Joan Fontaine

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Oscar-Winning Actress Joan Fontaine Passes, Aged 96


Joan Fontaine

Joan Fontaine may not be as well remembered today as she aught to be, but on Sunday, 15 December, the world lost one of its finest female actresses when the three-time Oscar nominee passed away at her home in Carmel, California. One of the 1940's most fondly held stars, Fontaine died in her home due to natural reasons, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed, at the age of 96.

The Women
Fontaine (R) appears in The Women

Fontaine's death was confirmed by her assistant, Susan Pfeiffer, to THR soon after the screen veteran had passed on, confirming that Fontaine had died of old age. Although her career lasted until the mid-1990's, with her last credit coming for the TV movie Good King Wenceslas in 1994, it is her career in the 1940's that will ensure Fontaine's name continues to live on.

Continue reading: Oscar-Winning Actress Joan Fontaine Passes, Aged 96

The Women (1939) Review


Excellent
Although one could have fun imagining a film in which Rosalind Russell and Joan Crawford are simply tossed into a tiger cage and fight to the death, the 1939 film The Women will do just fine in its stead. Adapted from the hit stage play by Clare Booth Luce, it's a gabby, urbane comedy that takes a (for its time, especially) steadfast look at adultery, divorce, and why men court idiocy with such abandon. It also takes its title quite seriously, with not a single male appearing onscreen.

The film is powered by a can't-miss trio of top-line actresses, all playing to their strengths. Norma Shearer is the gentle and naïve Mary Haines, whose husband Stephen has been stepping out on her with Crystal Allen (Crawford, at 35 maybe a little long in the tooth to play a perfume counter girl, but you try telling her that...), a fact that is known to everybody in New York save Mary due to the gossipy efforts of Sylvia Fowler (Russell, firing on all bitchy cylinders). It's a slow build-up to Mary's discovery of the truth, with an intricate elaboration of the social circle she runs in and the backstabbing that it's rife with - her purported friends making absolutely sure that not only does she find out the awful truth, but that they're there to witness her reaction.

Continue reading: The Women (1939) Review

Gunga Din Review


Excellent
Modern viewers will recognize Gunga Din primarily as the film that inspired Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -- and from which Indy borrows heavily. This heavy action/adventure offers three British soldiers (Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) on assignment in India, where they eventually face off against the evil Thuggee cult. The helpful manservant Gunga Din shadows them -- and saves the day. A little jingoistic today, the film is nonetheless a critical standard-bearer of historical adventure flicks, and a quite funny one too.

The Women Review


Excellent
Although one could have fun imagining a film in which Rosalind Russell and Joan Crawford are simply tossed into a tiger cage and fight to the death, the 1939 film The Women will do just fine in its stead. Adapted from the hit stage play by Clare Booth Luce, it's a gabby, urbane comedy that takes a (for its time, especially) steadfast look at adultery, divorce, and why men court idiocy with such abandon. It also takes its title quite seriously, with not a single male appearing onscreen.

The film is powered by a can't-miss trio of top-line actresses, all playing to their strengths. Norma Shearer is the gentle and naïve Mary Haines, whose husband Stephen has been stepping out on her with Crystal Allen (Crawford, at 35 maybe a little long in the tooth to play a perfume counter girl, but you try telling her that...), a fact that is known to everybody in New York save Mary due to the gossipy efforts of Sylvia Fowler (Russell, firing on all bitchy cylinders). It's a slow build-up to Mary's discovery of the truth, with an intricate elaboration of the social circle she runs in and the backstabbing that it's rife with - her purported friends making absolutely sure that not only does she find out the awful truth, but that they're there to witness her reaction.

Continue reading: The Women Review

Suspicion Review


Excellent
Hitchcock's Suspicion is vintage a Hitch mystery, a whodunnit that's more did-he-do-it than anything else.

Cary Grant is his dashing usual self in this outing, a handsome devil who's just a bit too smarmy for his own good. He's got a history of womanizing, gambling, and dodgy business deals, but he nonetheless catches the eye of the mildly mousy but very wealthy Joan Fontaine, who immediately swoons for him. Almost immediately, they marry, and Fontaine promptly starts to suspect ulterior motives -- namely that Cary's going to kill her and/or good friend "Beaky" (the inimitable Nigel Bruce) for insurance money or other financial gain.

Continue reading: Suspicion Review

Joan Fontaine

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