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Paintings That Played A Role in the Movies


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I apologize if I missed it, but The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) -- the portrait of the captain -- comes to mind.

Great illustration, Notan. And isn't that smaller portrait right beside the Captain an image of Mrs Muir?

 

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Yep, as if he didn't get enough of Scarlet in his many mano a femo dealings with her, Rhett also had this portrait of her hanging on his bedroom wall. I guess y'all know the film I'm talking about.

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Gaslight (1944):

 

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Charles Boyer's villain finally finding the jewels in the attic in the same dress as pictured in the abandoned portrait of Alice Alquist Empress Theodora.

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It is portrait in: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) which leads Sherlock Holmes to identity of person who will gain by death of Sir Henry Baskerville. It is because of depiction of genetic trait which would be important point in proof of right to inherit estate.

 

I believe it was: kingrat who mentioned: Rebecca (1940). That was first movie which came to my mind for this topic. It was of vital importance because it initiated crucial revelation.

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“You might as well move on, Doc. I don’t move from here all through the picture”

 

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But once the bullets start flying in a barroom brawl, he figgers it's time to skedaddle:

 

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(Note that he left so fast his mustache stayed behind)

 

 

 

 

From Tex Avery's The Shooting of Dan McGoo, written by Heck Allen.

 

 

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If I may be permitted to cite a classic TV episode:

 

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Brilliant but broke art critic Ross Martin murders his uncle to inherit his art collection.

 

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(Note that groovy tux!)

 

 

But Ross didn't reckon on Lt. Columbo.

 

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Columbo is confronted by modern art -- and a nude model

 

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Don Ameche is the family lawyer; Kim Hunter is the aunt Ross Martin tries to frame for the murder.

 

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The classic final shot, one of my favorite whodunnit moments ever.

 

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Veteran Perry Mason writer Jackson Gillis later said he'd come up with the brilliant climactic clue years before, but had saved it until just the right script. What's the significance of Columbo holding up his hands? That would be telling... You gotta watch the episode!

 

 

 

A wee bit o' trivia: when 12 year old Peter Falk went to summer camp in 1939, one of his counselors was 19 year old Ross Martin.

 

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It is portrait in: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) which leads Sherlock Holmes to identity of person who will gain by death of Sir Henry Baskerville. It is because of depiction of genetic trait which would be important point in proof of right to inherit estate.

 

 

Very good, SansFin. That portrait is key to Holmes discovery of the identity of the man behind the hound.

 

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Notice the resemblance, folks?

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And how many old house chillers have portraits that move or holes in the subject's eyes through which the room is viewed? Owww, spooky!

 

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Cat and the Canary (1927)

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About Jackson Gillis:  He was a wrier on Superman before joining Perry Mason as a producer and  writer.  That he became involved with Columbo is no surprise.

 

Last week Ben mentioned Clem Beauchamp being nominated for an Assistant Director Oscar when that category existed in the 30s.  Mr. Beauchamp was also involved with Superman as a producer.  In the past few months I've been amazed at the actors who appeared on this "kid's show" and that it was in color before Bonanza was ever heard of.  The syndicated shows were way ahead of the networks on this one.     

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Silver River (1948)

 

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When the film's protagonist (Errol Flynn) declares bankrupcy and is having his home stripped of its possessions, the only possession he cares about is the portrait of his wife. 

 

This workman is receiving a stern warning from Flynn to NOT touch the painting.

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Tom, thanks for posting the painting of Ava in PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. So glad you remembered that gigantic painting of the late Mary Meredith in THE UNINVITED, which shows how important she was, and still is, to the Cornelia Otis Skinner character.

 

The 1940s was the great era for romantic fantasy, and in quite a few of them a painting is the connection to someone dead or from a different time. Our group has mentioned quite a few of these. After PANDORA (1951) the woman in portrait/romantic fantasy connection is less common.

 

Those paintings in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE were great. Swithin, thanks for posting that. This is a great topic, with lots of interesting examples.

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This painting figures in the plot of Strangers in the Night (1944) directed by Anthony Mann, co-starring William Terry and Virginia Grey. I don't want to give away the plot for those who have not seen the film, but things are not what they seem in this war-time mystery (are they ever?).

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Son of Frankenstein (1939), third film in Universal's Frankenstein series.

 

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Inspector Krogh (Lionel Atwill) and Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) peer at the portrait of Henry Frankenstein (the late Colin Clive, who had played the doctor in the first two Frankenstein films but had died two years before this film's release).

 

In addition to the portrait providing this film with a link to the film series' past, this moment can be also seen as a tribute to Clive's contribution it, as well.

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The Light That Failed (1939). Based on the Kipling novel, artist Ronald Colman is inspired to paint his first "great" portrait, that of a street girl, played by Ida Lupino (in the role that first brought her to the attention of film critics). 

 

Later in the film, after Colman has turned blind, Lupino, in a moment of spite, will mutilate this portrait. Colman won't know it, though, as no one will have the heart to tell him that his one masterpiece has been butchered.

One of my favorite films. This painting actually helped to determine the end of the movie.

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Mr. Skeffington (1944)

 

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Bette Davis as a vain great beauty, with her portrait behind her. By the end of the film she is aged and lost her beauty but the portrait still remains, a reminder of what once was.

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Paintings have, at times, played significant roles in the story lines of movies. It seems to me that this became the case particularly with a number of Hollywood productions during the 1940s. Here are a few samples that come to mind:

 

 

I'm stunned no one mention "The Monuments Men" (2014) the film about rescuing stolen Nazi artwork.  (maybe it was too obvious??)

 

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Based on true events 

 

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