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Will Joan Bennett be SOTM in May?


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I am a big Joan Bennett fan too.  I like the idea of separating Joan's career into topics according to her age at  the time -  This

would enable TCM to air Joan's films in segments of time periods when she made her greatest films - the 30's and 40's.

This multi-talented actress was not only superbly gifted, but beautiful as well. 

 

I Met My Love Again  with Joan and Henry Fonda is a very engrossing film from the late 30's.  Joan was stunning here.

 

Last night I re-watched early Joan - in Little Women '33.   

 

Going on ahead, The Reckless Moment '48 is one of my favorite films and features  the superb James Mason as a suave and handsome blackmailer who falls for his victim,  the lovely but married  Joan Bennett.

 

As a child growing up in the 50's and 60's I saw many of Joan's films on TV and remember Scarlet Street and Woman in the Window as very fine 40's films with Joan, Edward G. Robinson and Dan Duryea. 

 

In recent years I  was to discover Joan's sister Constance who was primarily a great star of the 30's.   Between AMC and later TCM I became her fan too and have enjoyed many of her fine films of the 30's as well as some great suspense films of the 40's  

The Unsuspected and Torrid Zone.

Whew!  What talent between these 2 sisters.  A friend mentioned Barbara Bennett their sister  who was in some films as well.  A very talented family!  Their dad was silent star, Richard Bennett. 

 

Constance was honored on TCM not long ago and I agree that Joan should be honored as well.  These 2 ladies were key and wondrous figures of Hollywood's Golden Age.. 

 

 

Barbara, the middle sister, sadly became an alcoholic and didnt have much of a career. Her son, Morton Downey Jr. had some brief notoriety in the 80s with his Jerry Springer type show. I think Barbara had died by then...........

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Just because it's easy to fill up four days with a star's pictures doesn't mean the star is of SOTM stature. I'm not demeaning her--I just feels that she falls a bit short. So do a lot of others that have been SOTM.

 

Well, she certainly deserves it as much as George Sanders......

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To defend Constance, she was a pretty huge star in the 30's. It's just that her style didn't adapt well in later films. She's like Kay Francis in that regard. The types of films in which they excelled went out of fashion at the end of the 30's. If you think about it Irene Dunne suffered a little from the same thing, but she adapted because she was willing to play moms. Kay & Connie were glamour girls who didn't want to do that.

 

I'm all for Joan being SOTM.

 

Well TCM is showing a 1938 Kay Francis as a mother film today,   My Bill.   

 

It is interesting that while Dunne was the oldest of the three,  she went on to have a solid 40s career,  not playing many 'moms' until 1947 when she was 49,   while the other two didn't do much in the 40s (with Kay ending her career in 1945 and Connie continuing in supporting roles).     So I don't think it was that Kay and Connie didn't want to play leading role moms;  it was more that no one asked them too;  i.e. they were just not valued much as a commodity after their successful 30s careers. 

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Not meaning to gang up on you, but...hang on lemme just get the pitchfork from by the back door...

 

K, back. Joan Bennett totally merits a SOTM. She has 98 credits to her name, and an easy half of those are features wherein she is outright or second lead. Her performance in SCARLET STREET (which is in the public domain) is the best given by an actress in 1945 and one of the best given by an actress in the 1940's period. She worked with all kinds of directors- Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, Curtiz and even Dario Argento AND she was one of the most DARING of Hollywood actresses- taking on older (and sometimes unpleasant) roles without reserve (she became a grandmother in real life before she was forty) and not shying away from intense subject matter- the Lang films, THE RECKLESS MOMENT, THE MACOMBER AFFAIR, HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, SUSPIRIA

 

...And maybe they would also show WE'RE NO ANGELS (1955), which is a film I'd like to see.

 

Plus, a year or so after she became a grandmother at 38, Joan's husband caught her meeting another man in a parking lot and shot him in the crotch... I may have messed up on the details somewhat, but that is a great Hollywood story, man.

