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jean arthur - any other fans?

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charliechaplinfan
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jean arthur - any other fans?

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 9th, 2008, 5:43 pm

I've recently discovered Jean Arthur in films such as Only Angels Have Wings, Mr Deeds Goes To Town, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, History is Made At Night and lastly Talk Of The Town

Does anyone have a favorite Jean Arthur film or scene?

Inthe Talk Of The Town she completely stole the film from Cary Grant and Ronald Colman (although they were good too).

I think she has an utterly gorgeous voice too.

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Postby knitwit45 » March 9th, 2008, 7:11 pm

My favorite scene of hers is with Joel McCrea in The More, The Merrier They are sitting on the front stoop of her apartment, and "necking"...literally. It is one of the most sensual, and yet truly funny scenes in any movie - ever!


WHEW!!!! :oops:

Nancy

and the rest of the movie is great!

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Postby stuart.uk » March 10th, 2008, 3:24 am

along with Maureen O'Hara and Barbara Stanwyck i think Jean Arthur ws before her time in the sense she was a great action heroine in The Plainsman and the underrated Arizona

one of the amazing things about Arizona was you don't really notice she's 18-yrs older than her co-star William Holden. however, there is one thing about the film i'm uneasy with. for three quarters of the film we see Arthur fighting her own battles, running her freight outfit from the back of a horse, or going after two men after they robbed her house, carrying a rifle and a whip. yet when she called William Warren a thief, she told him she had a man to anwser for her. during the course of the film there is nothing to suggest Holden's any better with a gun than she is. now while the film ended with Holden killing Warren in a gunfight, what if it had been the other way round. would Athur have accepted it. or would she again go back to fighting her own battles and challege Warren to a second gunfight

i think she's an unselfish actress. though she was the bigger star, she let James Stewart have the picture in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

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Postby movieman1957 » March 10th, 2008, 6:21 am

Stuart:

I agree with you about the age difference in "Arizona." She certainly didn't look that much older but knowing her age made it hard to take it.

Like Nancy, my favorite scene is on the stoop in "The More The Merrier." I think it wildly erotic. (McCrea doesn't get enough credit for this and other comedies he did.) Another is in "You Can't Take It With You" when they are in a restaurant and Jimmy is excited and he feels "it" down in his toes and it works his way up through his body and finally he feels like he could scream and just as he is about to (but not really) Jean cuts loose with one that brings the whole place to a grinding halt. Their reactions are priceless.

Other fine Arthur films to see are "Easy Living" (on TCM next month), "A Foreign Affair" (directed by Billy Wilder) and "Too Many Husbands" (a kind of "My Favorite Wife.) Also, check out "The Ex-Mrs. Bradford."
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Postby Dawtrina » March 10th, 2008, 9:31 am

stuart.uk wrote:one of the amazing things about Arizona was you don't really notice she's 18-yrs older than her co-star William Holden. however, there is one thing about the film i'm uneasy with. for three quarters of the film we see Arthur fighting her own battles, running her freight outfit from the back of a horse, or going after two men after they robbed her house, carrying a rifle and a whip. yet when she called William Warren a thief, she told him she had a man to anwser for her. during the course of the film there is nothing to suggest Holden's any better with a gun than she is. now while the film ended with Holden killing Warren in a gunfight, what if it had been the other way round. would Athur have accepted it. or would she again go back to fighting her own battles and challege Warren to a second gunfight


heh, welcome to Hollywood under the code. There's a lot to enjoy about Arizona, not least Jean Arthur herself, but this part of it is frankly ridiculous and it spoiled the movie for me. In fact, it reflects an attitude that was very much forced on the country half a decade later when the troops came back from World War II to find that women had been coping quite fine without them. The message was that women are perfectly adequate in a pinch and can do anything that men can do, but once the big strong men come home, they should happily forget about doing all the manly stuff and go back to the kitchen sink. I always found that message hugely insulting in real life and it's no different on film in Arizona.

Jean Arthur herself was a wonderful actress. I've seen her play a wide variety of roles in a wide variety of films and she's always delivered the goods. Only Angels Have Wings is a favourite of mine, though for a lot more reasons than just Jean. I really enjoyed her specifically in A Foreign Affair and The Devil in Miss Jones [Edit: Yep, The Devil AND Miss Jones].
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Postby knitwit45 » March 10th, 2008, 9:32 am

Freudian slip there, Dawtrina! It's The Devil AND Miss Jones :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby charliechaplinfan » March 10th, 2008, 9:57 am

I think I'm going to have to rent The More The Merrier I don't think The Devil and Miss Jones has had a dvd region 2 release yet.

