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ANY OLIVIA FANS HERE???


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Happy to say that the latest issue of "Classic Images" (March Issue $369) features my two-part article on OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND with seventeen gorgeous photos.

 

Just thought I'd spread the word if this post goes through. Having trouble trying to post here and never know when I'll be able to or not.

 

Neil

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Hi

I am an Olivia De Havilland fan and I hope they show more movies of hers on TCM like "The Well Groomed Bride" with Ray Milland

Also I Wish TCM would show movies from Paramount and Columbia because there are so many good movies that Jean Arthur,Carole Lombard,and Paulette Goddard made that they don't show

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Even TCM doesn't seem to have THE WELL GROOMED BRIDE among its possessions. The only way to see it nowadays is to order it from one of those "hard to find" retail outlets on the web.

 

It's amusing but only important because it marked Olivia's return to the screen after her legal battle--it's no great shakes as a comedy.

 

Neil

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Bette Davis was never fond of IN THIS OUR LIFE--she battled with first time director John Huston--and demanded the kind of flattering close-ups he was giving de Havilland (Olivia and John were having a romantic fling) when she saw the rushes. Critics called her performance too over-the-top while praising de Havilland for "a warm and easy performance" as the good sister.

 

However, fans of Davis and de Havilland seem to enjoy this one.

 

Neil

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She certainly couldn't have asked for more flattering close-ups!! She looked radiant in this one--Ernie Haller must be one of her favorite cinematographers. He also did GWTW and was one of Bette Davis' favorite cameramen.

 

The upswept hairdo was to make her look older than Bette who was playing "young" when she was eight years older than Olivia. I enjoyed the confrontational scenes between them. Poor Dennis Morgan didn't have much of a role but he was excellent. And I liked George Brent as the dependable guy who watches all the stormy stuff going on around him.

 

Neil

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Well, she's not finished living yet, and the last chapters of her life aren't written. Olivia deHavilland's a remarkable woman. For last summer's screening of THE HEIRESS at the Motion Picture Academy, the then-89-year-old actress sent a telegram from her home in Paris to be read to the audience conveying her thoughts and reminiscences about the film, and offering thanks for their interest in seeing it.

 

Shortly before the screening, Miss deHavilland sent a revised version of the cable, after re-thinking what she'd sent earlier. Both were written by her, not an assistant or secretary. Like the obituaries compiled by newspapers in anticipation of the subjects' inevitable demise, so do I suspect that Miss d's written most of that autobiography, to which she then adds as new events in her life as they unfold. if that's the case, then we may all have to wait till she's gone to read it.

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"The Heiress". Could anyone so lovely have looked more plain? What a terrific movie. I originally saw it to listen to the Aaron Copland score but it was a nice surprise. She did a lovely job.

 

A lot of women could look plainer. You miss the point: Catherine Sloper's emotional and social appearance seems plain, but only because she has, from birth, been treated by her Father (who, in her eyes, is infallible) as a plain, pale shadow of the mother who died giving birth to her.

 

Catherine is plain only because that's the way she sees herself.

 

And the film is not only deHavilland's finest moment on screen, but William Wyler's masterpiece. An extraordinary, underappreciated, heartbreaking film of broken dreams, betrayal and revenge (and not so different, then, from Wyler's film of BEN-HUR).

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I suspect that she will have her autobiography published posthumously, since it has been in the works since the 1970s. I won't even speculate on why she wishes to do this but apparently that is why it hasn't appeared yet. In my article I say that "Whatever the private reasons are, it is clear that she has been unable to come to terms with finishing the project."

 

Neil

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The Snake Pit is my favorite film by OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND. There are so many hilarious one liners in it that crack me up every time I watch it. Celeste Holm is so stunningly beautiful in this film, and all of the co-stars, Glenn Langan, Betsy Blair, Beulah Bondi, Natalie Schaefer, Ruth Donnelly and Jacqueline DeWitt give such a strong performance.

