalliances with men; and Jeanette couldn’t marry Nelson Eddy. So they had each other.
 

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After her career ended at Metro, and even after Mayer was ousted from his job, Jeanette and Gene remained together. Not because they had to, but because they wanted to. The relationship sustained itself though she continued to be involved with Nelson Eddy. In fact, during the last year of Jeanette MacDonald’s life when her health was declining, Nelson Eddy had an apartment in a building across the street. Imagine what it must’ve been like for Gene and Nelson at the end, especially during Jeanette’s very public funeral.
 

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Gene and Jeanette were artists and shared a bond because of music and filmmaking. It would seem logical that in spite of personal issues, they would have supported each other professionally no matter what. Maybe Mayer’s interference was a blessing in disguise. He was ensuring Jeanette and Gene both had someone they could depend on.
 

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“We had 28 glorious years. Jeanette and I respected and loved each other, very deeply. We put one another before anyone or anything. I am blessed to have known her, loved her and been loved by her.” — Gene Raymond in 1972 (seven years after Jeanette MacDonald’s death).
 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-46-08-pm.pn

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Jeanette MacDonald’s husband

 

Gene Raymond is usually remembered for his prolific precode film career. Or else for the delightful musical comedies he made later on with Ann Sothern. He is also known for his marriage to Jeanette MacDonald which is perhaps the most fascinating thing about him.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-46-41-pm.pn

Their marriage came about because Louis B. Mayer insisted on it. Both were working at MGM and had been dating when the studio boss decided to play Cupid. Mayer’s a villain in this romance, if you’re a Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy fan; or if you’re someone who believes Gene should have been allowed to be more open about his bisexual relationships. When the two stars married, Gene couldn’t acknowledge his dalliances with men; and Jeanette couldn’t marry Nelson Eddy. So they had each other.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-42-33-pm.pn

After her career ended at Metro, and even after Mayer was ousted from his job, Jeanette and Gene remained together. Not because they had to, but because they wanted to. The relationship sustained itself though she continued to be involved with Nelson Eddy. In fact, during the last year of Jeanette MacDonald’s life when her health was declining, Nelson Eddy had an apartment in a building across the street. Imagine what it must’ve been like for Gene and Nelson at the end, especially during Jeanette’s very public funeral.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-45-10-pm.pn

Gene and Jeanette were artists and shared a bond because of music and filmmaking. It would seem logical that in spite of personal issues, they would have supported each other professionally no matter what. Maybe Mayer’s interference was a blessing in disguise. He was ensuring Jeanette and Gene both had someone they could depend on.

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-43-15-pm.pn

“We had 28 glorious years. Jeanette and I respected and loved each other, very deeply. We put one another before anyone or anything. I am blessed to have known her, loved her and been loved by her.” — Gene Raymond in 1972 (seven years after Jeanette MacDonald’s death).

 

screen-shot-2017-04-12-at-12-46-08-pm.pn

Maybe Gene Raymond's marriage to Jeanette MacDonald "straightened" him out.

 

Nevertheless, they were two of the screen's more magnetic personalities.

 

Jeanette MacDonald's last film at MGM with Claude Jarman, Jr. - "The Sun Is Up" - did her proud.

 

Gene Raymond's film appearances were always a cause for celebration.

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Such an interesting relationship.  I'm glad they loved and supported each other even though LB "arranged" the marriage.  I always thought it was terrible the way LB managed the private lives of the MGM talent.  At least Jeanette was able to maintain her relationship with Nelson Eddy and Gene could have his men friends (on the sly, I suppose, due to the times).

 

Why would it have been so terrible  for Jeanette and Nelson to get married in the first place?  Did LB think this would have ruined the make-believe of their movies?  Did he want Gene to get married as a cover for his bisexuality?  I guess he just didn't want Jeanette and Nelson together off-camera and he wanted a spouse for Gene so he put two and two together and thought, "hmmm."

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Such an interesting relationship.  I'm glad they loved and supported each other even though LB "arranged" the marriage.  I always thought it was terrible the way LB managed the private lives of the MGM talent.  At least Jeanette was able to maintain her relationship with Nelson Eddy and Gene could have his men friends (on the sly, I suppose, due to the times).

 

Why would it have been so terrible  for Jeanette and Nelson to get married in the first place?  Did LB think this would have ruined the make-believe of their movies?  Did he want Gene to get married as a cover for his bisexuality?  I guess he just didn't want Jeanette and Nelson together off-camera and he wanted a spouse for Gene so he put two and two together and thought, "hmmm."

 

In a strange way Mayer probably thought he was "helping." I think he also pushed Van Johnson into a marriage, too. As for Nelson Eddy, my understanding is that Mayer thought Nelson wanted Jeanette to retire from movies and be a stay-at-home sort of wife. Of course, Mayer couldn't lose one of his top stars.

 

Jeanette and Gene had been dating, and Mayer saw this as a more desirable marriage since Gene would go along with Mayer more than Nelson Eddy. There had also been an arrest (Gene had been caught with a man in a public place) so Mayer covered it up, and part of the bargain was for Gene to stay married to Jeanette. But Gene was also kept off screens during 1938 and 1939, probably so he could focus on Jeanette and the scandal surrounding the arrest could die down.

 

It's interesting how Gene and Jeanette remained married until Jeanette's death. They never had any separation and never made plans to divorce. It seems to have turned into a 'real' marriage (obviously an open marriage) based on love.

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Coming up in June

 

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Movie siblings…he’s not heavy, he’s my brother.
 

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Unusual themes…movie combinations you might never have considered.

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Visiting the set…memories of my visits to different Hollywood sets.

 

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Three men and a bag of money…who does it belong to and how can they keep it?
 

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A classic philosophy…what does it all mean?
 

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Join me in June!

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