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having just seen part of a documentary (have another cigarette) on the dirigible that was Bette Davis (even though I admire her) and the slavish press afforded her,

 

AND

 

having seen just recently two Ann Harding movies (taped) and her understated, muted brilliance at the acting profession,

 

I am curious.......

 

why didn't she eclipse some of the bigger blowhards of the era? Most notably, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Greta 'can I be more pompous?' Garbo?

 

My heavens, my stars, Ann Harding was wonderful, on a par, in my eyes, with Carole Lombard, if not better. She was brilliant.

 

Thanks, TCM, that even despite all of your recent highjinks with Anime and Sonny and Cher and your new bent towards craptastic 'reality' shows (yes, this is the beginning of the end folks, make no mistake), for opening these old weary eyes to the glory that was Ann Harding.

 

Breathtaking, she was, to look at and to listen to.

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Unfortunately she was type cast in the same type of roles .So, I guess she gave up on acting, only to return as a more mature actress. But, by then she wasn't as popular as she was earlier in her career. What a waste of great talent.

 

vallo

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Ann Harding is indeed one of the best and most appealing actresses of the Classic Era and continued giving excellent performances, well into the 1950s (she made her debut in films in 1929)- check the 1956 excellent drama "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (in which she was cast as Fredric March's wife, with whom she had starred in of her very first films, 1929's "Paris Bound")

 

It's fantastic that TCM's Library owns the rights of many of her 1929-1937 pictures, because most of them were produced by Path?, RKO and MGM. I loved her in "The Animal Kingdom", "The Life of Vergie Winters" (it's scheduled in June so check it), "Devotion", "Love From a Stranger" and "Peter Ibbetson". She's even worthwhile in some creaky very early talkies released in 1929 such as "Her Private Affair" and "Condemned". I have yet to see her in "When Ladies Meet", "The Flame Within", "Biography Of A Bachelor Girl", "Enchanted April", "Holiday"...all of which belong to TCM's Library.

 

She was a first magnitude star during the Early Talkies Era (1929-1934, more or less). Why her stardom did not last is a mystery to me, because she was an excellent actress; she was also classy, beautiful, elegant, charming, apt for playing comedy and drama. She had a natural, unaffected acting style and her performances seem very modern today in comparison with another actresses of the same period.

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I agree, feaito. I only have seen The Flame Within and a bit of Biography Of A Bachelor Girl, but was mesmerized with her. I always find it amazing that a good actor, a really good actor, can reach such depths with the most minimal of actions or expression or voice inflection. Compared to so many others in her era, I feel fortunate for having been made witness to her.

 

I thank you for the note on Vergie Winters. I would also like to see her in Holiday and When Ladies Meet, as I'm sure her style would transcend both Crawford and Hepburn.

 

This from a comment on imdb.com on the latter film: Kudos though to Harding - one of our most unsung and finest actresses.

 

How true, how very true.

 

dolores

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"one of our most unsung and finest actresses." Beautiful statement Dolores and how very true.

 

Ann combined in her being the quality of a first magnitude, beautiful, alluring star with first-rank acting ability. For example, she would have been perfect as Nina in MGM's 1932 "Strange Interlude". Don't get me wrong, I love Shearer (she is a fave of mine too, especially in sophisticated comedies), but she was definitely out of her depth here. That role required the innate, natural talent that Ms. Harding possessed. I have also read that many film buffs liked better Harding's 1930 version of "Holiday" than Kate's 1938 version.

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  • 7 months later...

I recently watched The Animal Kingdom starring Ann Harding, Leslie Howard and Myrna Loy. What a fun precode this was! Howard is a bit of a prodigal son who has been living in Europe with Harding--unmarried. He comes home and gets engaged to, and marries, Loy. Harding shows up in New York, complicating matters. I won't spoil it, but will just say that it didn't have the conventional ending that I would've expected had the film been made in the post-code era.

 

I, too, was struck by Ann Harding's beauty, grace and naturalness. Why didn't she become a bigger star?

 

Sandy K

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Isn't it amazing, sandykaypax? I guess politics and the good ole' boy/girl system existed then even as it exists today. It seems Ms. Harding bowed out early from the acting profession, I wonder how much of that was due to her not wanting to play games?

 

It must have taken a woman with the iron cojones of a Davis to fight the old boy immigrant iron fist run studio system to stay in business, and it appears that Ms. Harding didn't want to do that.

 

Whatever her reasons, she left us with only a few performances by comparison but they were gold indeed. She was luminescent in her beauty and grace, and so far superior to everyone else in talent that she left me speechless (but only for a time :) ). Her understated mannerisms and reactions left everyone else in the dust.

 

Fortunately for me, I managed to tape The Animal Kingdom before TCM was kidnapped by Cablevision, so I'll have to be sure to watch it.

 

By the way, helllllooooooo feaito, and Happy New Year to you!

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