 

 

LOL, Yeah, sadly the scandal surrounding that seriously hindered her career. She was having an affair with her agent, Jennings Lang, who later went on to be a big producer at Universal. They had just come out of a restaurant. (so much for lunch!) There were to be more Father of the Bride sequels, but MGM passed after the shooting and she found it hard to find work, working mostly on the stage for much of the 50s.

 

One film of Joan's I'd like to see is Private Worlds with Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer. TCM has never shown it (Paramount again) from the mid 30s....

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One film of Joan's I'd like to see is Private Worlds with Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer. TCM has never shown it (Paramount again) from the mid 30s....

 

Yeah, I'd really like to see that one too. Colbert earned her follow-up Oscar nomination after It Happened One Night for this.

I didn't know Charles Boyer did an English-language film before Algiers.

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That's funny. But...I have faith that TCM will eventually get around to Sanders. Keep the faith with me, Andy! :)

 

I was hoping that the scandal of Sanders' shameful SOTM omission would get a mention from Pope Francis in his address to Congress today, but I guess Sanders' chosen means of exit put the kibosh on that. B)

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To defend Constance, she was a pretty huge star in the 30's. It's just that her style didn't adapt well in later films. She's like Kay Francis in that regard. The types of films in which they excelled went out of fashion at the end of the 30's. If you think about it Irene Dunne suffered a little from the same thing, but she adapted because she was willing to play moms. Kay & Connie were glamour girls who didn't want to do that.

 

I'm all for Joan being SOTM.

 

 

Yes, Constance was a huge star in the early 30s, but by the mid 30s her star started to wane and by the end of the 30s she was playing supporting roles and even programmers at times. Joan started slow, but had a much longer (and more interesting) career imo.

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I was hoping that the scandal of Sanders' shameful SOTM omission would get a mention from Pope Francis in his address to Congress today, but I guess Sanders' chosen means of exit put the kibosh on that. B)

 

 

LOL. Yes, suicide is a no-no..........

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I was hoping that the scandal of Sanders' shameful SOTM omission would get a mention from Pope Francis in his address to Congress today, but I guess Sanders' chosen means of exit put the kibosh on that. B)

I watched THE BIG COMBO last night, and Cornel Wilde has a line in that film where he tells Jean Wallace's character that her attempted suicide is against god's law and man's law, and that he was going to arrest her for it. Times have changed about this particular subject, eh?

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Yeah, I'd really like to see that one too. Colbert earned her follow-up Oscar nomination after It Happened One Night for this.

I didn't know Charles Boyer did an English-language film before Algiers.

 

 

TCM has shown many of Colbert's Parmount films, but for some reason not that one. Dunno if its a rights issue or what. Have wanted to see it for years. :(

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edit- I just looked it up and PRIVATE WORLDS was directed by Gregory LaCava, who did some interesting films. Colbert played a Psychiatrist in it, and it has got to be one of the earliest depictions of a female doctor in American movies.

 

 

Yes, I think the film was groundbreaking for its time (I'm sure dated by today's standards)....

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edit- I just looked it up and PRIVATE WORLDS was directed by Gregory LaCava, who did some interesting films. Colbert played a Psychiatrist in it, and it has got to be one of the earliest depictions of a female doctor in American movies.

It would be interesting to see if there were any female physicians depicted in silent films. There must have been one or two somewhere in an earlier picture.

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copy and pasted from wikipedia (Otto Censor may take out some of the details)

 

FOR THE RECORD, THIS IS A SCANDAL, CHILDREN OF TODAY:

 

Scandal

For twelve years, Bennett was represented by agent Jennings Lang. She and the onetime vice-president of the Sam Jaffe Agency, who now headed MCA's West Coast television operations, met on the afternoon of December 13, 1951, to talk over an upcoming TV show.[2]

Bennett parked her Cadillac convertible in the lot at the back of the MCA offices, at Santa Monica Boulevard and Rexford Drive, across the street from the Beverly Hills Police Department, and she and Lang drove off in his car. Meanwhile, her husband Walter Wanger drove by at about 2:30 p.m. and noticed his wife's car parked there. Half an hour later, he again saw her car there and stopped to wait. Bennett and Lang drove into the parking lot a few hours later and he walked her to her convertible. As she started the engine, turned on the headlights and prepared to drive away, Lang leaned on the car, with both hands raised to his shoulders, and talked to her.

