Thursday, November 29, 2007

She got her Oscar for
"The Bad and The Beautiful"

I didn't much like her as the shallow annoying Rosemary in that film so I didn't mind when she died in the end with that Gauchoh fella.

But god what an actress that Gloria Grahame was!

I'm glad I know you George Bailey.

Shes gone too.

Her favoriate picture of mine is "In a Lonely Place" with Humphrey Bogart. She was a looker then. He was a looker then. I was a hooker then. They was in love, just a little too hard.

I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.

Sheesh they don't write dailogue like that anymore.

And it just wasn't meant to be. Life can be like that. What were we talkin about again? Oh ya Gloria Grahame as Vi in Its a wonderful life.

Violet: I like him.
Mary: You like every boy.
Violet: What's wrong with that?


Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever understood Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

No American actress epitomizes the Hollywood stereotype of the bad girl better than Gloria Grahame. With her pouting lips, inviting eyes, and seductive physical presence, she played every variation on the fallen woman: the unfaithful wife, the bar tramp, the prostitute with mob connections, the femme fatale. It is the intelligence and depth of characterization that Grahame brings to each of these seemingly clich├ęd roles that enabled her to transcend a one-dimensional sexual stereotype.

Crossfire was the first of several postwar thrillers that established Grahame as the ideal film noir icon. As Ginny, the pathetic cafe hostess who lives in a night world of bars and casual pick-ups, Grahame embodies the disillusionment and cynicism inherent in this genre. More decadent and sexually aggressive versions of the Ginny character would surface later in dark melodramas such as Sudden Fear, Human Desire, and Odds against Tomorrow. In Sudden Fear Grahame goads Jack Palance into a murder scheme and at the same time demands that he crush her when they kiss. In Human Desire she taunts her cuckolded husband with sordid details of her sexual exploits until he explodes with murderous rage. In Odds Against Tomorrow, as a prelude to sex with Robert Ryan, she begs him to describe how it feels to kill someone. In these films, her sexuality is used as a corrupting influence and accents the mood of fatalism.

Possibly her finest work in the film noir cycle is in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat and Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place. In the Lang film, Grahame gives an unforgettable performance as a streetwise prostitute who is disfigured by her hoodlum boyfriend for associating with a policeman. Her transformation from the vain call girl to the horribly scarred mob informer is made all the more moving by her realization that she will never be totally accepted into any social order. Her only salvation is death, thus completing the metamorphosis from whore to martyr and confirming once again the 1950s Hollywood dictum that the only road to respectability for a sexual outlaw is oblivion.

Similar to The Big Heat in its harsh, sleazy atmosphere, In a Lonely Place also represents a cold and hostile universe where the basic goodness in the main characters is often negated by their destructive impulses. Grahame gives a brilliant performance, alternating between passionate longing and paranoia, as a secretive woman without romantic illusions who finds herself reaching out to a man who may be a murderer (Humphrey Bogart). The unbearable sexual tension that grows between Grahame and Bogart as their romance crumbles into a nightmare of distrust and futility is used to great advantage by director Ray, then her husband. As in most of Ray's films, he was able to find tenderness and love in the midst of alienation and despair but without a victory for the former values.

Apart from Grahame's invaluable contributions to the film noir, she is probably most familiar to filmgoers as the unfaithful wife. Although she played this role to perfection in major films such as The Greatest Show on Earth and Man on a Tightrope, her best rendition of the married hussy was in Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Unfortunately, Grahame's sultry looks proved to be a dubious asset for her Hollywood career. Blessed with the makings of a great actress, she was given few opportunities to broaden her range. It is evident that she had the potential to become a great comedienne, judging from her early work in Without Love, Merton of the Movies, and particularly Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. In the Capra film Grahame shows delightful comic timing and spunk in her few scenes as a small town flirt. It was not until someone had the inspired idea to cast her as Ado Annie in Fred Zinnemann's Oklahoma! that Grahame was able to live up to the promise of those early performances and prove that she had a natural affinity for musical comedy.

After 1959 Grahame went through a disappointing 20-year period of accepting roles in low-budget horror films and thrillers; the nadir of her career may have been Mama's Dirty Girls in 1974. It was her appearance on television in Rich Man, Poor Man in 1976 that revived her screen career. After 1979, Grahame appeared in two critically acclaimed features, Melvin and Howard (in which she has an odd nonspeaking role) and Chilly Scenes of Winter. Her witty performance in the latter film veers from black comedy to gentle pathos, Grahame flaunting her blond seductress image and intimating that she was capable of more than she was ever allowed to be. As the neurotic, sexy mother of John Heard, Grahame sits fully clothed in a full bathtub, threatening to commit suicide and muttering, "I'm not dead yet!"

—Jeff Stafford,

Rose Marie said...

"I didn't much like her as the shallow annoying Rosemary in that film...

Ever since junior high you've whined about my figure and clothes and recipes and angel figurine collection - will you just GROW UP ALREADY!

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

In a Lonely Place... so good...

Humphrey Bogart: "You like the love scene I wrote? Well that's because they're not always telling each other how much in love they are. A good love scene should be about something else besides love. For instance, this one. Me fixing grapefruit. You sitting over there, dopey, half-asleep. Anyone looking at us could tell we're in love."