Mary Astor

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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dfordoom
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Mary Astor

Post by dfordoom »

Speaking of Red Dust – I loved Mary Astor in that movie. Jean Harlow had the plum role, but Astor still gave a memorable performance. Mary Astor gets a lot of criticism for her role in The Maltese Falcon, although personally I thought her performance was great, as long as you don’t have the expectation that the character should be a typical film noir femme fatale. She isn’t, and in any case The Maltese Falcon isn’t really a film noir anyway.

What do others think of Mary Astor?
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

I think she's an actress who is too often forgotten, even by classic buffs, but I don't recall ever seeing her give a bad or lazy performance. She did such a variety of roles, too, and won Bette Davis' respect and praise for her work in The Great Lie.

Besides, how many actresses could play the hard boiled dame of The Maltese Falcon, the vivacious and loquacious society gad-about of The Palm Beach Story, the gentle and rueful "other woman" in Dodsworth , the worn but pitiable wreckage of Act of Violence, and "Marmee" to all those Little Women?
Erebus
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Post by Erebus »

To me she seems to be such different women in the few roles which which I’m familiar. I don’t think she is the one deserving criticism for her role in Falcon. It’s a casting failure that she’s such an unbelievable romantic focus for Bogart’s Spade in an otherwise captivating film. Conversely, I love her in Dodsworth as the salvation that the Huston character previously didn’t even realize he needed. That’s a beautiful film, in which she’s so calm and wise. I say “beautiful film”, although subsequent viewings have made me want to fast forward through the scenes featuring the emerging Fran, not because of acting flaws but instead because Ruth Chatterton does an excellent job of portraying an all too common personality type.
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sandykaypax
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Post by sandykaypax »

I think that Mary Astor is a fine actress. The other day I watched The Sin Ship, a film that she made in 1931 with Louis Wolheim, Hugh Herbert, and Ian Keith. It was pretty creaky, but Astor's performance was so contemporary and fresh. She looked very lovely, as well.

She was completely convincing as woman with a shady past who reforms over the course of the film.

Sandy K
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

I think that Mary Astor was a fine actress, as evidenced by the films mentioned in this thread. Even when given fairly sudsy roles, in what might have been unbelievable or pedestrian material, such as Prisoner of Zenda, The Great Lie and Return to Peyton Place, she managed to give her parts a zesty dash of ginger and vinegar that enlivened those films considerably.

Her books, A Life on Film and Mary Astor: My Story, also proved that she had a fine, observant mind and a restless spirit behind the lovely face.

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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

Pretty picture of Mary. It looks like it was taken around the time of her rather intense affair with John Barrymore.
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Professional Tourist
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by Professional Tourist »

Here is a lovely tribute to Miss Mary Astor recently created by new member Erika1712:

[youtube][/youtube]

The ending made me tear-up a little bit, and I'm not even particularly a fan of Miss Astor.
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Professional Tourist
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by Professional Tourist »

By the way, Miss Astor's 1959 autobiography My Story is in the public domain, and available in several text formats at the Internet Archive.
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knitwit45
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by knitwit45 »

I am a newcomer to the Mary Astor fan club, but what an actress. I grew up with her Marmee, and then the Mother of the clan in Meet Me in Saint Louis, was turned off by her in Maltese Falcon, and then completely turned around by her in Across the Pacific. When I saw her gentle woman of Dodsworth, I became a card carrying member of the club.
Thanks so much Erika, for this lovely tribute. The music is perfect.

Nancy
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by charliechaplinfan »

That's a lovely tribute, I enjoyed watching the clips, thank you for posting it for us to watch.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Erika1712
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by Erika1712 »

Oh, wow. Thank you. I'm blushing. My feeble attempts at paying tribute to these amazing actors.
Does Larry still visit this forum? He kindly answered a couple of my emails and actually referred me to this nice forum. I always remember the story he posted of Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor dressing up as geishas and laughing together. What a fun picture it is in my mind!
I love Mary in so many things like Dodsworth...I thought she was so beautiful in that picture. I became an even bigger fan after watching Return to Peyton Place. Terrible picture, imo, but she owned the final scenes in the picture. It showed what an amazing actress she truly was.
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knitwit45
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by knitwit45 »

Thanks for the link to her book, PT. I started reading last night, was up until past midnight.
Vecchiolarry
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by Vecchiolarry »

Hello Erika,

I still lurk here from time to time, but rarely post anymore.

I still remember that story about our Geisha girlsfrom time to time and have a good smile.
They were certainly giggly & silly and really quite politically incorrect as Japanese.
Shuffling on their platforms, they would hold a fan up to their faces and then say, "Ahh so, Missy Astor-ic, you wantie more tea?" "Oh no so, Missy Headly-more, me havie a big gin; you gettie quick - chop, chop!!"...
And, then they'd giggle and shuffle around more.
It was Oscar winning, if you asked me....

After making "Bachelor in Paradise", I had Agnes & Mary over for drinks and a late supper to my place in Malibu.
Lana Turner & Fred May lived next door and I had them over too. Lana & Agnes had been in the movie.
I said to Fred, "Imagine having these three old movie stars in the same room!!"
"OLD!!", all 3 of them screamed at me at the same time....
I never used that word again in LA ever!!!

Larry
Erika1712
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by Erika1712 »

Larry! So glad you still visit occasionally. :) I never tire of your stories. The stars always come to life through them.
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rudyfan
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Re: Mary Astor

Post by rudyfan »

Ooh, count me in as a big fan of Mary Astor, too. Your YouTube tribute was great and made me want to watch Prisoner of Zenda, all over again. She's lovely in that small part.
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