JackFavell wrote:God it sounds wonderful, if exhausting! I'd love to have had a chance to learn all that!
Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Me, too! What a comprehensive program. Amazing how dedicated he was.
charliechaplinfan wrote:Wow, he deserved to make it doing all that hard work.
What is really amazing is that during most of this dramatic training Andrews was a single father to a small boy, David, who was born in 1933. Dana's first wife, Janet, died of pneumonia in 1935. Tragically, she was pregnant at the time, and had given birth to a baby during her illness, though the infant soon died. The struggling young man was plagued with guilt over this incomprehensible tragedy--in part because their marriage had been under a strain and her family was quite well off, unlike his own (Dana helped out his parents and siblings financially and with moral support whenever he could during this sketchy stage of his longed-for career).
Despite all the pressures on him, Andrews still had the determination to pursue what many might have seen as an ephemeral goal in the midst of the Depression. He was helped with the care of David by members of his wife's extended family, who were also quite fond of him.
In his journals of the 1930s, the actor cautioned himself constantly not to become too isolated from everyday life while learning his craft. He also expressed his own self-doubt about his ability. In the Rollyson book, Andrews' journal is quoted: "
I must not become too selfish, self-centered--and egotistical," Dana wrote in his journal of June 8. Indeed, the very next day he wrote that that remarkable passage about how much he had changed since leaving Texas. No longer a Southerner, he wondered how much he had lost as well as gained by becoming a new man. Acting presented him with an infinitely elastic sense of self. It was a source of strength but also of insecurity. If he could become someone else, someone not from Texas, then who--at his core--was he? This question bedevils many actors, who turn to performing to find themselves in defining roles. Perhaps for those growing up during the Depression, the very idea of starting over again had a particular poignancy. It meant so much to succeed in the 1930s. Charles [Dana's brother] had just secured a good job in Texas, Dana noted, "at a salary of $135.00 month--pretty good for him--or anybody in these times."
Recognizing that he was changing, achieving a new "richness in my voice" and reminding himself that "Life is simply a matter of concentration; the the things we read today are the things we become tomorrow."
Searching for a way to continue towards his goals, he goaded himself in his journal with the statement "I must realize my ambition or die a miserable man. Mediocrity is not my lot."
charliechaplinfan wrote:I loved that clip Moira.
You can see The North Star in its entirety below. Many talented hands went into the movie which features a screenplay by Lillian Hellman with a cast that is led by Walter Huston, Ann Harding, and includes Erich von Stroheim, Ruth Nelson and Walter Brennan among others. The film, which is in the public domain, hasn't aged too well, but it is not as silly or glossy as the highly entertaining paean to our then-allies in Song of Russia (1944)--though both films got some of the filmmakers connected with it in hot water during the HUAC hearings (Dana Andrews appears to have avoided problems, despite his lifelong liberalism in private and public). I apologize for the quality of the print. I haven't seen too many better looking ones, though perhaps it will be restored some day.
That's the truth MissG, there's no hiding that kind of sadness. Perhaps that's what draws us to him, and made him the actor he was.
The print of The North Star shown on TCM could absolutely be classified as the worst print of a movie I've ever seen, with the exception of a A Kiss for Cinderella, which is a silent that badly needs to be restored as well.
I liked The North Star, it's a bittersweet film, a much better propaganda film than I was expecting, and a certain part in it actually made me cry.
MissGoddess wrote:Poor, Dana. You can sort of see the pain in his eyes. They look like the eyes of a man who's had sorrows.
I agree, Miss G. He always had the look of someone who knew how tough life could be first hand. At the same time there was also a kind of dogged longing for things to be better for himself and those around him. I wonder if his introspective nature allowed him the imagination to empathize with his character's feelings. Even when they are not completely heroic figures (as in Daisy Kenyon, Where the Sidewalk Ends), they are very human.
Nice avatar, speaking of Dana...and Gene T., his frequent co-star!
FYI: Dana Andrews' breakthrough performance in The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) may be seen on TCM later this week on Thursday, Nov. 29th, at 2pm (ET). In case you can't catch it then, here's a link to an online version:
Idyllic, naively cornball and yet surprisingly moving at times, the Rodgers & Hammerstein version of State Fair (1945) offered Andrews a chance to play a cynical reporter brought up short by his attraction to farm girl Jeanne Crain. The great supporting cast is led by Fay Bainter, Charles Winninger, Vivian Blaine, and four irreplaceable characters: Frank McHugh, Donald Meek, Percy Kilbride and Harry Morgan. Dick Haymes manages to be slightly less icky than usual (forgive me Haymes fans, but he makes me uneasy):
The Dana Andrews movie I most want to see and never have, is Swamp Water (1941). Because it's directed by Jean Renoir and the story sounds like one I'd love to see. Renoir would revisit similar terrain with The Southerner.
Good luck finding that one, April! Swamp Water (1941) was on Hulu for awhile, I caught it when appeared on the Fox Movie Channel for about 2 minutes a year or so ago. It was on youtube briefly, but I guess I'll have to look around for a DVD now. Here's a clip below--though other prints I've seen are of much higher quality than this one, which was posted by someone offering a DVD-r of this film. Jean Renoir and Andrews became good friends thanks to working together on this film, which was difficult for Renoir, who had to adapt to the studio system.
Yes, all I've found online is that clip from YouTube. Amazon has or had a Region 2 DVD offer, I believe, but I keep hoping it may come out on the Archive lables. What did you think of the film? I saw it features quite a few Ford "stock co" players and a script by Dudley Nichols.
I know someone with a copy of Swamp Water captured from TCM (or maybe it was FMC).
It is on a disc with Tobacco Road. Don't recall who directed that.
He'd probably trade it for pictures involving venetian blinds.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles