Thursday, April 13, 2017

As We Were Saying...

It's another installment of celebrity quotes about one another - a favorite go-to topic for me when real life catches up with me, as it has in recent days. It's all good, though, because many of you seem to enjoy these, along with the photos that correspond to each one. So let's let the remarks fly and I'll soon be back with more movie mania...
"Now if I could be David Niven, I'd be content. He knows how to live life. He's charming, he's amusing, he's so up. An up man! I'm sure he's also complicated, but he never lays it on you." JOHN HURT on DAVID NIVEN (costars in Before Winter Comes, 1969)
"I worked one day with her and I quit." - HENRY HATHAWAY (during Of Human Bondage, 1964, on which he actually worked 3 or 4 weeks), "Is Kim Novak a joke in her own time?" - ROBERT ALDRICH (during The Legend of Lylah Clare, 1968), "Frank [Sinatra] was so patient. She was doing her best." - OTTO PREMINGER (on doing 40 takes during The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955), "I don't usually get into battles, but dressing Kim Novak for her role in Mr. Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) put to the test all my training in psychology." - EDITH HEAD. All four ganging up on KIM NOVAK
"I was warned about Kim Novak before I started to work with her. They said she was difficult, fact working with her has been a most pleasant surprise. She has the quality of Monroe and Dietrich and that is remarkable because she was a studio-created star - a nylon artificial thing to be scraped off - something created as a threat to Rita Hayworth." - BILLY WILDER on KIM NOVAK (during Kiss Me, Stupid, 1964)
"She's still so beautiful. She says she's 52. That would make her 12 years old when we made The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) together." BINNIE BARNES on MERLE OBERON (who was twenty-one in 1933 and eight years Barnes junior.)
"If that child had been born in the Middle Ages, she'd have been burned as a witch." - LIONEL BARRYMORE on MARGARET O'BRIEN (costars in Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case, 1943, Three Wise Fools, 1946, and on radio.)
"She was a very happy little girl. The stories you're talking about are probably about when she was very little and had to do a crying scene. You can't just say to a little kid 'Cry,' you have to make them cry, so they would take her off to the side and someone would tell her a terrible story about what they were going to do to her dog or her cat, something really graphic, and she'd get hysterical. It was great on the screen, but I don't think it was good for her nervous system. But she's an extremely sane lady, very down to earth, practical and intelligent." - JUNE ALLYSON on MARGARET O'BRIEN (costars in Music for Millions, 1944, and Little Women, 1949.)
"She looked as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth-or anywhere else." - ELSA LANCHESTER on MAUREEN O'HARA (whose husband Charles Laughton was instrumental in launching O'Hara's screen career.)
"Sir Laurence Olivier is one of the most disciplined, prepared, able and intelligent and cooperative actors I have ever worked with. This may be because he is also a director, and a very good one." - WILLIAM WYLER on LAURENCE OLIVIER (Wyler directed Olivier in Wuthering Heights, 1939, and Carrie, 1952.)
"Larry Olivier is not an actor. He's a chameleon. He wears all that make-up and all those costumes and just disguises himself. Half the time you don't even know it's him." BETTE DAVIS on LAURENCE OLIVIER
"There have been times when I've been ashamed to take the money. But then I think of some of the movies that have given Olivier cash for his old age, and I don't feel so bad." STEWART GRANGER on LAURENCE OLIVIER
"If you had been any prettier, it would have been Florence of Arabia." - NOEL COWARD to PETER O'TOOLE after Lawrence of Arabia (1962.)
"I must say working with Jack Palance was a drag. We were together in The Silver Chalice (1954.) The way he did his work was strange. He was a weird actor, and I didn't like working with him at all. - VIRGINIA MAYO on JACK PALANCE
"The last close-up we shot had also been in the south of France, thirty-eight years ago. She was, I thought, looking younger and more attractive than she did in 1935, and even then she was somewhat more than an eyeful. Several times during that early epic I remember wishing I'd been single." - JOHN MILLS on LILLI PALMER (after Operation Crossbow, 1965, and regarding The First Offense, 1936. Also costars on The Zoo Gang in 1974.)
"She was sweet, but obviously of a different era. A bit grand. She expected things to be done-and she got them done. She was a star. I admired her. But now we're more flexible and it's better. Actors today don't have to live up to such expectations. - GAYLE HUNNICUT on ELEANOR PARKER (costars in Eye of the Cat, 1969.)
"The best actress I ever worked with." - ROGER MOORE on ELEANOR PARKER (costars in Interrupted Melody, 1955.)