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I feel the same way about THE SNAKE PIT--a brilliant film with appropriate touches of humor throughout and an excellent cast. I'm grateful that Fox Movie Channel shows it now and then.

 

Personally, I think she should have won her second Oscar for THE SNAKE PIT and her third for THE HEIRESS...and I'm sure many of her fans would agree.

 

Neil

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While I think THE HEIRESS is deHavilland's finest performance, and I particularly like her other Paramount films, TO EACH HIS OWN (which won her her first Oscar), and HOLD BACK THE DAWN (written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett; it was, unfortunately, tripped of one of its most effective scenes when star Charles Boyer objected to a bit where he had to talk to a cockroach), my favorite film of hers is still THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, probably because it's my favorite film, period (parenthetically, it was a remarkable bit of serendipity when I acquired Errol Flynn's sword and Basil Rathbone's truncheon from the film for my collection).

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What is a truncheon? and if you don't mind my asking how did you run across it and the sword(you lucky dog) was it an auction? do you have any other articles you'd wish to tell about. TCM shows the 72 releasing of the props and costumes that MGM had in storage boy I wish I could have been there and with some money. I have the cards baseball style type cards that were giving out at the theatre when Bull Durham came out this is the extent of my collections....

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You're not alone. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is still, after all these years, one of my all-time favorite films. I love the new DVD version with the Ultra-Resolution restoration giving the Technicolor new life. Hard to separate Olivia from the role of Lady Marian. Critics said the role "had the grace to suit her", as if it was tailor-made for the actress.

 

As much as I like HOLD BACK THE DAWN, I don't like the abrupt ending. Must have had something to do with Boyer's uncooperation for the final scene but it ends much too quickly with just a hint of a reunion before the quick fade-out.

 

Neil

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What is a truncheon? and if you don't mind my asking how did you run across it and the sword (you lucky dog) was it an auction? do you have any other articles you'd wish to tell about. TCM shows the 72 releasing of the props and costumes that MGM had in storage boy I wish I could have been there and with some money. I have the cards baseball style type cards that were giving out at the theatre when Bull Durham came out this is the extent of my collections....

 

The truncheon is the mace that Robin shoots out of Sir Guy's hand during their first meeting (made of solid steel, it was damaged by the impact of champion archer Howard Hill's arrow during the scene), and which Sir Guy carries throughout the film (there was also a rubber one, used during the climactic Battle of Nottingham Castle, which Much the Miller's Son uses to cosh the Norman knights and men-at-arms over the head -- though director Michael Curtiz probably didn't care whether actor Herbert Mundin was using the rubber one or not).

 

Like most props, the truncheon and sword were rented by other studios after their ROBIN HOOD duty was done, Often, those outside companies fail to return all they rent, and the props probably lay in the warehouse at Universal Studios for forty years (where they were likely used in 1954's Tony Curtis-Janet Leigh swashbuckler THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH). It was there that I bought them (for the proverbial song) in 1990, along with a lot of swords from SPARTACUS and THE WARLORD.

 

I own a lot of other stuff, most notably one of the last survivng spacesuits from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, which is currently touring the world as part of a traveling exhibit devoted to the life and career of Stanley Kubrick organized by the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

And I, too, wish that I'd been able to attend the MGM auction with a bulging checkbook in my pocket. But the auction took place in 1970, not 1972.

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I'm surprised there isn't more of a response from Olivia de Havilland fans on this one. I realize that Part II (which comes out in April) deals more with the pinnacle of her career and all the award-winning performances, but I did think that Part I (which shows her struggle as an actress at Warner Bros. fighting for better roles) would evoke more of a reponse from all of you classic movie fans who are so anxious to talk about Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Ingrid Bergman. I guess Olivia's career doesn't have the same fireworks (in her personal life) that Bette's and Joan's and Ingrid's did.

 

Anyway, can't help feeling a bit disappointe so far with the response.

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