Post by JackFavell » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:38 pmMs. Henreid,
I'm so sorry to badger you with so many questions. I was hoping to draw these out during the course of the weekend... but the technical difficulties got in the way.
May I ask, do you pronounce your name Mah-nika or Moh- nika? My husband's family is from Germany and their family pronounces it Moh-nika. I've been curious ever since I found out you were visiting here.
" Both really. Family and European friends say Moh. American friends usually say Mah.
(you can call me Ray, you can call me Jay. Just don't call me late for dinner. : ) Remember that line? )"Who were some of the intellectual ex-pats that you remember seeing at your house growing up?
" Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Lion Feuchtwanger, Thomas Mann, Bruno Walter, Arturo Toscanini, Arthur Rubinstein, Sacha Heifitz, Gregor Piatigorsky, Bertholt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Francis Lederer, Jean Negulesco, Fritz Lang, Salka Viertel, Leon Askin, Henry Koster, Joseph Pasternak, Peter Lorre, Otto Preminger, Ingo Preminger, William Wyler, and Billy Wilder were some of the neighborhood social circle, all immigrants and refugees."Your father and Bette Davis seem like they had a great rapport. Is this the case?
"My father and mother and Bette were great friends for 48 years. She was always at our home when she was working or visiting the West Coast. And we spent many many days with her and her family at her homes, one of the highlights of which was Thanksgiving dinners. But that's another story."
Did he get to know or become friends with any of his fellow studio actors, or perhaps crew members? I know he was in at least two pictures with Eleanor Parker, John Qualen, and of course, Bette Davis. Were there any people from the movies who became lifelong friends?
"Hugh Marlowe and Paul Stewart were his 'best buds'. He met them both in NYC when he first came to this country in 1940. They remained life-long friends. My father was the last of these '3 musketeers' to pass. There were many other friends but these were the two with whom he shared his hopes and dreams, his joy and frustrations, his opinions and ideas. They played chess and talked into the wee hours."One of my favorite of Ms. Davis' movies is Dead Ringer, it's so perfectly plotted out in front of the camera. Would you say that this is your father's style of movie making as a director? Did he have a very well defined, methodical style or did he change his style to fit the project he was working on? Did he use storyboards at all?
"My father was an intellectual, a thinker as well as an artist. He craved, even demanded, precision. He did his 'homework' and expected the same of his co-workers. He was meticulous in thinking through how a scene should play and although he didn't use story boards, he would scope out camera angles and moves and lighting on a blueprint of each set." His camera angles and blocking all seem so precise and well worked out. For instance, there's a scene in which Bette has to undress her dead sister (played by herself) which could have come off very badly, since it's obviously a double. But it doesn't, all you think about is how hard it would be to undress and redress a dead body. It's a great scene. He obviously had a mind for these types of directing problems.
"Actually he and Bette loved the challenge of this scene because Bette WAS both the dead and alive twin. They both had to think ahead to the editing so the moves would match. On a personal note, I LOVED working with both of them in this film. Challenging, yes, but beautiful !"I am a big fan of the movie Hollow Triumph (also known as The Scar). It's really suspenseful, and I think he gives such a complex, neurotic, and powerful performance. He didn't 'bring the character home' with him, did he? I hope not! I am pretty sure he wasn't keen on method acting.
"Work was work, home was home. Even when I worked with him as an actress and we had 24/7 contact, the two areas were kept quite separate." Did he ever tell you about his method for breaking down scenes or his way of getting into character? I know he was influenced by Max Reinhardt, but I'd love to know any specifics or stories about his marking of scripts or character work behind the scenes.
"This is much too complicated to answer like this. But I will say that he was always looking for 'the truth'. His truth, the characters truth, the truth in the storyline...the authenticity of the relationships. Sometimes you had to peel away many layers, sometimes it was all right there in the writing."Hollow Triumph and Dead Ringer both have a delicious sense of irony. In fact many of his movies seem to have some witty or wry twists or dialogue. Did your father enjoy ironic twists in films or TV shows? He did so many Alfred Hitchcock episodes it almost seems like his irony is his forte as a director and as an actor. Do you have any anecdotes to tell about Hollow Triumph?
"The more twists and turns with good reason, the more interesting. The more you could keep an audience involved the better. My father also had a great sense of humor."How About Between Two Worlds, an eerie film in which he gave a really beautiful performance?
"He admired and enjoyed working with John Garfield."Did he have a favorite leading lady? There are so many greats - Bette, Maureen O'Hara, Hedy Lamarr, Joan Bennett, Ida Lupino, Olivia de Havilland. Did he ever discuss directing with Ida Lupino?
Your father was outspoken at a time when it was dangerous for people to speak out against the HUAC. How did he and your family deal with being blacklisted?
Did he enjoy making Of Human Bondage? I think he's quite good as Philip, even though at first glance, he might not seem right for the part. Did he want to play it? Did he have to work to get the role?
"Actually maybe at this point I should suggest you read my father's biography, LADIES MAN.
... and mine when it comes out next year : )
FB: PAUL HENREID, BEYOND VICTOR LASZLOAgain, I'm sorry if I've overloaded you with questions. I just had so much to ask you about your dad!
"Thanks for all your interest !" : )