Gingerguy said...

As you were saying...These are fun, and provide insight into personalities I am fascinated by. Starting with one of the few exceptions- David Niven, ugh, he is the greatest argument for not learning too much about someone you like. I found "The Moon Is A Balloon" one of his autobiographies, in my building's trash room and read it. Every other page was a homophobic rant of some sort. It turned out, very sadly, that he had been molested in boarding school. He seemed to focus that anger on anyone gay he ever worked with, using choice words. I have trouble watching anything he is in.
Howled with laughter at the consensus on Kim Novak. As a matter of fact I didn't know that Robert Aldrich did "Lylah Clare" which is one of my all time favorite bad movies,(she should have gotten something for that performance, maybe acting lessons). I looked him up and the oeuvre of Aldrich is very startling. He did Flight Of The Phoenix, Baby Jane, Charlotte and The Killing Of Sister George, along with Lylah. Most impressive indeed and could be a gay history course at some college.
Loved the choice of photos for Florence of Arabia. That scene is so vile, with Jose Ferrar giving poor Peter's lily white skin the wrong kind of attention.
I must say Eleanor Powell looks very compelling in that Mata Hari outfit so will look up that movie, and nice to hear another actor say something flattering about her.

Gingerguy said...

oops...forgot to mention Elsa Lanchester on Maureen O'Hara. I wonder at the context but it almost seems like jealousy. She puzzles me. From some things I have read she knew her husband was gay and always did from London in the 30's when they met. Then there was a later autobiography where she laments not having children and blames him for it. This quote seems from the latter camp. Hmmm.

Andrea L. said...

Surprising take on David Niven, Gingerguy. From what I understand, his later years were fairly shitty which is when I presume he wrote his autobiography. His first wife died in a strange accident while playing hide and seek (!) and his second marriage was chocked full of dra-mah and lots of drinking. I do like him in The Moon Is Blue. Truly an underrated film with all around great performances and a somewhat tragic leading lady.

I've only heard a few quibbles about Kim Novak being difficult. What did that woman do that irritated people so? I need the vintage gossip! I have her box set and I gotta say, she ain't Joan Crawford but she's not as awful as some people make her out to be. I think she just took the wrong parts far too often - I mean, Jeanne Eagels?!? The hell were you thinking, Kim? She got a lot of flack last time she showed up the Oscars with her "new" face. Yikes!

Was Bette Davis physically incapable of saying anything nice about anyone? Sheesh! Oh, and her homophobic, hate filled daughter has new gossip about Mummy - now she's saying Bette practiced witchcraft! Oh BD, if that were true, she would have turned you into a hateful old miserable toad years ago. Oh, wait.....

Margaret O'Brien - I want to like her, I really do but the way she talked as a child. Her mouth did this weird thing where she showed all her teeth or something. I can't explain it but I can't not focus on it. Oddly, she doesn't do it now!

Never cared for Jack Palance though he was sufficiently creepy in Sudden Fear. Didn't he go on a misogynistic rant on a talk show once? Even as a kid, I thought he seemed like an asshole.

joel65913 said...

Wonderous as always Poseidon! I'd often heard and read that Kim Novak could be a prickly personality borne of a mixture of insecurity, a desire for privacy and conversely when challenged a will of iron. Strange how people with a passion for solitude are often drawn to such a public profession.

I always loved Binnie Barnes! She had a distinctive way of speaking which fit her gestures so well, she could play the snooty bitch and the bubbly gadabout with equal ease. I recently saw a rerun of her guest appearance on Johnny Carson when she was promoting her last film 40 Carats and she was a charmer, down to earth, funny and wonderfully direct. Relating to her quote about Merle Binnie offered up her age during the interview without hesitation. Then again she had no reason for it to concern her, she was long and happily married to an extremely successful and wealthy producer and only worked when it tickled her fancy so the issues other actresses might have had didn't apply to her.