In a fit of jealousy, Wanger walked up and twice shot and wounded the unsuspecting agent. One bullet hit Jennings in the right thigh, near the hip, and the other penetrated his groin. Bennett said she did not see Wanger at first. She said she suddenly saw two livid flashes, then Lang slumped to the ground. As soon as she recognized who had fired the shots, she told Wanger, "Get away and leave us alone." He tossed the pistol into his wife's car.

She and the parking lot's service station manager took Lang to the agent's doctor. He was then taken to a hospital, where he recovered. The police, who had heard the shots, came to the scene and found the gun in Bennett's car when they took Wanger into custody. Wanger was booked and fingerprinted, and underwent lengthy questioning.

"I shot him because I thought he was breaking up my home," Wanger told the chief of police of Beverly Hills. He was booked on suspicion of assault with intent to commit murder. Bennett denied a romance, however. "But if Walter thinks the relationships between Mr. Lang and myself are romantic or anything but strictly business, he is wrong," she declared. She blamed the trouble on financial setbacks involving film productions Wanger was involved with, and said he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.[2] The following day Wanger, out on bond, returned to their Holmby Hills home, collected his belongings and moved. Bennett, however, said there would not be a divorce.[13]

The following is extracted from the book On Sunset Boulevard (1998, p. 431) by Ed Sikov.

In 1951, producer Walter Wanger discovered that his wife, Joan Bennett, was having an affair with the agent Jennings Lang. Their encounters were brief and frequent. When Lang and Bennett weren't meeting clandestinely at vacation spots like New Orleans and the West Indies, they were back in L.A. enjoying weekday quickies at a Beverly Hills apartment otherwise occupied by one of Lang's underlings at the agency. When Wanger found proof of the affair, he did what any crazed cuckold would do: he shot Lang in the balls.

On December 14, Bennett issued a statement in which she said she hoped her husband "will not be blamed too much" for wounding her agent. She read the prepared statement in the bedroom of her home to a group of newspapermen while TV cameras recorded the scene.[14]

Wanger's attorney, Jerry Giesler, mounted a "temporary insanity" defense. He then decided to waive his rights to a jury and threw himself on the mercy of the court.[15] Wanger served a four-month sentence in the County Honor Farm at Castaic, 39 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles,[16] quickly returning to his career to make a series of successful films.

Meanwhile, Bennett went to Chicago to appear on the stage in the role as the young witch Gillian Holroyd in Bell, Book, and Candle,[17] then went on national tour with the production.

Bennett made only five movies in the decade that followed, as the shooting incident was a stain on her career and she became virtually blacklisted. Blaming the scandal that occurred for destroying her career in the motion picture industry, she once said, "I might as well have pulled the trigger myself." Although Humphrey Bogart, a longtime friend of Bennett, pleaded with the studio on her behalf to keep her role as Amelie Ducotel in We're No Angels (1955), that movie proved to be one of her last.

As the movie offers dwindled after the scandal, Bennett continued touring in stage successes, such as Susan and God, Once More, with Feeling, The Pleasure of His Company and Never Too Late. Her next TV appearance was in the role as Bettina Blane for an episode of General Electric Theater in 1954. Other roles include Honora in Climax! (1955) and Vickie Maxwell in Playhouse 90 (1957). In 1958, she appeared as the mother in the short-lived television comedy/drama Too Young to Go Steady to teenagers played by Brigid Bazlen and Martin Huston.

She starred on Broadway in the comedy Love Me Little (1958), which ran for only eight performances.

Of the scandal, in a 1981 interview, Bennett contrasted the judgmental 1950's with the sensation-crazed 70's and 80's. "It would never happen that way today," she said, laughing. "If it happened today, I'd be a sensation. I'd be wanted by all studios for all pictures."

