This week, I thought I’d watch yet another old movie, but this time I wanted to watch a movie that wasn’t as popular as other movies. The Heiress fit the bill. It’s certainly not one of Montgomery Clift’s best films. Olivia de Havilland stars in this picture about a woman in the mid 19th century who is about to inherit a lot of money and a home. She’s sheltered and doesn’t have a lot of confidence. Her friends, mostly her father’s age, want to marry her off, but with a man of good standing. She meets Morris, a man of questionable standing and though she’s told not to fall for him, she does. He’s… he’s not a great guy, but he’s not bad. I never really got the hint that Clift’s character was a fortune hunter insomuch as he seemed more like a man struck with a nasty case of wanderlust. I think he loved de Havilland, but he had a strange way to show it.
Olivia de Havilland plays the dowdy woman well, but it seemed tired in this picture. Not like she was trying to act that way, but more like she’d phoned it in. There was almost no chemistry between de Havilland and Clift. I don’t think he enjoyed his role in the film, but it was a paycheck.
If you want a picture that shows a woman who is socially awkward, abused emotionally by her father and ignored by the social set…then this might be a film for you. If you want to root for the underdog and are willing to put up with an ending you can, yet can’t see coming…then this might be the film for you.
Paulette Goddard was already a legend during her lifetime. At her peak she was considered one of the sexiest, most glamorous, and most personable movie stars of the silver screen. She was known for her marriages to Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich Maria Remarque. But few know what an exciting and adventurous life she truly led. From her humble beginnings, Paulette was determined to earn stardom. She quickly reached her goal, starring in films with Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, and Jimmy Stewart. For many months she was the top candidate for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, a role that eventually went to Vivien Leigh. Paulette was also a sophisticated patron of the arts, with distinguished friends like John Steinbeck and Aldous Huxley. Through her wit, charm, and intelligence, she always attracted genius. Paulette’s many admirers included Clark Gable and George Gershwin. Most favored her with gifts of magnificent jewelry. Soon she had a fortune in precious gems, because, as she put it, “I never give anything back.” The star also collected great works of art, and often posed for the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera.Always in the public eye, her controversial lifestyle prompted the FBI to investigate her, even as she dined at Hyde Park with FDR! In this revealing and insightful account, the authors detail the life and loves of this fascinating woman.They recount her Oscar nomination for So Proudly We Hail, and her participation in the first transcontinental flight, piloted by none other than Howard Hughes. Here also is the answer to the mystery of the Chaplin-Goddard relationship (Were they married or not?); a complete account of her feud with famed movie director Cecil B. DeMille; and the scandalous under-the-table incident at Ciro’s. The story of Paulette Goddard’s life is more captivating and provocative than fiction.The rare combination of brains, beauty, glamour, and success made Paulette Goddard a one-in-a-billion star.
I’ve always been fascinated by Paulette Goddard. She managed to swirl right into the circles of wealthy men and with ease. I knew she’d been married to Charlie Chaplin. Yes, I saw the movie, Chaplin. But I didn’t know just how complicated this woman was. She’s a trailblazer. She did pretty much what she wanted the way she wanted. She was a force to reckon with. She understood the art of working her image long before a lot of people figured it out. If she wanted to be taken seriously and thought of as a star, she dressed that way. If she wanted money, she found a way to get it.
She’s much more than a former wife of Charlie Chaplin or the wife of Erich Maria Remarque. She did things her way.
The author tended to get wordy occasionally, but the story flowed well. I read the book in a little more than a day. If you’re looking for insight on this old Hollywood star or want a story that’s so remarkable, it would only be possible in Hollywood, then this is the book for you. If you can find this book at your local library, a used book sale or used online, then nab a copy. Worth the read and fascinating.
I love old movies. Honestly, the older the better. I’ve got a love of old Hollywood, too. There’s something fantastic about the dream factory.
When I stumbled on an old Bette Davis movie, All This, and Heaven Too, I had to tune in.
I love Bette Davis. There’s a certain power and provocativeness in her performances and this book was no exception. She’s playing a young governess for French children and falls in love with their father. Now this would actually translate well into modern day storytelling because there have been plenty of stories where the husband runs off with the babysitter. The difference is the innocence. During the time of this story, the 19th century, I’m sure men ran off with the babysitter, but it wasn’t as blatant. It wasn’t discussed. Davis plays this role with that innocence. As a person, she wasn’t the innocent, but she portrayed it well. I felt for her throughout the movie. I felt how hard she tried to hide her desire for the Count and how much she knew it was wrong, despite him pushing the envelope.
Charles Boyer plays the Duc de Praslin, a man in a tough place. His wife, although still with him, is estranged from him. The scandal of them separating is too much for her. But she’s a taskmaster and cold to her children. She’s even colder to him. It’s a wonder he’s put up with it for so long. When Davis comes into his life, she’s a breath of fresh air. She helps save the Duc’s son and helps the children feel wanted again.
But this isn’t a sweet and wonderful story. Not all the way through. What Davis has to endure isn’t pretty. The Duc, after finally getting fed up with the Duchess, does something horrible. When she’s not seen for a while, the scandal gets out. Davis is eventually outted for her liaison with the Duc. Where she’s put in jail and on trial, he keeps the kids. It doesn’t have a pretty ending and let’s just say, he doesn’t pay as much as she does for the ‘crimes’.
It’s a great movie, but long, so be sure you’ve got time to watch it, but strap in for an interesting ride. It’s worth the time.