I was never terribly enamored of Margaret O'Brien outside of Meet Me in St. Louis. She came across as so precious. I'm not surprised that she didn't make a successful jump to adult stardom. Unlike Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin, Natalie Wood and Elizabeth Taylor the qualities that made her stand out as a kid faded away as she matured much like Patty McCormack and Peggy Ann Garner.

I don't see the Bette Davis quote about Olivier as being particularly derogatory. He did often work to subsume himself into his parts and unlike Bette could at times disappear into a role. He was distinctive but not as much so as Davis who might be able to be varied but was always Bette Davis. She seemed to admire his ability to do something she couldn't.

I wouldn't imagine anyone enjoyed working on The Silver Chalice, Paul Newman certainly didn't!, but love the quote from Virginia Mayo. Palance seemed like he'd be a different sort of guy who it might present a challenge to be around.

Wonderful quote from Gayle Hunnicut. If I'm reading it right she nicely says that Eleanor Parker was something of an Iron Butterfly, a gracious lady who got things done by setting an expectation and with a certain air of a steel hand in a velvet glove made them happen. Which is perfect since that's always how I imagined she and many of those other grand dames of classic cinema would conduct themselves. Delicious!

A said...

I read the Davis comment about Olivier as a complement. Another great post, Poseidon!

Poseidon3 said...

Yesterday morning I wrote a H-U-G-E response to all of you and today it isn't here, so I guess it didn't take somehow...! :::sigh:::

Gingerguy, I don't know for certain if I ever read The Moon's a Balloon. I think I got a paperback of his second memoir Bring on the Empty Horses and it was before i was very knowledgeable about old Hollywood people, so I sort of skimmed through it. I do recall that Niven was accused of taking all these stories and acting as if he was there or they happened with him and many of them didn't! He's not an actor who ever really spoke to me very much. As for Aldrich, he also directed "Sodom and Gomorrah!" Not that it lived up to its name... I didn't see "Phoenix" until maybe six or seven years ago and I was impressed. I thought I'd hate it, but I didn't at all. Eleanor Parker's costumes in "Interrupted Melody" are chiefly seen as she's performing long opera numbers. Otherwise, she has a short '50s 'do. But I enjoy the movie in any case and it's fun to see her done up as a brunette, redhead, white blonde, etc... and in the flashy costumes. As for Lanchester, I think it just rubbed her the wrong way, whatever her husband's proclivities, that he was so obsessed with O'Hara, who was the diametric opposite of her, and devoted a lot of energy to building her career up. The animosity lasted a long time!

Andrea, that accident that took Primmie's life was just bizarre and so sudden/freak. She opened a "closet" door to hide in the dark, but it was actually a steep set of steps to the basement and she fell to her death. Very sad. Novak had a lot to prove early on and probably rubbed some people who underestimated her the wrong way. I don't know that she ever proved it, though she is beloved by many. She left the biz with a fair amount of repressed baggage and anger, but I'm glad she's found a new sort of happiness in the wilderness with her husband and dogs. I enjoy O'Brien a lot, but I can also see why some people are annoyed by her. I must say I don't have any use for her as an adult actress, though. I felt that she was rather stunning as a child performer. Palance was so intense and downright scary at times!

Joel, I chose the photos of Barnes and Oberon that are maybe a year apart and even with Barnes being 8 years older, I think she looks better! She didn't need all the crazy procedures that Oberon underwent (though I am obsessed with Merle as an older actress!) Barnes is strangely unknown and underappreciated I think. I first saw her when checking out early versions of "Last of the Mohicans" and "The Three Musketeers" and she was a very diverse performer. Olivier LOVED to change his appearance for roles, even ones that didn't require it. I can relate to that. I have acted in about 40 plays/musicals and I am not comfortable at all if I just look like myself. I have to do something to augment the canvas in order to inhabit another character. I think he wanted to be in another skin when on stage or in a movie. The thing about Hunnicut is that while she says it's "better" now because things are more flexible and actors don't have to be as grand or as exacting... but who knows who she is or where she is?! Parker did land three Oscar nominations and was popular for close to forty years. When the star system diminished, we wound up with many dispensable performers who had little support (and in some cases training) to see them through the long haul. Hunnicut was undeniably beautiful, but her career petered out rather swiftly.

Thanks, A! We're down into the "P's" now, so there aren't too, too many to go!