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"If it happened today, I'd be a sensation. I'd be wanted by all studios for all pictures."

Of course, she's completely right about that. And if it happened in the 2000s/2010s, she would have been given her own reality TV show which everyone would have watched to see if she dealt with another scandal.

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copy and pasted from wikipedia (Otto Censor may take out some of the details)

 

FOR THE RECORD, THIS IS A SCANDAL, CHILDREN OF TODAY:

 

Scandal

For twelve years, Bennett was represented by agent Jennings Lang. She and the onetime vice-president of the Sam Jaffe Agency, who now headed MCA's West Coast television operations, met on the afternoon of December 13, 1951, to talk over an upcoming TV show.[2]

Bennett parked her Cadillac convertible in the lot at the back of the MCA offices, at Santa Monica Boulevard and Rexford Drive, across the street from the Beverly Hills Police Department, and she and Lang drove off in his car. Meanwhile, her husband Walter Wanger drove by at about 2:30 p.m. and noticed his wife's car parked there. Half an hour later, he again saw her car there and stopped to wait. Bennett and Lang drove into the parking lot a few hours later and he walked her to her convertible. As she started the engine, turned on the headlights and prepared to drive away, Lang leaned on the car, with both hands raised to his shoulders, and talked to her.

In a fit of jealousy, Wanger walked up and twice shot and wounded the unsuspecting agent. One bullet hit Jennings in the right thigh, near the hip, and the other penetrated his groin. Bennett said she did not see Wanger at first. She said she suddenly saw two livid flashes, then Lang slumped to the ground. As soon as she recognized who had fired the shots, she told Wanger, "Get away and leave us alone." He tossed the pistol into his wife's car.

She and the parking lot's service station manager took Lang to the agent's doctor. He was then taken to a hospital, where he recovered. The police, who had heard the shots, came to the scene and found the gun in Bennett's car when they took Wanger into custody. Wanger was booked and fingerprinted, and underwent lengthy questioning.

"I shot him because I thought he was breaking up my home," Wanger told the chief of police of Beverly Hills. He was booked on suspicion of assault with intent to commit murder. Bennett denied a romance, however. "But if Walter thinks the relationships between Mr. Lang and myself are romantic or anything but strictly business, he is wrong," she declared. She blamed the trouble on financial setbacks involving film productions Wanger was involved with, and said he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.[2] The following day Wanger, out on bond, returned to their Holmby Hills home, collected his belongings and moved. Bennett, however, said there would not be a divorce.[13]

The following is extracted from the book On Sunset Boulevard (1998, p. 431) by Ed Sikov.

 

In 1951, producer Walter Wanger discovered that his wife, Joan Bennett, was having an affair with the agent Jennings Lang. Their encounters were brief and frequent. When Lang and Bennett weren't meeting clandestinely at vacation spots like New Orleans and the West Indies, they were back in L.A. enjoying weekday quickies at a Beverly Hills apartment otherwise occupied by one of Lang's underlings at the agency. When Wanger found proof of the affair, he did what any crazed cuckold would do: he shot Lang in the balls.

 

On December 14, Bennett issued a statement in which she said she hoped her husband "will not be blamed too much" for wounding her agent. She read the prepared statement in the bedroom of her home to a group of newspapermen while TV cameras recorded the scene.[14]

Wanger's attorney, Jerry Giesler, mounted a "temporary insanity" defense. He then decided to waive his rights to a jury and threw himself on the mercy of the court.[15] Wanger served a four-month sentence in the County Honor Farm at Castaic, 39 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles,[16] quickly returning to his career to make a series of successful films.

Meanwhile, Bennett went to Chicago to appear on the stage in the role as the young witch Gillian Holroyd in Bell, Book, and Candle,[17] then went on national tour with the production.

