November 30 2015 Drama Movies Newsletter
On Saturday, I posted a review of "Holiday Affair", the 1949 film starring Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum. I thought the film was appropriate for Thanksgiving weekend and it also gave me the chance to discuss one of my favorite actors. As Janet Leigh said, Mitchum was easy and cool. Mitchum's attitude of languid resignation could make other actors seem hysterical. In fact, when Mitchum made a film with Cary Grant ("The Grass is Greener"), Grant complained that Mitchum was making him look unhinged.
Mitchum is the subject of Lee Server's 2001 biography, "Robert Mitchum: "Baby, I Don't Care". Server's book is one of the best accounts of an actor's life and career that I have read. Its strength is that Server is an excellent film critic, as well as biographer. He lays out the details of Mitchum's unconventional life, and also explains what made Mitchum an unforgettable screen presence.
Another American original, Douglas Fairbanks, is the subject of Tracy Goessel's new biography, "The First King of Hollywood: The Life of Douglas Fairbanks". Fairbanks was a producer, founding partner of United Artists studio, founding member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and one of the top actors in the silent film era. Goessel acquired the love letters and correspondence between Fairbanks and his second wife, actress Mary Pickford. She also had access to Fairbanks's personal scrapbooks. Consequently, her book is the most detailed account of Fairbanks's life to be published.
Fairbanks was associated with "clean living", while Mitchum was Hollywood's bad boy. Their different reactions to fame and celebrity, and how it relates to 20th Century life in America, are fascinating to explore in these two well-written books.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Holiday Affair Film Review
"Holiday Affair" stars Janet Leigh as a World War II widow unwilling to let go of the past, and Robert Mitchum as the unconventional dreamer who shows her how to live in the present and embrace an uncertain future.
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