Thanks for the tips. Particularly regarding The Devil and Miss Jones which I know is in another thread but it's not a mistake I want to make. I've got a birthday soon so I might get family to order off Mrketplace. Better do The Devil and Miss Jones myself then I know I'll get the right one.

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Postby knitwit45 » March 10th, 2008, 10:23 am

Charlie, you will like "The More The Merrier" it is set in Washington DC during WWII, and a lot of the comedy is based on the shortages experienced at that time...Jobs, Housing and Men... Charles Coburn is absolutely at his best in this one! and as I mentioned before, the chemistry between Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea.....WHEW!!!!!

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Postby Ann Harding » March 10th, 2008, 10:40 am

I am also a fan of Jean Arthur, as you have probably guessed by now! :D
Funnily enough, she made her first pictures during the silent era. I have somewhere a vintage mag where she is modelling a little hat. If I can find the picture I'll scan it for you. When she tested for sound, she was appalled. She thought she sounded like a foghorn!!!! :lol: It's quite funny as her throaty voice is one of her most endearing features.
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The Devil and Miss Jones is not yet available on DVD alas. But, it was released on VHS in the US.
Easy Leaving is coming out on DVD in April. 8)
One of her films which I have never seen and would like very much to see is The Whole Town's Talking (1935) a John Ford with E.G. Robinson. :)

All her Capra films and Stevens are super! :D

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Postby moira finnie » March 10th, 2008, 10:47 am

Honestly, I can never make up my mind about whether or not I truly enjoy Jean Arthur.

I like some of her movies, especially Diamond Jim, You Can't Take It With You, History Is Made At Night and Only Angels Have Wings, but the appeal of these films is primarily for the storytelling skill and the ensemble of actors around her rather than the hardworking actress herself. Though I want to enjoy her films, my visceral reaction to her is a nagging feeling "if only she could relax a bit", but I'll keep trying to enjoy her.

I've seen many more of her movies than those listed here as well. I revisit some of them periodically, hoping that my reaction to her will be a bit more positive, and I'll appreciate her more. Does anyone else find themselves feeling this way?
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Postby knitwit45 » March 10th, 2008, 11:11 am

Didn't she suffer excruciating stage fright? I thought I read somewhere that it took every ounce of determination and will power she had, to step in front of the cameras. Am I wrong on this?

Nancy[/b]

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Postby moira finnie » March 10th, 2008, 11:20 am

I did read in the well written biography by John Oller, "Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew", that stage fright was a constant in the actress' life. Perhaps that explains her apparent tension. I know several people who find her naturalistic, modern speech pattern and her interesting voice to be part of her appeal. It does seem less mannered than "grander" style actresses.
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Postby feaito » March 10th, 2008, 11:49 am

Jean Arthur is one of my favorite actresses too. For me, her unique voice is one of her main assets.

When I saw her in the 1930 film "The Silver Horde" I wondered how on earth she could evolve into the wonderful actress she became around 1935. Impressive.

I also agree in that she always looked far younger than her actual age. In the 1943 masterpiece "The More the Merrier" she really looked so young. She was 43 and looked 30; and women over 40 in those days tended to look their age or older, not like nowadays when you can find women in their late 60s looking like being 49 and without having had any plastic surgery, true!

I think that the aforementioned "The More the Merrier" is one of the best, sexiest, most romantic comedies ever filmed during the Golden Days. Arthur's and McCrea chemistry is fantastic. In their scenes together they ignite the screen. The porch scene is one of the best romantic scenes I've ever seen. The sexual tension between both actors is incredible.

I agree in that Joel McCrea has been vastly and unfairly underrated in a similar way than Fred MacMurray has. They both were very good in romantic comedies and Joel was great in westerns too.

I read John Oller's Biography of Jean and I also found it a good read.

I'm looking forward to buying and watching for the first time "Easy Living". Some months ago I missed "A Foreign Affair" (1948) and "Shane" (1953); an unforgivable gaffe on my part.

I cannot think of a film in which Miss Arthur has appeared which is not a favorite of mine.