Bennett made only five movies in the decade that followed, as the shooting incident was a stain on her career and she became virtually blacklisted. Blaming the scandal that occurred for destroying her career in the motion picture industry, she once said, "I might as well have pulled the trigger myself." Although Humphrey Bogart, a longtime friend of Bennett, pleaded with the studio on her behalf to keep her role as Amelie Ducotel in We're No Angels (1955), that movie proved to be one of her last.

As the movie offers dwindled after the scandal, Bennett continued touring in stage successes, such as Susan and God, Once More, with Feeling, The Pleasure of His Company and Never Too Late. Her next TV appearance was in the role as Bettina Blane for an episode of General Electric Theater in 1954. Other roles include Honora in Climax! (1955) and Vickie Maxwell in Playhouse 90 (1957). In 1958, she appeared as the mother in the short-lived television comedy/drama Too Young to Go Steady to teenagers played by Brigid Bazlen and Martin Huston.

She starred on Broadway in the comedy Love Me Little (1958), which ran for only eight performances.

Of the scandal, in a 1981 interview, Bennett contrasted the judgmental 1950's with the sensation-crazed 70's and 80's. "It would never happen that way today," she said, laughing. "If it happened today, I'd be a sensation. I'd be wanted by all studios for all pictures."

 

 

LOL. That's for sure. I had thought they had come out of a restaurant. Shows how deranged Wanger must have been to shoot someone across from the Beverly Hills police station! Fortunately for Lang, Wanger wasn't a good shot and there was no "strategic" damage in that area. His stay in prison, I've read, is what movitated Wanger to film I Want to Live!  Bennett and Wanger remained married for another decade, but it was an "in name only" arrangement. More financial setbacks were ahead for Wanger (Cleopatra!)

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I don't agree.    It would be very easy to have 4 days of Joan Bennett programming.   It could be broken down as:

 

Early Joan;    Me and My Gal,  Little Women,   Mississippi,  She Couldn't Take It,  and  Big Brown Eyes 

 

Joan grows up;  Wedding Present,  Vogues of 1938,  The Texans,    Trade Winds,  The Man in the Iron Mask

 

Noir style Joan;  The Women in the Window,  Scarlet Street, Women on the Beach,  Hollow Triumph,  The Reckless Moment, 

 

Family Joan;  Father of the Bride,  For Heaven's Sake,  Father's Little Dividend,  We're No Angels,  There's Always Tomorrow,

Nice post James,

 

I'm also a fan of Joan in The Macomber Affair (1947).  TCM has shown it a few times of late.  Not that many years ago I bought a home dubbed VHS copy of it on ebay as it was one of those films that had all but disappeared.

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Nice post James,

 

I'm also a fan of Joan in The Macomber Affair (1947).  TCM has shown it a few times of late.  Not that many years ago I bought a home dubbed VHS copy of it on ebay as it was one of those films that had all but disappeared.

 

 

Apparently its in the public domain now (from the looks of the print TCM shows)....

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..but not as much as Warren William. I am prepared to demean the selection of anyone not named Warren William.

 

As much as I like Warren William starting in the 40s he did serials like The Lone Wolf and this was mostly how he ended his movie career (Strange Illusions being an exception as a fine Ulmer noir film).     Compare that to Sanders who did some serials like The Falcon early in his career but of course when on to star in first rate productions for many years after that serial.     By the time William did The Private Affairs of Bel Ami,  he was the second banana to Sanders.  

 

Joan Bennett has a much more versatile film legacy than William   (again, as much as I love his film,  especially his pre-code ones). 

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As much as I like Warren William starting in the 40s he did serials like The Lone Wolf and this was mostly how he ended his movie career (Strange Illusions being an exception as a fine Ulmer noir film).     Compare that to Sanders who did some serials like The Falcon early in his career but of course when on to star in first rate productions for many years after that serial.     By the time William did The Private Affairs of Bel Ami,  he was the second banana to Sanders.  

 

Joan Bennett has a much more versatile film legacy than William   (again, as much as I love his film,  especially his pre-code ones). 

I don't care about his career arc. He has a very specific niche in film history. Sanders and Joan Bennett do not.

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