Among the recently discovered gems of hers are "History is Made at Night" (1937) (a Borzage masterpiece)"The Devil and Miss Jones" (1941) (F-L-A-W-L-E-S-S), "The Ex Mrs. Bradford" (1936) (absolutely delightful opposite the equally wonderful and extremely talented Bill Powell). "The Talk of the Town" (1942) is a kind of an offbeat film that I liked a lot and that it's worth revisiting more times. I liked Cary's impersonation of a different type of character than the ones he used to play.

Good films that do not amount to gems but which I have enjoyed very much are "Arizona" (1940) and "A Lady Takes a Chance" (1943) opposite the Duke.

Of her typical, better known films my favorites are "The Plainsman" (1936), a guilty pleasure since my childhood, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936) and "Only Angels Have Wings" (1939).
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Postby Classic Redhead » March 10th, 2008, 1:24 pm

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Jean Arthur (October 17, 1900 – June 19, 1991) was an Oscar-nominated American actress and a major film star of the 1930s and 1940s. She remains, arguably, the epitome of the female screwball comedy actress. "No one was more closely identified with the screwball comedy than Jean Arthur. So much was she part of it, so much was her star personality defined by it, that the screwball style itself seems almost unimaginable without her."[1]

Arthur is best known for her feature roles in three Frank Capra films:Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, You Can't Take It With You, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, films that were not only part of the screwball comedy genre but also championed the everyday heroine.

Arthur was born Gladys Georgianna Greene in Plattsburgh, New York to Johanna Augusta Nelson and Hubert Sidney Greene. She lived off and on in Westbrook, Maine from 1908 to 1915 while her father worked at Lamson Studios in Portland, Maine as a photographer. The product of a nomadic childhood, Arthur also lived at times in Jacksonville, Florida; Schenectady, New York; and, during a portion of her high school years, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan. She came from a family of three older brothers. Her maternal grandparents were immigrants from Norway[2] who settled in the American West. She reputedly took her stage name from two of her greatest heroes, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc) and King Arthur.

Presaging many of her later film roles, she worked as a stenographer on Bond Street in lower Manhattan during World War I.

Discovered by Fox Film Studios while she was doing commercial modeling in New York City in the early 1920s, Arthur debuted in the silent film Cameo Kirby (1923), directed by John Ford, and made a few low-budget silent westerns and short comedies. She was selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1929, but she became stuck in ingénue roles. It was her distinctive, throaty voice – in addition to some stage training on Broadway in the early 1930s – that helped made her a star in the talkies.

In 1935, at age 34, she starred opposite Edward G. Robinson in the gangster farce The Whole Town's Talking, also directed by Ford, and her popularity began to rise. By then, her hair, naturally brunette throughout the silent film portion of her career, was bleached blonde and would stay that way. Like Claudette Colbert, she was famous for maneuvering to be photographed and filmed almost exclusively from the left; both actresses felt that their left was their best side, and worked hard to keep it in the fore. In fact, producer Harry Cohn is reputed to have described Jean Arthur's imbalanced profile as "one side angel, the other side horse."

The turning point in Jean Arthur's career came when she was chosen by director Frank Capra to star in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Capra had spotted her in a daily rush[3] from the film Whirlpool in 1934[4] and convinced Columbia Studios head Harry Cohn to sign her for his next film as a tough newspaperwoman who falls in love with a country bumpkin millionaire. Arthur costarred in three celebrated 1930s Capra films: her role opposite Gary Cooper in 1936 in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town made her a star, while her fame was cemented with You Can't Take It With You (1938) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939, both with James Stewart. She was reteamed with Cooper, playing Calamity Jane in Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman (1936), and appeared as a working girl, her typical role, in Mitchell Leisen's 1937 screwball comedy Easy Living opposite Ray Milland. So strong was her box office appeal by 1939 that she was one of four finalists that year for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind; the film's producer, David O. Selznick, had briefly romanced Arthur in the late 1920s when they both were with Paramount Pictures.

She continued to star in films such as Howard Hawks' Only Angels Have Wings in 1939, with love interest Cary Grant, 1942's The Talk of the Town, directed by George Stevens (also with Grant), and again for Stevens as a government clerk in 1943's The More the Merrier, for which Jean Arthur was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (losing to Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette). As a result of being in the doghouse with studio boss Harry Cohn, her fee for The Talk of the Town (1942) was only $50,000 while her male co-stars Grant and Ronald Colman received upwards of $100,000 each. Arthur remained Columbia's top star until the mid-1940s, when she left the studio and Rita Hayworth took over as the studio's reigning queen. Stevens famously called her "one of the greatest comediennes the screen has ever seen", while Capra credited her as "my favorite actress".[5]

Arthur "retired" when her contract with Columbia Pictures expired in 1944. She reportedly ran through the studio's streets, shouting "I'm free, I'm free!" For the next several years, she turned down virtually all film offers, the two exceptions being Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair (1948), in which she played a congresswoman and rival of Marlene Dietrich, and as a homesteader's wife in the classic Western Shane (1953), which turned out to be the biggest box-office hit of her career. The latter was her final film and coincidentally, the only color film in her repertoire.[6]

Arthur's post-retirement work in theater was intermittent, somewhat curtailed by her longstanding shyness and discomfort about her chosen profession.[7] Capra claimed she vomited in her dressing room between scenes, yet emerged each time to perform a flawless take. According to John Oller's biography Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew (1997), Arthur developed a kind of stage fright punctuated with bouts of psychosomatic illnesses. A prime example was in 1945, when she was cast in the lead of the Garson Kanin play Born Yesterday. Her nerves and insecurity got the better of her and she left the production before it reached Broadway, opening the door for Judy Holliday to take the part.

Arthur did score a major triumph on Broadway in 1950, starring in an adaptation of Peter Pan playing the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up when she was almost 50. She tackled the role of her namesake, Joan of Arc, in a 1954 stage production of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, but she left the play after a nervous breakdown and battles with director Harold Clurman.

In 1966, the extremely reclusive Arthur tentatively returned to show business as an attorney on a TV sitcom, The Jean Arthur Show, which was cancelled mid-season by CBS after only 11 episodes.

In 1967, she was coaxed back to Broadway to appear as a midwestern spinster who falls in with a group of hippies in the play The Freaking Out of Stephanie Blake. William Goldman, in his book The Season reconstructed the disastrous production, which eventually closed during previews when Arthur refused to go on.

Arthur next decided to teach drama, first at Vassar College and then the North Carolina School of the Arts. While living in North Carolina she made front page news by being arrested and tossed in jail for trespassing on a neighbor's property to console a dog she felt was being mistreated. An animal lover her entire life, Arthur said she trusted them more than people.

She turned down the role of the lady missionary in Lost Horizon (1973), the unsuccessful musical remake of the 1937 film of the same name. At the Yale Law School Film Society weekend with Capra in 1972, she attended a small afternoon symposium at his invitation. He urged her to stay for the screening that night, and assured her the audience would be delighted and overwhelmingly enthusiastic. She declined because, she said, she had to go home and feed her cats.

In 1975, the Broadway hit play First Monday in October, about the first female Supreme Court justice, was written especially with Arthur in mind, but once again, she succumbed to extreme stage fright and quit the production shortly into its out-of-town run in Cleveland. She then retired for good, retreating to her ocean home in Carmel, California, steadfastly refusing interviews until her resistance was broken down by the author of a book on her one-time director Capra (she once famously said that she’d rather have her throat slit than do an interview).

Arthur is portrayed by Vicki Belmonte in the TV film The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980).

Her first marriage, to photographer Julian Anker in 1928, was annulled after one day. She married producer Frank Ross Jr. in 1932. They divorced in 1949. Arthur did not have any children.

Jean Arthur died from heart failure at the age of 90. Her ashes were scattered at sea near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6331 Hollywood Blvd. The Jean Arthur Atrium was her gift to the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

Upon her death film reviewer Charles Chaplin wrote the following in the Los Angeles Times:

To at least one teenager in a small town (though I’m sure we were a multitude), Jean Arthur suggested strongly that the ideal woman could be — ought to be — judged by her spirit as well as her beauty… The notion of the woman as a friend and confidante, as well as someone you courted and were nuts about, someone whose true beauty was internal rather than external, became a full-blown possibility as we watched Jean Arthur.

In January 2007, Turner Classic Movies aired a 17-film tribute to Jean Arthur calling her "the quintessential comedic leading lady."
*~*True beauty dwells in deep retreats,
Whose veil is unremoved,
Till heart with heart in concord beats,
And the lover is beloved.*~*

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Classic Redhead
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Postby Classic Redhead » March 10th, 2008, 1:29 pm

She was so cute and lovely! I love anything she was in, here are a few lovely pics of Jean...

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*~*True beauty dwells in deep retreats,
Whose veil is unremoved,
Till heart with heart in concord beats,
And the lover is beloved.*~*


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